How to Metal Flake Your Ride

How To Metal Flake Your Car

Just because I love grease, doesn’t mean that I don’t love sparkly things too! Before going to Viva this year, I wanted to add a little bling to my 1955 Studebaker Champion with a metal flake paint job.

Studie and I have been through a lot together in the five years I’ve owned and drove her. I’ve become attuned to her original patina’d coral and white paint job. So originally the thought of changing her exterior in any way made me nervous. But the more I thought about adding a subtle sparkle to Studie’s white roof portion, the more I liked the idea.

Not knowing the first thing about how to paint, I was lucky to have an expert nearby. Pati Fairchild is the newest member of my car club, the Gasoline Girls. She also happens to be a professional paint and body chick who teaches the subject at El Camino College.

After polling friends on Facebook and looking through various paint samples, I paid a visit to Coast Airbrush in Anaheim for my final selection. I went in knowing I wanted an abalone sort of flake that would disappear in the shade but be super sparkly in the sun. The friendly guy at Coast Airbrush highly recommended the House of Kolor Ice Pearl Flake.

I’d had a little experience with Ice Pearl before. Co-Gasoline Girl Lori’s F1 is covered in ice pearl over bare metal – and it’s a crowd stopper at every car show we attend (as you can tell in the picture above!) After being blinded by the sparkling white ice pearl in the sunshine, it didn’t take me long to decide it was the way to go.

With Red and White House of Kolor Ice Pearls Flake in hand, I gathered up my fellow Gasoline Girls. We were all hands on the job as Pati walked us through the steps to give Studie a professional metal flake paint job! They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, so follow along and learn the process in the great video below! (Thanks to Lori for the video skills!)

We ended up doing three coats of White and Red House of Kolor Ice Pearl flake mixed into clear, covering that in two coats of plain clear – for a total of five coats. Pati showed me how to spray as she did the first coat and then I grabbed the gravity feed gun for the last four.

Gun in hand for the first time, I was a little nervous about how to paint. Keeping in mind that Pati told me to spray even and steady, I quickly found a rhythm. The ladies said I looked like a pro. I’ve gotta say I’m looking forward to my next chance to paint!

The Ice Pearl Paint sure does sparkle when the sun hits it right! Although ultimately I might want a heavier metal flake, I think the ice pearl flake was a great decision. It kept my patina’d roof looking just like it always has…but when the sun hits it, watch out!

I’ve still got a ways to go before giving Stude the real body attention she needs. But until then, she’s got a little sparkle inside and out…just like me!

Happy Trails,
Grease Girl

Many thanks to Pati Fairchild, El Camino College, and the Gasoline Girls!
If you know of any young ladies interested in car careers, check out El Camino College’s Women In Technology program!

17 Responses

  1. JP Kalishek

    Cool. I was reading and thinking..What color is she painting under the pearl and then realized you were just adding the pearl to the old base…Too Cool.
    Been thinking of getting a different old bike for light riding (my daily is rather big and heavy at 700# and the XL is just a bit smaller than I’d like) and will do something similar if I do and the paint job is good enough. In fact I might try something on the XL’s tank. It is being fixed a bit anyhow.

  2. Jos

    Hey Kristin

    Just checked the video. You look impresive in the paint booth !!
    Great result !!

    Grz. Jos.

  3. The Gear Head Skeptic

    Uh oh… now you gone and done it! With that great looking roof, the rest of Studie’s paint is going to look a little worn to you now, so you’ll get the bodywork and paint done up. Then the chrome will look a little tired next to that fresh paint, so you’ll have to replate a bunch of stuff. Then the wheels and tires won’t seem quite up to par any more, so you’ll replace those too. Then the interior will seem too worn out for such a sharp looking car, and you’ll redo that too… 😉

    Great instructional video. Proper paint technique isn’t easy, looks like you had a great teacher and some natural talent for it. Nice work!

  4. Jameswaterwolf

    Good job ladies. Now you will need to paint the rest of Stude flat black and buff it to look like leather. Think about it, could look Spank with that contrasting sparkling top. Breaking the barriers. Bronze and copper could also be considered. Cheers.

  5. Jos

    Hey Kristin.

    Found a “Stude look a like” in Europe. I took some pictures for you, have a look at your

    Greetz, Jos.

  6. Dominik

    Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

    • greasegirl

      I’ve just tested on a few different devices, and the photos are loading fine – they are all pointed to valid addresses. I’m not much of a techie, so I apologize for not having advice.

  7. stevenschlah

    Interesting video, BUT what happened to the rest of the Studie, that REALLY needed body work and paint?
    Next, FYI in 1963, a fellow high school class mate (San Marcos, in Santa Barbara), Louie Lombardo, owned a 1956 Paxton Supercharged Studie, that he painted Metal Flake Metallic Blue. Food for thought. Steve

    • Kristin Cline

      Thanks for the comment Steve! Your “REALLY needed” is someone else’s “please don’t cover up original paint!”. As this is a California car that rust isn’t threatening to ruin, I’m sticking with the original paint for as long as possible! Eventually the needed bodywork and paint will probably be done… but I’m going to have to do some learning and practicing on something else until that time!

      • stevenschlah

        To bad I can’t send you an image, as I have one to shoot for. A stock ’53 California Studie, with a White (standard) top and blue/green body. Steve

      • Kristin Cline

        Steve, you should be able to post it in the comments!

    • Kristin Cline

      Darn, you’re correct Steve! I can insert an image in the comments from the admin side. I’m going to have to update my comment system here on GreaseGirl! In the meantime, feel free to shoot me an email at kristin at


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