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Shadowline via Tape

Discussion in 'Detailing' started by az3579, Jul 3, 2008.

    • Member

    az3579

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    Sorry, didn't know where else to put this. :eek:



    Anyway, about half a year ago, I decided to shadowline my trim. I did it the "proper" way; painting. Problem is, it wasn't really painting, but more like spraying, because seeing as my car was bought in the Ghetto part of this city, it has to have ghetto solutions (okay I admit, I couldn't afford a proper paint job :p).

    So, I taped off the entire sides of the car to prep to paint. Spray away I did and the result was pretty good.


    Fast forward half a year. There are multiple chips in the paint and some sections the chrome is just oooooooozing out from under the black spray paint.

    I read around and found that some people used tape to shadowline their trim pieces. That's fine and dandy, but I can't seem to wrap my head around a proper technique for it.

    I've got about half of my driver's side trim blacked out with tape (took over 3 hours to get this far!). It looks pretty silly; I had to cut the pieces of tape into small bits so I could properly stick them onto the trim and push out the bubbles as I set the tape in place. Needless to say, minor bubbles still formed and it looks quite stupid from up close. You can't see any imperfections whatsoever from a distance of over 5 feet, but it's still rather embarrassing to have these "sections" of tape bulging out from under another when viewed from up close.


    I don't know how better to describe it, so I will take pictures tomorrow, but my main question is this: Does anybody have a technique for properly applying blackout tape so it looks like one long piece instead of multiple pieces WITHOUT any bubbles forming underneath?
    • Member

    az3579

    Post Count: 3,270
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    Alright, pictures are up.

    http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa192/az3579/Misc/Shadowline tape/IMAGE_001.jpg

    http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa192/az3579/Misc/Shadowline tape/IMAGE_002.jpg

    http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa192/az3579/Misc/Shadowline tape/IMAGE_003.jpg



    Sorry, the pics aren't very good quality; I just got a new phone and I was just figuring out the features. Haven't figured out the focus feature yet. :eek:


    Anyway, it just rained, but I wiped off the tape to more clearly show where the bubbles are. These were not there yesterday when I applied the tape. Also, there's a huge crinkle in the tape where the trim curves around the door that also wasn't there yesterday.


    Any opinions? I really don't want to repaint the whole thing and do it again another half year later. :(
    • Member

    Bimmerdan

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    I've done this a couple times on various cars (and various parts of cars), with different levels of success. The most important thing is surface prep!! If there is any dirt, grease, oil, wax, etc., etc... the vinyl will eventually pull away, developing bubbles. If the paint you sprayed on a year and a half ago is starting to peel or wear off, it's possible the vinyl tape is pulling the paint up, again causing bubbles.

    I'm curious, why did you have to cut the vinyl into small pieces? Was it so you could make the bend?

    I bought long rolls of tape in various widths (depending on what I was covering) so that I could use one seamless strip, then I used a blow dryer to heat the tape up and make it really flexible so it would bend and conform to whatever shape I was trying to cover. It helps if you have three arms but you can do it with two if needed. Just peel a little of the backing off at a time, heat it up, apply it, peel a little more back, heat it, apply it, and so on...

    If the surface is totally clean and solid and you take your time and really work the tape into all the nooks and crannies, it should last for several years.

    One last thing...there are different grades of vinyl. Some are designed for interior use only (don't use those!) and others come with ratings from 2 years to 7+ years. Use the best you can get your hands on. I learned the hard way when a job I spent HOURS on (that turned out perfect) ended up fading terribly and went from red to pink in less than a year. I ended up having to peel it all off because pink just doesn't look as good in an M stripe as red does...
    • Member

    az3579

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    I have no clue what rating this tape has. I bought it on eBay and it was described as shadowlining tape for BMWs, yet on the inside of the roll it just says "Automotive tape" or something like that.

    I don't think heating the tape up would be much of an option for me unless I could actually find an extension cord around here and bring the blowdryer down to the yard.



