Custom Painted Yamaha YFZ 450

Custom Painted Yamaha YFZ 450

*Sorry for the lack of pics on this one

1) The key to getting a good adhesion on ATV plastics is using the right products and doing a superior prep job. The owner dropped off the original white plastics which he had already done some custom cutting on. He removed pretty much all of the rear fenders and cut some wicked flames into the front fenders. I started by thoroughly washing/sanding the the plastics with a red scotchbrite pad and Bulldog Abrasive Cleaner. Once I’m satisfied with my prep, I rinse the plastics thoroughly with water and dry with an air gun. I’ve now got clean, bare plastics that are ready to be sealed/painted.

Probably overkill but I spray 2 coats of Bulldog Adhesion Promoter and then lay down 2 coats of Dupont Plas-Stick Flexible Adhesion Sealer. I let that dry for about 20 minutes and then spray 2 coats of Dupont red base coat. Once that’s dry (about 15 minutes) I tape off what are going to be my black flames (see pic above), using 1/8 in crepe masking tape and then tape off my red flames (not pictured).

I mask the positive section of my red flames and then spray everything else basecoat black. I let that dry for another 10-15 minutes then unmask everything. Using HOK White striping enamel, I pinstripe the red flames and then switch to my IWATA HP-CS+ airbrush with an over reduced black, and spray a drop shadow on the black flames.

2) I add a YFZ pinstripe style logo to the front of the ATV using a vinyl cut stencil as a mask.

3) Another angle.

4) I used a combination of vinyl cut masks to spray the Yamaha logo with some pinstripe graphics on the rear fenders.

The entire ATV was finished with 4 coats Dupont Clear mixed with a flattening agent to achieve a matte finish.

Done.

Airbrushed Helmets – Eric’s Torched Tiki Helmet

1.) Airbrushed Helmets – Lucky for us this helmet was recently painted; base coat black with 3 coats of clear. I start by removing the visor and wet sanding the whole thing 600 grit sandpaper. I use a red scotchbrite to scuff the harder reach areas like seams, corners and the visor vents. The trick to working with red scotch brite and not getting sand scratches in the final finish (especially on black) is to use a consistent pressure and be thorough. f you press too hard with a new piece of scotch brite, you’re going to get deep sand scratches. Apply medium pressure and go over the area several times. After sanding, I mask off the interior of the helmet. 1.b) I over did it a bit with the sanding in some areas and ended up sanding through the clear so I hit the whole thing with 2 quick coats of basecoat black.

2.) The owner of this helmet has a tattoo of a tiki head with glowing red devil eyes and if you stare at it too long…your soul will be devoured. This sounds pretty cool to me  and seeing as how my wife already owns my soul for all time and eternity, I’m not too worried about using it as a reference for the helmet design. I sketch out a similar looking tiki head and for good measure, I add some tribal type flames coming out of his mouth and eyes. Pretty standard stuff for any bad ass tiki.

3.a) I scanned my drawing into Corel Draw, traced it to make a vector image out of it, exported it as a .eps file to SignBlazer PRO and then cut it out on my plotter. There are 2 main things in life that actually qualify as “tricky” First, as Run DMC said: It’s definitely tricky to rock a rhyme. To rock a rhyme that’s right on time is tricky. I think we all know that’s a fact. Second: It’s tricky to apply vinyl cut stencils on round surfaces. The key is to apply them one at a time in small sections. when using a squeegee, always start in the middle of the sticker and squeege your way out toward the edges. It may also be necessary to make small relief cuts to get the vinyl to lay down flat.

3.b) I also cut a vinyl stencil for the tiki head and I lay that down on top of my flame pattern. I then trim the parts of the flame pattern that I want to be behind my tiki head.

4.) We’re going to put the owner’s last name across the bottom of the helmet underneath our main design. I use 1 in. masking tape to mask off the area. I draw the last name in pencil, trace it with a sharpie and then cut it out carefully using an Xacto Knife with a brand new blade. I think we’re just about ready to paint. Airbrushed helmets rule, girls drool.

