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Painting a faux carbon fiber pattern

Faux carbon fiber
Faux carbon fiber
Bonnie Peterson

Carbon fiber is used for its look more than its stength a lot of times. Here is a faux carbon fiber paint technique thats not as good as the real thing but is less time and effort than rolling out carbon fiber and smoothing out resin for days and less expensive and wasteful than buying a new part. For this tutorial you should be familiar with spraying with an HVLP spray gun because you will need it, an air compressor to shoot with, drawer liner, black paint, gunmetal gray or other dark metallic, intercoat clear and clear coat with all the mixing materials. Plus somebody to help you and make sure you both wear gloves and your respirators. Go through the slides to learn this faux carbon fiber technique!

Laying the basecoat
Laying the basecoat Bonnie Peterson

Laying the basecoat

After the part is sanded and cleaned, spray the basecoat. This one is a custom mix of gunmetal gray and orange but usually straight gunmetal gray is the norm. It comes out better when a black base is laid down first.

Creating the effect
Creating the effect Bonnie Peterson

Creating the effect

Drawer liner which you can pick up at places like any big retail store that sells stuff for home and organizing supplies. The hard part about this step is to get the liner to be flat against all parts of the part. A little bit of folding is not bad since carbon fiber is cloth too but try to get it against the part. You will probably need a friend to keep it from blowing when air from the paint gun hits it.

Spraying the design
Spraying the design Bonnie Peterson

Spraying the design

Now spray reduced black basecoat through the drawer liner. If the part being painted is bigger than the drawer liner then you and your friend need to pick the drawer liner straight up to not smear the paint, let it dry to the touch, then carefully move it to the unsprayed part while lining up the holes. A lot of overlap is nice so the painter can spray only the middle to prevent a line where the liner ends.

Removing the liner
Removing the liner Bonnie Peterson

Removing the liner

Some spots might be light on the paint and you will have to go over them again, just keep that spot in the middle and part sure the holes line up and the liner is flat against the part.

One more step
One more step Bonnie Peterson

One more step

Here is where some painters would go over the part again with the drawer liner but with silver paint and the drawer liner offset slightly with the black. That would only work on flat parts like a hood, not this steering wheel cover. To make the part look more cohesive and instead of like a stencil, mix a little bit of the black in some intercoat clear and spray it like candy over the part. You can make it as dark as you desire in this step but remember if you want to go lighter you have to start again.

Finished
Finished Bonnie Peterson

Finished

Clear coat is applied over the part and you will probably have to sand out some of the faux carbon fiber texture so give yourself enough clear to color sand.