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19chevytruck90 11-02-2012 10:02 PM

Painting with pearl
Hey all, I'm new to this forum and up to my eyeballs in a truck build.
Finally getting to the point where I am ready to actually paint the beast.
I'm not totally new to painting but all of my experience comes from fiberglass boats so I'm new to the whole 2stage base/clear thing :p

What I want to do is paint the truck black and then shoot some white pearl flames and blue pearl over everything else.
SO from what I understand from talking to the paint store guys is that I will be mixing the pearl in the first layer of clear and then shooting plain clear over the whole thing?
So I would shoot the base, tape off and shoot flames, retape over the flames and shoot the blue pearl and then clear the whole thing? Or shoot the base, tape off for the blue and then retape for the flames and then clear the whole thing? Will I wreck the paint if I try to tape it off or no?

This is a mud truck so perfect isn't needed but I don't want it to look like a four year old went to town if ya know what I mean.

69 widetrack 11-03-2012 02:38 AM

If you are shooting base/clear, what you have just spelled our is a recipe for disaster. If you want an easier way to do it maybe I can help by asking a few questions first....Are you talking Ghost Flames (Ghost Flames are more visible when direct light hits them) or are you talking full fledged, see them all the time flames?

Answer that question and I will try to make this a not so much of a nightmare proposition for you.


69 widetrack 11-03-2012 08:18 AM

Also if you could tell me what brand of paint, maybe I can help more.

19chevytruck90 11-03-2012 03:11 PM

Ghost flames. The way the paint guy put it the truck would look black in the dark/shadows but when the light hits it you would be able to see the blue pearl and the white flames.

The paint is Omni plus.

19chevytruck90 11-03-2012 03:14 PM

I also looked at using an intercoat clear to carry the pearl but they don't use that at that shop and so don't carry it.

Any help I can get would sure be appreciated.

69 widetrack 11-03-2012 04:10 PM


Originally Posted by 19chevytruck90 (Post 1606563)
I also looked at using an intercoat clear to carry the pearl but they don't use that at that shop and so don't carry it.

Any help I can get would sure be appreciated.

OK, let's get started...Your going to use PPG's Omni plus. To start of, if I am correct they use a powdered pearl. Have them mix up 1 litre (sorry US quart) of straight black base coat, when they are done have them add .3 grams of blue powdered pearl, mix it well and look at your mixing stick inside the store. Then (hopefully it's a sunny day) take it outside and look at it in the sun. It should give you the effect you want, subtle but there when the sun hits the high points of your vehicle. If you want more effect add more pearl to the quart of black until you get what you want and keep track of how much pearl you've you have a formula for the main color for your truck.

Paint the truck in the black pearl base only, get coverage allowing proper flash times. When done and flashed mask off your flames and put plastic or paper over the entire truck and paint the flames a straight black (if you add white pearl to black you don't get the effect as when you add a different color like blue or red etc), ask your paint jobber to pour off 1 pint of base coat converter (Binder) in the Omni system and add about .1 grams of white pearl to the converter, reduce as normal and gently dust it into the edges of the flames with less as you get close to the center. When you have the effect you want, unmask the flames and clear the entire truck.

The hardest part is masking the flames and doing the fading from white pearl to black. I would recommend a test panel painted black and GENTLY dusting the white pearl over top. Paint the entire panel with one coat, mask off a 4 inch section, another coat and mask of a 4 inch section, another coat mask off a 4 inch section. Remove the masking and clear the entire panel, take it outside in the sunlight and you will soon see which effect you like the best.

Hope this helps and if you have any more questions just ask.


69 widetrack 11-03-2012 04:14 PM

Just a short note. The pearls in PPG powder are the same for Omni as they are for Deltron. Don't let the jobber tell you that Omni doesn't have pearls.

69 widetrack 11-03-2012 04:28 PM

Rereading your original post, it would be OK to paint the truck with the back with blue pearl and then mask off your flames. Is Omni the product you have in stock at your shop? If it is go to your supplier and ask for the base coat converter. You should have the converter though to make base coat colors.

Remember, dust the white pearl because it will be on top and more visible than the blue mixed in with the black.

19chevytruck90 11-03-2012 04:52 PM

Okay, this makes more sense to me. I think.
Just to make sure I'm understanding it right I would put the blue pearl (yes it is a powder) right into the black base coat and then would mix the white pearl in this base coat converter for the flames?

69 widetrack 11-03-2012 05:05 PM

That's check the black with the blue pearl in the sunlight after you mix it because that's the effect your going to get on the truck, remember a little pearl goes a long way. Also important is the test panel especially for the white pearl as the white pearl is on top of the black base and it won't take much pearl to give you a ghost effect. If I was doing the truck I would use blue ghost flames buy adding just a bit more blue pearl in the black I use for the flames...a much more subtle effect and it would keep your color motif more in line (Not just better effect, it's easier as well). Maybe do a test panel on blue just might like it better.


