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Old 02-11-2021, 04:20 AM   #1
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Painting Mural over Clearcoat?

1. I realize 99.7% of people who read this will think my idea is a bad one :-)

Not interesting in discussing WHETHER I should have a mural painted on my Airstream, only HOW I can go about it :-)

2. For the .3% of you who are intrigued and may know a little about this, hope you can help!

I'm not an artist but am going to commission someone to paint a mural on the side of my 2021 Globetrotter. I know that it has a PPG fluorocarbon clearcoat, and I've been searching for ideas/techniques on either painting over the clearcoat OR treating (or removing?) the clearcoat from the "mural" area first before painting on the aluminum.

Adding to the challenge is that I would like to do it with ecologically friendly products if at all possible.

Not finding anything so reaching out for advice here. Thoughts?
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Old 02-11-2021, 04:30 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by duvaltarheel View Post
Not interesting in discussing WHETHER I should have a mural painted on my Airstream, only HOW I can go about it :-)
The over-under is set at two posts. Ladies and Gentlemen, place your bets.
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Old 02-11-2021, 05:51 AM   #3
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Does yours count as one?

;-)
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Old 02-11-2021, 05:51 AM   #4
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It might depend upon what kind of paint the artist is using and whether bare Al needs to show in the mural. My first thought would be to explore the recommended base coat for Al for whatever paint is to be used. Al is pretty pickey about what it lets stick to it. I sorta like the idea of something like this (on someone else's trailer). It is not real hard to strip the clear coat. It is hard to limit or contain the are it is being stripped in.
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Old 02-11-2021, 06:07 AM   #5
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An alternative might be a partial wrap. Have the artist do the mural, a wrap company can then scan, print and apply it. Removable too!
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Old 02-11-2021, 06:33 AM   #6
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An alternative might be a partial wrap. Have the artist do the mural, a wrap company can then scan, print and apply it. Removable too!

I like that idea a lot more than paint.....one caveat.....like the little red numbers, if you pull it off after having spend a year or three applied, it will most likely produce ghosting of the cutout of the image. If this is really going to be a perm application and your forever Airstream, great, but like paint, will prob wickedly watch the value of the trailer tank. Of course not everything is a dollars and cents issue.
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Old 02-11-2021, 07:06 AM   #7
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I would favor the wrap idea, for the reasons listed. And it takes some of the “heat” off the artist... they can work in comfort in their favorite medium. That is, unless they are a complete purist.
The other advantage is that you can go with the theme for your tow vehicle, with a second copy of the wrap applied to the tailgate or rear window.
What is your theme? (We forum members don’t judge!)
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Old 02-11-2021, 08:59 AM   #8
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Most aircraft are painted so my initial reaction is “why not”? It is your shiny new canvas...

On the other hand, most aircraft have much tighter rivet lines with much tighter tolerances so an aircraft hull does not expand and contract as much as your Airstream will. That may pose a problem but may not — if you can, ask an aircraft paint shop, at the very least, they can probably help with material recommendations.

Good luck with it! There is sometimes great beauty in the unusual — i.e. Christo’s “Surrounded Islands”.
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Old 02-11-2021, 09:28 AM   #9
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Consider marine artist

Consider contacting a boat/marine shop that applies graphics to boats. I suspect they work with clear coated surfaces over aluminum.
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Old 02-11-2021, 09:45 AM   #10
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following!! The name of our AS is "The Nautilus" and I had thought of wrapping it with an octopus (hence the OctoGent) squeezing it!
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Old 02-11-2021, 10:32 AM   #11
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OK, Here is some help. I'm a retired paint engineer experienced in applying multi coat systems with Clearcoat. Here is how I would approach it. First off I'm an Airstream newby taking delivery next month. I will assume you are correct that it's a PPG product and somewhere I read the sheets come in to the Airstream factory pre-coated. That indicates that the sheets are likely coil coated. My guess is that the coating came out of PPG architectual coatings in PA. Maybe someone know for sure.
All precoated products such as this MUST have an associated field applied touch-up. PPG will know exactly what it takes to coat over it and acheaving proper intercoat adheasion on this coating requires that you follow a very precise process. Start here Andy Kalafatis or Gary Edgar at PPG Architectural Coatings. 400 Berthalamme Drive Cranberry Twonship PA 16066. I have no phone number.
You might also simply contact Airstream and tell tyhem you need to touch up a large pannel on your trailer. They should point you to someone that does this and would have the product used. Once you know this you contact the manufacturer and ask what tint system is used to add color to the clear as well as pretreatment and application instructions. PM me if you need further asistance.
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Old 02-11-2021, 11:44 AM   #12
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I've always wondered why more people don't look at that expanse of plain free space and do a mural or graphics. Yes it will affect the value if you are too far off center but it's your trailer and who knows the next person might love it too.
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Old 02-11-2021, 11:53 AM   #13
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Old 02-11-2021, 12:15 PM   #14
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The clear coat is actually an Alcoa product and vastly differs from automotive clear coat products. It is specifically designed to allow for the panels to be stretch formed and riveted during assembly.

