Metallic Finishes - Roll Your Own?

Ripthorn

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Let me state off the bat that I am not talking about gold tops :). I did one of those last year and it worked great. However, what I am interested in achieving this go round is a frost blue metallic (or ice blue metallic), as seen below. It is a metallic pale blue. I have some silver pearl powder on hand, so I mixed up some white mixol into sealer along with a few drops of blue and a generous helping of the silver pearl powder. However, it didn't really have any metallic effect to it after spraying it. Would I be better off shooting the pale blue and then the silver pearl suspended in clear over the top?



Or is there a better way to do your own opaque metallic finish? I am looking for a nice, noticeable, but not in-your-face, metallic effect. What products do you use? What techniques? Any pictures? This would be my first home brewed metallic finish, though I have done a couple off the shelf metallic finishes before, so any help is appreciated.
 

cmjohnson

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Go directly to your local automotive paint supply store and start looking through their chip books. Order up a (sprayable) pint of your chosen shade from them and use it as needed.

Attempting to home-brew your own metallics isn't recommended until you've acquired significant experience with metallic paints and paint technologies.

I recommend Axalta (formerly DuPont) paint products. But PPG, Sikkens, and Sherwin Williams also are credible competitors, all of which are providers of paint systems to the various auto manufacturers.
This is one of mine, done in a custom Corvette Blue metallic. I built this guitar for my nephew about 12 years ago
and last year I did some repairs on it after he dropped it and cracked it around the control cavity area. I decided that the proper repair would involve a full refin.

 

jkes01

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Also helps to have a friend that works in a body shop :)
 

dspelman

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If you want to have some fun with it, and still be able to go back to the original finish when you sell it, go to DipYourCar.com and use some PlastiDip clear with the pearl of your choice. When you're tired of it, you can actually PEEL IT OFF and the finish beneath is exactly as it was. They're painting EVERYTHING with this stuff (including a very nice Ferrari 458).

Peel paint has been used in the movies and in automotive photography forever, but it was primarily a coat of peelable stuff and then standard automotive paint over that. I photographed a Chrysler MiniVan back in the day that was painted a deep green and had wood paneling on one side and was plain on the other. We photographed both sides. When we were done, they took a razor blade, made a few tiny cuts and started peeling the paint off. Beneath was a red paint job, and so we photographed that. For In Those Days, Photoshop Had Not Been Invented.

These days, the Plasti-Dip folks have a whole setup for doing your car in a paint that will peel away whenever you're ready.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0r7xvBSqhOE

This is a great option for a guitar when you want to have something specific for a gig but don't want to permanently paint your guitar.
 

Archer

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The Guitar ReRanch sells this finish (and virtually every other Fender color) in aerosol cans. They are $15.95/can but one does a whole body. Then spray your own clear coats and Bob's your uncle.

Ice Blue Metallic
 

B. Howard

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In the pic that looks like maybe more of a pearl. Adding opaque pigments to a metallic can often bury the metal flakes and make them disappear. It is best to keep the solid pigments to a minimum and augment with dyes. While silver flake may be a decent choice for an ingredient of that finish a colored flake sometimes is better.

I usually start by making a small batch of finish material and spraying small test areas on a piece of glass with my airbrush. Turn the glass over and now you see what it will look like under a clear coat. Not what you wanted? Just scrape off the glass with a razor blade, make a color shift and test again. Once I have an idea of what I need to add and approximately how much I will start to mix up the few ounces I need for the job and match it to my accepted test.

An excellent source for metallics and pearls is
https://www.paintwithpearl.com/
Their pearls and metallics are equal to HOK in all respects except price.
 

Ripthorn

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Brian, I love the idea of spraying on glass! My pearl powder is from paintwithpearl.

My hesitation with reranch is that 1) it's obscenely expensive for the amount you get and 2) just because it has the same name doesn't mean it's really the same color. I am colorblind and blue is one of three colors I can see, so I am likely to be a little picky about this finish.
 

mlp-mx6

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Also helps to have a friend that works in a body shop :)
I have made friends with a couple body shops, and have perhaps more opaque paint than I will ever use. As long as they don't catalyze the color coat (called basecoat) it will last basically forever. I have all the silver and charcoal grey metallic I'll likely need for the rest of my life. I have several shades of red and blue. Lots of other cool colors, too. They will be "car colors" so the really cool colors are the exception. The vast majority of cars are white, black, and the various shades of silver/grey.
 

OldBenKenobi

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Brian, I love the idea of spraying on glass! My pearl powder is from paintwithpearl.