5.) I mask off the tiki head and spray a light coat of white. I know I’m going to be using Root Beer Kandy later and so I lay this white down as a base for the Kandy.

6.a) I printed several copies of this design on regular printer paper. I use an Xacto Knife to cut out the main shapes of the tiki head, like the teeth, cheek bones and brow line.

6.b)  Using the printer paper cut outs as a loose shield, I hold it over the helmet and spray lightly with white base coat. This gives me perfect reference points to follow and I can now start airbrushing in the details.

7.) Still with white basecoat, I freehand the details. Following the contours of the tiki, I  airbrush small vertical lines over the entire thing to simulate woodgrain. If you take your time here and really work out all the details in white, the rest of the project is a breeze.

8.a) I switch to Root Beer Kandy and start adding color. Though it may look like it, I’m really not adding any new details with the Root Beer Kandy. I’m focused on adding depth and shape. I.e., I keep the tops of the cheek bones lighter and the under side of the cheek bones darker. Once I’m satisfied with the Kandy, I add a few drops of black  to the Root Beer and use it sparingly in the darkest areas like right underneath the brow line and inside the hollow of the nose. Tip: I really don’t want to have to go back  in with the white to add highlights here. So I’m very light with the Root Beer Kandy in the areas I want to keep as my highlights.

Up until about a year ago, I would have called this tiki done. It’s got a good amount of detail and it looks pretty rad. But then I learned something new. (Thanks Robert)

8.b) After unmasking the tiki, I use a small outline paint brush with dark brown/black basecoat and I go back in around the teeth, eyes and nose to add the final details. Adding this one simple step will really help take you’re airbrushing to the next level. It’s like the difference between a regular TV channel and an HD TV channel. It’s like the difference between regular pretzels and chocolate covered pretzels. It’s like the difference between good and evil.

9.) I back mask the tiki to cover it up and start laying in flame licks with white basecoat. I use a freehand stencil sparingly and focus on creating sporadic, organic lines and shapes freehand. I’m trying to make the flames look like they’re originating from the mouth vents up front, heading back and up into a flaming mohawk, then disappearing into the vents on top of the visor.

10.) More flames. I want to get a pretty good coverage with white so that my Kandy colors will really pop and be bright.

11.) I cover all the flames in a couple good coats of Kandy Tangerine Orange.

12.a) I go back in and add white highlights to just a few spots in the very middle of the flames.

12.b) I cover those white highlights with Pagan Gold Kandy, then switch back to Tangerine and blend them in a bit more. Lastly, I spray Kandy Apple Red around the outsides of the flames to add some more depth and color.

13.a) Unmasked everything. Difficult to get a good pic without the glare. I was going to leave it like this but the more I looked at it, this tiki just didn’t seem freaky enough. I felt like I was in no danger of going mad or having my soul devoured.

13.b) That’s better.

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Crystal’s Custom Cobalt with Airbrush Flames

1.) Washed, rinsed, dried and ready for action. This project is going to be a little bit unorthodox. It is going to be a classic flame job but instead of wetsanding everything, then painting the flames, then clear coating everything, I’m only going to scuff and clear where the actual flames will be. Doing it this way does have the potential to save a lot of time but it also has the potential to create some other issues, like a pretty thick paint edge.

2.) I start by measuring the hood width wise at the front and back then running a piece of 1/4 in. blue fine line right down the middle of the hood to get my center line. I always work from the center of the hood heading left over and around the fender and into the passenger door. I layout the flames using 1/8 in. blue fine line tape. Sometimes I’ll take a picture of the vehicle first, import it into Corel Draw and layout my flame pattern there, then print it out so I’ve got a good reference to follow as I lay them out in real life.

I pay special attention to make sure that every inch of tape is securely adhesived (It’s a word) to the body of the vehicle because I know I’m going to be scuffing right up against the edge of it. Once I have the flames laid out along the left side, I create a pounce pattern (Outlined here) to transfer the layout to the right side of the vehicle. I mask the positive shape of the top layer of flames and the negative shape of the bottom layer of flames with 16 in. transfer tape.

