Tech Article Title Author Date
DIY Painted Grille Panel RichAA 2007

When I ordered my B7 back in '05, I couldn't stand the front. I photoshopped a pic to see what a body-color front trim panel would look like. I finally decided to try it and here's how it went. I had traded my non-license-plate front panel to an AW member a while ago for a spare license-plate version. So that's the one I was working with, and I can switch back if I want to. Total cost of paint and shipping was about $40 if I recall.

By the way, the color looks off in these photos, and it is just the slightest bit. But I think it's exaggerated by the bright sun today, because it's really close.

The results for those of you that are easily bored: :-)

2000 wet/dry sandpaper, primer, Quartz Gray, clear lacquer:

The panel with a coat of primer (loving the drop cloth?):

After a few base coats:

After about 5 base coats of color, and maybe 8 coats of clear:

I scuffed the entire panel with 180-grit sandpaper, then cleaned it with a degreaser. I put on a good coat of primer, and then another after it dried. Then a light wet-sand with 2000, and a few base coats of color, with very light wet-sanding in between. The color coat has to go on generously so it's all wet at the same time. Light mist coats didn't work well. Then same thing with clear lacquer - generous coats so it was wet, then 15 minutes in the sun, then another coat, and so on until 7 or 8 of them are on. I went through the can of clear I got from and part of another I had. When it's cured for a while, I'll put polish and wax on it. The quality of the finish is pretty good - surprising for spray cans, but then again it's not a large area and it's surrounded by Clear Bra material anyway.

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