We’ve got the answers— the Summit Racing tech department tackles your automotive-related conundrums. This week, we’re sharing a few tips for spraying metal flakes.

F.B. Bloomington, IL

Q: I am planning on adding metal flake into my car’s paint to really make it pop. This will be my first time spraying flake, so do you have any special tips about the process? Should I use a special paint gun? Or is there a special setup for spraying flake?

A: There are a couple of things to watch out for regarding flakes.

First of all, know your flake. Roth Metal Flake, for example, offers five different grain sizes–and size does matter! That’s because the size of the flake determines the roughness of the finish and the amount of finish work required.

Gravity guns and siphons work well for applying flake, but you’ll need to adjust the gun tip size to the type of flake used. The chart below provides a great overview of the size of the metal flake and the corresponding paint gun tip required.

Metal Flake Size vs. Paint Spray Nozzle

Flake NameFlake SizeNozzle
Monster.025 Inch2.0mm
Standard.015 Inch1.7mm or less
Lil'.008 Inch    1.4mm or less
Baby.004 Inch  1.3mm or less
Trippin'.015-.008 Inch1.7mm to 1.4mm

You can see here how flake size affects the recommended nozzle size. No matter which brand you choose–Roth Metal Flake, House of Kolor, or any other–you should consult the instructions to choose the right tip size.

Here are a few general tips for applying flake:

  • The more material sprayed and the larger the flake size, the rougher the finish will be.
  • When applying the flake, do not strain the flake or use a strainer in the gun.
  • Flake should not be applied with an Air Brush.
  • Allow a flake job to properly dry down before polishing (remember, the cure process is a combination of time and temperature).

For more valuable advice on applying flake, check out these application guides from House of Kolor.