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Question: best way to mask interiors for painting?


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A lot of interiors call for only one color but '50s cars and customs are often 2 or 3 colors. I have tried tape, foil (big mistake) and just brush painting but I want a better job and spraying offers the best finish. Masking a complicated color scheme has me pulling my limited hair out. I'm not happy with anything I have done so far.  I welcome all comments; please tell me what works for you.

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There's really no silver bullet, and short of using photo reduced decals, there are no short cuts for painting a multi-color interior.
You just have to take your time, use good masking tape, (Tamiya) and do the masking under magnification so that you can see what you're doing in detail.
I spray the overall color first, (lighter color first works best) but then if the remaining colors cover small areas, you can use a brush.
Use flat paint and be sure that it's sufficiently thin to lay down flat to eliminate brush marks.
Don't over load the brush with paint, at least for the first coats to keep from getting any bleed under.
Use 2 or 3 light coats of color before removing the mask, and remove it before the last coat is thoroughly dry to prevent pulling up any paint and for a nice, clean line.
 
As far as masking goes, use Tamiya tape for the bulk of it and cut a fresh edge on it with a steel ruler before applying.
You can cut thin pieces of tape the same way if needed.
I do use foil occasionally for masking, but usually only for curved areas where tape would be difficult to cut to get a sharp line.
 
Work in small sections to avoid getting burned out on masking.
I might do one door panel, or a half of a seat cushion at a time.
 
If you understand that you might have to spend real some time on an interior with masking and painting, you can achieve some pretty spectacular results, even with the old one piece annual interior tubs.
 
 
 
 
1961 Buick Invicta
 
image.jpeg.7dc9c1846d6251ea255f8da557c3645e.jpeg
 
 
 
 
 
1959 Edsel Corsair
 
image.jpeg.e436c2a64875879fd4babe257f041172.jpeg
 
 
 
 
 
1959 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer
 
image.jpeg.3d0ff32fb1b96d66d9b2f07593d4fdd7.jpeg
 
 
 
 
 
 
1959 Ford Galaxie
 
image.jpeg.11672e77af727c912c74ffbb68c476ab.jpeg
 
 
 
 
 
 
1959 Plymouth Fury
 
image.jpeg.e5361d74cb94152908d1beb2f049f742.jpeg
 
 
 
 
 
 
1962 Ford Sunliner
 
image.jpeg.857c898fb222abf0ba65a2cf04060277.jpeg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1959 Pontiac Bonneville
 
image.jpeg.1380ba2ab8db98b1c225cbeb442cbb4a.jpeg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Steve
Edited by StevenGuthmiller
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5 hours ago, StevenGuthmiller said:
There's really no silver bullet, and short of using photo reduced decals, there are no short cuts for painting a multi-color interior.
You just have to take your time, use good masking tape, (Tamiya) and do the masking under magnification so that you can see what you're doing in detail.
I spray the overall color first, (lighter color first works best) but then if the remaining colors cover small areas, you can use a brush.
Use flat paint and be sure that it's sufficiently thin to lay down flat to eliminate brush marks.
Don't over load the brush with paint, at least for the first coats to keep from getting any bleed under.
Use 2 or 3 light coats of color before removing the mask, and remove it before the last coat is thoroughly dry to prevent pulling up any paint and for a nice, clean line.
 
As far as masking goes, use Tamiya tape for the bulk of it and cut a fresh edge on it with a steel ruler before applying.
You can cut thin pieces of tape the same way if needed.
I do use foil occasionally for masking, but usually only for curved areas where tape would be difficult to cut to get a sharp line.
 
Work in small sections to avoid getting burned out on masking.
I might do one door panel, or a half of a seat cushion at a time.
 
If you understand that you might have to spend real some time on an interior with masking and painting, you can achieve some pretty spectacular results, even with the old one piece annual interior tubs.
 
 
 
 
1961 Buick Invicta
 
image.jpeg.7dc9c1846d6251ea255f8da557c3645e.jpeg
 
 
 
 
 
1959 Edsel Corsair
 
image.jpeg.e436c2a64875879fd4babe257f041172.jpeg
 
 
 
 
 
1959 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer
 
image.jpeg.3d0ff32fb1b96d66d9b2f07593d4fdd7.jpeg
 
 
 
 
 
 
1959 Ford Galaxie
 
image.jpeg.11672e77af727c912c74ffbb68c476ab.jpeg
 
 
 
 
 
 
1959 Plymouth Fury
 
image.jpeg.e5361d74cb94152908d1beb2f049f742.jpeg
 
 
 
 
 
 
1962 Ford Sunliner
 
image.jpeg.857c898fb222abf0ba65a2cf04060277.jpeg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1959 Pontiac Bonneville
 
image.jpeg.1380ba2ab8db98b1c225cbeb442cbb4a.jpeg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Steve

Steve, you are the master of  colorful interiors Buddy!!

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On 12/9/2021 at 2:51 PM, StevenGuthmiller said:

if you understand that you might have to spend real some time on an interior with masking and painting, you can achieve some pretty spectacular results, even with the old one piece annual interior tubs.

then there are the guys who spray the entire interior flat black and are done with it!   😅

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/13/2021 at 12:01 PM, TarheelRick said:

Interior masking is one of the primary reasons my '62 Catalina is still in the box.  I really need to get it back out, if I can ever get my basement heaters wired.

