Original post by vascoobiedude. Post can be found here
Recently, I noticed the chrome was peeling off my JDM L7 Red emblem grill. So, I decided to take a shot at painting it. Pictures are limited, but heres what I did. Obviously, removing the grill is a given, so I didn't include how to do that. If you havent figured out how to do that, something like this may be over your level anyways. lol.
Step 1. Sanding- So, all that peeling, old, nasty looking chrome paint has got to go. Using steel wool or a scotch brite pad would be optimal, but I'm too impatient to spend hours removing paint, so i started with a medium grit sandpaper. Don't rub too hard, or you'll gouge the plastic. Too lite, and your arm will fall off before you're done. It's kinda one of those things you gotta just feel. Once you've roughed up the entire chrome surface (NOT the entire grill yet..), rinse it off to get rid of all the big chunks. Now comes the fun part... WET SANDING!!!
I did mine in my bathtub, but you can do it outside with a hose, and/or bucket. The key here is light pressure, and lotsa water. A very fine grit wetsanding paper will take time to get the remaining paint off, but the results will be very nice indeed. If you did rub too hard with the coarse paper, dont fret. The wet sanding will smooth those gouges out... eventually. Once you have all the chrome off, go over the entire grill, or at least wherever you want to paint, wet sanding to make sure you have a smooth, paint friendly surface.
Step 2. CLEAN!!! As with any painting project, cleaning and prep is paramount to a good outcome. Wash off all the crud you created by sanding, with a CLEAN rag and soap. I used dawn, because it rinses clean and dosent have any of that girly lotion stuff in it that will adhere to the plastic. RINSE, RINSE, RINSE!!! If you think yopu got all the soap off, keep rinsing. Next you'll need to dry it. You can hang and drip dry, put it outside in the sun, or do like me and use a hairdryer. (Again, I'm impatient to a point.) There are alot of nooks and crannys in these things, and it only takes a tiny drop of water to mess up the whole process. So make SURE it is completely dry. Once it is, you're almost ready to paint.
Step 3. Masking- This is somewhat tedious... Mask the emblem off with masking tape. Trim off the excess tape LIGHTLY with a razor blade, making sure the entire emblem is covered, but not the surrounding area you want to paint. Tape and paper and other spots you don't want to paint. This should be pretty straight forward, so not a lot of details to cover.
Step 4. CLEAN!!! I know you're saying "I already cleaned it, Scoob!" Yes. You did. But, you've also been handling it in the process of drying and masking. So, the oils from your skin have gotten on that freshly sanded raw plastic, and need to come off. Rubbing alcohol and COTTON BALLS will take that right off. No toilet paper, paper towels, or rags, these leave lint. Cotton balls or your girlfriends/wifes/moms cotton makeup pads work great.
Rub the entire surface to be painted with plenty of alcohol, and wait for it to dry. Now we're ready to get high! Er, I mean paint!
Step 5. Paint- Color, type of paint, etc. is going to be personal preferance, so I'll explain what I did, and why. If you value brain cells, ventilation is important. If you've had a bad week at work, maybe it's not.
I started with a light coat of black FILLER PRIMER. This fills in any of the small imperfections that sanding may have left in the plastic. It dries quick, so I had time to smoke a ciggaret, and then it was time to put on coat #2 of primer. I did this simply to ensure uniform coverage. Once that dried, it was color time!!! I wanted satin black, simply because A. I couldn't decide what else would look good, and B. It was easy. lol. Because it was primed, using plastic specific paint wasn't necessary. So, I wen't with Satin black High Heat Rustoleum Grill and BBQ paint. Now, I can hear the jokes already, about wrong kind of grill, can I have a burger, etc. But let me explain... The grill you cook on, stays outside. In the sun. And in the weather. And in the heat. So, naturally, the paint has to withstand those elements. Right? Logically, it makes sense to me that if it works on a BBQ grill, it should be able to hold up to the rain, and sun, and heat of being on the front of my car! Hey.. Makes sense to me... The key here, is to use multiple light coats of paint, allowing just enough time for the surface to be tacky, but not dry, between coats. Too much, and you'll have runs. Too light, and it will be rough to the touch and look. 4 coats later, its time to dry for good! Patience, lazy, etc. i used my trusty hairdryer again, just to get a good solid bake on the top, and then put it back on the car to sun dry. I did this, so that when drying/curing outside, bugs, leaves, etc, wouldn't stick to it.
Step 6. Enjoy!! Do not install the grill if you need to drive the car within 24 hours of painting it. This is roughly how long it will take my method to properly cure and dry, to where bugs hitting it won't screw up your new paint.
Now for pics!!!
Before... Notice the peeling, stained chrome...
In the tub, ready to sand...
Sanded and masked up, ready for primer..
Primed, ready for color
Unmasked, hairdryer cured, ready to go on the car
Finished, and installed!