Masking – A Brief Discussion

Masking can be one of the most tricky parts of the painting process – especially in this scale.  There are a number of recommendations for the mask itself.  Traditional “white” masking is still around although it tends to be overly sticky and, with many customizers, it has damaged the under-paint.  More hobbyists are opting for the “blue” paint masking as there preferred product.  The dominant manufacturer is 3M.  They have designed it to seal in the edges while affixing it with a special “less tacky” glue.  It was originally designed to be used for general house painting but works very well with the hobby painter.  It is easy to cut and, with care, flames and other designs can be used a number of times without destruction.  

Some additional customizers have recommended standard self-adhesive household wall boarder.  It is easy to cut, thick enough to maintain integrity and with its self-adhesive backing can be used over and over.  And when you manage to cut that perfect flame lick, the ability to reuse is an awesome thought.

Another school recommends using Wax or Parchment cooking paper.  Cutting your design and then adhering it to your prepped body with rubber cement, sealing all the edges.  The rubber cement allows a sturdy hold and you are able to “peel” away any over-glue after it dries.  It will also not damage the template or the body (in most cases) and allows for reuse of the design later.  

Still others recommend using standard decal/label paper for your templates.  The designs can be cut out and adhered directly to the car.  These generally can not be reused however it is fairly easy to locate this type product and can be purchases relatively cheap.  Additionally on the down side, some of these papers use a very tacky and somewhat damaging glue for adhesives. Sometimes it does not release, leaving residue and template remnants on your finished piece. 

One further recommendation is the use of Bare-Metal Foil posted on this site.  Not only does it work for “chroming” trim but it is a great masking product as well as it burnishes itself directly to the area and seals the edges – it is also fairly easy to work with and allows for very precise cuts that you may not be able to achieve with some of the other medias.  On the down side it is fairly expensive for this type use – but then again it is only money!!!!

You may want to try a number of these to see what you like.  A lot of customizers will use different methods for different projects. 

HINT:  After applying your template (via any method) and before spraying your final paint scheme, seal the edges of the template by spraying a light coat of clear or a light coat of the base color you are using.  This will help to fill any small areas left potentially unsealed on the edges of the design and prevent “bleeding” of the paint.  A light coat is all that is needed to help maintain sharp and crisp lines. 

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