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VHT Nightshade the right way.
Topic Started: Oct 7 2014, 07:59 PM (193 Views)
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I just thought I would write this out.. I've seen people use nightshades on lights/indicators/markers and it just looks awful. People end up with MAD drips, runs, inconsistencies, and generally looking totally rattle-canned and scabby.
So, in the interest of DIY and DIYing it properly, here is how to do VHT Nightshade.

-Mineral Spirits. Available at your local hardware store and the most important part of this process hands down.
-Microfiber cloths. Because they don't leave fibers/little bits behind generally and are pretty cheap anyways.
-Soap to wash the surface initially.
-Masking/painters tape and some newspaper
-VHT Nightshade
-Tweezers (seriously)
-OPTIONAL- A can of air duster.
-A bottle of Goof Off to remove the stuff.

Start by washing the surface you want to spray. Whatever you use to wash your car, use that. Give it a scrub and make sure you scrub THE WHOLE THING. Get RIGHT up in those edges and seams and ribs and notches and all that junk. Once you feel that you've cleaned them enough, rinse and dry the surface.

It is ideal to use a FRESH AND CLEAN, preferably new, cloth/towel to dry the surface. Seriously just go to wal-mart and get 5 microfiber cloths for $4.99.

Mask off surrounding areas, of course only if the part you're gonna smoke is still attached to the car. This is something that needs to be done well because in order to evenly apply the VHT you're gonna want to spray from at least a foot away and almost like you're dusting the surface. It is much different than paint. I masked off my lights with tape and large pieces of newspaper and even covered the rest of my car with a large old sheet. Just because I would rather not worry about overspray at all. Like, even a little bit.

Now that the surface is clean, The next step is the part that people skip and in turn come out with scabby looking lights/markers/indicators.

Grab two cloths. One is for mineral spirits and one is to wipe away mineral spirits. Soak one cloth with mineral spirits and wipe it onto the surface. Make sure the surface gets nice and soggy with mineral spirits. Then using your second, clean cloth, wipe away the mineral spirits while it is still wet.

Mineral spirits is gnarly stuff and even though your surface looks spotless, it is not. It is grimy. There are oils and other grimy bits on it that you don't even know about until you've used mineral spirits to remove them.

Depending on the size of the surface, cut it into sections. Large headlights/taillights maybe do like squares the size of the palm of your hand and repeat until you've done the whole light. Again make sure to get RIGHT UP IN THOSE EDGES AND CORNERS.
Another good thing to do is to not re-use the same sections of cloths for wiping on/off the mineral spirits. This prevents the spread of dirt and will ensure that you've likely cleaned the surface 100%.

Next, look at the surface in some light. Use the sky, the sun, get a flashlight if its dark, and look over the entire surface. It's good to look at it almost parallel to the surface as opposed to straight at it. This way you can see any little fibers or dusty bits that maybe have floated over and landed on the surface.
This is where the air duster comes in. you can use one of your cloths to fan away any little bits that have since floated onto the surface, or you can use the air duster.

If it looks spotless, start spraying.
Spray from like a foot or more away. And spray it on like you're dusting the surface with it. I like to do just short bursts and fanning motions with my arm/wrist just to make sure coverage is consistent.
You can apply even just a thin coat, enough to cover the whole surface, and it will look mad. Light can shine through nearly as brilliantly as it did before but when you look at the surface, the surface itself appears much darker.

If you're spraying along and *BOOP* something floats along and lands in the wet nightshade, try your best to remove it with the tweezers without actually touching the surface. Otherwise, if you leave it in it'll likely dry in it and be unnoticeable.
If in the event that you completely muck it up, just let it dry and then grab your bottle of goof off, follow the directions on that bottle, and remove the nightshade and try again.

DO NOT USE SANDPAPER. Seriously. Please. It is not necessary at all. It will scratch your stuff up much worse than you think. Sandpaper is not meant to be used for removing this stuff.

The only issue I've had with nightshade was I applied it once, it looked flawless when it was wet, and then for whatever reason when it dried, a section about the size of a toonie turned sort of gray. Almost like that section had been roughed up with sandpaper after it had dried.
Anyways, that's how I've done it and it's turned out perfectly. Consistent, no drips, and a smooth finish.
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Why not toothpaste ,wet sand with high grit?
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