    I cut the tape up into pieces because for me, it is extremely difficult to apply a long piece of tape without it sticking to surfaces it shouldn't and trying to get all of it into where it should be. I find a 2-3-inch piece to be a lot more manageable than one long piece, mostly because I don't have 4 hands to keep the tape straight while I apply it. I use the squeegee from my invisible shield kit for my iPod to squeeze out the bubbles. I apply it at the top of the trim first and press down the tape from top to bottom with the squeegee.



    Naturally, I didn't clean it all off because I got terribly impatient with my flaking spray paint. I sprayed the trim only a half year ago, not a year-and-a-half. I remember sanding off the entire trim and it was very tiring, so that memory probably caused me to skip roughing it up a bit thinking it wasn't necessary for the tape to stick.


    Now it looks terrible; crinkling in the corners and massive air bubbles where the edges of the tape pieces overlap is completely ruining the look and would quite frankly rather have the (now matte) chrome trim than a really cheap tape job, and I'd still rather saw off my right arm and beat myself to death with it than have anything chrome-looking on my car other than the bumper(s).



    So heating the tape up will help that much? How much do you heat it up? Will the "heated-up" state last while you stick the tape on or do you have to heat it up every few seconds?
    • Member

    Bimmerdan

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    Chances are it's fine then. If it specifically says it's for automotive use, it's probably got a pretty good rating to it so I wouldn't worry about that.

    That's exactly what I ended up doing, ran a heavy duty extension cord out to the driveway. Blowdriers draw a lot of juice though so it needs to be a heavy duty cord or it may get pretty hot.

    Yeah, it's a pain, kind of like trying to push a rope. Does the stuff you're using have the peel-off backing on it? Just peel a little bit at a time so the rest of it isn't sticky. I used my finger wrapped in a microfiber towel to press the tape down. It seemed to give me better control of getting any air bubbles out.

    The times mine turned out crappy were definitely when I didn't take enough time to prep the surface correctly. The problem is, once you get a bubble develop under it, it will almost always come back. Every now and then, I was able to get rid of them by taking a needle and poking a hole in it, pressing the air out and then keeping my fingers crossed. If it was clean underneath, it would stick. If it wasn't, it just bubbled up a few days later. You could try that with the bubbles but there's not much you can do with the crinkles except peel it up and try it again.

    It stays warm and pliable long enough to do about a 6" section at a time. I cut a piece a little longer than the trim I'm working on, peel off 6" to 8" of the backing and then stick the very end of the tape onto the trim. Heat up the 6" section for just a few seconds (don't melt it), put the blowdryer down and press on the tape. Peel off another 6" or so and repeat the process. I usually toss the extra length over my shoulder as I work my way to the end.

    Painting sounds better all the time, doesn't it!? I decided to black out a bunch of the trim on a previous 2002 and since there were some really small, odd shaped parts, I decided to paint instead of using the vinyl. Believe it or not, the best stuff I found (that was really durable) was the high-temp paint used for bar-b-q grills!! It was more of a matte/satin finish, not glossy, but it held up really well. Just some food for thought.
    • Member

    az3579

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    Well the advantage you've got is that you have the tape that has the backing on it. Mine is just a roll of tape, just like electrical tape with no backing, so the second you peel it off, it's stickable. That's what makes it so hard do one long piece in one go.



    Believe it or not, the stores around here don't carry automotive tape. Do you think you'd be able to send me a roll with the adhesive backing? Would it be enough? The roll I've got would probably be enough to do both sides of the window trim three times over, and that's probably because it's not adhesive backed. :p
    • Member

    Bimmerdan

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    Without the peel-off backing, it would be a ROYAL pain in the butt!! I see why you would cut it into smaller pieces.

    What width and what length would you need? I'll see what I have. If I don't have it, I've got a friend in the business that can get anything.
    • Member

    az3579

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    Have you not had an E30 at one point in your humongous collection of Bimmers I see in your driveway there? lol

    The tape I have is about 1.25" wide and has a lot of tape on it.



    Today I went shopping around and nobody has this kind of adhesive blackout tape. In fact, most of them didn't have blackout tape at all, only electrical tape.


