How To Tips: Body Painting - Novice

Check out our painting How-To videos to help you through the process.
What You'll Need - Supplies
Dish soap
Clean cloth or paper towel
Fine steel wool, or SOS pad
High quality masking tape (3M)
Permanent marker
Straight and curved scissors
Sharp hobby knife
Lexan compatible paint
Homemade wheelwell template
Window masks, Decal sheet, wing mounting hardware
Wash your body
To remove any residue left on the body after molding, you must wash it inside and out. Use warm soapy water in your sink, paying special attention to the tight curved areas and corners. Dry the body with a clean towel or hair dryer. It must be completely dry before you paint it.
Cut off the wing
If your body came with a wing or spoiler molded into the excess material, you must cut it off. Some wings are molded in the opposite direction of the body. If this is the case you must remove the protective film, and paint the reverse side.
Marking the Body Posts
If your body does not have mounting holes marked for your chassis you can mark them before you paint. Drop the body over your chassis, center it and use a permanent marker to mark the body posts. You can also mark the wheel wells. Touring car and On-Road bodies sometimes have no rear wheel well outlines, this give you freedom to make a perfect fit for your chassis. (Touring Car body shown)
Marking the Wheels
While your body is over the chassis, you can also mark the wheel wells if neccessary. Touring car and on-road bodies sometimes have no rear wheel well outlines, this give you freedom to make a perfect fit for your chassis. A great tip is to make a wheel well template, and use it to trace 4 identical wheel well shapes. They can be made from either scrap lexan, or cardboard.
Window Masks
Using the molded in window lines as a guide apply the window masks to the inside the body. Be sure to press down all the edges to keep paint from sneaking under. The masks keep the windows clear while you paint.
Step 1: Tape Stripes
This paint scheme is quite simple, and uses straight masking tape for the design. Make sure you use high quality masking tape, and press down all the edges. First mask off the color that you want to paint last.
Step 2: Continue Taping
Fill in the area you want to paint with your second color. I used blue and beige tape to show the separate paint sections. Painting from dark to light is ideal, so leave the darkest section clear, and paint this first.
Step 3: First Coat
For your first color, spray a light even coat and allow to tack up. Then apply a second light to medium coat to fill in your color. If another coat is required, apply lightly as to not create build up on the design masking tape. This would result in a difficult removal of the tape edge.
Note: Candy or translucent colors will stay see through. Do not attempt to put many layers of paint to get the color to show. The backing color (white or silver) will bring out the color once it is sprayed.
Step 4: Finish First Coat, & remove mask
When your first color has completely dried, unmask the second section of the paint scheme. While removing the tape, watch that you don't remove any of the stripes accidentally.
Step 5: Paint 2nd color & remove msk
Again spray light coats and cover evenly. You can then back it with white or silver, but in my case I will use silver for the stripes, so no need to back it separately. When the paint has completely dried remove the taped stripes.
Step 6: Paint stripe
Now fill in the stripes with silver, and also back up the blue section in the middle, and on the bed.
Step 7: Window Trim
Painted window trim is very popular, and easy to create. When your final backup coat is dry, trace and trim around the inside of the window mask creating a border. Remove the borders from all the windows and spray with your favorite color.
Step 8: Flat Black Bed
Another option is a flat black tonneau cover or bedliner. With a sharp hobby knife cut the protective film around the bed, and peel it away. Spray the bed with hobby paint, or flat black enamel. The film will protect the rest of the body.
Step 9: Trim & test fit
Trim out your body using curved scissors for the wheel wells and straight scissors for the lower lines. Drill out your body post markings with either a Dremel tool or reamer. The protective film will help keep your body from getting scratched as you cut and drill.

Tip: For added durability it is recommended to sand all rough and sharp edges with a sanding drum or stone.
Step 10: Remove protective film & window masks
Peel back the protective film, and remove the window masks.
Step 11: Decal & Detail
Apply the decals included with the body, add extra details with a paint pen or Sharpie marker if you wish.
Click Here for Advanced Painting