Remember, nothing has been prepped or sanded yet. I can’t very well wetsand with everything masked off, so I use several pieces or new Scotch Brite (Red. If the car were a darker color, I’d use the grey Scotch Brite) and start scuffing the exposed area of the flames. The most important step here is to make sure I get a good thorough scuff everywhere but especially right up alongside the edges of the tape because that’s the first place that paint/clear would likely lift from. I also use a Tack Rag constantly to wipe away the cleardust as I go.

3. After scuffing, I clean the surface with a wax and grease remover. I’ve decided to spray and then back mask for the pin stripe on these flames. I spray blue right along the edges of the top layer of flames and then purple along the edges of the bottom layer flames. Note: When you know you’re going to be doing a sprayed pinstripe like this, make sure you account for this extra 1/8 of an in. when you first layout your flames. If you don’t, you’ll end up with flames that look a bit too skinny. You can see the difference in the photo below. The grey flames look a little bit skinnier than the white flames do.

I run 1/8 in. blue fine line tape along the edges of both sets of flames to cover up the blue and purple I just sprayed. Then I spray a silver/grey metallic everywhere else. I remove the 1/8 in. blue fine line to reveal the new blue and purple pinstripe. Lastly, I finish with 3 coats of clear.

4.) This is the tricky part. I don’t want the clear to dry fully in place with everything still masked off. I carefully remove all the masking as soon as possible to give the clear coat a better chance to settle and flatten out around the edges. This is another good reason to keep your shop clean, you don’t want to be kicking around dust while you’re unmasking near fresh clear coat.

All in all, doing it this way did save some time/material and it’s nice to have my pinstripe protected under the clear. Not something I’d do on every job but a nice option to consider if you don’t have the tools/space/resources available to re-clear almost the entire car.

5.) I love the dual layer flame look and yes, that is a 1990 Dodge Grand Caravan with a faux painted, carbon fiber, custom made ram air hood you see parked behind the Cobalt. Sid Vicious baby!

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Mike’s Custom Corvette Airbrush Flames and Airbrush Fire

Mike’s Custom Corvette Airbrush Flames and Airbrush Fire

1.) This is a real treat, we’re starting with a beautiful Corvette that’s in great condition. The Owner of this classic ride has ordered a complete repaint with a side of custom airbrushing. He’s already done a lot of the pre-work disassembly for us, removing things like chrome trim, marker lights, emblems etc. This is a smart move on his part as the neighborhood is a little shady and rare, original emblems sometimes have a way of “disappearing” and ending up on EBAY. Unfortunate but true.

I always remove and disassemble as much as possible to give me comfortable access to all the nooks, crannies and hard to reach areas of a vehicle. Anywhere that water would be able to get to, I want to be able to get to. The more thorough you are at this stage in the game, the better the quality of paint job you’ll end up with. Note: Label everything! This car may be in the shop for a month or longer and although I may be an arrogant, conceited, attractive bastard that thinks he has a photographic memory, I’m not stupid. If you take the time to label everything now as you disassemble, it’s going to save you a lot of pain and headache when you’re ready to re-assemble. Especially if there’s more than 1 person on a project.

Have you ever sat staring at a finished project, holding 2 small bolts in your hand, scratching your head, wondering: “Where the hell do these go?” Yes? I thought so. That happened because you thought you were smarter then God and you didn’t  label anything.

2a.) This is the catalyst that prompted the repaint, (backed into by another driver) it’s a job in itself and the perfect starting point for this project.  The key to a good, strong, permanent fiberglass repair, is getting down to the raw fiberglass material and working your way up from there. On the surface, this didn’t look like much of a hit but once the paint was sanded down, the real extent of the damaged was revealed. It wasn’t life threatening, but it did require some special attention. Use a combination of hand sanding, die grinder, DA Sander and even a flat head screwdriver to remove the paint and get down to the fiberglass. Sandwich in new fiberglass mat from the front and the back, covering 6 to 8 inches around the damaged area in all directions. Apply several layers and once dry, use Kitty Hair (short strand fiberglass) to fill and smooth over as needed. Finish up with a light layer of body filler.