    While going to a potential store via word of mouth, I found they were closed, but there was a body shop on the other side of the street. I heard body shops may have them, so I tried. They didn't, but the guy there told me that if I wanted to paint the trim again, I could sand it all off, buy some chrome primer, spray it on, apply the matte black trim paint, let it dry, and apply another two or so coats to make sure that it doesn't flake off like it currently is. When I did it, I used no primer and only did one coat. You think this would be a better idea?

    It's a pain to tape off the entire side of the car (on both sides) and wait hours for one coat to dry, so what I was thinking of doing is taping off the car and applying the primer and one coat of paint after work and letting it dry overnight. Drive the car to and from work and continue with the next coat over the weekend when the car isn't in use. On Saturday or Sunday, I would have plenty of time to wait for it to dry and apply the final coat.



    I'm just torn between painting and taping. The taping method would be great if it wasn't such a pain to do and the painting method would be great if I had the comfort of knowing I wouldn't have to do it again, ever. With taping, I could leave it half finished and still use the car while with painting, I need a LOT of time because I have to do it one go and can't use the car in the mean time. With the painting method, the only way I could do it while keeping the time thing to a minimum is to do a coat a day, but that would be an excessive amount of paper and masking tape wasted to reapply every day.



    Is this tape absolutely worth it? If so, then I'll try your tape and would really appreciate it if you could get me some. Later on we'll talk PayPal.
    • Member

    Bimmerdan

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    I came REALLY close to buying a beautiful little white E30 318is a couple years ago. Before I could actually seal the deal though, the guy selling the car loaned it to a family member for a couple weeks while their car was being fixed and they ended up blowing the motor (don't ask me how!?). I ended up passing on the deal but I'm always on the lookout!! :D

    In all honesty, the "right" way to do it would be to paint it, provided it's painted correctly. If I were you, I would check out the primer and see how long it says to wait before painting. I'll bet it's only a couple hours (if that). Also, the trim paint is probably the same. You can probably put consecutive coats on within a couple hours (as long as it's fairly warm and dry out). My guess is, if you sanded it and taped it up before you went to bed, got up the next morning and wiped it down with a paint prep solution. You could probably have the primer and two top coats done by dinner time.

    The downside of the vinyl tape is, once it starts to peel or bubble, it'll keep going. Also, if it gets scratched or gouged or nicked, you really can't touch it up like you can paint. My 318ti came from the factory with vinyl on the B pillar. It started to bubble after about a year so I peeled it off and replaced it. In about another year it started to look a little ratty because of fine scratches and finger prints that wouldn't come out and wax residue, etc... I ended up peeling it off a second time and just painting it. For that application, it was the best thing I could have done. It's been perfect for over 10 years now. I do get a little nick every now and then but I just touch it up with a black magic marker :) and nobody ever knows.

    PM your address to me and I'll send you the vinyl trim tape I use if you want to give it a shot. Like I said though, you may want to look into the painting method because you may well be able to get it done in a day.
    • Member

    az3579

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    It's not doing it that's the hard part, it's getting past the "uuuuhhhh I need to start this..."...


    But the more I think about it, I'd rather paint and have it stay black. I'm just hoping that 3 coats would be enough and that the primer I would use would be enough to hold it all there.


    You can never apply too many coats, right? I could do 5 if I wanted? lol
    I just want to make sure I don't have to do this again. I shouldn't have to do it in the first place; I don't know what possessed BMW to use chrome at all. I'm jealous of E36 owners who don't even have that kind of window trim...






    If you didn't mention the "once the vinyl starts to bubble" part of your post I would probably be giving you my address to send me some of that tape. It's also true about the inability to touch it up if something happens to it.


    Thanks for the encouragement. :cool:
    • Member

    Bimmerdan

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    Painting is the right way to go, just be sure you take your time doing the surface prep! Multiple thin coats will be better than a couple of really thick coats. If you got really ambitious, you could put on a couple coats of clearcoat for extra protection...or better yet...the adhesive clear shield (like your invisible shield from the ipod or the stuff they make the clear bras from).

