Pearl and Candy Paint


Active Member
Aug 16, 2003
Brisbane, Australia
How is pearl paint done?

Also, is candy different? If so, how is that done?

Lastly, I had an idea to do a dark blue/purple full colour base coat, followed by one to three coats of 75% black 25% clear to acheive a black colour that looks dark blue/purple on the highlights. Is that one of the above techniques?
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It's been awhile since my autobody class, but I think that a peral is kinda like a clear coat, except that it has the crushed peral [or mika(sp?)] in it, to give it the apperence that it has. I am not sure on the candy though. I THINK that it was like the peral; a coat that you spray over your base. Correct me if I'm, wrong.
pearl is a 3 stage process - base color - pearl (very fine mica) coat - clear coat --- in that order only. So to get the color you are looking for do a black base - carefully apply a transparent application of the color you want to show as a highlight - then apply a good healthy coat of clear. after everything cures you can wet sand (finish wet sand with 2000 to 3000 grit) and buff the clear and have plenty of room to get a high gloss with wet sand and buffing and then polish with a good wax in 6 weeks after it cures fully.
You might wanna look at some of the color changing paints. They have quite a few that only have 2 colors in them so its not so crazy looking.

BASF, DuPont are two that I know of. Plus its easier to match the paint if you get in a accident, or hose some part of it. Since it lays down the say unlike pearls that are dependant on how the painter does it. I had my hood on my stang painted about 8 months after the car was painted and you cant tell at all.
Here's a bit of info that I've been learning and experimenting with lately in a effort to come up with a color and shade that I like for my fastback. First, true candies and pearls are probably not for the novice painter, they are spendy, time consuming and near-impossible to touch up later. But House of Kolor has a really neat line up of paints that look like the traditional custom paints, but apply like regular basecoat/clearcoat paints and are (supposedly) easy to repair. The pearls and candies are designed to be applied over their regular basecoats of a similar color. For instance, to get a deep blue pearl, you'd use a dark sealer, followed by 3 coats of a medium blue metallic base, followed by 4 or 5 coats of a medium blue pearl base, then clear. While this may sound like a ton of paint, House of Kolor's paints are very thin, thus the need for more coats. For instance a new car may have a 4-mil thick paint job, with a mil being approximately .001". House of Kolor claims that their bases only add up to less than one mil per 3 coats because there is no "fillers" in their paint to add unnecessary thickness. They also claim that their paints are designed to withstand 15 mils of paint (not unheard of with a lot of graphics) and live for a decade or more. The House of Kolor candies work the same way, and by spraying a candy (or pearl) color that's about the same tone as the base color, you help to eliminate the "tiger stripes" that new painters usually end up with in candy and pearl jobs. Also, pearls do come in various colors as a dry powder and can be added to any House of kolor paint for a unique color. I've been playing with their bases and really like both the cost and the ease of application, if you need more info, I highly recommend reading Jon Kosmoski's book "Advanced Custom Painting Techniques". Jon is the owner of House of Kolor, and his book is full of neat stuff and very easy to follow.
PPG Worker here has lots of info. A candy is also a three step process. The Candy Is a tinted clearcoat that is applied over different color flakes or pearls. The actual candy color looks like koolade in the can, to put it simply. Candy colors can NOT to be touched up. Also candy must be applied by a Seasoned pro with Years of experience. No backyard painter here and no cheapo sprayguns either. Mininum gun would be is a Sata or devillbis $300 to $600 range. What happenes is you need a PERFECT pattern with long perfect straight sweeps with just the right overlap or you end up with zebra stripes of different shades of candy. Dosent look pretty. If you want a candy color let the pro's do it for you. A good candy red over flake or pearl will run you about $600 in liquid materials. hope this helps. :nice:
That's what I'm after, I think, a candy paint job. I've always loved candy-apple red. I understand how the connection to candy apples fits in now!

I've just had another idea too. Would it be possible to use the stuff that makes paint flexible in the paint on the whole car, not just on plastic bumpers? Or will it only work on plastic? Would this help stop chips? Won't work with base/clear coat methods?
Ok, so back to the highlights.


That is the look I want to acheive. I thought that where the highlights are, where the light bounces straight off the surface and into your eye, is where you would see deepest into the paint, and so see the base colour best.

Is it the other way around? The above pic is a candy apparently. So would that be black/clear over blue or blue/clear over black?

EDIT: bsedwebt I know you answered this one, but is the above pic what it would look like?


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I'd say that bike has something like a blue candy sprayed over a black base. This wouldn't be nearly as hard as trying to get a lighter candy blue. I'd take a look at House of Kolor's stuff, since they advertise their product towards the do-it-yourselfer and I've found their paint extremely easy to spray and get great results on my practice panel. In fact, it wouldn't be too far aff to say that if you can read and follow directions, and you can spray primer without runs, you can use their stuff succesfully. That's the beauty of a base/clear system, with the color (and pearls or candys) all you need to worry about is even coverage. The clear makes it shine, and colorsanding and buffing can help with the mistakes you may make there.
Not to step on anybodys toes, but, as ive been painting for a while now (over 10 yrs) id like to add my two cents.

heres the toe stepping. what a pearl is: a powder that either mixed in the base coat or clear coat, depending on who is mixing the paint. i used to mix paint when i was working at one shop and we usually mixed the powder right in with the base. we mixed using PPG microfiche numbers (by weight) and the powder was mixed right in. gold pearl is like very fine white dust that has a golden tint when viewed in the light. thus, a black paint job with gold pearl in it will just look deep black, but when the light is shined on it, a golden vibe will be picked up on those surfaces reflecting the light just right.

for ghost flames, and such, you can mix the powder in with clear and mask off flames. that way, you wont see flames until the sun hits right.

candy coats are a three or four stage process that involves a base coat, a top coat(or two for a four stage job), usually of a contrasting different color; (think orange over yellow = a tangerine) that is mostly clear coat and then the true clear coat.

candies are very expensive, very hard to match and repair, and can consist of pearls.

heres good news: most of the candies are offered as two stage regular paints that look very very similar. ill try to get a pic of a 68 camaro that we just painted a color close to aculpoco blue that looks just like a candy.

as to the chopper, i guarantee that you can match that paint with a regular base/clear paint. if you want the dupont number, i can give it to you.

That's some good info and pretty much what I thought, with the difference being that House of Kolor offers pearl bases right off the shelf, no mixing needed. I like the House of Kolor paint system because it gives the look of a true candy or pearl, but the ease of use and repair that a base/clear system offers. I don't have a ton of experience painting, but I can get good results with the HOK products, so that's the way I chose to go.
Rick, thanks for your input, I'm understanding it all now!

So you're saying that the bike's colour could be done with just a base with a clear over it? Or would it be a tinted clear? In other words, can a base give the black-with-blue-highlights look?
Route666 said:
Rick, thanks for your input, I'm understanding it all now!

So you're saying that the bike's colour could be done with just a base with a clear over it?

Or would it be a tinted clear? In other words, can a base give the black-with-blue-highlights look?

yes; or a color close enough to satisfy you. a base can give you the highlights

if you want to see some really crazy colors, do a serch for standox paints. we painted a prelude that had all the colors of the rainbow in it like a rainbow trout. i think its on our website

the link for standox (a dupont company)