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Old 03-13-2017, 02:33 PM   #1
Ricks1971
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tailgate letters? painting them

What is the best way to paint the tailgate letters. Do they make stencils or do you guys tape the off? thanks Rick
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Old 03-13-2017, 02:55 PM   #2
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Re: tailgate letters? painting them

Here is the best method I have found, after trying them all.
Paint your letters, install the vinyl decals, paint the rest of your tailgate, remove the decals, clear entire gate.
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Old 03-13-2017, 09:15 PM   #3
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Re: tailgate letters? painting them

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Originally Posted by turp mcspray View Post
Here is the best method I have found, after trying them all.
Paint your letters, install the vinyl decals, paint the rest of your tailgate, remove the decals, clear entire gate.
Thats sound advice right there...
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Old 03-14-2017, 01:47 PM   #4
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Re: tailgate letters? painting them

I wish I could find a decal in the design I need.
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Old 03-16-2017, 09:26 AM   #5
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Re: tailgate letters? painting them

Has someone done that paint, stick-on letters, paint tailgate method and had success? I'd be concerned about pulling the fresh paint off with the sticker. I mean that ain't masking tape. Those letters use serious stick'um since it is mean to be permanent. Hck, you run the same risk using masking tape. The factory stencilled, but I have hand lettered some and had a pro do others. Why involve repainting a tailgate that doesn't need paint when there are better alternatives. You'd probably pay a sign painter less than what it would cost you to buy the letters and paint materials. It's a small quick job for them.
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Old 03-16-2017, 10:25 AM   #6
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Re: tailgate letters? painting them

Like I said, I've tried them all, and this is the BEST method, that I have done.
If your gate doesn't need painting, then I would just add the decals, and be done.
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Old 03-16-2017, 12:09 PM   #7
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Re: tailgate letters? painting them

I'm concerned about the strength of the glue on the letters also. I read somewhere ( maybe here) you lay the letters out on masking tape, trim the tape to the letters then apply them, that way they come off easier. I'm concerned about getting the first corner pulled up without damaging fresh paint. special-k's idea of a sign painter is a great idea, not many around anymore, everything's gone to vinyl stickers (just like our tailgate letters!)

Last edited by B. W.; 03-16-2017 at 12:10 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 04-04-2017, 07:20 PM   #8
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Re: tailgate letters? painting them

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I'm concerned about the strength of the glue on the letters also. I read somewhere ( maybe here) you lay the letters out on masking tape, trim the tape to the letters then apply them, that way they come off easier. I'm concerned about getting the first corner pulled up without damaging fresh paint. special-k's idea of a sign painter is a great idea, not many around anymore, everything's gone to vinyl stickers (just like our tailgate letters!)

What about applying the masking tape over the letters on the tailgate, then taping the vinyl letters (with backing still on) over the masking tape & tracing. Then remove the vinyl and carefully cutting along your traced lines? Just a thought. May not be a good idea. I've been mulling over how to tackle this.
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Old 04-05-2017, 11:14 PM   #9
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Re: tailgate letters? painting them

Get Avery removable labels in 8 1/2" x 11" sheets. Put the label sheets in your printer or Xerox machine as paper. Print copies of the vinyl letters and cut them out. The removable labels are forgiving. Check out my "Masking license plate the easy way" thread, same concept.
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Old 04-07-2017, 04:52 PM   #10
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Re: tailgate letters? painting them

Those are ways a novice would do it.

Here is the best way and it turns out great.

Recessed letters
Paint the gate the color it needs to be.
Use a touch up spray gun to paint the letters. Practice on a something until you can get the gun to spray a narrow pattern.
Adjust the gun for very minimal paint flow at the end of the trigger stroke, the first part will be air. You adjust it that way so the air is always on and you can feel when the paint is opened up, the air also helps dry the paint at the edges so you apply minimal paint.
You will be painting airbrush style back and forth in small areas until covered.
Paint the letters airbrush style.
Let it dry and wet sand the excess off using 1000 grit or so then buff or clearcoat the gate.
No tape lines and a smooth transition from letter color to body color.