19chevytruck90 11-03-2012 05:19 PM

Definitely plan on a test panel or few lol!
I'm going to have to play with things, originally subtle wasn't something I was going for. I dunno. I've got some thinking to do I guess :p

Thanks so much for the tips and help with all of this.

69 widetrack 11-03-2012 05:52 PM

Test panels are the best thing you can do for practice...try the black with blue pearl and slightly more pearl in the flames...I think your going to like it. Ghost flames are supposed to be subtle...only when the light hits them should you see them.

Your more than welcome for the assistance, if you need more help, let me know.


astroracer 11-03-2012 06:09 PM

When I sprayed my truck (white) I used Nason BC/CC. Sprayed the base, taped off the flames and shot the blue pearl mixed into the clear coat as a carryer. Untaped, then buried everything in the clear topcoat. These flames are very hard to see and the light has to be directly on them. I call them "Stealth Flames".
You can see them better on the lid.
In order to make them more visible you should probably go with a candy blue. Do a few test panels to get the coverage you need for the look you want.
I would also suggest doing the paint job and laying one or two light coats of clear on the base, to seal it up, before taping and shooting the flames. This will give you some time to get your flames laid out and masked. Once you get the flames sprayed, unmask, knock done the edges and then shoot your pearl white. You should then shoot a couple of heavy coats of straight clear just so you have something to wetsand and polish without getting into the pearl.
You may also want to check out this site.
They have some very cool pearls and candies and the stuff is very inexpsensive...

69 widetrack 11-04-2012 06:16 AM

With all do respect to astroracer, I would not recommend this procedure. This is an option however, and yes it does work. The problems are several.

#1 Repairability...if your ever involved in a situation where you've been involved in an incident where a repair is necessary, your chances of blending pearl in a catalyzed clear is extremely difficult, even next to impossible. Where ever you have overlap of clear your pearl will be more concentrated and you will end up with a halo effect.
#2 Cost...Adding pearls to a catalyzed clear cost more money even if your using a product like Omni and you can achieve the effect desired without going this route.
#3 Color sand and Buffing...It is possible to color sand and buff but, clear being a product that has a greater mil thickness than base coat when applied, it will take more coats of clear to bridge the flames to allow you to sand out the edge and buff, making it more labor intensive and more costly let alone the possibility of burn through and having to revert back to reason #1.
#4 Errors in application...If you get a run or excessive dirt while apply your "pearl in clear" coat and need to start over, it is much more difficult to fix the problem in the booth when using this method.

These are just a few reasons I would not go this route and create a recipe for disaster as I mentioned in an earlier post. I'm not trying to offend astroracer in any way and I have done exactly what has been suggested by him...I have also learned not to do it that way. With today's products there is no need and the same effects can be achieved easier with less mill build of product and cost.

I love doing Tri-coat paint work and when using the right product it's amazing what can be done. Here is a URL of my last build. It's a tri-coat starting with a blue base and a transparent orange over top, using proper materials and at great cost to the customer. The flames where air brushed in prior to top coating with the transparent orange.

1972 Chevy C-10 Pickup Truck - a set on Flickr

Again, I'm not trying to offend anyone, I'm only speaking from experience and have had to try and repair my work when I have put pearls in clear in the past (distant over 20 years ago), it is extremely difficult and that is the major reason I don't recommend it.

Take it from an older guy who learned the hard way.

Hope this helps and again no offence to astroracer.


astroracer 11-04-2012 06:47 AM

Hey Ray, points well taken and no issues on my end but I will rebut your comments. :)
#1 is a moot point. ANY paint work with a pearl additive makes repair work more difficult, Whether it's in the base or clear top coat it will make an SOB of the match job.
#2. Cost was no different then if it was a straight repaint other the the cost for the bottle of pearl powder. That was 15 bucks if I remember right.
#3. The flame pattern was laid down in a very thin coat. When I untaped it I knocked down the edge a little with 800 grit and then simply sprayed on the rest of the top coat. I had to do very little sanding to knock the edge down after it was buried in the final clear coat. Most of the work was done in less then an hour.
#4. Another moot point. ANY paint application with pearl additives will run the risk of errors. Just make sure you don't make any. :) My truck was sprayed in my garage during a rainstorm. There was no booth and, granted it's not perfect, but the clear topcoat is very sandable without getting into the flame pattern underneath.
In my opinion this is a very good way to go. It was cheap and simple to do with off the shelf paint and no custom mixing.
I will not hesitate to use the same method when I get to the paint stage on my van build. OTHER then shooting a couple of light coats of topcoat to seal the base before I start laying out graphics. I will also be using the pearls and candies from the website I listed in my first post.

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