Step 1: Collect your materials!
Here's what all you should need:
Hi-Temp spray paint ( I used Dupli-Color Engine Enamel)
Aircraft Remover (Yes, that's what it's called. It's paint remover.)
Windex! (Regular Windex)
Old Towel (Clean is best!)
Hi-Temp primer (I used Dupli-Color flat gray primer)
A Wire Brush
Two portable clean hard surfaces ( I used an old tub lid, and a water damaged bit of fiberboard)
Daylight! Don't do this at night!
Lots of paper towels.
Step 2: Let's Begin!
Step 3: Removing the Valve Cover
Now you'll need to pry the valve cover up a little. For my car, I had to use a flat head screwdriver to pry the valve cover up, and break the gasket seal. Now, my car has a rubber gasket, so I do not have to worry much about ripping it. You might have a non-rubber gasket, and if you do, you will want to get another to replace the one you're probably about to rip. Now, using the flat head screwdriver, pry the valve cover up on the driver side. Then the passenger side. It does not matter which side you start on. You may need to pry up on the rear of it, but I did not.
You will probably have to wiggle the valve cover a lot to get it off. Once you've removed the valve cover, place it on a clean hard surface, I used a tub lid for cleaning, and a chunk of fiberboard for painting. Cover the valve cover with the towel, so no passing dust gets into it, or paint particles. It is crucial that you have a towel for this job.
Step 4: Removal of Old Paint and Paint Prepping
Give the Aircraft Remover at least ten minutes to soak in and do what it's best at. Use a wire brush to remove stuff that wont come off with the Aircraft Remover with the remover still on.. Once you're removed all the paint, hose it off. Yes, you do run the risk of getting a LITTLE water in your engine. Don't stress it much. A drop wont kill your car. For all those out there who beg to differ, bring me lab studies, and I'll change this. Use another towel to dry off the excess water. Use the Windex to clean it off. Now we'll move on to painting.
Step 5: Primer and Paint
For painting, wait until the primer has had multiple coats, and has had a chance to dry for at least ten minutes. Begin application of the first coat of paint. I did four total. Spray lightly, and cover everything. Wait ten minutes minimum per coat of paint. Once you've covered everything in a nice even coat, you must let it dry. I have heard that you can bake it in the oven for an incredibly shiny look, but I wouldn't do something like that. Paint fumes in an enclosed and heated space seems like a bad idea to me. To get the glaze, once you're done painting it, you can either apply a spray on clear coat of some kind, or place it back on your car, and drive around for a bit. The engine's heat will help it cure, and give it that nice shiny look.
Now mind you, you'll only get a paint job as good as you can do yourself. It might take a few times, but you can do it yourself. I'm not a perfectionist like my friend is, so I don't freak if there's a chip in the paint, since I did it myself. If I had it professionally done however, I would freak. It costs me less than a dollar to small area. I have a few cans of engine enamel lying around though, that's why.
Anyways, once you're done painting, it's time for the final step, Reassembly.
Step 6: Reinstalling the valve cover, Final Overview
Once the valve cover has been put back on, and everything is tight and secure, start up your vehicle. Drive into town, and buy yourself a soda or a slushy or something for a job well done award. Once you drive back home, or drive around a few miles, park the car for a day or so. Come back out, and take a look at your valve cover! It's shiny, and well painted, and in the color you've wanted. You're done! Now go show your friends.