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Tailgate lettering

Im planning on getting my tailgate painted in the next couple days, my goal is to have the inset letters be black. Ive cut the letters out of vinyl paint mask and my plan was to get all the base coat done in one day. I have a couple questions and I want to run over my plan and make sure it will work as Ive never tried anything like this and dont want to make a mistake.

So I will start with epoxy reduced as a sealer first. From there I wanted to spray the black, I plan on using SPI black basecoat for this. Then I planned on applying my letter mask, should I apply right over the black or spray a coat of inter coat clear? How long should I wait after the last coat has been sprayed to apply the mask? Once masked I want to spray my blue base which is Wanda, any compatibility concerns between the two bases? Should I do anything once my letters are masked to help alleviate any bleed through, Ive read of guys using another coat of intercoat or maybe another coat of black or just go to blue? Thanks.
I sprayed a sealer coat, then sprayed beige, I may have waited overnight, masked, then sprayed blue, then not sure how long I waited (either later that day or waited overnight) but then cleared with UC. Never used intercoat. I think I had one or two placed (very small) where the blue got under the mask, so I just used a brush to touch up before I cleared. I did all of this twice because the customer didn't like the beige color I used the first time. :oops:
Lots of variables on how long to tape on the black, depending on temperature, thickness of base, and flash time. Black dries the slowest of any base. I would probably spray the sealer and wait 2 hours before the base. Spray the base, not too wet, waiting 45 minutes between coats. Two should be plenty. This is when I would wait as long as possible to apply the vinyl mask, at least 2 hours to avoid tape residue. After spraying your blue, wait an hour or more to pull the mask off, but I wouldn't leave it overnight, again to avoid residue. Really no need for intercoat with enough flash time, especially on solid colors, but it wouldn't hurt anything, and would give you a little extra insurance in case you had a little bleed through somewhere. There won't be any compatibility issues between the 2 different bases, just don't forget to add a little hardener. Ideally, the sealer and black base could be shot the night before, then the next morning masked and the blue shot, but I realize you may run into temperature control or time problems. It can all be done in one day, just try not to rush any step to avoid issues.
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Thanks guys that answers all the questions I can think of for now. Ill see how my time line ends up today, but I have my doubts about getting any sealer or base down, maybe things will go super good though. I will probably start early in the morning tomorrow with hopes of having the black done around 11, then it can sit for 4-5 hours and I can do my blue, and then clear the next day probably.


Active Member
Ksunglea, did you use a razor knife to get that kind of detail on the letters? Use blue plastic tape or paper tape? Looks really nice btw... love the deco font, I must have missed that all these years.
For me it would depend on what type of adhesive is on the vinyl. There is acrylic, rubber and silicone.

when we did cutouts for masks for the rally stripes, the radius parts, we used our powdercoat tape on the liner that we have on a plotter. Because that adhesive is silicone, we used intercoat. If its acrylic or rubber like most masking tapes are and they were not going to stay on long, I would probably just use them.

Tapes are funny. Leave some on too many days and you leave residue. Use cheap crepe where the glue is supposed to take 140 degrees, but then hit it with solvents, and I have seen too many problems. Last thing you want to do is have to repaint the letters again.

Intercoat is always cheap insurance.
This is slowly turning into a disaster I think. Went to put my letter mask on tonight and noticed some weird spots in the black, almost like maybe it didnt cover. So I gave it another coat of black and that pushed me back from doing anything till morning. Everything looked good about an hour after I sprayed, hopefully everything looks ok with the black in the morning. At that point I will be at about 24 hours since sealer, my thought was to mask the letters and then spray another coat of sealer and then move onto blue. What are the chances of that working out? I still have my doubts about the black being alright, might end up sanding it off and starting over I guess.
I think everything will work out fine. As long as the base is catalyzed, another coat of sealer should be fine. I would reduce it 50% to keep the film build down over your masking.
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Garage hack at night.....
I got lucky on one I did and the guy had bought the lettering in stickers that he wanted me to use, so I just used those as a spray mask on a 54 I did a few years back.

I sprayed the white, layed the letters down, then sprayed the yellow.