Now that I’ve completed the base coat of black spray paint on the guitar body (two to three good coats), I am ready to begin sparkle coating the guitar. It seems very cliched that I’m saying this, but it is VERY difficult to get good pictures of a sparkle coated guitar. I must have taken five to ten pictures for every ONE that I am able to use, and some of those aren’t even that great. If you aren’t careful, you may end up with a picture that looks like a disco album cover from the 1970’s (below). If you haven’t read my post on the type of aluminum glitter flake I am using, you can find it here.
The biggest stumbling block that I ran into was actually finding a way to apply the glitter, evenly, to the body of the guitar. Several forums that I’ve read suggested using a flour sifter to apply an even coat.
So I took the guitar body outside and sprayed a very generous coat of Krylon Clear Lacquer to the face of the guitar body. This will provide the tacky surface, to which the black aluminum glitter flake will adhere. You must move pretty quickly from spray, to glitter application, though, as this stuff begins to harden VERY quickly. In hindsight, I realize that I should have tested this application process BEFORE working on the face of the guitar as I had run into issues while working against the timing of the hardening lacquer. I proceeded to pour the glitter from the bottle, directly into the flour sifter, which basically acted as if I was dumping the glitter directly on the guitar. The sifter had NO effect, whatsoever. As you can see from the picture below, I had clumps of unevenly distributed glitter, all over the face of the guitar.
Here’s another shot where you can see the mountains of glitter on the top and left side of the body. Fortunately, the lacquer only adhered to a very thin layer of glitter. After allowing about 1 hour to dry, I turned the guitar body upside down, on the work tray that I purchased from K-Mart (which is the lid from a $6.99 plastic bin), and dumped most of the excess. More fortunately, I was able to scoop the excess glitter into a plastic cup for later reapplication (remember, glitter is expensive!).
Once I removed the excess glitter, I moved the telecaster body to the plastic tub, which is functioning as my paint booth. At this point, I applied two additional wet coats (which is a single application, then waiting for 15 minutes and applying a second), and then waiting for a full hour for them to harden. This sealed the glitter coat to the body of the guitar.
Wow, this picture actually looks nice! As you can see, the sparkle coat looks much more evenly distributed than in the pictures above. Once I build up the coats of lacquer to allow for a smooth finish, the guitar SHOULD take on the glittery characteristics that would be expected. One thing that I forgot to do was to mask off the neck pocket. From what I understand, you want very little in the way of paint, or lacquer, interfering with the transferrence of vibration from the neck of the guitar, through to the body. Before applying subsequent coats of lacquer, I was very careful to remove any glitter that happened to find its way into the neck pocket. I also did the best I could not to over-spray lacquer into this area. Once this initial coating of lacquer dried, I would be sure to mask the area.
Using a full can of lacquer to coat just the face of the guitar, I realized the three cans that I had originally purchased would NEVER be enough to refinish the guitar body! What I also didn’t realize, until I went back to Sherwin Williams to get more, was that I am paying $8 a can for lacquer. Ouch! There must be a better way to do this, but I’m afraid to switch since I’ve already started. If anyone out there has any experience with this, shoot me a message. I would love to hear your opinion.
Now that I was ready to apply the sparkle flake to the back of the guitar body, I figured I would refine my application method. I found that if I gently poured the sparkle flake from a plastic cup, into the flour sifter (while holding the sifter at an angle), the flake would NOT dump out indiscriminately. After, carefully, sifting the flake on the back of the guitar body, I then repeated the steps of applying a few coats of lacquer to hold it in place. This is very important as you will be handling the guitar quite a bit, when applying flake to the edges, and you want to be sure that the sparkle is held firmly in place.
Below is another shot of the guitar body, but you can see that I now have the neck pocket masked. I should have masked this area before I started the glitter coat. Also, you can see all of the excess black sparkle in the wells of the plastic work surface. By reusing all that I could manage, I predict that I’ll be able to finish this part of the project with the original 4 ounces of flake that I had purchased.
I started to get a little impatient, so I put the neck, and white pickguard in place to get an idea of what the finished guitar would look like. I must say that I LOVE the black sparkle and white color combination, with the maple fretboard! This guitar is going to look SICK with a thick lacquer coat, shined up and with the illuminated KAOSS Pad / hold button!