to order, call:

01954 231 308

Craftmaster Paints Ltd
Unit 13, Norman Way Ind Est,
Over, Cambs, CB24 5QE

Get in Touch via Our Contact Page

Hints and Tips

Below are some hints and tips based on the questions we're asked most frequently. Click on a hint to be taken to the description, and then "Back to Top" to return here.

Alternatively, you can download a (PDF) copy of these Hints and Tips here.

Before Starting

Protective Clothing

It is essential to use the correct protective equipment at the appropriate times throughout the painting process. We recommend the following but you should satisfy yourself as to the overall equipment needed.

Goggles: For protecting your eyes from dust and flying debris when preparing the surface for painting (be it sanding or grinding).

Dust Masks: For when sanding and preparing the surface.

Safety Gloves: For protecting your hands whilst using power tools (sanders, grinders & etc.). Barrier Cream: To protect the hands whilst using paints and solvents.

Chemical Masks should not be necessary if working in an open, well ventilated space.

Back to Top

General Equipment

Dual Action Sander: For large areas of rubbing down. Be very careful not to remove too much paint by sanding or you could easily undo all the work of the last coat and greatly reduce film thickness.

Detail Sander: For less accessible areas.

Wire Brush / Cup Brush Attachment for Electric Drill: For removal of surface rust .

Degreaser for Bare Steel: To remove any oily contamination, white spirit is ideal for this purpose rather than commercial panel wipes etc. Do not degrease between paint coats. Bare steel once degreased, must be allowed time to regain temperature lost as a result of solvent evaporation – steel can lose as much as 6 degrees during this process.

Brushes: We only recommend the use of Purdy Monarch Elite paint brushes. They are by far the best available. In each painting operation, always use the biggest brush as manageable for any given area.

Masking Tape: On the very edge of the work area apply Craftmaster Low Tack Tape, bordered by a good quality paper masking tape to account for overrun of brush strokes.

Tack Rags: Sticky cloth for removing dust and small particles immediately prior to painting.

Rollers: If required (and we always recommend that you at least try brushing in the first instance), we suggest the best quality glossing rollers that you can find.

Clean Rags: These must lint free and are used for general cleaning purpose, paint splashes etc. White Spirit: For brush and general cleaning only – Do not add to the paint.

Paint Kettles: To decant appropriate amounts of paint for any given tasks. Additives (see below: materials) should added to the decanted paint and not to the original tin.

Abrasives (Mechanical): For primers and undercoats, and where needed, we’d suggest a P400 paper is as coarse as you would wish to go. If you have an adequate smooth finish then a finer grade such as P600 would be better.

Between gloss top coats P800 is the most coarse to use.

Before the final gloss top coat, if the surface is already flat then P1200 may be used. If the surface is not flat (dust, brush marks etc.) use P800 then follow up with P1200 to remove sander marks as required.

Abrasives (Hand): Advice as above for primers and undercoats, though use a rubbing block to ensure a flat even rub down.

Between gloss top coats P800 followed by P1200 wet and dry. When using wet and dry use lots of soapy water and rinse all residue with clean water.

Between varnish coats P1200 wet and dry, as above.

Back to Top

Estimating Paint Requirements

This is something you will have to work out for yourself. We can attempt to assist but you are best placed to work things as you are (hopefully) physically in the presence of what you are working on.

All paint applied by brush (or roller) has a theoretical coverage of either 12 square metres, or 120 square feet per litre, (Anti Slip is the exception at 10 square metres).

When applying by spray this rises to 30 square metres, however extra coats must be applied to compensate for the resultant thin film thickness.

We recommend you break down what you are painting into small square areas, where possible to aid estimation. Square surface area is calculated by taking the width of an area and multiplying it by the height, removing any areas from the calculation that do not require paint (windows, air vents, etc.).

Back to Top


It is strongly recommended that our products are applied indoors, in a dry, well ventilated environment. This area should be free from dust, and other contamination and preferably should be segregated from other work spaces.

The ambient temperature should be maintained as stable as possible throughout the painting process. Any heating should be left on throughout the job, and should be provided by dry fuel. Liquid fuelled heaters cause condensate to form which can enter the paint and lead to eventual blistering.

Try not to paint in conditions hotter than 20 degrees and for a minimum you must always paint at least 2 degrees above the dew point. (Contact us for a dew point calculator).

