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What is special about candy paint?

What is special about candy paint?

Candy paint refers to a type of automotive paint finish that has a high metallic flake content, giving it a sparkling, candy-like appearance. It is often used on custom cars and hot rods to give them a unique, eye-catching look. Some key things that make candy paint special are its multi-layered application process, high-gloss finish, and ability to achieve a wide range of colorful and iridescent effects.

What is Candy Paint?

Candy paint contains a higher concentration of metallic or pearl particles compared to regular automotive paints. These aluminum flakes or mica particles reflect light in a way that creates a shimmering, candied effect on the painted surface. The paint particles are suspended in clear coats of polyurethane that further enhance the reflective, wet-looking finish. Candy paints may also incorporate dyes or tints to produce any color imaginable.

Multi-Layer Paint Process

One thing that makes candy paint unique is that it is applied in several layers to achieve the full candied effect. The process starts with a standard colored base coat which provides coverage and depth of color. Next, a mid-coat with a high concentration of glittering metal flakes is sprayed over the base. Finally, translucent colored top coats are applied to allow the underlying metallic particles to sparkle through. This is how candy paint achieves such a deep, multidimensional finish. 2-3 candy coats are often used in varying translucent shades to create color shifting effects.

High Gloss Finish

Candy paint is known for its ultra high gloss, wet look finish. The smooth, reflective surface is achieved by layering clear coats over the candy coats to provide a glass-like top layer. This clear coat sealant also protects the candy effect underneath. The end result is a paint job that looks like shiny, hardened candy. The depth of the finish comes from light bouncing off the metallic mid-coat through the translucent layers above. Candy paint is all about maximizing light reflection for visual impact.

Unique Effects and Colors

One of the coolest aspects of candy paint is the ability to create unique color effects. Popular looks include color shifting, chameleon, and iridescent finishes. Color shifting candy paint changes hue at different viewing angles. Chameleon paints exhibit drastic color changes based on lighting conditions. Iridescent candy paint contains rainbow micro-flakes that give it a prismatic, holographic effect. These styles are achieved by layering graduated translucent tones over the reflective base. The combinations are endless, allowing custom painters to get extremely creative with candy paints.

Best Practices for Candy Paint Jobs

Achieving a flawless, show-worthy candy paint job requires careful preparation and application. Here are some best practices to follow:

– Start with a smooth, flawless base coat – sand and prime surfaces thoroughly before painting. Avoid base coat imperfections telegraphing through.

– Use high quality clear coats over the base to maximize reflectivity and build enough depth for candy layers.

– Maintain strict overlap and technique with candy mid-coat layers to ensure uniform sparkle.

– Apply multiple sheer candy top coats in thin, even passes for clarity and to fine-tune colors.

– Allow proper flash times between coats and do not rush the job. Candy paint requires careful patience at each stage.

– Finish with at least 3 coats of high grade clear coat for maximum gloss and durability. Wet sand and buff out any imperfections.

Candy Paint Care and Maintenance

While beautiful, candy paint finishes require some extra care and maintenance to keep their flawless looks. Here are some tips:

– Candy paint is more prone to scratching so avoid automatic car washes. Use touchless washes only.

– Wash by hand using microfiber mitts and gentle, non-abrasive shampoos to prevent swirl marks.

– Wax frequently with carnauba wax to enhance gloss and protect the finish from elements.

– Avoid using waxes or polishes that contain harsh abrasives which can dull the finish.

– Touch up stone chips and scratches immediately to prevent oxidation and staining.

– Store indoors to limit sun damage and environmental exposure which can degrade the paint over time.

– Remove any contaminants like bird droppings quickly using diluted alcohol to prevent etching.

The History of Candy Paint

Candy paint first emerged in the mid 1990s within the custom automotive scene. California custom painter JoAnn Bortles is credited with pioneering the technique by experimenting with House of Kolor brand pigments. She layered transparent颜色 and pearls over silver base coats on hot rods and lowriders, creating a new visual style. The trend spread quickly at car shows, eventually making its way onto vehicles like the iconic Cadillac DeVilles. Candy paint grew popular within hip hop culture and eventually went mainstream in the early 2000s. Today it remains a hallmark of customized cars.

Candy Paint in Car Culture

Candy paint is now strongly associated with American car culture, from hot rods to luxury SUVs. In the 1990s and 2000s it became synonymous with hip hop artists and CEOs expressing their wealth through lavishly painted luxury cars. Rapper Snoop Dogg became famous for his candy painted Cadillacs in music videos and films. West Coast customs popularized wild, multicolored candy paint jobs on vehicles for celebrities. Candy finishes remain popular today in urban car culture, hot rodding, and airbrush-style automotive art. It provides a recognizable, status-symbol paint job.

Using Candy Paint at Home

Recreating candy paint magic takes professional training and high-end paint materials. However, hobbyists can achieve candy-like finishes on a smaller scale using candies, dyes, and interference pigments. Simple techniques like dipping or splattering candy shells over a silver base coat can create sparkling, candy-coated effects. Mixing pearl powder pigments into clear nail polish or epoxy resin can also simulate a candy finish when coated over colored plastic, metal, or wood. YouTube provides several tutorials on DIY candy coating techniques. While not as durable as real automotive candy paint, these methods let amateurs add some eye-catching bling to accessories, crafts, and furniture on a budget.

Notable Candy Paint Jobs

Some iconic custom candy paint jobs on famous vehicles include:

– Snoop Dogg’s “Snoop Deville” 1994 Cadillac Fleetwood. Painted in House of Kolor Licorice candy purple.

– West Coast Custom’s 1957 Chevy Bel Air convertible from MTV’s “Pimp My Ride.” Wearing elaborate green, blue, and purple candy colors.

– Danny “Count” Koker’s 1956 Ford Thunderbird “Bird Dog.” Radical metal-flaked candy apple red finish.

– “The DeLeo Brothers” 1932 Ford Roadster pickup. Viral mesh-patterned blue and purple candy paint scheme.

– “Candy Rose” 1957 Chevy 150. Pink and maroon candy paint with hand-painted rose mural.

– “Starburst” 1970 Dodge Charger. Multicolor paneled candy design reminiscent of the candy.

Pricing for Professional Candy Paint Jobs

Due to the meticulous labor and materials involved, professionally done candy paint finishes are expensive. On average expect pricing in the following ranges:

Vehicle Candy Paint Job Price Range
Motorcycle $1,500 – $4,500
Car $4,000 – $10,000
SUV or Truck $5,000 – $15,000

Adding wild graphics or extra colors can raise the price. Shops also charge more for rush jobs versus standard timing. Candy paint’s stunning visual impact justifies the investment for auto enthusiasts.


Candy paint represents the pinnacle of automotive painting artistry. Its multi-layered, high-gloss finish provides endless creative possibilities for custom looks. Candy paint jobs require great skill and care to execute flawlessly. While labor intensive, the glowing, color-shifting results create a stunning, head-turning style perfect for show cars. Thanks to its roots in car culture and rap music, candy paint maintains an aura of luxury, status, and rebellious fun. Laying down a smooth coat of candy lacquer is all about maximizing light reflectivity for a wet, candied effect. When done right, a candy paint job looks good enough to lick!