How low-rider graphics are painted on cars

  • Low rider body art often displays intricate designs and candy paint.
  • Artist meticulously paint the design one section at a time until the entire car is complete
  • Pablo, the owner of  Kandy n’ Chrome, describes his process.
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Following is a transcript of the video.

Pablo Prado: How’s it going, everybody? I am Pablo Prado from Kandy n Chrome custom paintwork. Let me show you guys real quick how I lay out these graphics on this 1962 convertible.

Step 1

Pablo: The base is gonna be the foundation of the paint job. I like to use the silver base with real heavy metal flake. The silver base is always gonna give you the most vibrant color. The silver flakes is basically gonna make the candy dance. You’re gonna see all the glitter, all the flake dancing in the sunshine. Once the flakes are sprayed out, the next step would be adding clear [coat]. You wanna make sure all that metal flake is buried underneath to encapsulate that flake. I’ll come back the next day, and I’ll sand that down flat to pretty much eliminate any of the texture left behind.

Step 2

Pablo: I basically start off by laying out that centerline. Basing off that centerline, I’ll start my design on one half of the car, and using reference points, such as taillights or certain body lines, once I lay my first line out, then I build off of that to kind of develop the rest of the pattern design. When you lay a design out, let’s say you lay a square out, I mean, you can lay that out in five minutes and be done with it. And for me, I like to add a little more detail to that main shape. I’ll go ahead and lay out different-size tapes within that certain simple design to kind of, just to give it that more detail to the design. Once I have my initial design on one side of the car, I’ll go ahead and lay a white masking paper on top of that area, and I’ll trace it out with a pen. Once it’s traced out, I’ll go ahead and flip the template, or the stencil, over to the opposite side, and I’ll go ahead and cut it out and outline it with my tape to outline my stencils.

Step 3

Once my tape design is all masked out, I go ahead and start with the paint effect, which is the waterdrop effect. First off, what I like to do is lay a clear base coat, and that’s gonna make my water bead up on the surface. So, as you can see here, I’m spraying at a low angle. So that way the waterdrop captures just the overspray part of the paint. You go ahead and let that sit overnight. Once you eliminate all the water from the surface, you’re able to put a clear coat on top of that. That’s gonna basically lock in the shape of the water. So, up next, we’re gonna be doing a flake fade-out. I go ahead and mask out certain sections on top of the waterdrops, and I’ll go ahead and just fade out flake in those areas.

So, the next paint effect that I’m gonna be doing is gonna be called the candy-streaking effect. And I just basically create somewhat of a streaking effect just by smearing it using a microfiber towel. So, what I like to do around the edges of the paint effects, I like to darken up the edges of it with the candy. What that’s gonna do is just basically give it a little bit of a shadow effect.

Step 4

So, once the paint effect is done, kind of check out which areas are gonna take the solid color, which areas are gonna have candy fades. I kind of plan out which area I’m gonna spray next. So once I figure out what colors I’m gonna do in those areas, I go ahead and unmask those areas and begin to lay out the color that I decided on, which in this case is the candy apple red. And then I’ll add the next color, or the next form of laying the paint out, whether it be filling it all in or fading it, just adding paint along the edge of that area. So, in that area right there, I’m just fading out a little bit of the candy paint out onto these 3/4-inch strips to kind of make it look like some spears are coming out from underneath the pattern design. Once I fade out the color, I go ahead and go back over it with a little bit more candy along that edge right there to kind of give it that little depth.

This stage right here, we’re unmasking the next level over, and we’re gonna be basically doing the same thing as far as with the candy paint. We’re gonna be fading out some candy paint along these edges. I’m basically using the masking tape just to kind of give me another layer of depth in the pattern design.

In this section right here, I’m just gonna be doing a, basically, traditional tape-fade effect, and we’re gonna be fading in a real light candy color along this edge right here. And we spray out the color in the first section. We’ll go ahead and remove the next layer of 3/4-inch tape and add another pass of candy paint, lightly fading, just right along the edge of it. The main purpose of this is to fill in this empty section right there.

So, once we got all of the color laid out, it’s time to do my favorite part, which is the unmasking part of it. It’s basically like a sneak peek into what the final product is gonna look like. So, this is basically the same process that gets repeated on the rest of the car and on the different sections of the car, the hood, the trunk, the sides. If you guys wanna learn more on custom painting, just go ahead and check out my website, Kandynchrome.com.