Hello fellow Genvibers! I'm going to do a short write-up on my most recent endeavor.
I first got this idea a few years ago when I got my first bass guitar. It was a Mexican P-bass with a plain black gloss finish, with lots of cracks.
Since it wasn't an expensive instrument, I decided I would figure some out some way to spruce it up. I remember seeing some of Steve Vai's guitars, and thinking how incredible they were, and it would be nice to have something similar, but on a bass.
So I started doing a little research and found out how to do it.
After owning my Vibe for a little over half a year, I thought it'd be a good idea to try the same technique on some interior trim pieces. So let's get down to business.
Some technical information:
Best water temperature, 78 F
1/2 tablespoons borax per gallon of water
Things you will need:
[*]Fine sandpaper (I used 330) This is just to scuff up the surface a bit to be sure the primer will stick to it
[*]Primer. I used Rust-oleum spray primer, flat gray. Choose a color that will compliment the colors you are using to swirl, as some primer may show in the final product. Also, I heard flat primer works better compared to gloss.
[*]Oil-based paint. I used Humbrol enamel paint. These can be found online easily, and they're not very expensive. The metallic type colors look very cool, but they require 10 days to dry. The matt and gloss colors require 24 hours or less to dry.
[*]Clear coat. I used Rust-oleum crystal clear enamel spray. I used 2 small coats, but more may be better.
[*]Borax. As mentioned above, not a whole is needed. This is used to helped the paint float on the surface of the water better.
[*]Container large enough to fully submerge whatever it is that you're swirling. Your object should not touch the sides or the bottom of the container, as it will mess up the paint in that area.
[*]Lots and lots of water. Tap water is fine. To reach a warmer temperature, I used an aquarium heater, but there are other options. Why 78 degrees is the optimal temperature, I'm not sure. But it will be fine to do it in that area. I just wouldn't use really cold or really hot water.
[*]Paint thinner. This will get messy. Use paint thinner to clean up any spilled paint, or if you have to put your hands/arms in water, you can wipe yourself down to get rid of the paint. Also, if you are not satisfied with your swirl, you can get rid of the paint and redo it using paint thinner.
[*]Painters tape. Tape of areas you don't wait to be painted.
To begin, remove whatever it is that you want to swirl from the vehicle. For me, I chose the door lock/window switch panels, the radio bezel, and the left drivers side vent trim piece. To save some time, I will not go over how to remove different trim pieces, and I'm sure most are discussed elsewhere on the forum. If you need help, shoot me a message on here on find me on the Facebook page (Gary George).
Once you have the trim pieces off, lightly scuff them up with sandpaper. You only really need to do this to the area you want the paint on.
In a well ventilated area, spray the trim pieces with some primer. I used 1 coat, which seems to have worked fine. Make sure you get an even cover, and cover the edges as well. Allow the primer to dry based on the instructions on the primer.
Prepare the water bath. Find something you can use to measure the amount of water accurately, and make sure your trim piece can fit inside with plenty of room. I used hot tap water (about 12 gallons) and let it sit for awhile while I was preparing the trim pieces. Don't forget the borax!
After the water bath is ready, check to make sure no dust/hair is on the surface of the water, if so, use something like a coffee filter to clean it up, and the primer on the trim pieces have dried, it's time to begin the fun. Choose the colors you want (I used 3 different colors) and lightly drop them on the water. Wait for the paint to spread out, and begin the next color. Repeat that process.
Once all the paint you want is on the water, slowly swirl it around until a nice pattern develops. Be careful of clumps of paint. I had some kind of dry before I started swirling, so try to remove it.
Now you begin the dipping process. At an angle, slowly insert the trim piece, making sure nothing hits the water flat, and continue until the trim is fully submerged. Have someone brush away the remaining paint on the surface, and then remove the trim piece, shake it a little to remove most of the water, and then lay it out and blow dry it to remove the remaining water.
If you are pleased with the pattern, let it sit out somewhere (preferably away from dust/hair that may be floating around in the air) and wait for it dry (based on whatever paints you used). If you don't like the pattern that much, use paint thinner to remove all of the paint, and start over.
Once the paint has dried, apply the clear coat. The more coats you have, the more the paint will be protected and the shinier it will be. Reinstall and enjoy the new look of your vibe!
Here is how my trim pieces turned out:
And here is a video of a good example of swirl painting.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHqPkkSpLZk