Introduction: How to Make Fiberglass Eyelids for Your Car
This step by step will show you how to make custom eyelids for your headlights out of Fiberglass: A great way to accent your car at a moderate price. A Fiberglass repair kit costs less than $30, but you can probably piece together the materials for cheaper.
** Remember: Fiberglass Resin and Body Fillers are harmful. Taken precaution when working with these materials **
Fiberglass Resin & Hardener (usually sold together)
Fiberglass Sheets / Chop Mat (stringy patches of fiberglass)
Respirator / Dust Mask
Body Filler / Spot Putty - Bondo is a common brand
Sand Paper: 100-150 grit depending on what type of body filler you use.
Dremel / Cutting Tool
3M Double Sided Tape
Primer and Paint of your choice
Step 1: Masking & Prepping
First, I mask off the entire face of the headlight to protect from any spill over from the resin. I used the green masking tape just to guide my basic design and the area I needed to cover with the fiberglass.
A trick I later learned, is that you can draw your design on with a sharpie marker, and that will transfer to the fiberglass when it dries.
This is where I also cut my fiberglass mat into strips that are big enough to fit slightly over my green tape (guide line). You should use at least 3 - 4 layers for each headlight.
Step 2: Mixing & Applying
Put on your latex gloves! You don't want this stuff on your skin. The respirator may be a good idea too, it's got a harsh scent.
Mixed up the Resin and Hardener that came in the kit. Pretty simple, just read the directions. Too much hardener will solidify too fast and heat up, which can damage the headlight. Too little, and you're waiting around a long time for this project to continue.
Before you start to apply the fiberglass, lightly spray your headlights with Cooking Spray. This will help when you need to pull them off.
Next, brush on a light coat of resin onto your masking tape where your eyelids will be. Lay a strip of fiberglass down, and brush an even coat of resin completely acoss it. Remeber, you want it to go slightly over your guide lines, you will cut it to a straight edge later.
Smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles as you go along. Cover the entire strip with resin. Repeat for additional layers.
Depending on your resin/hardener mix, you are still on a bit of a time cruch. You will notice everythings getting stickier as you work. Work on one headlight at a time. Work quickly, but efficiently. It's not too hard.
Step 3: Removing & Cutting
Once you let them both dry, you can carefully lift them off the headlight. You may need to wiggle them side to side, or slide a pallet knife underneath them to pry them off. Be careful, you don't want to crack or chip anything. Some tape might pull off with it: not a problem.
As I stated before, if you drew your guide line on the tape with a sharpie marker, it will transfer to the fiberglass, giving you a place to cut. I drew mine on after.
Using a dremel, I cut along the lines, trimmed the edges and smoothed the corners.
Starting to look like what you wanted? Good!
Step 4: Body Filler
Before you paint them, you're going to need to apply some body filler to make the surface smooth.
First, lightly sand down the fiberglass to get rid of any bumps, bubbles, creases or access resin. I found placing them back on the headlight helped give it a strong backing, so Im not sanding and risk breaking the eyelids.
Next, generously apply a body filler. Most body fillers are composed of the filler and a hardener. Again, read the directions of how much to use, because it will make a difference.
I used Spot Putty, which is typically used as a final touch up on top of a harder body filler. Beause I didn't have many holes to fill and just wanted an easier to sand surface, I went this route. Held up for over 2 years through Midwest seasons. Your choice.
Lightly sand it down until you have a smooth surface and you don't see any chips.
Line it up on the car to see if everythings lined up correctly, and not wavy.
Step 5: Primer & Paint
Now you can start to Paint!
Using a spray primer, evenly coat the eyelids with a layer or 2. Lightly sand down any imperfections when it's dry.
Spray on the color of your choice.
Let these dry over night. If you want extra protection, you can apply a clear coat.
Using 3M double sided tape, I placed a few pieces on the backside. Two on the top edge, two on the front, and a small sliver near the corner by the fender.
Step 6: Install
Install and enjoy!
Now you have fiberglass eyelids.
** You can make much more elaborate designs with these same steps. Just keep in mind that these are headlights, they serve a purpose, so don't cut too much off your beam of light or fully cover the turn signals. **
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