    If you change your mind and you decide to try the vinyl tape, just let me know.

    Good luck and be sure to post some pictures when you're done with it!!
    • Member

    az3579

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    Where can I get this shield stuff? Is there something I can spray while I have the car covered and all? Is there a sprayable clearcoat? Need details. :)
    • Member

    Bimmerdan

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    Here's a link to the 3M Paint Protection Film. It's the same stuff they make the clear bra from (and it's on sale!!).

    http://www.3mestore.com/70071373891.html

    Also, here's a link to a place that sells all the spray paint/clear coat/supplies you could ever need! Be sure you check out their "Directions For Use" page. It gives an excellent description of how to prep the surface, apply the primer, color coat and clear coat!

    http://www.automotivetouchup.com/spray_paint.asp

    Chances are, you could probably find a spray-on clear coat at most auto parts stores though (Pep Boys, Advanced Auto Parts, etc...) because DupliColor makes one. I know the Pep Boys by my house has it.

    Like you said though, now it's a matter of "uuuuhhhh I need to start this..."... I have the same motivational issue with the headliner in the white M3. I have the material and the adhesive....I just need to start it...one of these days...

    Good luck!!!
    • Member

    az3579

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    Sounds great! That website is JUST what I was looking for!


    I'm not sure about what I have to buy though. This is what I was thinking of doing:
    * Sand down to a matte finish (all remaining black paint removed)
    * Applying some prep solvent (from the 2 oz. prep solvent on the site)
    * Spraying aerosol plastic parts adhesion promoter (I assume the trim is plastic?)
    * Spray a coat of the black trim paint **see below**
    * Dry, spray again, dry spray one final time (can I not spray that last coat?)
    * Apply 3M paint protection film on the window trim and some to the front of the car later



    That black trim paint; how glossy is semi-gloss? Ideally, I want a completely flat look. Is this semi-gloss paint the same appearance as the tape I have on there now? I could live with it like this, but not any glossier...
    • Member

    Bimmerdan

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    Which pieces of trim are you painting? I thought it was the actual upper door frame itself (the part that surrounds the window)? If so, that's metal, isn't it? It seems like that would actually be part of the door. I know on the 318ti and the E36 sedan, the frame is metal but not sure on your car? If it is plastic, then yes, use the plastic parts adhesion promoter. You may still want to use a couple coats of primer before the color coat though, I'm not 100% if the plastic promoter takes the place of the primer or if it's supposed to be used under the primer. You should probably shoot them an email to verify.

    It looks like the tape you had was semi-gloss. A ture 'flat' black comes out looking more gray than black (I made that mistake on my 2002 and had to re-do it with semi-gloss). It'll turn out looking a lot better than flat and it won't even be close to a gloss finish.
    • Member

    az3579

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    I have no clue what the trim is made of! The piece in the rear behind the rear window (the piece that detaches) is really light. It was the only piece I was successfully able to remove. It felt like plastic but it could metal for all I know. Can anyone clarify?


    Or could I just use a primer, regardless of what the material is? What kind of primer?

    I know nothing about painting, honestly, which shows because my paint if flaking off. lol


    I am painting the entire window trim that was originally chrome. The pain is that most if it isn't easily removeable. I don't want to break anything trying, so I'm going to have to tape it all off. I just don't know what the process would be; whether primer is necessary, or what kind of primer to use if it is, etc. I will play it safe and use the semi-gloss because I don't want it going gray on me like a certain part of the current "job" I did is doing. :eek:
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    I think the door, side, and rear quarter window trim pieces are aluminum. The chrome colored trim around the front and rear windshields is plastic over either plastic or possibly some metal. Given it's flexibility, I think it's plastic over plastic.
    • Member

    az3579

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    I dropped by my local auto store (Advance Auto) and picked up what I needed to get the job done. They recommended Primer Sealer and two cans of Trim paint.