My hesitation with reranch is that 1) it's obscenely expensive for the amount you get and 2) just because it has the same name doesn't mean it's really the same color. I am colorblind and blue is one of three colors I can see, so I am likely to be a little picky about this finish.
The neat thing about old Fenders is that they use standard car paint. The neat thing about car paint is every finish has a code and that code allows paint manufacturers to mix new paint to spec (for touchups and such).

ReRanch says it's a 1965/1966 Ford color called Blue Ice and Silver Blue. I look up Ford blues from 1965 on Paintref.com and there it is, "Silver Blue" with all associated codes. I imagine your local Sherwin-Williams (or other store selling automotive finishes) would be obliging in supplying you with some.

 

jspotts02835

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I'd suggest checking out Auto Air Colors™ Products. These are water-based paints designed for custom auto and similar applications, hence are designed to be clear coated as a final step. Look at their metallics, pearls, and candies, which can used together for interesting effects. Watch the technical videos done by Simon Murray to get an idea of what's possible. Non-toxic and highly recommended!
 

paulmarr

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I often wonder why folks don't look at Auto Air more ... I haven't used it on wood yet but I have used it on motor bikes and cars and it works a treat ... But takes a little getting used to being water based - very very very light coats!
 

MooCheng

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if you go the automotive supplier route bare in mind the base coat (colour ) for metalics is water based over which a 2k clear lacquer is sprayed. Any good supplier will mix a 2k metalic if can convince them its for a special application such as a guitar.
 

mlp-mx6

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A friendly warning - many metallics, especially golds, need an opaque white primer/sealer coat, or you can get see-thru metallic that you may not want.
 

Bill Hicklin

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The neat thing about old Fenders is that they use standard car paint.
So did Gibson, from the introduction of the Firebird on. Here's a chart (about halfway down the page): Vintage Guitars Info Gibson custom color finishes on Gibson vintage guitars and a chart with modern numbers for the equivalents under Fender names (about 3/4 down): Vintage Guitars Info - Fender custom color finishes on vintage Fender guitars


Apparently for 50's LPCs and Goldtops they rolled their own, though.
 

B. Howard

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A friendly warning - many metallics, especially golds, need an opaque white primer/sealer coat, or you can get see-thru metallic that you may not want.
This is more true of pearls than actual metallics done with flake or ground metal.
 

valvetoneman

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You can also buy the tints, I used to do smart repairs and mixed my own to colour code, they were du Pont colours.
you can buy the metallic silver tints fine to coarse if you want to have a go look at smart repair suppliers.
 

mlp-mx6

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This is more true of pearls than actual metallics done with flake or ground metal.
Fascinating. That is the opposite of my experience. Genuine Crescent Bronze gold powder is the only time this happened to me. Pearl-Ex gold, nope. Automotive burgundy pearl, blue metallic, or purple metallic basecoat, nope.
 

B. Howard

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Fascinating. That is the opposite of my experience. Genuine Crescent Bronze gold powder is the only time this happened to me. Pearl-Ex gold, nope. Automotive burgundy pearl, blue metallic, or purple metallic basecoat, nope.
You don't find a primer coat under Gibson gold tops. So either you didn't put enough powder in the finish materials or just did not develop enough film build. I find pearl-ex gold and crescent bronze to be very similar in coverage.

The automotive pearls, were they bought premixed from an auto-body supplier? If so they typically will have a fine ground aluminum and some opaque pigments as well, the mix recipe should be on the can label. At least that is the way PPG does it. That improves holdout and coverage. Flip flop or chameleon pearl mixed directly into a clear coat medium will need a base color under it to achieve the color shift properly. Darker color like black gives the best shift, white makes it very subtle. Knowing what else to mix in with the pearl powders to achieve coverage on its own is part of the learning curve. In the end it also depends on the desired effect you are after.
 

mlp-mx6

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I can only assume it was not enough build - this was in nitro. When I did it over white primer 2-3 coats of gold was plenty. The see-thru grain was in swamp ash, which is pretty profound grain, so maybe that requires more coverage than plain maple.

The automotive colors were not just premixed, they're leftovers from a body shop where I've made a friend. Free is best!
 

OldBenKenobi

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So did Gibson, from the introduction of the Firebird on. Here's a chart (about halfway down the page): Vintage Guitars Info Gibson custom color finishes on Gibson vintage guitars and a chart with modern numbers for the equivalents under Fender names (about 3/4 down): Vintage Guitars Info - Fender custom color finishes on vintage Fender guitars


Apparently for 50's LPCs and Goldtops they rolled their own, though.
Cheeky of Gibson to get around having that one color identical to Fender by using the Oldsmobile name (Goldent Mist) instead of the Pontiac (Shoreline Gold).
 


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