I had recently painted the orange side markers on my 2000 Echo after reading about how difficult and time consuming it was to take the headlight apart to get the pesky, abnormally large, orange sidemarker out of it. I had seen some treads on the Echo forum where people painted the Orange insert itself black, then re-installed it in the headlight assembly. Looked awesome, but after I read about having to take the front bumper cover off to get the headlight out, then baking the headlight assembly in the oven @ 200 degrees for 15 minutes, etc, etc, blah, blah (that's pretty much as far as I got when reading that process), I decided to try painting the outside of the cover instead. I was skeptical about the finished quality, but I have to say that it turned out AMAZING
. Looks like it came like that from the factory.
I'm not sure if I'm just really OCD about how it looked, or if others have realized how rediculous that giant side marker looks, but posted below is the process that I pretty much made up as I went along with no experience with painting at all, especially automotive painting. Hope it's informative and helpful to some of you. Check it out:
In the first picture are all of the products/items I used to get this done. The only thing that isn't pictured is the paper I used when taping off the surrounding parts of the car.
First off, I taped the area that I wanted to paint with blue painter's tape and sanded the light cover with 400 grit wet/dry automotive sand paper that I got at Walmart I think so I didn't accidentally sand anything besides the section of the light cover I wanted to paint. This is what it looked like after I sanded and removed the tape:
Next I cleaned the sanded area with Windex really good, then wiped it with alcohol pads to remove any residue or plastic dust from the painting. After it was clean, I used electrical tape (red tape in this case) to make sure that I could make the curves of the edges of the plastic lens that I wanted painted. The painters tape doesn't flex at all, so there wasn't a way to get a uniform curve with it. After I had the curve outlined exactly how I wanted it, then I could use the blue tape to attach the surrounding parts of the car off with newsprint paper (you could use actual newpaper too). Here's what it looked like after taping the second time in preperation for paint:
After it was taped off, I used "Satin Black Krylon Fusion for Plastic" spraypaint I bought at Walmart. I put about 5-6 coats over the course of an hour and a half. It was over-kill, and probably only needed maybe 3 good coats, but the first one has to go on REALLY LIGHT
because the first coat will run really easily. Be careful with the first pass. After the first coat, wait about 15 minutes and LIGHTLY
spray it again really light, then after another 15 minutes you can go A BIT heavier with your spray because it doesn't have a tendancy to run as easily. Gotta have a lot of patience with the actual painting because this paint is really REALLY thin if you've never used it for anything before. Here it is after about 5 or 6 really thin coats (it's still wet in this picture, so it's not that shiny when it dries):
And that pretty much does it. I let it dry for about 4 hours before removing the paper and tape. After the tape and paper was off, I let the car sit in the garage until the next day, so about 18-20 hours before moving it or messing with it.
After it was pretty much dry, I backed it out of the garage into the light so I could see the results. my girlfriend and I were SHOCKED
at the difference the reflectors being painted black made to the overall appearance of the car. It came out so much better than I expected. Here are the pcitures of the car in the driveway after it was all done:
Hope you all like it. If anyone wants to try something similar, but is afraid to because they don't have any experience, take it from me; it's hella easy as long as take your time and read teh instructions on the paint, then follow them exactly. Good luck!