When it comes to customizing vehicles it's easy to get caught up in the idea that it's a "mans game", well I'm here to tell you that you're wrong! Women are getting in on this custom car thing at an exponential rate and some of them are REALLY good at it!
I consider myself a fairly hardcore "car guy", I have 7 cars/trucks and not a single one of them is stock, nor will they ever be. I do as much of my own work on them as I can (time and talent permitted) and I take pride in the things I do. Now imagine if you will that you're one of the women in my life. You see me eating, sleeping, dreaming, talking, and living cars and car culture every single day. Guess what? You're gonna want in on the action! You don't want to be hanging with the cool kids if you don't have something cool of your own.
For the past several months my girlfriend has been tossing around the idea of customizing her 2007 GMC sierra pickup. She's a REALLY big fan of my lifted 05' F350 and the looks it gets when we cruise through town. (Click the pic for info on my truck)
We've talked it over a few times and tossed several ideas back and forth but the reality of customizing is that talking doesn't get you anywhere, you have to pick a starting point and get to work or you'll never get it done. Although she has plans for big custom wheels, mud tires, a custom exhaust, etc. she decided to start small and build up from there.
What better place to start than with that BUTT UGLY red GMC billboard they decided to weigh down the front of her truck with? A quick tech tip for those of you being sent to the driveway to customize your wife's suburban emblem after she read this blog post: REMOVE THE STUPID PLASTIC AIR DAM ON THE TOP OF THE GRILLE BEFORE YOU TRY TO GET THIS LITTLE BASTARD OFF! The Engineers at General Motors used a process called "This is a stupid ass way to affix an emblem, lets run with it!" during assembly so be forewarned.
After teaching the neighborhood several of my favorite swearwords the emblem was off and ready for a wipe down and some tape. You can spend all the time you like masking your emblem but I was in a hurry so I just laid it out quickly, and ran a razor knife around the edges.
We didn't want to paint over the chrome so I only unmasked the red portion of the emblem.
When it came time to choose a color and a paint type my girlfriend was already ahead of me, she had already jumped online and ordered Purple Plasti-Dip as well as some silver Metalizer top coat. The idea was to create a slightly sparkly purple finish that could be later removed if she didn't like it or just wanted to change it without damaging the factory emblem.
So I took my rattle can in one hand and got after it. For those of you who have never sprayed this stuff it comes out in a splatter pattern (look at the edges of the paper) so unless you lay it heavy you won't get a smooth finish. Another thing to note is that it looks deep and beautiful while its wet but when it dries it goes quite flat so keep that in mind. Finally, the more you put on the darker it gets (to an extent) and adding metalizer or one of their various other top coats totally changes the look so I advise you to do your homework if you're wanting to do a special effect or cool custom color.
Once she was happy with the color and we had the proper number of SPARKLES it was time to unveil this thing and see if we'd made it better or worse!
This is one of my favorite parts of doing projects like this, it's so cool to see things like this being unveiled, look at the way that purple accents the chrome!
Because I was in a hurry on this project I had to unmask it while the paint was still tacky so it was EXTREMELY important that I thought ahead and moved carefully, the last thing I wanted to do was stick a piece of tape in my fresh paint and have to start all over!
There's nothing glamorous about pulling off tape but if you do a good job it'll show so I advise you to take your time and do it right (or as right as you can with the amount of time you have).
The total cost was less than $30 and from start to finish this project took about 4 hours, that includes removing the emblem and dry times between coats. This is absolutely a project you can do at home and if you're lucky you'll get the end result I was after: A happy girlfriend and a slightly less stock vehicle parked in my driveway!
Pretty clean start to a hobby that never stops!
Thank you for reading this weeks blog post.
Clint J. Grover