My trucks' been showing her age lately- with 150k on the odometer, a mismatched replacement bed, and rust on the suicide doors, she was looking pretty sad. Even though she's a good truck, she's fourteen years old and as a full time student (= more money out than in), I simply can't afford to do a real paint job. What I did have, however, was a free week and a $150. So, the only logical answer: faux-tina the pickup. With minimal materials, a bit of free time and some creative thinking, you can give any car a sun-faded vintage feel.
** I didn't quite get the full effect I'm aming for, but ran out of time before the painting contest. When the full body is complete, I'll throw on some new photos! ***
Step 1: Step One: Sand and Scuff
Unlike a traditional paint job, all you're going to need to do here is scuff and sand the existing paint to give the new layers something to cling to. The clear coat, especially, seems to shed any paint placed over it. Since pretty doesn't count here, I went at the truck with a random orbital sander and some coarse 50 grit sand paper I had kicking around in the shop. In the pictures, you'll see bare metal in a few spots where I was doing some other body work- you won't need to sand it down this far... in fact, it comes out much better when you don't. Before painting, give the entire body a quick once over with a finer grit paper (I used 180) to even everything out. Once you're sanding is done, rinse the whole truck with a solvent, like mineral spirits/paint thinner to remove any oils before painting.
Step 2: Step Two: Base Coat
My uncle was a body man who refinished vintage cars as a hobby. I grew up spending weekends helping him restore his latest pontiac or volkswaggon. If he ever saw what I'm about to suggest... let's just assume it wouldn't go over well. At the same time, though, you can't argue with results (or with the minimal budget!).
So, for this first step, go ahead and tape and mask the parts of the truck you don't want painted (bumpers, windows, etc) and paint the whole thing black. It'll cost a bit more, but automotive paint gives a much better look than other paint types. Here's the part that'll make all you car guys cringe- put away your sprayers. You're applying this base coat with a brush. Yes. A paint brush. I know it seems wrong, but trust me. What you're looking for here is a thick paint coat with texture. A brush is a surefire way to accomplish that.
Step 3: Step Three: Red-oxide
The next step is to put a layer of red-oxide colored paint over the base coat. Most of the older cars used a red-oxide primer, which is what we're going to duplicate here. To make this color, I used a combination of hugger orange and black (4 parts orange to 1 part black). It's not essential, especially at this layer, but its a good idea to mix enough to cover the entire car before your start painting. Even if you use a paint measuring cup (which you should be using), there will be a bit of variation between batches. I mix up a quart of color at a time and keep it in a sealed container until I'm ready to use it. It's not essential for this layer, as we are going to be putting more paint on top, but keep it in mind for the final coats.
Because I live on a gravel road, the dust levels are pretty intense. I give my truck a rinse with solvent before each paint coat.
To actually apply the red-oxide layer, brace yourself once again, you're going to need a roller. I know, I know. But again, we're after a pretty thick layer and want that texture. Spraying just wont cut it here.
Step 4: Step Four: Top Coat
If you're starting to panic because it's looking like you ruined your truck, rest easy - it's going to start looking better after this step. Here, were going to apply our top color layer- for this truck, I went with a teal-green color. To make this color, I used silver (5 parts), blue (1 part) and yellow (1 part).
My initial plan was to use these little cheap-o sprayers from the hardware store. Its a great system that aerosolizes anything, is easy to clean and available at nearly any stores. Except, as it turns out, the ones near me. So while the four dollar system is very cheap, by the time I pay shipping and handling, and wait around for it to be delivered.... just wasn't in the cards. So, if you can, I'd recommend using something like the preval brand spray gun, but if you can't, I found a regular hand powered spray bottle worked nicely. You defiantly have to be using a thin auto paint for this to work.
Regardless of the spraying method, to get the best results, keep the sprayer at a set distance from the truck (usually around 8"), avoid drips, and apply nice and evenly.
Step 5: Step Five: White to Bring Out the Low Spots
Break out your white spray paint! This step will add a lot of character to your paint job in the end. Apply a thin, light coat of white paint to the entire truck body. The key here is a light coat. Most of the white layer will be sanded off, but it will hang on in any of the low spots to create an aged look.
Step 6: Step Six: Sand Away!
Now's the time to channel your inner 'Daniel-san', and perfect your wax-on/wax-off technique. You're going to need a sanding block with 320 grit sandpaper and a spray bottle full of water and a bit of dish soap. We're gong to wet sand the truck to simulate nearly 40 years of wear and tear. A little planning will go a long way here; think about which parts of the truck will get the most direct sun. The roof, the hood, the fenders. These are the spots that you will sand the most. The amount you take off depends on how distressed you want the paint job to look.
So, pick a spot to work on, spray it down and start sanding!
Note: if your truck has any plastic on it (mine does around the wheel wells), the paint tends to adhere differently and its much easier to sand clear through. Consider putting thicker layers of paint on and using more caution when sanding.
Step 7: Step Seven: Fix Any Over Sanded Spots
You have a few option here. You can either repaint all the layers in the spots you went overboard (black, red-oxide, teal, white) and then re-sand (recommended method), or you can hand paint in the top color and then sponge on your distressed layer.
Step 8: Step Eight: Clear Coat
Once you've got the truck looking how you want it, you'll want to keep it that way! A layer of clear coat is the best way to protect your new paint job. As always, make sure the truck is clean before applying, and aim for a evenly applied layer of paint.