The following is a step by step how-to for creating your Van Halen themed or other hard edged paint job on your truck, car, mobile home, kitchen appliance, or whatever you choose with Plutonium™ Paint.
Consider finding a vehicle that isn’t rusted out and has paint that is in reasonably decent shape. This will be easier in some parts of he country than others.
After selecting a vehicle, start with giving it a bath. Mine was so dirty that I literally took lacquer thinner to areas of it before I even took it to the car wash. What didn’t get washed or wiped off eventually got wet sanded off.
It is tough to see in the video but I did do some minor bodywork before I started to paint. The farm truck mirrors had to go!!! I filled the holes from the mirrors with a mig welder and then applied a tiny amount of Bondo just to smooth things out. I left all the dents in the rest of the truck. I wasn’t trying to totally erase the trucks history, just add to it. I went to a company called API and they mixed me a spray can of the original paint color for my truck, and I used that to touch up dings, dents, rust spots, and the doors after I had wire brushed and primed all the trouble areas. This allowed me to have a uniform base coat to start painting on…a clean canvas if you will. It already looked 100 times better than it did when I bought it, but I had only just begun to alter the image of this old beater. After I washed it and made the minor repairs, I wet sanded the whole truck with 300 grit sandpaper, so that the following layers of paint would stick. I used dawn dish soap in the bucket of water to further clean the truck and reduce friction during the sanding process. I then rinsed the whole truck and wiped it down with clean dry rags and let it air dry. The last step in the cleaning process was to wipe down the whole truck down with rubbing alcohol. The cleaner it is, the less likely you will have issues moving forward.
The tough part was figuring out an easy way to lay out all the lines with out losing your mind math wise. I thought I might use ¾” tape for the thinnest stripes but they looked too thin in proportion to the truck, so I bumped it up to 2” for the thinnest stripes. I decided on buying a piece of 1/8” hard board (Masonite or even cardboard could also work) at the local box store and cutting different sized strips until I had three that felt right. I finally decided on 2”, 4” and 6” width strips. The strips eliminated any need for measuring, I just laid them down, eyeballed, and traced. I had to work in reverse on the first layer, laying black down on top of white, it got a little tricky thinking in reverse., but it got easier from there. The red was much easier. Same approach as the black, but what I masked this time this stayed either white or black. 3M makes a nice vinyl tape that is dark blue on color, it leaves you a perfect edge with out any bleeding. I did not use that tape. I used 2” scotch brand tape for most everything. It did bleed here and there, but I burnished it to death so that was kept to a minimum. I went to API for the tape as well. There are lots of ways to do this on a budget, I have had good luck with regular scotch tape and even clear contact paper for some projects. I would highly recommend that you experiment before masking off your whole car.
For the black stripes I used the stock spray caps that came with the paint using sweeping motions and taking my time building up the color. Plutonium™ dries extremely fast so it's easy to build up the paint quickly if you happen to be impatient like me. I then used a red scotch brite pad and rubbed the whole truck down again to scuff up the paint so that the next layer would be sure to stick. This isn’t really necessary if you aren’t going to have it clear coat it like I did. I just didn’t want any surprises when that time came. For the red, I needed a lot more paint in bigger areas, so I switched to the fattest cap that Plutonium™ offers (gold cap) and that made things much easier. After I put the red on, all I really had to do was peel off the tape, but I chose to wet sand back into the layers to give it a mildly worn look.
This whole project actually took about 4 days from start to finish.
Take your time, experiment before you start and good luck!
-Videographer/Editor: Robert Hallas