Welcome to the most enjoyable thing that painters can do – custom work. And it is just that: the fun part is that it’s custom, but the work part is very much there, and much more so than standard paint work. So much more so that as a business, it can be difficult to make a profit as most customers have no clue concerning the material cost and the hours that are necessary to produce a quality product. If you are the customer and you want to give your a painter a migraine, just wreck the thing and ask him to fix it. You might bring your bodyguard to that meeting.

Now, here’s a reality check. If you haven’t done standard automotive painting before, we strongly suggest that you don’t start with custom painting. Custom is a destination that you arrive at, not a place to begin the trip. Visit our Automotive/Collision page and get started with the products and training offered there first. Once you have become familiar with how those products work together, visit here again and jump in.

PPG’s Vibrance Collection is one of the premier custom systems in the marketplace. Vibrance includes such popular names as Radiance, Harlequin, Spectraflame, Liquid Crystal, Prizmatique, Liquid Metal and the new retro Ditzler Big Flake. Topcoat with most any PPG clear, but check out the high solids VC5200 Custom Clear. Just click here.

For a complete selection of colors, purchase a DOX442 color deck.

If you are repairing a motor-cycle that still has the factory finish on it, PPG or Nexa often has formulas for the OEM colors.  We need the color code, if there is one, the year of the bike, and especially the factory name of the color. Beware, many colors that appear to be basecoat-clearcoat are actually tri-coat.

Skull Helmet – Photo courtesy of Dave Knack – PPG Deltron

If you intend to do graphics and/or illustrations, it is also strongly suggested that you take some time and learn to how to draw – to whatever extent you wish to take it. You can learn to just doodle out “cool” designs and patterns, or take it to the higher levels of airbrushed 3D graphics or portraiture. Stencils are available to help the beginner and sometimes provide backgrounds for the pro.

Quality work needs quality equipment. There are a number of good spray guns and airbrushes out there. Shop for the equipment that suits your needs. If you are doing graphics with an airbrush, you need a better one than the person who is just essentially coloring with it. You can spray basecoats with most any gun, but if you are topcoating with candies and pearls, you don’t need a good spray pattern; you need a great one. Flakes need a large enough fluid orifice, so check that out before purchasing. And don’t skimp on the air filter system for your compressor, especially for use here in Florida. There are few things more depressing than applying paint stripper to your new custom job, all because you let moisture get into your air line.

Ben’s supplies quality equipment from DeVilbiss, Iwata, Paasche, Sata, Tekna and many others. In addition, specialty abrasives, masking tapes and papers, compounds and polishes are in stock, most developed by 3M technology. Click on Products above.

So you gotta love it. It’s unique, time-consuming, usually expensive, and not often understood in terms of the craftsmanship involved. But when it’s done and it’s show time, somehow all that vanishes and you can’t wait to get started on the next one.