Raised letters
Paint the letters with at least 4 coats.
Paint the gate with less coats and spray as light as you can on the letters.
When dry wet sand the paint off the letters revealing the color underneath.
Buff or clearcoat.

You might ask why cant I airbrush the raised letters...its too difficult to sand the beveled edges and get all the excess paint off and hard to buff those areas too.
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Old 04-07-2017, 05:53 PM   #11
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Re: tailgate letters? painting them

pinstripers use tape and stencils. Lot's of taping in paint work where I live. Pros use all sorts of methods to get the job done. But if anyone has some nice air brush work to show off... I would sure like to see it. Else I doubt anyone is going to go out and start practicing with an air brush for easily stenciled lettering.

Let the NOVICE in you rule the day on that one... for sure. I just thought that response above was a bit heady for my liking. Don't start deciding for the Pros how they apply art work. Back a notch or two there BP(Big Pro)
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Old 04-07-2017, 06:17 PM   #12
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Re: tailgate letters? painting them

Quote:
Originally Posted by randy500 View Post
Those are ways a novice would do it.

Here is the best way and it turns out great.

Recessed letters
Paint the gate the color it needs to be.
Use a touch up spray gun to paint the letters. Practice on a something until you can get the gun to spray a narrow pattern.
Adjust the gun for very minimal paint flow at the end of the trigger stroke, the first part will be air. You adjust it that way so the air is always on and you can feel when the paint is opened up, the air also helps dry the paint at the edges so you apply minimal paint.
You will be painting airbrush style back and forth in small areas until covered.
Paint the letters airbrush style.
Let it dry and wet sand the excess off using 1000 grit or so then buff or clearcoat the gate.
No tape lines and a smooth transition from letter color to body color.

Raised letters
Paint the letters with at least 4 coats.
Paint the gate with less coats and spray as light as you can on the letters.
When dry wet sand the paint off the letters revealing the color underneath.
Buff or clearcoat.

You might ask why cant I airbrush the raised letters...its too difficult to sand the beveled edges and get all the excess paint off and hard to buff those areas too.
For about two years I've been looking for a real good solution and having been in the automotive refinish business for many years, I didn't think of wet sanding the overspray! Well done Randy500! Bravo!!

Would a DA with a firm pad held flat would give a consistent edge? What tool are you using to wet sand? A flat board? DA? Hand block?
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Old 04-07-2017, 06:22 PM   #13
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Re: tailgate letters? painting them

Thanks for the nice comment Foot Stomper...

I use a dual foam hand block, grey on one side which is softer and black on the other...been out of the business for 13 years or so. but that was the best tool, always use good used sandpaper for the job, not too new so its more pliable but still good even grit to it.

I have a hutching waterbug, never tried it for that but now that I think about it that's what I will use when I paint my tailgate in the coming months.

Last edited by randy500; 04-07-2017 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 04-07-2017, 06:25 PM   #14
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Re: tailgate letters? painting them

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffahart View Post
pinstripers use tape and stencils. Lot's of taping in paint work where I live. Pros use all sorts of methods to get the job done. But if anyone has some nice air brush work to show off... I would sure like to see it. Else I doubt anyone is going to go out and start practicing with an air brush for easily stenciled lettering.

Let the NOVICE in you rule the day on that one... for sure. I just thought that response above was a bit heady for my liking. Don't start deciding for the Pros how they apply art work. Back a notch or two there BP(Big Pro)
Painting tailgate letters in not artwork.
Try getting the tape out for work like that in a production or resto shop and you will be getting your paycheck from someone else and using their tape too!
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Old 04-07-2017, 06:30 PM   #15
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Re: tailgate letters? painting them

And BTW, you can normally sand the overspray on recessed letters within an hour or so of painting them, it might ball a bit but should still feather. Gives you time to apply the clear same day if that is what you plan on doing.
The real key is spray gun set up, full throttle decent amount of paint coming out to fill the letters, barely open to fill the edges of the recess which creates very thin overspray which comes off real easy.
When I say full throttle, you would have a very hard time creating a run in the paint, so its not much of full throttle.
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Old 04-07-2017, 06:36 PM   #16
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Re: tailgate letters? painting them

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Originally Posted by randy500 View Post
Thanks for the nice comment Foot Stomper...

