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Thread: Multi-color paint masks

  1. #1
    bigdog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Spring, TX

    Multi-color paint masks

    The chosen paint scheme for my restoration uses gold outlines for all the trim. The broader stripes are easy enough to hand mask but I plan to use masks for the N-numbers and smaller details. I will produce the masks myself with a vinyl cutter which I've done before for single colors. Is there an accepted method of masking for multi-color items like the N-numbers? My initial thought is to produce separate masks for each color with registration marks for alignment. That would need pretty tight registration. Is that realistic or is there a better way? I'll need to do national insignia for another project so it's a broader question of how best to deal with multi-color paint masks.
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    Greg Young
    1950 Navion N5221K
    RV-6 N6GY - first flight 5/16/2021
    1940 Rearwin Cloudster in work
    4 L-2 projects on deck

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Justin, Texas
    Greg: For Stars and Bars, we typically lay down a white field and then hand lay out the outer edge of the blue, and tape it. The interior of the insignia is then completely masked off if we are going to shoot the base color. Otherwise, the interior of the blue is masked and shot on. This way, on a full up cover job, there is only three layers of paint at the most. As to stripes and the like, we'll run a string line as a reference and then tape a oil board cutout of the stripe onto the surface. Once it's aligned correctly, we then tape the outside lines for the major color. The only time we use stencils are for things that are all small text. N numbers get laid out like the insignia, but all by hand and tape. We've tried vinyl masks a few times, but they have always seemed to have edge bleeding that took a lot of time to fix. N numbers and stencils are the last thing painted on the project, with the base color masked off and protected.

    Found this 9 minute video that shows the same basic process, but it's on a motorcycle tank.

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