2b.) Doors and hood are removed, the interior and engine bay are masked in preparation for the upcoming body work. The front bumper cover is removed. It was semi sun warped and is being replaced with an updated composite version that does not warp. A front lip is also being added.

3a.) The collision repair is in full swing, you can see where the damage/repair on the upper part of the rear deck lid extended well into the middle of the car. I constantly compare and measure this side with the original undamaged side to make sure they are identical. Tip: Create a template of what the body should look like at different angles by holding a piece of poster board up against the rear or side corner of the body and tracing the profile. Then you can cut it out and match it up exactly with the other side.

3b.) Bodywork has begun. The whole car gets a once-over with 220 grit sandpaper and a DA. This is going leave major sand scratches but they will be filled and covered when I spray the primer. I don’t want to sand off all the existing paint, it was in pretty good shape and I would be hard pressed to get a better seal/adhesion then what’s already on there.  The fiberglass on these Vette’s are like a sponge. They really soak up solvents, oil and other contaminants so the less raw fiberglass that get’s exposed, the better. The exception to this was of course on the back corner where the damage was.

The composite bumper cover has been prepped and installed. We’re going to try and eliminate the seam where it connects to the car and achieve a nice smooth look, by filling it with a non-shrinking, sandable adhesive.

4a.) Are the 20 in. rims too much? Pulled the car out and tried these on for fun, they just barely fit.

4b.) After being prepped, all the individual parts are hung and sprayed with 3 coats of 2K filler primer. The paint booth may look ghetto but trust me it does the job. Right above the back door there is a killer 16 in. Dayton Explosion Proof Fan that pushes air like nobody’s business. There are 16 large gerbils running on a wheel inside that fan to keep things going smooth.  Keep your paint booth clean, always wet the floor before spraying to keep your dust down, if possible do your body work elsewhere and all costs, keep your Gerbils fed. Pretty standard stuff.

Bodywork took a while, no dents (it’s fiberglass)  but plenty of small waves in the body. Once bodywork was finished, the whole car got 3 full coats of 2K filler primer. After drying for at least a full 24 hours, it was block sanded with 220-320 grit sand paper. After that, pulled it out side, blew it off thoroughly with an air gun then washed and dried it. Time to mask everything off and get ready for sealer.

5.) Using a non-catalyzed sealer on a project like this is crazy talk. If I did do that (which I didn’t) as soon as I sprayed the basecoat, the reducer in the base coat would re-activate the sealer and I’d have a nasty little reaction on my hands (which I didn’t). In fact, I’d probably have to scrape off all the basecoat, (never happen) then scrape off the 2 coats of  sealer (no chance), then clean the primer underneath (in your dreams) and then re-mask the whole bloody thing for the third time!! (that part sucked)

After learning my lesson the hard way, switched to a high quality 2K Sealer and sprayed 2 full coats. Then 4 full coats of Debeers Metallic Blue Pearl (which really kicks ass by the way) followed by 4 coats of clear. You’ll notice the seam around the front bumper cover is looking nice and invisible.

Note: To ensure a perfect color match when re-assembled, I painted the doors, hood and head light covers at the same time as the body. It may not be necessary to do it this way, but with this metallic pearl blue I’m not taking any chances.

6a.)  Pic of the old hood to show how the seam used to look on the front bumper cover.

6b.) Things were looking good at this point, so let’s airbrush already! The hood, door jambs and back deck lid are all going to get touched by an angel. There is really no good cut lines for the clear on this Corvette so I decided to wet sand the whole thing with 600 grit then rinsed and dried it.

6c.) It took about 3 1/2 weeks to get here but we’re finally ready for the fun part. I use 1/8 in. blue fine line tape to layout some classic flames on the left side of the hood. I create a pounce pattern (same technique as used in  custom accord airbrush graphics tutorial) to layout my flames on the right hand side. Usually I would mask the negative space of the flames but for the technique I’m going to use here, I mask the positive part of the flames using 16 in. transfer tape.

