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View Full Version : How to Paint Wood (mdf) to a High Gloss Mirror Finish With a Spray Can



nissanrider06
10-09-2010, 02:13 PM
http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n164/DigitalShaolin/Finished.jpg

Well I have been planning out my enclosure for my 15" DC XL and wanted something amazing that is really going to turn heads, I looked into suede, plexiglass, carpet, fiberglass... and decided on a combination of them, but Theonly part I didnt know how to accomplish was achieving that show car paint job, a high shine high-gloss mirror paint job that looks like a professional job. Now I will post pics later of my practice runs but I just though I would post pics for the 2 tutorials I found that work very well for paint anything that can be primed to a mirror finish. It took me a while to find these So I thought I would share them! Now these are all done with a spray can. Here is an over view of the process:

1. Sand surface smooth with no deep scratches (use filer if needed)
2. Prime 2-3 coats sanding with 320 grit between
3. Spray Color coat, use light coats many layers sand at the last coat with 400 grit and spray one more layer and sand with 600 grit or 1000 grit (look at tutorial most paints need to cure for at least 2-3 days)
4. Now spray clear coats several thin layers and sand after 5-10 coats with 600 1000 and 2000.
5. Then Buff with rubbing compound, then swirl compound (maybe one or another) and later after a couple week cure you can use car polish or a jewelers rouge...

important notes:
-Use quality paint and sandpaper it makes a huge difference
-Spray many thin layers 8-12" away
-follow directions on materials

Now you can have a great glossy finish with no expensive equipment. Hope this helps some people. I dont post much but I know I was looking for something like this so Im sure a few others are as well.


I am not in anyway taking credit for these tutorials just putting it in a place where its easier for the car audio industry to find! I read through probably 20 tutorials to find these 2 good ones.

Links to tutorials:
part 1-
linear1 case mods case mod 101: how to paint your computer case (part 1) (http://case-mods.linear1.org/case-mod-101-how-to-paint-your-computer-case-part-1/1/)
part 2-
linear1 case mods case mod 101: how to paint your computer case (part 2) (http://case-mods.linear1.org/case-mod-101-how-to-paint-your-computer-case-part-2/)

tutorial #2

How to paint MDF to a mirror finish worklog (http://shoryuken.com/f177/how-paint-mdf-mirror-finish-worklog-191692/)

CHEMMINS
10-09-2010, 02:15 PM
Good one...this could be stickied...lol.

Louisiana_CRX
10-09-2010, 02:24 PM
thats pretty sweet

Deeper_shades
10-09-2010, 02:54 PM
Nice effect, may have to try this out

nissanrider06
10-09-2010, 11:49 PM
I went and bought the paint and am going to go through all of this and make my own guide combining both of these, and a video, once I write that up maybe we can get it stickied... my goal is to get affordable paint and materials everyone has access to and come up with an easy process anyone can do and fast! and get good consistent results. i am gonna first try a real quick run-through of this and a complete version and get it as perfect as possible, to see how big of a difference it makes to spend a week on a paint job vs. a day

nissanrider06
10-10-2010, 02:36 PM
How To Paint Your Fiberglass Car Audio Projects Using Spray Paint (http://ezinearticles.com/?How-To-Paint-Your-Fiberglass-Car-Audio-Projects-Using-Spray-Paint&id=1173777)

More on sanding to get specific:

So as far as grits in your sand paper goes, you will need about 6-7 different grits. I use 80 or 120 grits disc pads on my mechanical sander whenever I am rough shaping the bondo. Once I get my bondo knocked down to the shape I want, I start sanding by hand with a 200 grit pad. Then I take the rest of my grits 300,600,800, and 1000 in the sanding process. Some people wonder just how many times and what grit to use. I have an actual fail proof formula you can go by. Write it down, print it out, whatever, and put it up in our shop. Follow these steps and your finish will be perfect. The numbers just represent the grit to use.

The steps are

bondo, 80, bondo, 80, bondo, 120, sand 200, 300, primer, 200, 300, primer, 300, glazing putty, 300, 600, metallic coat, 600, 800, 1000, paint, 1000, paint, 1000, paint, clear, 1000, clear, 1000, clear.

