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DIY satin/suede/flat paintjob

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  • DIY satin/suede/flat paintjob

    Here's some techniques for a novice to use to get a great satin/suede, or flat finish.

    Bodywork, prepping, cleaning, and masking are 90% of the paintjob.. don't rush this.

    For a flat finish, the easiest way would be to tint some primer with basecoat to the desired color, then slam on four coats, with ample flash time inbetween.

    If you're going with a satin, I'd avoid base clear and save some money by using a singe stage urethane paint, and apply it "dry", as if it were basecoat.

    just mist, walk away, wait five minutes, and repeat about 10 -20 times. (do not tack rag inbetween) maybe change up your application pattern to keep in from being stripey.. that's it.. a monkey could do it!

    the only rule is don't put on too much too fast or it'll slick over! just mist, and leave!

    this will give you a great satin finish, tons of paint thickness, no chance for runs, or drips. any paint gun will work, and in a pinch you could even use a primer gun with the air turned up high.

    you can also do this technique in dirty conditions, and it will literally bury any crap or dust that lands in the paint film, it will hide pinholes, some sand scratches, and prepwork imperfections.

    spraying a clearcoat is flirting with disaster if you don't know how to paint, don't have a good gun, or technique, or have an improper mixture for the conditions. many things have to be right for a clearcoat to lie down nicely.

    you could end up with a shiny car, with dirt and crud in the clear, drips, nibs, orange peel, dry spots, slick spots, mottling, solvent pop, all kindsa ugly stuff..

    skip the clear unless you want to sand and buff it out shiney.. that's what it's for.

    flattened clear is an expensive and perfectionists way to get the same result as a "dry" application. it does provide decades more UV protection. but that's for lowbrow street rods, not a rat.


    I always recommend this 'dry' technique because it pretty much takes away all the variables that could make it turn out bad, and takes little skill to acheive a great looking satin!


    also, unless you live in the sticks, there's no need to order paint online. anywhere there's a few bodyshops, there's a auto body paint supplier. (o'reileys sells the full line of PPG, too)

    walk on in and ask for some cheapo single stage urethane black / let them know the temps you'll be spraying in and they'll set you up with the right hardener and reducer. they'll even give you stirrers and strainers, and a few mixing cups for free.

    you can also have them add some flattening agent if you want it less shiny than satin, and want a suede, or flat appearance.

    hope this helps!
    Bodyman, painter, frame guy.. basically I hit sh*t with hammers..

  • #2
    When you use the reference flat '' can you enlighten me please, i have painted cars before but im still a beginner


    • #3
      Originally posted by grunt2001 View Post
      When you use the reference flat '' can you enlighten me please, i have painted cars before but im still a beginner
      Flat refers to a finish that doesn't reflect, or shine.
      Current build --
      Do it right and you'll only have to do it once.

      Riff Raff C.C. - Manitoba


      • #4
        What are your thoughts on single stage satin enamels like van sickle industrial tractor paint? Also with the dry technique are talking about using a regular gloss black single stage paint and spraying it thin and dry to get a satin finish, or are you talking about applying a "satin black paint" and just applying it thin and dry?
        Last edited by rustiepyles; 01-11-2011, 11:40 AM.

        Low on class, low on cash, and low on gas.



        • #5
          a regular, glossy paint, applied dry, will render a satin finish.. a little sheen, but not slicked out and glossy.

          a paint with flattening agents in it (or primer), applied dry, will render a suede, or flat finish..

          like a chalkboard. no shine.


          the dry technique is really the best way to go for a good looking final product, with little to no skills, or equipment.


          I've never sprayed enamels.. that technology was before my time.. 80's era paint.

          I've heard it makes a pretty tough paint film, tho.


          I'd suggest a 2k Urethane single stage paint. applied dry.

          you'll get the satin finish, with better UV protection than other paints..

          this means it won't chalk up as bad, and won't deteriorate as fast.

          this will give you a few more years than other paint substances, like acrylic, or laquer.

          don't do it thin!

          make sure to apply many, many, many dry coats... there's no clearcoat to apply wax to, and the pigments will be right out there in the elements...

          the paint film will literally disintegrate and go away over the years, so an extra few coats now, can mean a few more years of life later.


          hope this helps!
          Last edited by biGshiz79; 01-11-2011, 04:53 PM.
          Bodyman, painter, frame guy.. basically I hit sh*t with hammers..