I did a 62 Pontiac a while back. Good tape and a lot of patience.IMG_0355.jpg.f3bcd1ca04800149f129f6ce06c615c8.jpg

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On 12/9/2021 at 2:51 PM, StevenGuthmiller said:
There's really no silver bullet, and short of using photo reduced decals, there are no short cuts for painting a multi-color interior.
You just have to take your time, use good masking tape, (Tamiya) and do the masking under magnification so that you can see what you're doing in detail.
I spray the overall color first, (lighter color first works best) but then if the remaining colors cover small areas, you can use a brush.
Use flat paint and be sure that it's sufficiently thin to lay down flat to eliminate brush marks.
Don't over load the brush with paint, at least for the first coats to keep from getting any bleed under.
Use 2 or 3 light coats of color before removing the mask, and remove it before the last coat is thoroughly dry to prevent pulling up any paint and for a nice, clean line.
 
As far as masking goes, use Tamiya tape for the bulk of it and cut a fresh edge on it with a steel ruler before applying.
You can cut thin pieces of tape the same way if needed.
I do use foil occasionally for masking, but usually only for curved areas where tape would be difficult to cut to get a sharp line.
 
Work in small sections to avoid getting burned out on masking.
I might do one door panel, or a half of a seat cushion at a time.
 
If you understand that you might have to spend real some time on an interior with masking and painting, you can achieve some pretty spectacular results, even with the old one piece annual interior tubs.
 
 
 
 
1961 Buick Invicta
 
image.jpeg.7dc9c1846d6251ea255f8da557c3645e.jpeg
 
 
 
 
 
1959 Edsel Corsair
 
image.jpeg.e436c2a64875879fd4babe257f041172.jpeg
 
 
 
 
 
1959 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer
 
image.jpeg.3d0ff32fb1b96d66d9b2f07593d4fdd7.jpeg
 
 
 
 
 
 
1959 Ford Galaxie
 
image.jpeg.11672e77af727c912c74ffbb68c476ab.jpeg
 
 
 
 
 
 
1959 Plymouth Fury
 
image.jpeg.e5361d74cb94152908d1beb2f049f742.jpeg
 
 
 
 
 
 
1962 Ford Sunliner
 
image.jpeg.857c898fb222abf0ba65a2cf04060277.jpeg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1959 Pontiac Bonneville
 
image.jpeg.1380ba2ab8db98b1c225cbeb442cbb4a.jpeg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Steve

Is the checked pattern in the Edsel interior painted, or did you use some kind of marker for those?

Same question with the Plymouth. I'm planning on doing a '59, and was thinking Scale Motorsports blue plaid decals would be a decent start, if nothing else, it would give me a good grid to work with, and I can dot it in with a blue technical pen.

Charlie Larkin

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21 hours ago, charlie8575 said:

Is the checked pattern in the Edsel interior painted, or did you use some kind of marker for those?

Same question with the Plymouth. I'm planning on doing a '59, and was thinking Scale Motorsports blue plaid decals would be a decent start, if nothing else, it would give me a good grid to work with, and I can dot it in with a blue technical pen.

Charlie Larkin

They are both paint. 
The Edsel was just masked vertically and horizontally for each color.

The Plymouth is just vertical stripes, bu due to the engraved seat pattern, it appears as a checkered pattern.

Scale Motorsports makes fantastic seat upholstery decals!

I’ve used them on several occasions.

If you can find decals that are close to the pattern that you want to achieve, by all means, use them!

A heck of a lot easier than painting them.

 

 

 

Steve

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To make it easier with the tub interiors I have cut the side walls off to detail these

I did this with a 56 Dodge custom Royal Lance resin kit I did a little while ago

IMG_4049.thumb.JPG.3646c4e030accb19dc1ab82a4583d472.JPG

And Tamiya tape is the go to for this. Foil can pick up paint when you remove the foil - not a great moment when that happens

IMG_4330.thumb.JPG.6f5fb836aaae920175dfd3bf80f0d51a.JPG

Steve G is the master and and seeing his interiors gives me hope

 

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On 12/9/2021 at 1:18 PM, customline said:

A lot of interiors call for only one color but '50s cars and customs are often 2 or 3 colors. I have tried tape, foil (big mistake) and just brush painting but I want a better job and spraying offers the best finish. Masking a complicated color scheme has me pulling my limited hair out. I'm not happy with anything I have done so far.  I welcome all comments; please tell me what works for you.

I painted the seat centers free-hand in these mustang seats I put in my custom 56 Crown Vic...

 

Crown Vic interior.jpeg

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Free hand works if you have a steady hand and significant lines to guide you. If I were to go all out I would use Parafilm bordered with fine line tape. Parafilm allows you to push the edges around a bit unlike tape. It also has zero bleed under if applied properly. The pick below was free hand.

Interior LR.jpg

Interior RF.jpg

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"Best way" is subjective, this is what I'm comfortable with.  This WIP sat for years in the box, because I was daunted by the multiple colors on the seats.  If I recall correctly, there were 7 colors for the interior.  I prefer regular masking tape, you can draw with a pencil on it.  It cuts easily with a new #11 blade.  When I work it down into the crevasse of the cushions, use a toothpick.  Sometimes I use Scotch tape, if there are round shapes to go around.
IMG_2672_Fotor.thumb.jpg.2d15eb391270ba717269aa1425bc7856.jpg
IMG_2686_Fotor.thumb.jpg.e23b94fadb81a85f25d39e16c93f2a70.jpg

I so don't like brush painting!  But I have to for touchup.
IMG_2675_Fotor.thumb.jpg.708ef1d65cfedbbcfa25f8e5371c8991.jpg

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I'm glad I started this thread. The comments and photos are both helpful and inspirational.  There is really great work being displayed here. I have thought that my hand painting is pretty fair but a sprayed finish looks much better if the masking is done well. I will take every bit of advice seriously and try the different methods expressed by all of you. Many thanks! If you wish, this is a good thread to further display interior work, I am enjoying it.

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