I fill the airbrush with a dark purple basecoat and spray in some organic looking TRU Fire keeping my application free and loose. Once I’ve got a good fill of purple fire, I switch to white base coat and spray a second layer of fire. I prefer to use a combination of free hand brush strokes and home made fire stencils. (Sorry for the lack of pics on this one.)

7a.) I wipe it off with a tack rag then using a touch up gun, I cover the entire airbrushed area with a nice coat of Oriental Bue Kandy, make sure it’s dry and then unmask it. Looks pretty cool but it’s begging to be pinstriped. I wipe everything off again with a tack rag to get rid of the overspray and help knock down the paint edge so it doesn’t grab my brush when I try to pinstripe it.

7b.) I use Silver HOK striping paint and a 00 Mack brush to pinstripe the flames. I finished up the airbrushing on the door jambs and deck lid then the whole car got 3 more costs of clear.

7c.) You can see the darker under layer of purple flames better out here in the sun.

8.) Detail.

9.) These aren’t the best photos but quite a drastic change from the classic red Corvette that pulled into the shop about a month ago. Really looked killer once all the trim and emblems had bee reinstalled + the engine on this beast is just as clean and detailed as the rest of it.  A real one of kind custom Corvette. Thanks Mike.

10.) Door jambs.

If you’d like to know how long this project took and what it cost to do it, click here-> custom airbrushed corvette. This is Members Only content so you will need to Login to view it. If you’re not a member already, you can Register for FREE.

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Louise’s Electric Blue Skull and Flames Airbrushed Honda Shadow

Louise’s Electric Blue  Honda Shadow Airbrush Skull and Airbrush Flames

1.) The owner’s bike has recently been repainted so the paint is in great shape.  There are already light silver flames airbrushed on the tank and rear fender but nothing on the front fender. She would like to add a cool looking skull to the front fender and also some flames that will match the rest of the bike. Let’s do it!

2.) Using a reference pic from Google Images of a human skull, I create a sketch of how I want the skull to look.  I incorporate the  flames by adding a flame lick coming out his mouth and one coming out of his eye socket. To transfer this  sketch to the fender, I’m going to apply  some low tack transfer tape to a piece of copy and then send it through the printer so my skull drawing prints right on the transfer tape. I ‘ll then be able to remove the transfer tape from the copy paper and apply it directly to the fender. Once it’s on the fender, I can cut it out using an Xacto Knife with a brand new blade.

3.) Not much action in this pic, grass is lookin pretty green, could be a bit thicker though.  The fender was washed, wet sanded with 600 grit sandpaper, rinsed and dried thoroughly. This is how you want your parts to look after you wet sand them. A nice even dull finish everywhere. Compare this pic to the first pic above.

4.) And there ya go, all done! It’s that simple. I woke up the next morning and the fender was finished…what a relief!

Sorry for the lack of pics on this one, had to get it done fast and neglected to get pics along the way.  After I had the transfer tape with the printed sketch applied to the fender. I cut out the eyes, mouth and nose first (saving the cut out pieces), sprayed them black and then covered them back up. Cut out the skull and teeth next (saving the cut out pieces), leaving the flame parts still masked. I used white base coat to airbrush/detail the skull and teeth. I add texture to the skull by spraying small cracks, dots and jagged lines.

After I’m satisfied with the white, I switch to a Kandy Purple/Black mixture and use it very sparingly to add some more depth to the skull. It does not take much, I use it to push the jaw back under the cheek bones and on the sides of the eye sockets to give some shape to the head. I then switch to Oriental Blue Kandy to finish shading the skull. I’m not adding any new detail with Blue Kandy, just shading and going over what I already have.

Once the skull is done, back mask it and unmask the flame licks. I use blue fine line tape to layout some semi abstract/classic flames and spray them with a light silver metallic.

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