This will be the same for pneumatic spray jobs. The paints are usually a lot better than spray paint, but again, if you are using a good quality spray paint, and you do these steps above, I guarantee you no one can tell the difference. I honestly cannot tell one way or the other if it is done like I show above.

Just remember to use light coats, do not cake it on. The paint will run and you will have to sand a lot of paint off to get the uniform surface back. Also, when you spray, as I show in the video, start spraying in open air, move the stream onto the box, all the way over, off the side into open air, then let go of the nozzle. Do not press the nozzle down and start spraying on the box. Start and stop in open air. This helps to keep the paint surface uniform on all points the spray hits.

groundpound4200
10-10-2010, 03:13 PM
nice work... I may use this on my build. Thats gonna be a lot of elbow grease gettin mirror finish on a 9 cube box

Wingman0121
10-10-2010, 05:29 PM
I've been trying to figure out how to do that for a long time and now I know. Thanks man.

nissanrider06
11-02-2010, 09:38 PM
Thanks for the sticky!

Remember all sanding is done wet! wet sand!

Desmond Audio
12-03-2010, 06:33 PM
definitly use a good air compressor use air tools! gets the job done quick and by the way for you first timers doin something like this keep your sander movin or you create divits then will look like crap.

Zeepian
12-15-2010, 02:43 PM
****, i wish i woulda seen this 24 hours ago...i just painted this box flat black last night.

Bettr n' Revrse
01-03-2011, 01:13 AM
Has anyone done this with good results such as in the pic? if so how dificult was it to get it to that point and does it scratch easy?

Louisiana_CRX
01-03-2011, 01:15 AM
Has anyone done this with good results such as in the pic? if so how dificult was it to get it to that point and does it scratch easy?

just follow the instructions

Bettr n' Revrse
01-03-2011, 01:17 AM
Just didnt know how well it held up and if it actualy came out looking like that?

Louisiana_CRX
01-03-2011, 01:24 AM
with the clear coat it will protect it....

KMS
01-03-2011, 01:34 AM
Too much work for something I'll never look at. Interesting though. I'll stick to texture :)

Gilgamesh
01-03-2011, 12:37 PM
Well it will Definately save on money and looks **** good to....Good Post!!

CHEMMINS
01-03-2011, 12:44 PM
Thanks for the sticky!

Remember all sanding is done wet! wet sand!


You wet sand your 80 grit bondo?

Go2Sleep
01-19-2011, 02:09 AM
That's really nice.. just don't energy to do all the work for this =/

SicAudio
01-22-2011, 12:57 PM
a small compressor and a cheap $10 harbor freight siphon feed gun will yield the same results

you can use oil based Rust-o-leum that is sold in quarts at walmart..

use high gloss clear Laquer to top coat it.. no buffing required and laquer is way harder than spray can clear enamel..

Team TH (Donny)
03-03-2011, 04:03 AM
Nice, I will have to try this out! Thanks..

akheathen
03-03-2011, 06:18 AM
a little tip for when you are spraying. start and stop off the work, and overlap 1/2 the previous pass with the next one, and it will come out uniform. the goal is to move fast enough to just make it uniformly wet, and it will lay flatter. flatter= less elbow grease. btw, glazing putty goes under primer, or it can show.

bfb1963
04-05-2011, 12:47 AM
use high gloss clear Laquer to top coat it.. no buffing required and laquer is way harder than spray can clear enamel..

But laquer chips more easily.

outsideshot23
04-05-2011, 01:03 AM
I just did this.. wish i had read this first.. i did about the same thing.. the sanding gets old when your sanding the face of a big *** wall

outsideshot23
04-05-2011, 01:05 AM
But laquer chips more easily.

btw you bumpe3d an old thread for your second post? wtf

Slayerx
04-05-2011, 01:05 AM
I just did this.. wish i had read this first.. i did about the same thing.. the sanding gets old when your sanding the face of a big *** wall

lol sure does. I've been putting off sanding my car to primer it for a long time lol
You have pics?

woody2193
05-25-2011, 05:16 PM
the worklog link doesnt work anymore :(

DMT Allstar
08-08-2011, 10:41 PM
this is awesome info! im currently building a new system in my silverado which will consist of a fiberglass enclosure with 6 tens underneath the back seat and im def gonna try this method on the box and on my doors and kick panels! thanx so much for the info!

akheathen
08-18-2011, 12:04 AM
Hello im elan cohen, i love geoffs ****

CHEMMINS
08-18-2011, 12:06 AM
Hello im Heath, i love geoffs ****

Say what?..........

akheathen
08-18-2011, 01:24 AM
elan got on my comp...... aparently him and geoff are tryin to drag me into something, but....no i didn't know he even had a rooster

twistedchild420
08-25-2011, 05:18 PM
Bump!

