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How To Paint Clear Plastic RC Car Bodies

Painting your clear plastic RC body is pretty much like painting any RC body. Painting the body of your RC car can add customization to your car, making it look new and shiny again.A fresh paint job will also make your RC car stand out from other cars as well as give you a custom look and feel. 

If it’s your first time painting your RC body, you may consider it quite tough, but it’s really not much of a big deal once you get the hang of it. You just need to have the right painting materials and work carefully, and you’ll have a great paint job done in no time. Let’s now go through the whole process of painting your RC body.

If you are interested in watching a video on how to best paint your RC car body you can do so below. 

Cleaning and Masking the Car Body

First step: stripping

Strip off the existing paint on the RC body by spraying or coating your RC body in a chemical paint stripper for polycarbonate Lexan. Leave the stripping chemical on the RC body for the recommended time (typically 3-12 hours) as on the cleaner’s instructions, then use a washcloth or sponge to scrape off the paint, using a piece of cloth, dry off the RC body. 

When going through this process safety is important so be sure and read all of the instructions before you ever begin. .

Second step: trimming

Trim the body to the specifications of your vehicle if it’s a new RC body. If you trim it after painting, you could damage your brand new paint job. Put the new body over your car’s chassis to test the fit. Take note of the areas that are too large or that brush up against the wheels, and use a knife or scissors to trim these areas back a little bit. Curved bi-scissors are the best to get smooth and precise cuts on the RC body. 

After trimming, if the edges are jagged or rough, take the time to sand down the RC body so you don’t have those still there after painting. 

Third step: washing

Thoroughly wash your RC body before you begin painting. You will want to use water and some non-abrasive dish soap (Dawn works really well). Be sure to remove any dust and debris so you can get very smooth paint coats. Dry off your RC body with a soft, lint-free cloth before you paint.

Fourth step: drawing the design

Use a marker to draw your design over the RC body, if you’re making a complex design. This will provide a blueprint for you when applying masking tape and painting your car. Use a permanent marker to prevent the lines from rubbing off while you paint. If you’re just applying a new coat of paint, there’s no need to start by drawing your design. 

Keeping your design simple will make your painting easier, especially if it’s your first time.

You can also use designs that you print off from the internet to get some cool effects as well. Again, just know that the more elaborate your painting needs to be the longer the paint job will take you. 

Fifth step: masking

Cover the parts you’re not painting with the first color with masking tape. Cut out different pieces of masking tape for each color, and as you progress through your painting, you can remove them. Firmly press down the masking tape to prevent jagged edges on your paint job. 

Always paint dark colors to light colors, so the darker colors don’t end up bleeding through the lighter ones. Don’t rip off the masking tape unevenly either. It is best to use a sharp knife or scissors to cut it off so it can neatly cover or create your design.

Applying the First Coat

First step

Pick a spray paint designed for polycarbonate Lexan. Generic spray paint will not last and will probably fade unevenly. Don’t mix different brands of spray paint either as it can lead to splotchy or uneven colors.

Second step

Paint your car in an area that’s well ventilated, outdoors, preferably. Wear safety goggles and a disposable respirator mask to protect your face and mouth while you’re doing the painting. If you’re painting in a garage or shed, leave all the windows and doors open and stay as close to the open area as you can. If you feel nauseated or lightheaded, discontinue the painting immediately and leave the area.

Third step

Hold the can 2-3 inches away from the body you’re painting so as to avoid having a too heavy of a coat and blotchy areas.

Fourth step

Spray the RC body from one end to the other and keep the paint can moving as you spray. If you spray too long in one spot, you’re likely going to end up with an uneven paint coat. Check your coats and retouch faint or blotchy areas as necessary when you’ve covered the whole body.

Adding More Coats, Decals, and Colors

First step

To get a darker and richer color, apply extra coats. Since most colors will require about 2-3 coats to get full color, you don’t have to worry if your first coat looks quite pale. Add as many coats as it takes to get the color you want.

Second step

Allow each coat to dry before applying more coats. How long the paint will take to dry depends on the brand (it could take between 20 minutes and an hour). As soon as your paint coat is dry, it should go from glossy to dull.

You can use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process but keep it moving and about 2-3 inches away from the RC body and avoid using very heavy air to spoil your paint. Normally, it should take anywhere between a few minutes and an hour to dry.

Third step

Move to the next color when you’re done with the first. When the last coat is dry, take off the masking tape covering the area you’re about to paint a different color. Paint that area just as you painted the first color. Continue this process of painting the body and removing the masking tape until you have painted the whole body.

Fourth step

When the last color has dried, add decals to the body. Decals are perfect for adding designs that masking tapes can’t handle. Carefully place your decals on the body of the vehicle to avoid smudging your painting.

Fifth step

To make sure that your spray paint or decals won’t peel off and to achieve a glossy sheen for your vehicle, spray a thin, clear spray paint (made for polycarbonate Lexan) over the car’s body. Let this last coat dry for about 30 minutes to an hour. Then you can race with your RC car.


Painting your clear plastic RC car works about the same as painting any RC car body. Honestly, painting an RC car body is a lot easier than many people make it out to be and the best part is if you mess up then it is easy to fix it. You can simply strip the paint and start all over again! 

Painting your own RC body will allow you to use your creativity and individualism to create the paint job of your dreams and help your RC car stand out anywhere that you go.