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Painting A Small Design


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I was wondering if you guys could give me your opinions on how I should paint a small design into a Telecaster I'm working on.

I wanted to give it a slightly unique look by painting a small tribal design on the lower left portion of the body. Not a very complicated design, and it would only be about 15cm high and 10cm wide.

I was told by a buddy of mine that I should just paint it on with a brush, but I really don't want to mess it up.

I was thinking about a template, but I really can't see how that would make anything easier, as there's a chance that it sprays underneath the template, and I have no clue what I could use to hold the template on that wouldn't affect the paint that I just put on.

I already have the spray can (Painter's Touch), and I've already painted two coats of the base color.

Any advice would be, as always, greatly appreciated.

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you might try laying down several strips of overlapping masking tape on some wax paper to make a large spare then cut out your design with an xacto knife. peel it off of the wax paper and apply it to your guitar then tape some paper around the edges of the pattern to protect the rest of the guitar from the overspray. it'll take several coats of clear top coat to eliminate the high edges of the design but you should have a good sharp edge with no paint seeping underneath like you would with a plain template.

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Like he said you can lay it out with masking tape but i would skip the wax paper masking tape will most likely stick well to it.

Laying it out directly on the guitar has its problems too. Unless you have really good tape it may bleed underneath. Also cutting out the shape with an exacto is really tough to do the first time out. You need to have a very light touch as to cut just the tape and not the paint underneath. Without having practice at that id say practice on scrap first.

Another option is to get some vinyl lettering material from a stationary store like staples. You can get it in 8.5X11 sheets and it's adhesive backed. The glue on it tends to be really sticky. so you may need to de-tack it with a clean t-shirt. Use you're judgement on that one. This way you can cut it out first and then just stick it on. and mask the rest accordingly.

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Hmmm, gives me an idea...anyone ever tried guitar "tattooing"?  That way its permanent and not just sitting on top of the base paint.  No edges to worry about when finishing.

No, I haven't, but man that is a cool idea! So are you thinking like a stain in a pattern? I'd be curious about how it might bleed.

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I've done some basic "poor man's" inlaying by mixing powdered dye (red, orange, yellow, green, blue etc.) with maple wood dust. Add some water to activate the dye and let it color the dust, mix until you get a paste. Then spread the paste out to dry. Once its dry, crumble it up and apply it with CA glue in any holes you choose to make.

Edited by Southpa
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