Make sure you have proper ventilation in your work area and / or a chemical cartridge face mask. Your health and safety should always be your first and foremost concern.

Agitate the paint prior to any application. Chemical components settle quickly. If you're using an airbrush jar periodically agitate it while airbrushing. If you're using a color cup agitate the paint prior to refilling the color cup while airbrushing.

Apply 2 or 3 light coats. Check for etching. If etching occurs you do not have a sufficient primer coat. Apply more primer before restarting the colorcoat application. Etching cannot be masked with additional coats of lacquer.

Apply 2 or 3 gradually heavier coats allowing at least 15 to 20 minutes drying time between each. Apply a heavy wet coat. Let it dry overnight then lightly sand with a 3600 grit cloth.

Apply 4 to 6 more heavy coats, two at a time if desired. Check for airborne contaminants and orange peel and sand away if necessary. Final coats should be sanded smoother than earlier coats using a 4000 or 6000 grit sanding cloth.

Never finish your colorcoat application with sanding if you are planning on applying a clear or candy topcoat, otherwise sanding scratches may show through. If you do any final sanding, apply one last light to moderate coat to balance the appearance of the finish.

Remember while painting to spray the underside of edges to help prevent chipping or flaking of the paint during later stages of polishing and assembly.


Apply metallics and pearls in the same manner as above with special attention to the following:

Metallic and pearl components settle very quickly. Agitate the paint frequently to achieve a uniform appearance to the surface while airbrushing.

Vary your airbrush spraying pattern (front to back, back to front, etc.). Spray adjacent surfaces whenever possible on separate parts (top of fenders & hood, body panels & doors, body & convertible hard tops, etc.).

Try to avoid runs during heavy coats. Metallic and pearl components will settle within runs and distort the appearance of the paint. Let dry and sand if extreme, otherwise you should be able to cover less severe flaws with subsequent colorcoats.

Orange peel is far more noticeable on a completed metallic or pearl finish. While applying heavy coats, let dry and sand as needed to smooth the surface.

Once satisfied, apply one or more light mist coats as needed to balance the overall appearance of the finish. At this time there should be no surface contaminants, orange peel, or sanding marks. The finish should look even throughout.

Remember while painting to spray the underside of edges to help prevent chipping or flaking of the paint during later stages of polishing and assembly.

Remember that a clearcoat is virtually a necessity with a metallic or pearl finish. Rubbing out these low gloss finishes later would likely distort their true appearance. A clearcoat also provides increased gloss and enhances light reflectivity which enhances the depth of the finish.


Candies are translucent colors applied over basecoats. Use the colorcoat application methods to achieve a suitable basecoat prior to the candy application. Removing orange peel and surface contaminants from the basecoat are critical prior to the application of a candy finish.

Apply 2 or 3 light candy coats over the basecoat while concentrating on the uniform use of your airbrush. Try to maintain an even amount of spray, even speed of coverage, and an even spraying distance from the surface area. Spraying adjacent separate parts is critical to maintaining the overall balance to the depth and tint of the finish. Spraying light coats is initially important to prevent against lifting of a metallic or pearl basecoat but is less important with a solid basecoat.

Apply heavier coats as necessary to achieve the color effect you want, two at a time if desired. Let dry sufficiently between applications. Orange peel is not of significant importance.

While applying a candy finish, dust particles and other airborne contaminants must be removed as soon as they appear. If not, candy color pigments will tend to cluster around them and form dark spots. These cannot be masked with further candy coat applications.

The more coats you apply the more easily balance and depth of color are achieved. The trade off is that the darkness level of the color increases, although the effect is gradual. Expect to apply 6 to 8 coats to achieve good balance and depth of tint. Lightly tinting the surface (fades, highlighting, shadowing, etc.) requires good airbrush technique to achieve uniformity to the finish.