Before you begin, let us consider what an aerosol can actually is. An aerosol can is a vessel that can withstand significant internal pressure. The spray nozzle incorporates a sealing device that will not let the pressure out of the can until called for. A tube inside the can brings the paint to the nozzle when the nozzle is depressed and the pressure released.
DC Paint Solutions custom filled aerosols are precision-engineered to provide an industry leading high-quality spray, with consistent droplet sizes. The spray pattern they provide is adjustable like the pattern produced by air-powered spray guns.
It is important to remember that aerosol paint is naturally thinner than gun-applied paint. It must be to allow it to be dispersed when the internal pressure of the can is released.
Because the paint is thinned, if you move too fast you will find you get a dusty finish that at best will require a great deal of polishing to bring it up to standard. If you move to slow then the paint will go on heavy and you will get runs in the paint. Similarly, there are pitfalls in holding the aerosol too close to, or too far from, your project There are many, many wrong ways to apply spray paint, all of which end in poor finishes.
Before you start painting for the first time, it is best to practice your spraying technique. A piece of cardboard is ideal for practice. Hold the spray can approximately 6 inches from the card and spray in a side-to-side sweeping motion. Also, remember to make sure that your have completed sufficient surface preparation before starting to apply any primer.
Note the elliptical pattern made by the paint. With a DC Paint Solutions product, this is naturally wider than other spray cans so, even if you have had experience of spray cans in the past, practice is still the best policy since a DC Paint Solutions product will naturally apply a heavier film of paint.
The ellipse needs to overlap on each pass so as you move from side to side working down the panel. The overlap creates the ‘wet edge’. The skill in achieving a great finish lies in following the wet edge down the panel. Priming is a good stage to practise this technique because the primer will need a light flatting anyway prior to top coat so if you go in too heavy and get a ‘run’, or if you move too fast and get dry dusty areas, it is not so important and easy to rectify.
Only apply the nozzle trigger when you are moving the can from side to side. If you hold it continuously as you spray, the paint will be thicker in the spots where you change direction, causing runs. Put simply, let off the trigger as you reach the edges, drop down so the ellipse overlaps, depress the trigger and follow the wet edge. Left to right, drop, right to left, drop, left to right etc.
When you have got your technique down, start applying the primer to your project.
Good paint finishes are always built up from several layers of paint, each one applied over a still tacky surface. There is no need to let the primer dry completely between coats. The primer you applied 10 minutes ago is still uncured and soft, so the new coat will not only stick well but the solvents will tend to “re-melt” the last coat and allow the finish to create a smoother, flatter surface.
Apply the primer in thin, even coats. It will usually take two or three coats to cover the surface completely. Use the recommended drying times as specified on the primer can instructions between coats.
When you have sufficient coats of primer on your project and you have left it for the recommended drying time, your primer coat needs flatting smooth.
Again, where possible, use a rubbing block to maintain a nice even finish. You should use 600 grit or finer wet and dry paper.
If you have repaired any damage on your project then you may find a guide coat helpful. A guide coat needs only be a dry dusting of a colour that shows up on the primer – a single coat applied from at least 12 inches from the panel.
Using a guide coat and then flatting with a rubbing block, the guide coat should be totally removed. Any areas that still have the guide coat present are likely to be low spots or scratches from the initial preparation.
Once satisfied that primer has been sanded totally smooth and all scratches and repairs are coated, degrease your project with panelwipe, clean your work area of dust and debris and get ready to apply the colour coat.