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Creating Colors for Coverage - 1Shot

By now we all realize that sign enamels have changed and paint with lead is gone forever and therefore the coverage is not what it used to be. Let me start off by saying all is not lost and that we can save our work or preserve it by making changes in our daily materials list as well as taking some extra time by shaking and mixing the paints to more of a desirable workable condition. I've always been against thinning the paint but not against adding to its properties, a flow enhancer for example which contains resins which are essential to leveling as well as adding more gloss and making your brush flow is much better than thinning the paints and losing its properties, thinning also adds to premature fading. Of course there are certain colors which no matter what you do can have an adverse effect down the road, unfortunately Reds falls into this catagory as well as a few other colors which we can change and I'll attempt to show you how.

Adding Coverage

I basically add tinting black ( sometimes called Shading Black ) to 101 White in order to make my Grays which seems to cover alot better than the gray offered by the manufacturer. When I'm striping for dealerships, no one tells me what colors to put on any vehicle, I just do what I see fit. If I'm using blues, greens or whatever I normally know which has coverage problems so I add the light Gray that I've mixed to just about any color and go from there. It takes a keen eye to add an extra boost to whatever you're using as it can make or break your color selection. of course the colors will change but not so your customer will notice if done correctly.

For Reds, I normally start with Kool Crimson Red which is a new color from 1-Shot which I've found to be of great value and add a bit of Fire Red which has always had good coverage. Once I get my desired color I add maybe a craft stick dipped into the Gray that I have mixed using Tinting Black and 101 White.

I never use the Ivory, Tan, Coral, Gray, Aqua, Robin Egg, Peacock, Violet, Salmon Pink, Lt.Magenta or the 162 Purple. These colors are very easy to mix up and take way to much space in my kit. besides 1-Shot has Proper Purple which is more Purple than the 162.

I mix my own Imitation Gold also using Chrome Yellow, Med Brown, Orange and 101 White and figure it out from there but yet at the end always add my trusty Gray and maybe a bit of Tinting Black for darkening. Remember this, when trying to mix a Tan or Imitation Gold color, if you add too much Black, it will turn Green and than you'll have problems. I noticed that years back when matching colors for BMW interiors which weren't up to standards when doing body shops.

Its a no brainer coming up with Violet or Lavender starting with Proper Purple as you just add 101 White and a craft stick of Gray for the Lavender and the same for the Violet except the Violet may need a touch of Reflex Blue. BTW Reflex Blue makes a great Bright Blue if you add some 152 Lt Blue which will become very similar to the old chromatic 152 which was different from the 1-Shot 152, I used to call it electric blue because it was so bright. I hope you understood that last paragraph.

Prepping the Surface

Prepping the surface is the most important thing you can do before laying on the paint to any project. There are alot of different prep solvents on the market and most of them are for automotive use and in this case rather than tell you about what others use, I'll tell you what I use and why.

I use Rapid-Prep by Rapid-Tac. This is a water based or borne prep solvent which removes all contaminents, grease, oil, wax and whatever else is used on the vehicle during any normal operation of car-care. Rapid Prep is a great product and reasonably priced, Its not harmful in most any way, does'nt smell bad and its easy to use. What I do is this!

I buy Rapid Prep in a 5 gallon container and transfer it to a quart size hand spray container for personal use.

I buy myself a cotton bath towel, then cut it in half with a pair of sizzors. I use this particular towel for prepping and not for anything else, ever. This one and towels like it are dedicated to my prepping. This towel will be used for removing the Rapid Prep for a clean wax free surface. The towel can be folded many times before its next washing for re-use. I treat it like one of my personal belongings and throw it in the wash.

I spray the Rapid Prep on the surface using a forward motion right up the vehicle where I'll be striping, I do both sides and wherever else is needed. Rapid Prep is to be left on for 30 seconds or longer. I come back and use the towel in a forward rubbing motion to remove the Rapid Prep as it leaves an oil, dirt and wax free surface. Your fingers should practically squeak when pushing them down the surface.

You can get free samples of Rapid Prep and any other of their products by going to thier website at and don't forget to mention my name.

New paints VS Old paints

I just had to add this for some strange reason.

Persons are always asking me what I think of the new paints which have come out from new companies as everyone seems to be looking for the savior in all the wrong places. I've always used either HoK urethanes or sign enamels made by Chromatic and 1-Shot and for good reasons, they work for me. I know that there are dozens of people who have used base coats for years believing that these paints are the bomb, but as I see it these paints aren't really made for pinstriping and therefore cannot have the opacities of paints that are formulated for brush work such as the ones mentioned above.

All I can say is, if it works for you why change?


Another thing that bothers me are color charts, you know the ones made on hard paper or cardboard which haven't a place in your work station for any reason other then to take up space because real color charts with color chips are usually placed there. I posted a question recently on a bulletin board April 07 which went similar to this :

Q - When is a custom paint company paint chart not a paint chart at all?

A - When its printed on cardboard and is not a painted chip

How could one imagine what the color is going to look like sprayed or brushed on a vehicle when the color itself is printed on cardboard and not in harmony of the actual color and sheen?

The distinctive sheen of a flat, pearl or metallic color cannot be indicated on a computer screen as the web color display process has no mechanism for indicating this process and the same goes for printing the colors on a color chart and this is why real custom paint companies use actual color chips. I'm sure you all know real custom paint companies like PPG, 1-Shot, ( HoK aka Valspar ) etc.

There really are differences between pantone colors which printers use and paint chips which professional paint companies use and although its not that hard to mix up either to match a color, it's hard to imagine what the color is going to look like without a chip in front of you to base your thoughts on properly and this my friend is a friggin joke. One of which I want no part of no matter who says what about how good this paint is while on someone elses payroll.

This is similar to what was discussed early on on this website of mine. These persons are called company reps and although their names and faces may be familier to some of us, the game plan is the same.


Color wheels bother me! I don't understand what they are really supposed to do. What I mean is, if the color Purple highlights the color Yellow than in what percentage is this so? Most vehicles or signage that I've seen in these two colors look like crap and yet Purple and Orange looks like they were made for each other. Do color wheels actually determine the percentage of each color to give someone the proper perspective? If the color wheel helps you than thats just great for you but what if the person who invented the color wheel was just some moron who hadn't time to finish what he or she started and that my friends is exactly what I think happened unless of course I hadn't read the instructions fully as I believed that class would take forever to understand. I think in our situation that most color selections are mind over matter as most colors that will be used are over a third color or base color however you look at it.

I can't say I've never had color selection problems but will say that I've never failed to make some painters poor selection of colors come to life. In other words, I've never failed at making something look good after it looked bad to begin with. I believe that this talent is what some dream of and others just take for granted.