Intercoat clear with pearls.


Don 68

I will be spraying a Maroon colored Wanda base coat with pearls that has already been mixed in it. The question is should I still add some pearl with SPI Intercoat before Universal Clear? If so, what changes would I see? The person that mixed it said the pearls should go in the base but I'm not so sure now. This will be an overall paint job on my Corvette. I did sprayed a motorcycle helmet with this base then cleared over it. It looks good but it seems to me that the pearls didn't pop as much in the sun as the pearl paint on my motorcycle. This will be the first time I will have used pearl and I would like to do it right the first time. I know that I could buy some Intercoat and try it myself but this would be all that I would use it for and I didn't want to waste any money if I didn't need to. Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks, Don


Combo Man & Mod
I'd say no. The best thing for a novice to do is to select a color that has enough "pop" by itself so that you can just use a normal 2-stage process. If you aren't happy with the look of what you have, there are some factory 3-stage pearl colors that you could investigate as well that are applied the way you describe, though the ground or first stage is generally a solid color. Sticking with a factory color means that the job will be much easier to repair later on. If you make your own color by adding what's called a pearl midcoat, the result won't be very predictable and will be very difficult to reproduce unless you carefully document your mix, which requires a scale.

Whatever you do, make a test panel by using a sprayout card from your jobber, so you know how many coats it takes to achieve coverage, and so you know exactly what the finished color will look like before it goes on the vehicle.


Paint Fanatic
Staff member
Like said by crash, it will work and done all the time BUT do spray-outs and it does not take much.
I did a new black vette for a friend who owed a body shop and it was wife's birthday present, we gray padded the factory paint and mixed a teaspoon of Blu/white pearl to two quarts of intercoat un-mixed so some would be left over for match.
Than a teaspoon of russet pearl to 2 quarts. Shot one coat of each walking the car and than 4 coats of clear.

Not for the faint hearted as easy to screw up and even harder to spot in or match down the road.


Paint Fanatic
Staff member
The results were wild, some areas in light it would look dark blue to purple and some spots would look light blue or just black.


I've done a fair amount of this - especially on smaller things. for example a layer of bright white, then intercoat with large grain yellow candy pearl pigment then a dusting of gold ghost pearl looks like it literally glows in the sunlight. same for gold ghost pearl over tangerine pearl. I've also mixed ppg black (db9700 I think??) with a lot of intercoat and a little pearl - silver, blue, red gold ghost pearl... and put a couple layers of that over a base of black. it gives a really neat sort of halo effect to the black in direct and indirect light I did my truck that way with silver pearl. looks like a deep black except when in direct sunlight and clean) it has a somewhat subtle but very noticeable silver glitter to it. A little goes a long ways... to much pearl and it dominates, a little and it really adds a lot without being overbearing. That said, I can't imagine trying to match colors like that... most of them if they got screwed up, I'd redo the whole thing... Fun stuff to play with, but really requires doing a bunch of test pieces first to see what it's going to look like... for example, if you put a dusting of red ghost pearl over a light color like say white... it looks VERY pink... :-O

someone please correct me if I'm mistaken, but in many colors that have a lot of pearl in them, some of the pigments settle at different rates and so the amount and speed of the reducer as well as whether you're laying on heavy coats or wet ones can make a pretty significant difference in the final appearance... I'm NO expert or even close, I learned this one the hard way when I shot two parts of the same car on different days from the same paint... same color, but one was decidedly deeper and had more sparkle to it...

all lots of fun stuff to play with!