If you must paint outside, first you must understand that this will be very difficult if seeking a good level of paint finish. Never paint in direct sunlight, or in breezy conditions. Always finish painting at least 2 hours before any likelihood of precipitation.

Back to Top

Good Practice

If at all possible, have dust extraction equipment on sanders, and other mechanical equipment. This is to protect the environment and yourself. Dust extracted directly from underneath sanding pads will prolong the life and increased the efficiency of the pad. Always avoid breathing in any dust or debris produced by sanding (see protective clothing).

Ensure that your operations do not impinge on other people or their property. I.e. flying dust, fine metal particles.

Respect your surroundings, don’t pour white spirit down the drain or into water – or other silly things that may get you into trouble.

Back to Top


Craftmaster Rust Treatment

Only use on metal where you have exhausted all other means of rust removal. Always remove as much rust as is possible by mechanical means prior to using Rust Treatment. Rust Treatment is not a miracle cure for rust, but used correctly can be very effective. Make sure you check out the technical data sheet before application.

Craftmaster Anti Corrosive Grey Primer

This is designed to adhere to bare steel and iron, without the prior use of etching primer, and provides a sound base for Craftmaster High Build Undercoat. Like most such primers, Grey Primer is porous and can absorb any atmospheric moisture. However it will release the moisture through evaporation. Therefore, before over coating, the material must be allowed to ‘breathe’ in an ambient temperature of at least 2 degrees above the dew point. This is entirely normal practice, and we are happy to provide (on request) a dew point calculator to assist in ensuring the correct environment.

If the substrate you are working on has been supplied in primer, we strongly recommend that the primer is removed and you start from bare metal to ensure a moisture free base for further paintwork that will be compatible with our products.

We do not recommend the rubbing down of Craftmaster Anti Corrosive Grey Primer. It dries open and as such is always ready to accept further coats of Anti Corrosive Grey Primer or High Build Undercoat.

Don’t forget to read the technical data sheet before applying paint.

Other Primers

Substrates other than steel and iron will require different primers (though the same Undercoats and Top Coats can be used).

e.g.: Aluminium and Brass will require Craftmaster Etch Primer, and Wood will require our Extremely Pink Wood Primer. For materials such as stainless and galvanised steel contact us directly for advice, though avoid painting them if possible!

Undercoats & Top Coats

All advice relating to these can be found within the specific technical date sheets on each product, which are available on the ‘products’ page of our website.

We will give you one quick tip on our High Build Undercoat – if applying on consecutive days you don’t need to rub it down as the chemical bond will be sufficient. Rubbing down would then commence on the final Undercoat before application of the top coat.


Craftmaster Clear Varnish provides a fantastic layer of protection, particularly in terms of colour retention via its 98% UV reflective properties (see data sheet for details).

Maintenance of the varnish is key to its longevity. If the paintwork is kept outside in all weathers without cover, we recommend recoating with 1 additional coat every 2-3 years.


The only additive we recommend when applying our paint by brush or roller is our own PPA Brushing Additive. They should be used sparingly to aid application in adverse conditions.

Do not add White Spirit to any of our products (with the exception of our Extremely Pink Wood Primer).

Synthetic Thinners can be used for spraying most of our products, please see the technical data sheets on the products page for specific advice. Do not use Thinners when brushing or rollering.

Back to Top

The Painting Process

Brush Application

Firstly it may seem obvious but make sure the paint you choose is fit for purpose. E.g. of a suitable temperature range and check colours for accuracy before you start work.

The object of Coach Painting is to apply a good even coverage of paint with fast brush strokes (at all angles) covering a small area (about 30” square). Once empty immediately refill the brush and repeat the process, brushing into the area you've just done. As soon as a section is covered (the first upright 30” strip of a vertical panel for instance) lay the paint off top to bottom. Do this from start to finish very quickly and then keep on going in the same fashion until the panel is complete - always brushing back into the section you've just done. Don't stop to admire you work (or for any reason) until the complete panel is finished.

Always use the biggest brush you can handle.

If you are inexperienced practice first!

Decant into a paint kettle or similar container only sufficient paint to complete the area to be coated. This will keep the balance of the paint in its original tin clean and free from contamination.

