Wrinkle Painting Exhaust Shields

I had a set of exhaust shields that needed to be wrinkle painted. I’ve tried several different wrinkle paint methods and have found a technique that I like. The trick is to get the part evenly heated so the wrinkle finish is even. This is easily done in the summer time when the midday sun is hot and even, but I had to find another way to do it in winter. An oven would be the first choice, but using the kitchen oven will fill the house with the smell of baking paint, so I would not advise this method for the sake of domestic bliss!

There are several types wrinkle paint available in spray cans, and I have had good results with “VHT Wrinkle Plus.” I’ve used others like Plasikote, and Eastwood, but had mixed results. I like to see a coarse wrinkle finish and have found Eastwood to be too fine. Admittedly, formulas change, so I don’t know how these products work today, but I know I can get the VHT product easily, and know I can get consistent results.

Powder coating is another option, but I found the company I used gave a wrinkle finish that was too fine. I don’t know if the powder coating process can control the level of coarseness, but I know I can vary the amount of wrinkle with the VHT product.

I repurposed an old BBQ grille to do my wrinkle paint curing using a hot plate for the heating element. The method I have found works for me is to preheat the part to about 130 degrees F (54 C) before painting. I apply several heavy coats of paint as per the instructions on the can before putting the part back on the grille for final heating.

With the grille closed and heated from 130-150 degrees F, I let the wrinkle paint do its thing for the next 15-20 minutes. The heavy coating of paint will slowly wrinkle up but will remain soft to the touch for at least a day or so. After removing it from the heat, I let the parts cure and harden for a few days before installing them on the car.

I shot a video showing the process. If you have any techniques that you would like to share, feel free to comment of the Youtube channel. Thanks!