Wrinkle finish, texture finish, wrinkle coat, hammer finish, crinkle finish, whatever you want to call it, it’s a fickle creature. Desired by many, but frustrating to get it right. Personally I’ve had very poor results with this stuff over the years, often finding myself disappointed when my newly painted part doesn’t even come close to emulating the OEM finish I desire. Well, Last weekend I finally got it right after channeling a few tips I’ve read online over the years (and in a previous issue of AutoSalon Magazine). The general consensus was pretty consistent; three heavy coats, each at a different angle from the last, with a bit of heat to aid the process. Funnily enough, that same advise was clearly printed on the back of the can, under “Instructions”, who would’ve thought? (Didn’t I feel stupid!)
Step-by-step process below, click on the images for larger 1000px versions…
Here’s what I started with: An old L-series rocker cover which had seen better days, some wax & grease remover, oven cleaner, and of course a can of VHT Wrinkle Plus.
Apparently it’s quite harmful stuff, and proper protection is recommended, so I sure as hell wasn’t going to take any chances. I’m surprised my neighbours didn’t call the feds when they saw me walking around my front yard like I was building a friken bomb and/or meth lab.
After rinsing off the cleaner I hit it with a high-pressure hose, dryed it off, then wiped it down with some wax & grease remover. When it comes to painting, the cleaner the better.
The secret weapon. Since I chose the worst possible weather to do painting (cold and raining), I used a heat gun every now and then to evenly heat up the paint. Be careful not to get too close or leave it on one area for too long, otherwise you might get certain areas wrinkling up more than others, this has happened to me in the past and resulted in me blasting the item with heat out of pure frustration (this approach does not work!).
Crazy huh! All these years I thought this paint produced more of a spotted/grainy texture, but it actually makes these cool squiggly lines, reminding me of a Keith Haring style painting.
Keep going until all the paint is off the lettering. At this point you can continue with finer grades of sandpaper and then polish it, but I liked the rougher look of the sanding marks. Some rocker covers have the lettering embossed/sunken into the metal, in that case you can use blu-tac to fill up those areas before painting and then remove it afterwards.
I’m very happy with the results, it’s nice and even all over with no blotches or smooth sections. I could have gone further with the sanding, such as the ridge below the lettering, but this was just a test to see if I could do it, and now that I know I can I’m confident enough to paint my FJ rocker cover.
I hope this little write-up helps in some way shape or form if you’re interested in this kind of finish. Please feel free to link to this article if anyone you know is having difficulty getting a good result.
I thought I’d post some more items that I’ve painted since writing this DIY guide…