Like I was saying last time, my oldest has been begging me to paint his Jeep blue all summer. I was sure this would be a bear of a project. I wasn’t even sure it was possible, but about two hours and half a can of spray paint later… I was so intimidated by this job. I was sure it would be tedious to work around all the little details, and I didn’t know how we’d deal with all the decals that covered the toy. I was delighted when I realized the decals Fisher Price provides peel right off! It took us less than five minutes! That evening we gave the Jeep a nice sudsy wash before we headed inside for the evening. Today, was paint shopping day. Off to Home Depot we went. I asked an associate to show me what the best spray paint for plastic was. They recommended this:
They assured me primer would not be necessary. I’ll try to update this post over time as I see how the paint job really holds up. I was extremely pleased to see SEVERAL shades of light blue there for us to choose from. My son eventually landed on this one: The store only had this color in a satin finish, but I’m so glad we ended up with it instead of a gloss. The paint can told me to lightly sand glossy surfaces. I thought I had the finest grit sandpaper, but some of these scratches still ended up showing through a little in the final product. The satin finish makes it a lot less noticeable. Next we had to tape up the parts we didn’t want painted. I knew I didn’t want to paint any of the interior, so I sort of taped an arbitrary line along the Jeep’s frame where I felt the interior and exterior should be separated. I did not use tape on the roll bar and back seats at all, as it was just the right size to stretch my trash bag (lawn and leaf size) taut, leaving a clean paint line. I imagined the front of the vehicle would be a little more tedious, but the car’s design really allowed me to just drape trash bags over most of the non-paint areas. In case you try this at home, you will have to tape the bag around the windshield a bit more carefully than the back. Overall, this process probably took me less than 30 minutes with my 5 year old “helping”. Now we were ready to paint! I was very thankful to a friend in Home Depot who saw us shopping and explained strictly to my son that spray paint is toxic and dangerous to children. He peacefully supervised from a few feet away while I went to work. It took about two coats. Half of one $3.50 can of spray paint! Talk about a budget makeover! I distracted the kiddo with some screen time and as soon as the 20 minute mark had passed… I couldn’t believe how nice it turned out!!! There are, of course, a few imperfections, but this is a kid’s toy. I appreciated from the get-go that this project would be more about the bonding experience of us working on his car than about the end result. But seriously. The results were stinking GREAT!!! If this project HAD been more about the results, I would have waited at least an hour before letting him drive the thing, but it was just too exciting! I couldn’t show the kiddos without letting them take their “new” Jeep out for a spin! I’m very curious to see how the paint will hold up over time. But at least I still have plenty of paint left over if we need a touch up here or there. The kids were SO excited for the reveal. Something as simple as a new color! If this paint holds up well, it makes my head spin with potential refreshes on plastic toys. How many times have I been shopping for my boys at a garage sale, saw the perfect big wheel/wagon/scooter/play kitchen… but then I look closer and realize it’s all pink and purple! What if it could be any crazy color?! What if it didn’t even have to be a “kid” color?! If I can spray paint a Jeep, then, heck! The world is my oyster! Let me know if you try something like this out! Like I said, I’ll try to update with a report on wear and tear, but right now, all I have to say is that was just SO much easier than I expected! Happy Monday! -Mac-
EDIT–October 14, 2014: Over a month in! We had one minor ding the first day before it’d even dried for an hour (and you might even see it in this blog post if you look closely), but nothing since! We leave the jeep outside, uncovered, in the weather most days/nights, but the paint job is going strong.