Linkz
08-25-2011, 05:38 PM
When I build my studio monitors, I am going to use this method, and post pics.
It will be a bit though....

Thanks a lot for the info.

akheathen
08-26-2011, 04:01 AM
Bump!

lolz.... bumpin a stickie:awesome:

SHiZNiLTi
09-20-2011, 07:35 PM
I'm starting the paint job, so far I've rounded all the edges of the box and sanded it
using 80 grit and slopped some wood filer on all the cut edges. After the wood filler
dries I'll smooth it down with 230 grit and begin the primer stage by brushing it on.

* Miniwax Sanding Sealer Primer(brush on)
* 4 cans of Gloss Black Lacquer for wood
* 1 can automotive clear
* Elmers wood filler


http://img116.imageshack.us/img116/4369/suppliesoo1.jpg

Wood Filler on Cut Sides...
http://img116.imageshack.us/img116/9733/woodfillerpr1.jpg

http://img116.imageshack.us/img116/5927/roundedvj6.jpg

http://img292.imageshack.us/img292/9188/boxzs8.jpg

1st Coat of Primer...
http://img116.imageshack.us/img116/2130/primercoat1qk1.jpg

3rd Coat of Primer...
http://img116.imageshack.us/img116/9561/3rdcoatir1.jpg

http://img116.imageshack.us/img116/3803/3rdcoat2fr6.jpg

3rd Coat of Black Lacquer...
http://img221.imageshack.us/img221/2092/coat4an0.jpg

http://img221.imageshack.us/img221/4153/coat4oc4.jpg

SHiZNiLTi
09-20-2011, 07:36 PM
Wet Sanding Supplies...
http://img167.imageshack.us/img167/2622/sandingstuffdg2.jpg

http://img167.imageshack.us/img167/2931/paperzo1.jpg

http://img167.imageshack.us/img167/7996/compoundtg1.jpg

End Result...
http://img166.imageshack.us/img166/5594/trunkfarlf3.jpg

http://img205.imageshack.us/img205/2489/wetsandgoodtq7.jpg

http://img257.imageshack.us/img257/2513/rsinroomkh9.jpg

http://img257.imageshack.us/img257/3823/closebtlonglossez0.jpg

The_Grimy_One
09-20-2011, 07:43 PM
Looking good bro! How deep are you in it supply wise?
Oh ****, I just notices you are in Scottsdale. I was thinking of doing my box like this, but I may just carpet it, LOL.

SHiZNiLTi
09-20-2011, 07:57 PM
Cool, ya I live in Mesa now though.

I probably have around ~$30, Got most of it from home depot.

Wet-sanding is where it's at when your all done. That Lacquer paint shines up awesome!

sacsking916
09-20-2011, 07:58 PM
looks real good. might attempt to do it with my next box. where does the rubbing compound and the clear come into play? i would rather ask since yours just came out pretty nice. also do you have anymore pics after the 3rd coat of black?

The_Grimy_One
09-20-2011, 08:06 PM
looks real good. might attempt to do it with my next box. where does the rubbing compound and the clear come into play? i would rather ask since yours just came out pretty nice. also do you have anymore pics after the 3rd coat of black?

What he said ^^^

And cool bro, I may just end up trying this. Looks real dope! I actually painted my wheels, but didnt come across this thread til afterwards :(
I think I may repaint them or get them powder coated early next year.

SHiZNiLTi
09-20-2011, 08:07 PM
Actually never ended up using that clear coat, was no need for it.

The rubbing compound is like using 1500 grit sand paper. I used the rubbing compound after I was done wet sanding. I then finished with some Meguiars Gold Class Polishing Wax last.

