Part 1: Stripping
Part 2: Painting
OK, so here we are. You've got a great shield, its got some awesome colors down, and it looks super sweet right? How could you possibly make it better? Clear coat it. Why? because it makes the finish look even better, it protects it and it feels like a new car when you're done. Lets go!
So the first thing you should do is pull up that last little bit of tape you've left down. You left it down right? right?! good. Hopefully, it looks like this. It might not, and thats ok. I mean you've probably got to start over, but the painting part is the easiest bit to do. One thing I've learned over the years is don't skimp and by cheap tape. I don't buy the fancy frog tape, but I do at least buy the 3M painters tape, the generic stuff just doesn't stick as well and that will cause you problems with stuff seeping under the edges. Now if you rushed and didn't let the red paint dry long enough you may have marks in your red paint from where you taped over to do the blue. You can take the chance and move on, sometimes those work out once the clear coat is over it, but there's no promise so you're taking a bit of a chance.
Once you've done a bunch you have to play the waiting game and let that all cure and cook through. I won't lie, I don't wait a week on this process either, I usually move on in a day or two because I get momentum and (knock on wood) so far it hasn't bitten me. Some people would be happy to stop at this point. It looks great, its glossy its nice, BUT 90% of the time you'll have whats called orange peel from the way the spray lands, it'll be a texture just like orange skin, still smooth, but not perfect. If you make this picture large you can see it in the reflections where the lights are. If you're ok with it, move on to step 5 now.
Here's where things get fun. Once things have cooked through, take some wet sandpaper. Some start at a rougher grit and work up, 1000 and then 2000. I usually do just one grit, it works just fine. I keep a spray bottle of water around. Wet down the paper and the shield, rewetting as needed to keep things moving and work your way around the shield. With the water you can feel how smooth the surface is and you can tell if you need to hit an area more to even it out. IF you got to heavy and had sags during the clear coat, this is where you can sand them down and even them out. When you finish, don't be discouraged. I know the first time I did it I immediately regretted it because I thought I had ruined everything. I'll leave off today with the sad state of things that you'll have after wet sanding because step 5 is what I call the "restoring the finish" stage where you use products and elbow grease and it pays off.
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