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Hello, my question pertains to painting things like flames. I have read several online tutorials but I want to ask here for advice too.

I am planning to repaint my entire vehicle. I am going to sand it down to bare metal and take care of several rust patches and make sure that there arent any more starting that I cant see yet. That takes care of the easy part.

The next step is to paint on some flames. Im not going to paint on ghost flames, these will be the kind that are of a solid color with shading. I have the colors and whatnot picked out but what I wanted to know is if I need to resand the base coats where the flames will go since it is all new paint. Also, how the heck do I keep the flames from looking like vinal decals? I have a motorcycle that someone did a poor job of flaming (they are raised up like vinals) and was hoping to avoid this. Is the answer just lots of clear coats?

Thanks.
 

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PPG Sprayin Minitrucker
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You do not have to sand the basecoat before taping on it and doing the artwork. You just have to make sure it is dry enough to tape on. Most paint companies say you can wait somewhere from 24 to 72 hours before you have to sand and re-apply basecoat.(depending on temperature)
If you are refering to the lines on your motorcycle that you can feel that can be taken care of by clearing the job a couple times. Usually I will put 3 coats of clear on. Sand with 800 or 600 wet and then putting 3 more coats of clear. Then sanding with 1500 and 2000 before polishing.
 

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Imports are bad mmm'kay
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Being able to feel painted on flames isn't really a poor job of flaming. Painters can't afford to take the time and materials to bury graphics in clear for free you know. Re-clearing as described by Paintin will take care of any edges you'd have though. A tip for trying to keep the edge down as much as possible though, when you spray your flames colors, spray kind of dry and not really heavy. And lightly bring the color in to coverage. That will take a little longer, but the paint edge will be substantially less than if covered as you would normally spray. And as far as when you first spray on your base color, you don't have to do it as dry as your flame color, but if you'll also not spray too heavy that will help you out in the long run. Lots of times guys that do production work at body shops will try to do flames, and they'll spray the base fairly heavy, then tape on it, and lots of times regardless of how long the base has dried, the tape will have a tendency to pull the base color up some when unmasking. As far as masking around the flames, you can put the masking tape down on the base color but be sure to tear off longer sections at a time, and then run the tape between your thumb and index fingers 1 or 2 times to kill the stickyness of the tape a little. This works really good for graphics masking. Also, for burying your graphics in clear, be sure to follow the manufacturers guidlines as far as coats allowed. If the clear says 3 coats, put three coats and let it dry, wet sand and re-clear as needed. If you try to put too much clear on at once, a lot of clears will haze up and look milky once they've dried.
 

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drunk and bored
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if your ground coat is a pearl or metallic,DO NOT tape directly on it.no matter how long it has dried it will disrupt the flake or pearl.your options will be clearing and sanding down the entire vehicle(best bet for elaborate graphics as it will most likely take longer and there's a chance of losing the chemical adhesion) or spray a clear base such as HOK intercoat clear or PPG DBU/DBC 500.and tape onto that.(best for simple stripes)actually every paint manufacturer has the protective clear as long as you know your way around a mixing system.
 
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