I use a dual foam hand block, grey on one side which is softer and black on the other...been out of the business for 13 years or so. but that was the best tool, always use good used sandpaper for the job, not too new so its more pliable but still good even grit to it.

I have a hutching waterbug, never tried it for that but now that I think about it that's what I will use when I paint my tailgate in the coming months.
The Hutchins Water Bug would be brilliant!! (Except I'm not going to buy one just for that..haha) Thanks for the used paper advice too!!
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Old 04-08-2017, 02:51 PM   #17
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Re: tailgate letters? painting them

So randy, how much overspray are you talking? Would it help to "rough" mask so there is less overspray to wet sand or is that even needed?
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Old 04-08-2017, 03:41 PM   #18
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Re: tailgate letters? painting them

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Originally Posted by B. W. View Post
So randy, how much overspray are you talking? Would it help to "rough" mask so there is less overspray to wet sand or is that even needed?
Overspray about 3/8 of an inch or so around the letters very light at the outer edge and progressively more toward the letters. It sands off pretty easy, I would guess an hour or so of hand sanding.

Use a gun like this. http://www.devilbiss.com/products/sp...guns/air-spray

Kind of spendy at $300 without a cup, very ergonomic for painting the letters. The key to it is gun set up.
I suppose the newer gravity feed touch up guns would work too, the trigger on the devilbiss is like pointing your finger...easy to control.
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Old 04-08-2017, 03:45 PM   #19
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Re: tailgate letters? painting them

I think the rough masking would create a paint edge that is harder to remove without damaging the underlying paint. As your trying to get that hard paint edge sanded off, your sanding off the underlying paint and I think you will break through. No masking and careful with the application and it sands right off.
I don't think the letters can be painted with an ordinary gun though, they apply too much paint. That devilbis can be set down to put it on like an airbrush, then turn the paint dial up a bit to fill the letters.
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Old 04-08-2017, 03:48 PM   #20
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Re: tailgate letters? painting them

I bet when its spraying how I like it, its putting down a pattern about the size of the end of a pencil eraser or a bit less.
I practice on something to get it down like that, then turn up the paint and air a bit for a little larger pattern. Fill the letters, then turn it down and do the edges. Its actually kind of fun compared to spraying panels.
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Old 04-08-2017, 05:09 PM   #21
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Re: tailgate letters? painting them

Sounds good, I have a DeVilbiss SRI touch up gun, I think I'll give it a try (when I get to that point! You know... 10 or 15 years from now!)
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Old 04-26-2017, 09:09 PM   #22
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Re: tailgate letters? painting them

Quote:
Originally Posted by randy500 View Post
Thanks for the nice comment Foot Stomper...

I use a dual foam hand block, grey on one side which is softer and black on the other...been out of the business for 13 years or so. but that was the best tool, always use good used sandpaper for the job, not too new so its more pliable but still good even grit to it.

I have a hutching waterbug, never tried it for that but now that I think about it that's what I will use when I paint my tailgate in the coming months.
I tried doing this with a waterbug on my tailgate letters, but the center of the "O" and the "R" were higher than the sheetmetal surrounding the letters, and 1500 grit took it down to primer almost instantly. You have to be real careful doing it this way.
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Old 04-30-2017, 11:07 AM   #23
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Re: tailgate letters? painting them

I painted my tailgate the truck color... then used an intercoat clear to seal the base down and give me a good surface to apply tape to. Once dried, I scuffed the intercoat clear and taped off the whole Chevrolet logo. I used a one sided razor blade to perfect the edges around the letters. I then sprayed the Chevrolet logo and once dry I pulled the tape. Gotta use a good quality case or you'll have to spray a bunch of coats and you'll build too much of a tape edge as a result.
Mine was more complicated since I went on to use dry pearl over the whole tailgate but your next step would be to pull the tape and clear everything...thereby sealing the edges of the letters.
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