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Improving(?) an aged cloth headliner with Chalk Paint
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56D500boy
Posted 2017-09-09 12:22 PM (#548040)
Subject: Improving(?) an aged cloth headliner with Chalk Paint



Expert

Posts: 2031
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Location: Lower Mainland BC
Okay. No doubt about it, this is a hack job. I'll admit that. However....

When I got my 56 Dodge a year ago, it had sat in an unheated high rise apartment tower garage for 25 years, some of those under a poly tarp. I don't know what the headliner looked like before it went into that garage but by the time I got to the car, the headliner looked worse than the two before photos below. Very dark and possibily mildewed. Considering that the original headliner was a light blue mouse fur material, it was embarrassingly horrible.

I investigated the options. Obviously number one was a replacement headliner - they cost around US$250, not so bad BUT when I learned from a factory service manual that proper headliner installation included removal of the rear window and the rubber window gasket, I knew that I couldn't do it myself and the cost would run towards or above US$500 to buy the headliner and have it professionally installed. Not right now thanks. That can be the long term solution.

In the short term, I investigated different means of dieing/painting the headliner. I tried a couple of spray products but they did not work. Then I discovered Chalk Paint and how it has been used to paint cloth furniture. I decided to try it and watched a few Youtube videos on the procedure. I went to my local paint store and bought a quart of Chalk Paint in an appropriate light blue colour (I selected the colour, they mixed it to my selection).

The application involved a water spray bottle to moisten the cloth, a stiff paint brush (2" in my case) and the paint. I started by lightly spraying down a section of the headliner and then I started in with the brush and the paint. The initial application involved kind of a swirling motion to push the paint into the pores of the cloth. There were some lapping strokes but mostly swirling. As I painted the moistened section, I sprayed ahead into the next area. I started sitting in the back seat, working from the passenger side across and then back from the driver's side to the passenger side, and so on. Spraying ahead and painting behind. Eventually I had to sit in the front seat and follow the same process. For some reason in the front seat I decided to mask off the windlace and the mirror base, whereas as in the rear I just used my amateur house painting skills (many houses) to cut in without masking.

The first quart took me across the entire headliner and a bit more. It didn't look even because the paint soaked in at different rates in different areas, but I wasn't worried. I let it dry for a couple of days and then sanded the result (120 grit) before buying another quart and applying the second coat. Again, I sprayed ahead with water and painted behind. This time, in addition to the swirling motion there was more lapping strokes to help even things out. The second coat took maybe a third of the can. It looked better but still some unevenness. Fine. I had lots of paint for a third coat.

So after another day of letting it dry and sanding (again), I applied the third and what I am calling the final coat. It is NOT perfect but it is much better. The interior is much brighter and less depressing than before I started. As I progress with the car and improve other things, I will return to the headliner and likely replace it with a proper new cloth headliner, likely professional done, with a new rear window gasket as per the factory service manual. In the meantime, the third coat used very little paint and I probably still have about 40% of the can left if I want to try yet another coat. (At this point, the headliner is more like vinyl than cloth, which is fine with me anyway).

Here are the photos, before and after, with a 55 Custom Royal in the same colours as my 56 as the before and then my 56 with 3 coats of chalk paint as the after. Remember, I did say at the start that I know this is a hack job but it is better than doing nothing.

L)

Edited by 56D500boy 2017-09-09 12:28 PM




(55CustomRoyalWithHeadlinerIssues_1.jpg)



(55CustomRoyalWithHeadlinerIssues_2.jpg)



(56DodgeHeadlinerWith3CoatsOfChalkPaint_1.jpg)



(56DodgeHeadlinerWith3CoatsOfChalkPaint_2.jpg)



Attachments
----------------
Attachments 55CustomRoyalWithHeadlinerIssues_1.jpg (199KB - 16 downloads)
Attachments 55CustomRoyalWithHeadlinerIssues_2.jpg (161KB - 16 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeHeadlinerWith3CoatsOfChalkPaint_1.jpg (103KB - 15 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeHeadlinerWith3CoatsOfChalkPaint_2.jpg (109KB - 17 downloads)
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Old Ray
Posted 2017-09-09 7:20 PM (#548068 - in reply to #548040)
Subject: RE: Improving(?) an aged cloth headliner with Chalk Paint



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Posts: 249
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Location: Invermere B.C. Canada - Rocky Mountains
Hey, that looks really good.

Do you think the chalk paint would work on the plastic / or whatever it is headliner in a Suburban wagon?

Thanks.
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56D500boy
Posted 2017-09-09 7:40 PM (#548070 - in reply to #548068)
Subject: RE: Improving(?) an aged cloth headliner with Chalk Paint



Expert

Posts: 2031
200025
Location: Lower Mainland BC
Old Ray - 2017-09-09 7:20 PM Hey, that looks really good.
Do you think the chalk paint would work on the plastic / or whatever it is headliner in a Suburban wagon? Thanks.


Thanks Ray. I think it looks *better* but I wouldn't say "good". My mantra is "better", as in "I am trying to betterify my car, i.e. make it better than when I found it".

I don't know what you have in your wagon but if it isn't something that absorbs water (like my cloth headliner), I would guess that chalk paint won't work.

However, that said, there are probably other paints that would work.

Duplicolour and SEM make paints for vinyl for example. Or maybe regular Benjamin Moore semi-gloss Latex. You'll have to experiment.



Edited by 56D500boy 2017-09-09 7:41 PM
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dlyle
Posted 2017-09-11 11:43 AM (#548160 - in reply to #548040)
Subject: Re: Improving(?) an aged cloth headliner with Chalk Paint



Veteran

Posts: 140
10025
Location: Morgan Hill, CA
For the plastic or vinyl headliner you can use vinyl dye paint which is an aerosol. I've used it several times and it came out great.
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FINS!
Posted 2017-09-26 11:46 AM (#549186 - in reply to #548040)
Subject: RE: Improving(?) an aged cloth headliner with Chalk Paint


Extreme Veteran

Posts: 418
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Wow, what an interesting idea and it looks great. Thanks for posting, I've got a headliner that's cloth that is just like yours, I think I'll try this if it doesn't clean up.
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