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Anyone know what the best method for painting plastic is? I'm thinking about blackening the chrome bezels around my rear lights.

they are lightly coated with some sort of chrome paint that rubs away over time.

I assume I'll need to lightly sand down the part, then prime it and then paint, polish, and finally clear the pieces.

Any particular things I need to know? I'm planning to use a spray can. I've seen very good results with them for small jobs.
 

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On plastic, I would use an adhesion promoter. I color matched plastic mirrors once and the only product that would get the spray to adhere was Klean-Strip BullDog adhesion promoter. The paint came out great without it, but flaked off within a few days. Never had an issue when I used it.

They claim:

◦Designed to promote paint adhesion to automotive surfaces, including all flexible or rigid plastics, fiberglass, glass, chrome, vinyl, and painted surfaces.
◦Acts as a mid-coat adhesion promoter, a flex agent, and it can be tinted with basecoat for additional coverage.
 

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been there..done that.


I used krylon plastic primer (an adhesion promoter). My bezels were about 40% faded from chrome to white, so I helped them along by sanding with 200, then 600 grit paper to remove all of the chrome.



I have done a lot, and I mean a lot, of painting before, so followed my typical prep and clean techniques. 2 coats of plastic primer (it's clear) and let cure for about 1 hour per Krylon's recommendation.

Now here is where I ran into issues, and they were my own. My black stripes aren't quite completely matte black, more of a 20% satin/80% matte black finish. I don't really like the super glossy rounded off look that the 2012 S model black bezels have..sooo with this in mind, despite my previous (poor) experience with krylon fusion satin paints, I went with Fusion Satin Black to match my stripes. Now I will say all other Krylon fusion (matte, gloss) I have always had great luck with. Satin always seems to clump or not spray evenly for me.

Should've gone with my best instincts...I did 5 even coats, starting with light and progressing to medium coats with proper set time in between. Temp was about 70 degrees humidity about 50%, a little more than ideal but still fine. It seemed to "bead" up and clump, same as I have always seen. In retrospect I should've gone with the flat black to better match my stripes. I will resand now that I am out here in Tampa and hit them with a few coats of matte black to solve it.

I am super anal-so from 3 feet away no one would ever notice the imperfect paint, but up close you can see it sort of has the orange peel. I will 100% blame this on the satin paint as I have used it several times in the past with the same result-it can't quite make up its mind between gloss and flat it seems.

Anyways this is my super long answer to your simple question, but the good news is wiht proper prep and spraying, it is super durable. A few washes, 3500 miles of driving across country and they still look the same. I didn't use a top coat.

Taking the lights out is simple-8mm DEEP (you have to have this) socket, flexible wrists (the top nut is tricky) and being careful to grab the taillight when it is loose as to not ding your paint and you are done. Liberally tape up the foam tape on the back (there is nothing actually adhering the bezels to the body, though the foam does stick a bit at first) to keep it from being painted...and then reattach and you are done.

 

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I cant quite tell from the pic, but did you do around the reverse lights also?
 

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I did not no as the chrome is molded into the entire housing/lens.
 

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I wonder what those would look like on the exige, but the cutout is not large enough. I suppose one could wrap the outter edge of the taillight in gloss black and leave small cutouts for the side lighting LEDs. Probaby would darken the inside of the lamp itself, which would look better, I would think.
 
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