How to Paint Over Chrome

In the early days of automotive styling chrome was king and the more chrome on a vehicle the better it looked or the more expensive it was. As vehicles have become more and more made of plastic and styles have changed many have been looking for a way to dechrome or “murder out” their vehicle by removing any trace of chrome. There are few things to consider before you start just taking chrome parts off.

Ways to Dechrome a Vehicle

  1. Paint Over Chrome- The most common way is to paint over the existing chrome. There’s a few steps you need to take to make sure the paint sticks and holds for the long run. First of all you need to make sure the chrome is in good shape and not flaking or chipping. Remember your paint job is only as good as the base under it! The second is that you need to abrade the chrome surface. Take a scuff pad or fine sandpaper and go over the entire chrome part you’re about to paint. Applying paint directly over smooth, shiny chrome is asking for adhesion issues. Lastly make sure you’re painting over actual chrome plating. Chromed plastics may not hold up to painting and are basically just a foil or coating that could come off when you apply paint.
  2. Wrap Chrome- A semi-permanent way to cover chrome is to use a vinyl wrap that goes directly over the chrome and can be removed or changed by just peeling the vinyl off. This is good for a vehicle you may want to return to stock some day or if you’re not sure if you’ll like the dechromed look forever. Make sure you pick a good automotive quality vinyl wrap when doing the job.
  3. Powder Coat Over Chrome- Powder Coating is the most permanent and durable option for coating a chrome part. Chrome is a good base for powder coating with a translucent or similar powder. Because powder coating is actually cured onto a part you can apply it right over the smooth chrome without any major issues (just make sure it is very clean). The result will be a very smooth finish.

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