A typical paint build on steel or iron would be two coats each of Primer, Undercoat, and Coach Enamel followed by two coats of Clear Varnish if required. For a finer finish use an extra coat of undercoat and perhaps two more of enamel. This allows for more thorough rubbing down and better coverage on weaker colours. Please see the individual product data sheets for specific advice on the number of coats required, to achieve the minimum recommended dry film thickness.

Never apply two coats of paint on the same day unless there are clear instructions to do so on the label or technical data sheet.

Make sure that the rubbed down Undercoat for all reds is of an even colour before you apply any gloss.

When you have rubbed the surface down ready for the first top coat (and every time you rub down the paintwork) wipe it over with a tack rag. This sticky piece of cloth with remove and debris and dust from the surface providing you with a better surface to paint on.

Roller Application

The majority of the advice issued for Brushing, applies equally to Roller application. All that changes is the technique.

The best technique for larger areas involves two people. One to apply the paint with a glossing roller, the other to follow immediately behind applying a vertical laying off stroke with a paint brush. The two persons should work as closely together as possible.

Spray Application

Please refer to product data sheets, for the limited information available on spray application of our paints.


There are two types of polishing. The first (and what we recommend) is the standard ongoing maintenance of washing and polishing associated with all paintwork. We offer our own Carnauba Wash and Carnauba Wax for the purpose and suggest frequent washing with intermediate polishing. Though please don’t do either until 6- 8 weeks after the last coat of paint has been applied, it takes that long to fully dry and harden.

The other type of polishing is that commonly associated with automotive refinishing, involving the application of cutting compounds followed by mechanical polishing with mops. We do not generally recommend this for our paintwork and offer no advice on the process. If it must be attempted, then you have to wait for 6-8 weeks after the last coat of paint has been applied. Be aware though you may not be able to improve the shine or depth of the finish and whilst imperfections may be removed, this may be at the cost of some of the shine.

Repaints over existing paintwork

This is a very hard area to offer solid advice on. Our firm recommendation must always be to remove all existing paintwork and start from scratch. All advice in this section is offered on the understanding that we can offer no guarantee on the longevity of the results. If in any doubt please call us to discuss by telephone.

Provided the existing paintwork is well adhered to the substrate thoroughly wash the surface removing any loose materials, stains, or general contamination. Follow this up with a thorough degrease and then a thorough rub down with P240 paper.

Rust should be dealt with at this point, by all means necessary and the application of rust treatment if required.

All spots of bare substrate should be covered with an appropriate primer. (Note that Etch Primer on aluminium react with existing paint adjacent to the area treated). Build up these areas with primer coats to compensate for the thin film thickness of paint compared with the rest of the paintwork.

We would recommend the application of two coats of High Build Undercoats, though you may deem one as sufficient.

From this point on, apply as per our normal instructions, in line with the technical data sheets .

Back to Top

Common Problems

If the paint is drying too fast, and is difficult to apply to the detriment of the finish in the first instance check the atmospheric conditions and use our PPA additive if appropriate. If the problem persists it may be necessary to use a bigger brush carrying more paint and apply at a much greater speed. The optimum amount of paint to apply could be described as ‘almost too much’.

The secret of Coach Painting is the speed at which it is done. The best way to keep a ‘wet edge’ once you are confident is to ‘go for it’. Use the primer and undercoat layers as practice.

Different colours will perform in different ways. Some will go on beautifully and others may be a struggle, both in terms of getting a good finish and in terms of coverage. All this depends on the formulation. Our Standard Range is all tried and tested, and so to be recommended. We’ll always give our best advice on special colours but may not always be able to be certain as to their final characteristics. Remember that the darker the colour the weaker it gets, this is also true of bright vibrant colours like reds and oranges. Paler and duller colours tend to work the best and last the longest.

If a fly or other contamination lands in wet paint, leave it alone! Wait until the paint is dry then remove.

If you find a run or sag when the paint is dry don't rub it down; it will still be wet underneath. Slice the top off it with a sharp blade and then leave it to dry again. Next day you will be able to rub it down successfully and re-coat either the immediate area or (if it seems best) the whole panel.

Applying the correct amount of paint is key, and as noted above there is a fine line between too much and just enough. Problems can also arise from applying insufficient paint, commonly in the appearance of air bubbles when dry. If the thickness of the paint is too thin, then it will dry faster and what would normally flow out, or dissipate will not have a chance to do so.

There are a hugh variety of problems that can occure when painting, and the above are just a small number of common ones. Please contact us for more specific advice if needed.