The rubbing compound comes in handy in the future if you pick up some scratches on the box and want to quickly take them out. Just remember to finish with a polish.

No more pics after 3rd coat, but you can see the wavy lines in the paint, you need to wet-sand the entire box to get those out. There was massive orange peel also before wet-sanding.

The_Grimy_One
09-20-2011, 08:10 PM
Actually never ended up using that clear coat, was no need for it.

The rubbing compound is like using 1500 grit sand paper. I used the rubbing compound after I was done wet sanding. I then finished with some Meguiars Gold Class Polishing Wax last.

The rubbing compound comes in handy in the future if you pick up some scratches on the box and want to quickly take them out. Just remember to finish with a polish.

No more pics after 3rd coat, but you can see the wavy lines in the paint, you need to wet-sand the entire box to get those out. There was massive orange peel also before wet-sanding.

Yea, rubbing compound works miracles... So you applied no clear at all? Any idea what other colors they had in the lacquer or did they have a ton?

sacsking916
09-20-2011, 08:11 PM
Actually never ended up using that clear coat, was no need for it.

The rubbing compound is like using 1500 grit sand paper. I used the rubbing compound after I was done wet sanding. I then finished with some Meguiars Gold Class Polishing Wax last.

The rubbing compound comes in handy in the future if you pick up some scratches on the box and want to quickly take them out. Just remember to finish with a polish.

No more pics after 3rd coat, but you can see the wavy lines in the paint, you need to wet-sand the entire box to get those out. There was massive orange peel also before wet-sanding.

how long or how much are you sanding with the wet sand? i see what you mean now with it. think i'm going to attempt this one on my next box build here in the next few weeks.

SHiZNiLTi
09-20-2011, 08:13 PM
3-4hrs of wet-sanding, hella sore arm lol.

brodeisel
10-13-2011, 02:16 AM
i wanna do this so badly and paint the box white or electric blue

Bettr n' Revrse
10-13-2011, 02:18 AM
I wanna do it to but I have a feeling Id eff it up

brodeisel
10-13-2011, 02:50 AM
whats the worse that can happen? you can always carpet it.

Bettr n' Revrse
10-13-2011, 02:51 AM
I cant even build my own boxes in the first place...

Acer9876
10-17-2011, 01:28 AM
Does the color of paint effect the end result?

8Bangin
10-17-2011, 02:28 AM
Cool, ya I live in Mesa now though.

I probably have around ~$30, Got most of it from home depot.

Wet-sanding is where it's at when your all done. That Lacquer paint shines up awesome!

You did this with the Blazer too ya? Btw it's the kid from Chevron. I got a sloppy *** box that I might have to do this to if you're up for helping me out.

nissanrider06
10-31-2011, 10:53 AM
Wow its been awhile sonce I posted this, if anyone has pics of there attempts post them up, I will post mine when I get home from work!

Z3n
11-13-2011, 02:23 PM
I'm in the middle of attempting this right now. I just (5 minutes ago) finished wet sanding the second coat of primer with 400 grit. Once it's dry enough Imma put the first layer of gloss black on. I'll post pics later and once I'm finished.

Hoping for a sweet look. :P

Andale
12-18-2011, 01:16 AM
seriously, wow. never seen anyone do that on a speaker box but i got the paints lying around for it, gonna have to wait for spring tho i guess.

brodeisel
02-27-2012, 12:03 AM
I wish third link still worked....

akheathen
08-15-2012, 03:03 AM
Wow its been awhile sonce I posted this, if anyone has pics of there attempts post them up, I will post mine when I get home from work!

holy krap. where you work 10mo hitches?

btw, color does effect. for solid colors, black shows the most imperfection of any, and if you do metalics, make sure to have a nice smooth/even primer coat to spray on, or it will mottle and show all the coarse scratches and pits, etc. a couple primer coats and 400 should suffice for most.

Bettr n' Revrse
08-15-2012, 03:10 AM
Im gunna try this now that Im a little more confident in my skills...

marcotheclepto
10-29-2012, 10:37 PM
someone wanna posta video or explain how you wet sand mdf without having it damaged by the water?