It is an absolute nightmare to fully strip this stuff off the aluminum...

If you’re interested in tattooing the poor girl, I’d think a skilled pinstripe/airbrush process would be the gold standard.

Wraps are wonderful for short term, but as others have said, eventually they will leave their mark..
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Old 02-11-2021, 12:56 PM   #15
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Check out https://wanderlocal.com/ They had what appears to be a large decal added to their Classic. Not sure it is a decal but you can contact them to find out more.
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Old 02-12-2021, 02:43 AM   #16
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Thanks - Lots to Process!

Thanks to all who have chimed in with some great information and suggestions so far. I'm new to the Airstream community, and this is a very cool thing about it :-)

I've got my research cut out for me now, and and going to try to get consults in with PPG who manufactures the clearcoat, as well as an aircraft and a marine painting outfit.

The ideas about the wrap are compelling, but I'm still leaning toward paint at this point...however that might change the more I learn.

Anyway - I'll post updates here as I find out anything that might be helpful to others who are considering similar ideas.
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Old 02-12-2021, 06:09 AM   #17
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An alternative might be a partial wrap. Have the artist do the mural, a wrap company can then scan, print and apply it. Removable too!
That’s an awesome idea! I could see a small market for this beyond the OPs need/want.
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Old 02-14-2021, 04:19 AM   #18
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Changing my mind...

Well...thanks again to all who provided helpful comments.

After researching it further, here's where I landed. Tlars (the retired paint engineer - see earlier in thread) helped me understand how complicated the process is for doing this right. I'm sure "where there's a will, there's a way" but in my case, I'm not going to go through what it would take to prep the clearcoat. I really wanted a mural, but I didn't want one badly enough to use the probably toxic products needed, and risk that it wouldn't work out as I envisioned.

I think the people who are suggesting the wrap are on the right track. If you really want to adorn the aluminum at lower risk of depreciation, artistic integrity (does the image last), and environmental concerns -- a wrap sounds like a better idea.
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Old 02-14-2021, 08:05 AM   #19
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Painting Mural over Clearcoat?

Wrap is very common on commercial airstreams. You can do a lot with a wrap to replicate a photo or piece of artwork...

Check out tinnos ....

https://www.tinnosrvrental.com/Graph...s/Vinyl-Decals

The only tricky thing in applying the wrap to an airstream is not to cut into the aluminum skin when applying / trimming the vinyl. This will irreversibly damage the skin of the airstream and will require one to forever keep it wrapped to protect from the elements, otherwise filiform can develop.... and it looks like trash if the wrap is ever removed.
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Old 02-17-2021, 10:05 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duvaltarheel View Post
1. I realize 99.7% of people who read this will think my idea is a bad one :-)

Not interesting in discussing WHETHER I should have a mural painted on my Airstream, only HOW I can go about it :-)

2. For the .3% of you who are intrigued and may know a little about this, hope you can help!

I'm not an artist but am going to commission someone to paint a mural on the side of my 2021 Globetrotter. I know that it has a PPG fluorocarbon clearcoat, and I've been searching for ideas/techniques on either painting over the clearcoat OR treating (or removing?) the clearcoat from the "mural" area first before painting on the aluminum.

Adding to the challenge is that I would like to do it with ecologically friendly products if at all possible.

Not finding anything so reaching out for advice here. Thoughts?
How about having the mural painted and then produced on vinyl. Adhere the vinyl to the Airstream and seal it in place?
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