    I finally got started and it took me almost 4 hours just to get ONE SIDE of the car covered and sanded. It's not very well sanded, to be honest, but it is my understanding that it doesn't have to be perfect. I think the point of sanding is just to have the surface roughed up a bit so the primer or paint can adhere to it, correct?


    I used 150-grit and 80-grit sandpaper towards the end to get the old paint off, but I got so tired, I entered "f*** it" stage and just went as fast as I can. I have uploaded some pictures of how it's going so far.


    http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa192/az3579/Misc/Shadowline tape/CIMG0525.jpg

    http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa192/az3579/Misc/Shadowline tape/CIMG0526.jpg

    http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa192/az3579/Misc/Shadowline tape/CIMG0527.jpg

    http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa192/az3579/Misc/Shadowline tape/CIMG0528.jpg

    http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa192/az3579/Misc/Shadowline tape/CIMG0529.jpg

    http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa192/az3579/Misc/Shadowline tape/CIMG0530.jpg

    http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa192/az3579/Misc/Shadowline tape/CIMG0531.jpg

    http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa192/az3579/Misc/Shadowline tape/CIMG0532.jpg

    http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa192/az3579/Misc/Shadowline tape/CIMG0533.jpg

    http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa192/az3579/Misc/Shadowline tape/CIMG0534.jpg

    http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/...a192/az3579/Misc/Shadowline tape/CIMG0536.jpg

    http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa192/az3579/Misc/Shadowline tape/CIMG0537.jpg

    http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa192/az3579/Misc/Shadowline tape/CIMG0538.jpg



    Is how I sanded enough? The 80-grit is pretty rough and in the first few pictures, there is no chrome left whatsoever. It's just a matte "brushed" looking aluminum and I used the 150-grit on this section. As I got to the bottom trim piece, I was using 80-grit because I was getting very annoyed with the whole thing.

    It was particularly hard getting in between the trim where it kind of curves in the middle of the piece. You can see where there is still some black left in the middle of the trim. It is very hard to get in here and still have your fingers intact at the end of it all. For that, I purchased the brushes you see in the last picture, but those will probably be ruined before I get all the paint out.


    So is what I did enough to get it primed tomorrow? (Is that Primer Sealer the correct stuff? That's what they told me to use after sanding)
    • Member
    • Technical Service Advisor

    mooseheadm5

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    The door and body trim is not chrome, it is polished (or anodized, maybe?) aluminum. All you need to do is get rid of the shine. If you go too rough with the sandpaper, you will have to use multiple coats of high-build primer and more sanding to get the scratches out or you will see them through the finish. If that trim paint is made for plastic, take it back and get satin black paint. otherwise, it should be just fine. Any primer should be fine if it is for metal, but that can looks like it is made to apply over primed surfaces, and you need to prime the trim first. Make sure you wipe everything down with acetone or similar before painting.

    As for the windshield trim front and rear, just buy new ones in black. Unfortunately, these are a pain to get back in after removal. They are plastic over metal. If you wanted to try painting them anyway, get paint made to go directly onto plastic, like Krylon Fusion. That stuff works great. Just clean and paint. The little moldings that cover the seams on the windshield lock strips (that is what they are calle, BTW) are aluminum and can be painted the way you do your other trim.

    Good luck and post finished pics.
    • Member

    az3579

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    Well it's unfortunate that you posted when you did; I already started this morning. I sanded a bit more on the trim so it's a lot more matte than before. I used 80-grit sandpaper, which is pretty rough. It's good to know I'm still at the stage of spraying this primer stuff. I'm really nervous now because first of all, I don't know if this Primer sealer thing that the people at the store recommended is really what I need. Also, I don't have all day to keep messaging back and forth asking what I need; this HAS to be done BY tomorrow because it's going to rain and I have no other place to do this. And on Monday, I have to go back to work and might even be starting a new job, depending on whether I get a call back by Monday, and if that's the case, I don't want to show up in a ghetto looking Bimmer. :p


    I need to know, is this what I need? In the mean time, I'll cover the other side of the car, which will take a year or so, so there'll be a few hours for someone to reply...

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