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My wife found me a black 69 year tag for my car that was in decent condition but could have been a little better, I thought. I'm currently making a tire/table for my garage and in the heat of the moment took my rotary sander to the tag in an effort to remove a little bit of the rust from around the edges of the tag.

Well one thing led to another and before I could stop myself I had removed a great deal of the paint from the tag and the letters as well. Now the tag looks like crap. I saw an ad for a guy who restores vintage tags in a magazine I was browsing thru a few days ago but I can't justify spending $80 for a license plate refurb.

Anyone know of a cheaper option or should I just try to fix it myself? Lastly, if I do try this "AT HOME" is there a specific paint for license plates that I'd have to use?
 

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What I did a few years ago with the original 1973 plates from my Opel was just sandblast them, got a rattlecan of Duplicolor that looked like a similar blue, and sprayed the plates. Then for the yellow, I carefully painted the letters by hand with a small detail brush (looks like a q-tip). It took many many coats of yellow before it wasn't translucent anymore. Part of the problem was that I was using a spray yellow (Duplicolor again) and spraying some into the cap and dipping the brush in it to paint it on. A thicker liquid paint would probably work better. I always wondered if there was a better way to do the raised letters, like with some kind of foam roller or brush or something. Maybe build some kind of rig that keeps your foam brush / roller at the exact right height while you drag it over the plate.

Anyway, here's how mine came out. Some of the edges on the letters are a little wobbly, but it looks good from a couple feet. Will it hold up over time? So far so good..



 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, I never thought of sandblasting even though I see it being done every week on the many car shows that I watch. I'm sure I can handle that and make it look even better than it did before, thanks again.
 

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For applying the paint, a printers ink roller with paint evenly applied would be the ticket I would think.

I have used a wallpaper plastic (or was it wood?, maybe both) to apply white paint to raised letters on electronic equipment (same thing is on some of our cars AC/heater controls IIRC).

Regards,

Bob
 

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Probably the best kind of paint to use on the letters is One-Shot enamel, used by pinstripers. Many colors are available, at paint stores or Eastwood. Best way to apply is to use a rubber roller.
 

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If your plate has raised letters, the original letters were roll coated, so a paint roller is probably a pretty good option, using as little knap as possible.
 

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I picked up one of these at a local art store (Michael's?) and plan to use it for the raised lettering.

 

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There are some video's on YouTube, so GOOGLE to see. One I found shows a fellow using a silk screen to paint the numbers. Worth looking at.

I wish you well, one also shows how to use simple tools to remove dents, and deep scratches. Go for it.

Dale in Indy
 

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Cool, I hope to see some results from the rollers and other methods. Doing it by hand sure didn't seem like the ideal method...
 
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