Whenever I do a project with plastic I find that no matter how hard I try (light layers, long cure times) it's always obvious that it's a DIY paint job.

How can I achieve a glossy finish like in this video (at the timestamp linked) that is glossy almost to the point of reflection but that is also consistent and smooth across the entire body? I've tried making glossy plastic finishes before but they are always patchy and unprofessional looking.

  • Hi Sean, can you tell us more about your projects? What materials do you use, what techniques, what is your workflow generally like? I fear that your question in its current state is hard to answer.
    – Joachim
    May 25, 2021 at 7:17

1 Answer 1


That may be the plastic itself rather than paint. Molding the parts using colored plastic and a mold with a mirror finish produces a surface like that.

Getting that kind of finish with paint basically requires "polishing" the paint. It is sanded with extremely fine sandpaper (grit in the thousands), then polishing compound, and buffed. It's essentially the same process as painting a car.

If you need to do that with small parts, do the painting process as you've described. If there's a lot of surface detail, skip the sandpaper. You can use toothpaste as polishing compound. When you buff it, don't let the surface heat up, as that will melt the paint and make the surface a mess. Car bodies have a lot of metal to suck away heat, but plastic is an insulator and heat will build quickly.

  • 1
    I had a look at the video. The plastic has a very different base color and was then painted / lacquered / varnished by another person (not shown in the video).
    – Elmy
    May 26, 2021 at 11:11

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