          • #6
            nice write up


            • #7
              Thanks for info man, that's rite down my alley. Be painting outside in shop parking lot hopefully on a not to windy day....LOL Suede is good
              A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do (The Duke)


              • #8
                If you want a really simple and cheap satin/flat/suede paint job, I have used exterior latex house paint before on a four by four truck and drove it in the winter with road salt and all,stood up really well,doesnt chip like all the thick car paints do and is safe and very easy to spray.No reducersand other crap needed.And it comes in different flatnesses.


                • #9
                  What do mean by applying it "dry"?


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MaxRevs View Post
                    What do mean by applying it "dry"?
                    a "wet" application is what you go for when making a paint film slick.

                    you spray enough product that all the little droplets bump into each other, but not enough that it causes a drip, sag, or run.

                    the surface tension between the droplets converge. and the droplets stop being droplets and this forms one uniform film of paint

                    it will appear "slick" and "wet".

                    this is exactly what you want if the aim is a slick, glossy finish.


                    applying it "dry" means that the paint droplets will retain their surface tension, NOT bump into each other forming a film.

                    each droplet will begin to dry, or cure before more product is applied.

                    this makes a zillion little "dry" droplets, instead of one cohesive film. they'll still all stick together just fine, but the finish will scatter the reflected light, instead of reflecting it like a mirror, as a gloss finish will.
                    think of the difference between a sheet of sandpaper, and a peice of glass.

                    they are both made of sand, but the glass has had all it's grains fused together.
                    now it's shiny.. make sense?


                    grab a can of spray paint, and check it out for yourself...

                    mist coats (even of a glossy paint) when applied "dry" will scatter the reflection.

                    a "wet" coat will appear twice as shiny as the other. even tho it's the same product.


                    misting on a dozen or so coats will also build the thickness of the paint, and hide surface imperfections that a glossy finish would only accentuate.

                    if applying a primer, or flattened paint, wet coats will NOT appear glossy.
                    Last edited by biGshiz79; 01-22-2011, 03:41 PM.
                    Bodyman, painter, frame guy.. basically I hit sh*t with hammers..


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the reply, Makes sense. Great info.


                      • #12
                        [ATTACH]63793[/ATTACH]thanks for the info it worked good 40 truck bed flat black from eastwood
                        Attached Files


                        • #13
                          Subscribe. I will be referring back in a couple months when I'm ready to shoot.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by nothin'new63 View Post
                            also how does it hold up to contact? say like someone touching it repeatedly just to annoy me??? will it leave lines or marks or does it hold up pretty well? can you powerwash it, or hand rub only? what kind of durablilty does the dry method actually have?
                            powerwashing should be OK, unless your prep work was bad adn you have poor adhesion of the paint film.


                            any paint that isn't clearcoated, is going to chalk-up.
                            (that's part of the anti-gloss attitude, though.. imperfection can be beautiful)

                            single stage, paints, either glossy, or flat will end up losing to the elements.

                            the pigments and toners will be on the surface, exposed to the weather and most damaging, the UV rays from the sun. (clearcoat protects the pigments from UV rays)

                            glossy paints get the possibility of using a sacrificial coat of wax to protect them, but this is no match compared to a UV protective coat of urethane clearcoat.


                            single stage paints like urathanes, acrylics, and enamels are pretty durable.

                            they are a 2k paint (they use a hardener to chemically harden the paint, not 1k solvent evaporation)

                            2k single stage paints are usually used in industrial/fleet applications, and are pretty darn durable.

                            they won't have the deep gloss of a base/clear, and won't have the buffability of a BC/CC if you use a metallic paint.

                            they aren't fancy, but they aren't expensive either. they are 80's technology.


                            the method I listed in the DIY, uses a 2k single stage urethane paint, so it will have the pigments right there on top, and will eventually chalk up.

                            this should wash away, and after several thousand washes, you'll run out of paint, so feel free to dust that paint on an extra five or six times to get more usable years out of the paint film.

                            the other option for a satin finish is to use a Basecoat/clearcoat that uses a flattened clear.

                            you'll basecoat the car like you were painting regularly, then use a flattened clear that will not appear shiny. it's the best of both worlds.

                            this will give you the same effect but with UV protection and possibly the option to wax it, i'm not sure about waxing though.

                            this method needs professional skill to spray the clearcoat without dorking it, A paintbooth to keep it clean, and it's more expensive for the products.

                            the DIY method I described is perfect for the first timer, and novice.

                            it's literally almost impossible to screw up, cheap, and old school, however it uses a little bit newer technology in the paint product (2k instead of 1k).


                            GO SPRAY SOMETHING!!!!
                            Bodyman, painter, frame guy.. basically I hit sh*t with hammers..


                            • #15
                              Great post

                              Thanks fr the info