Tag Archives: Primer

Restoring Marx 6-inch frames

Marx 6-inch cars in beat-up condition are cheap and easy to find, but you can dramatically improve their appearance by repainting their frames. If the body is scratched up it still won’t be a showroom car, but you can halve the number of scratches on it and it will look nicer. Here’s how you go about restoring Marx 6-inch frames.

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Spray painting tips to paint like a pro

I’ve gathered a lot of spray painting tips over the years but I’ve never seen more than 10 collected in one place. Spray paint is a tool, and using it is a skill you can learn. With a bit of practice, you can get enviable results and make the object you’re painting look better than new.

Whether you’re painting something for your house or for your hobby, here are more than 20 spray painting tips to help you paint with the best of them–in the order you’re likely to need to use them in your projects.

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Vinyl tiles won’t stick? What to do.

As I write, I’m installing self-stick vinyl tiles in an old basement as part of a project to modernize a ’70s man cave. It’s possible to run into a few problems when installing vinyl, so I thought I’d run through them, along with the solutions. When vinyl tiles won’t stick, there are ways to prevent and fix the problem.

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Tinting primer to make painting easier

It took a few years but I discovered a non-obvious way to make painting easier.

I’ve painted more than a few rooms in my day, and the majority of them have been difficult to cover shades like red and yellow, or really bright colors. Sometimes when I’m really lucky, they’re the shade of the color that was popular in the 1970s. Those colors haven’t aged well.

Correcting other peoples’ violations of public nuisance laws requires a few steps. The first step is primer. But buy the right one, and don’t use white primer.

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How long it takes to paint a room with a Graco 360DS paint sprayer

It takes about an hour to paint a room with a Graco 360DS paint sprayer. Here’s why I know that. I had to paint a house this month for the first time in about five years. I don’t particularly enjoy painting and I’m not particularly good at it.

An old high school friend helped me out with the exterior, and after seeing his paint sprayer, I had to get one myself. Mine’s less expensive and less fancy than his: I bought a handheld Graco 360DS. While it has some limitations, I’m very glad I bought it.

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How to make fake plastic train buildings look more realistic

Miniature plastic buildings for train layouts are readily available, but like any plastic model, they look much more realistic if you go to the effort to paint them. You can get what you need at the nearest hardware store.

Fortunately the materials are inexpensive and easy to find.

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Lessons from my son’s first Pinewood Derby

One of my coworkers, a guy with an infectious laugh named Jamaal, organized a get-together on Friday. My boss asked me if I was going.

“Sorry, it’s my son’s first Pinewood Derby,” I said. I had to explain to my boss what that was–I don’t think he was ever a Cub Scout or Boy Scout–but he was intrigued.

For whatever reason, when I was a kid my dad didn’t take the opportunity to teach me as much as he could have when we built Pinewood Derby cars, but I told my boss the only good physics lesson I ever got in my life was when Dad explained to me how a Lionel train worked. Here’s something cool you can do with math and science, and I never had a teacher show me anything cool you can do with those two things. Continue reading Lessons from my son’s first Pinewood Derby

Gesso: Brushable, non-toxic primer

The best time to paint figures is when it’s over 50 degrees, because the first step is spraying them with a coat of primer, which requires a temperature of above 50 degrees. The problem is that when it’s that warm, that’s when you’re busy keeping up the yard and other stuff. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could prime your figures with something safe to use indoors?

It turns out you can. I’ve searched years for a brushable, non-toxic primer (preferably acrylic and water-based). Such a thing exists; I was just calling it the wrong thing. What you need is called gesso. You can order it online from Amazon or Wal-Mart, or you can buy it in craft stores like Michael’s, Jo-Ann, and Hobby Lobby and use a coupon. If all they have is white, mix some black acrylic paint in with it (which you can get there as well) to darken it. Or mix in any other color you wish.

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How to paint outlet covers

If you need to know how to paint outlet covers, there are right and wrong ways to do it.

Many years ago, I was helping to renovate a soup kitchen in Belle Glade, Florida. One of the things I did was paint it. I’ve never been a great painter, but I took pains to stay away from the outlet covers so the room would look neat.

“David!” the leader, a guy named John, barked. I looked up.

“Paint that cover plate.”

He was in charge, so I did what I was told. I slapped a thick coat of latex paint onto that cover plate to blend it into the wall. I’m sure John thought it looked spectacular. But I guarantee you, by the end of the summer, it looked terrible.

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Speed-painting figures for train layouts in five easy steps

Painting figures for train layouts is a task that few toy train hobbyists relish, but we can borrow techniques from other hobbies to solve that problem. The model railroading and toy train hobbies have solved a lot of problems for hobbyists in other fields, and I don’t think we borrow from those other hobbies as much as we could.

One problem the miniature wargaming hobby has solved is painting large quantities of figures rapidly while getting acceptable results.

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