When my increased work commute muscled me into needing to find a more economical commuter car, I choose the Scion iQ. A tiny, non-electric car, I’ve actually been enjoying my quiet, air-conditioned, Spotify-complemented driving time. I kinda feel like I’m driving a go-cart… in all the best ways! However, I knew I couldn’t keep any car of mine stock for long! So when my Gasoline Girl gal pal Pati hosted a paint day for her Chrysler New Yorker, I decided it was a great opportunity to try my hand at a little custom paint job for my new car. The perfect canvas? The side-view mirrors! They ended up being the perfect car paint for beginners project… follow along in these simple steps.


Having a front cover that snaps right off of the the Scion iQ’s side-view mirrors made this paint job super easy, as no masking off of the rest of the car was required. After removing the side-view mirror covers, I scuffed them lightly using 300 grit sandpaper and cleaned. Next, I taped off the design. As my car is a dark metallic grey, I wanted to add alternating candy yellow stripes as a nod to the disgustingly sweet “Bee” names my husband and I call each other. With the curves of the mirror, I had to kind of eye-ball where the lines belonged – I used a business card to help keep everything parallel as it happened to be just the right width.


Using a House of Kolor candy “Pagan Gold” that Pati had on hand, I sparingly added it drop by drop into reducer. This is where you’ve got to estimate, as what you see when you’re mixing is by no means how it will look over whatever you’re spraying it on. In a true custom paint job you’d do some practice panels, but as this was just my side-view mirrors I was willing to take the risk…


… And I’m glad I did! As soon as I sprayed it I loved the way it was looking! I waited probably 5 minutes after I sprayed the first coat before I added a second.


After that I removed the tape and cleared the entire thing. As you can see, I got a little heavy handed and the clear ran in a couple spots – nothing a little wet sanding can’t fix.


Wanting to try my hand at some heavy metal flake, I found a weird plastic license plate delete that came with my car – so I covered it in the extra candy I had then dry sprayed big gold metal flake to my hearts content. It’s nice getting to do these jobs that don’t matter too much, it takes off all the pressure. I discovered that the heavy flake isn’t easy to get inside tight corners or to stick on big curves. Before this day, the only experience spraying metal flake was when we sprayed micro flake in clear on my Studebaker’s roof – click here for the video on that metal flake project.


Having completed my little project, I bopped to the next paint booth over where all the fun was happening with Pati’s New Yorker. I even got to try my hand in spraying clear! So grateful to have an amazing teacher like Pati to enable me to do these little paint projects! And also to El Camino College, which allows students and gals in to learn a few things during Girls in the Garage.

The next morning we went to retrieve Pati’s car and I wet sanded then re-cleared my side-view mirrors and they were good to go!


I think it’s a great, simple, and zero-cost modification I did to make my boring commuter car a little bit funner! What do you think? Have you tried your hand at custom paint or modded your commuter car in any way? Leave a comment!

Happy Trails,

7 Responses

  1. JP Kalishek

    you one-upped Aston Martin with those fancy mirrors!
    Yes, Aston sold the Toyota iQ as a Cygnet.
    No, I don’t know what they were smoking either.

    • Kristin Cline

      So I’ve heard JP – my pal says all the posh wives of famous futbol stars drive them! It’s funny though, because it’s the SAME car! I’m hoping to be able to get over to Goodwood this year… and I can promise that I’ll be stashing Aston Martin parts in my bag if I do!

      • JP Kalishek

        Yep, same car but much more expensive.
        31,000 pounds sterling iirc.
        Good luck heading over for Goodwood. Are you aiming for the Festival or the Revival? The revival seems right up your alley.

      • Kristin Cline

        The Revival would be my personal preference, but the Festival has some items for me to cover for work 😉 It’s still to be seen if I’ll be going… fingers crossed!

  2. Jeffery

    Having ridden with you once in your “Commuter Car” I find the title for those stripes to more appropriately being called “Racing Stripes.”


Comment & Join the Conversation!