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Another How-To: Tinted Tails


Well-Known Member
December 26, 2011
Reaction score
City, State
Muncie, IN
Year, Model & Trim Level
'03 Ford Explorer Limited
So I have been tinting tails for the last several years now and I think I have finally got it down pat. Here's my process on how I do it:

Rubbing Alcohol
600 grit wet/dry, 1000 grit wet/dry, 1500 grit wet/dry
VHT Nightshades
Krylon Fusion Clearcoat (UV Resistant)
Blue or Green Painters Tape *Note: The green painters tape tends to give a finer line than the blue*
Buffing compound of your choice

The biggest thing in painting anything is clean, clean, clean.

1. After you get your tail light out of your truck, first thing I do is put tape over the light holes to ensure no water gets in the tail light.

2.Take your rubbing alcohol and clean the tail lights off before you do any sanding. This will ensure that no oils or dirt will contaminate the plastic causing the VHT not to adhere.

3. After you clean off the lights, take your painters tape and tape off the reverse light. The best way I found out how to do it is two separate pieces. Do one half and then do the other. It seems to make it a little easier to see where the clear meets the red. If you have a light, you can shine it into the reverse hole and it will help a ton. You can either trace off where the clear meets the red or you can go straight to the razor and trim off the excess tape around the reverse lense. Of course, do this for both.


4. Take your light and your 600 grit sandpaper and a 5 gallon bucket or something similar and basically all you are doing is giving the VHT something to adhere to. This will also get rid of any imperfections in the plastic. Be sure to keep the sandpaper wet. Scuff the entire surface of the lights and then wipe them off and let them sit to dry off, or use a hair dryer or heat gun to speed up the process.

5. Once they are dry, take your alcohol and clean the lenses off again. Now we are ready to spray some VHT. I personally do about 3-4 medium coats. The trick is to use even coats and movements. When I did mine, I did side to side movements. When you spray, make sure that it looks like glass after you spray. If you can see what looks like little dust particles, that called spraying dry coats. Dry coats will mean more sanding in the end to give you a nice finish. Be sure to give 5-10mins for the VHT to between coats.


6. After you have sprayed, I give them at least 2 hours to sit and cure. If you handle them too early you can leave fingerprints in the or smudge the VHT. After you wait your two hours, you can take the lights, take off your tape that is covering the reverse lense, and use your 1000grit, some water and sand down the entire lense. This is similar to when you scuffed the surface of the lights. This will give the clear something to adhere to and also give you a chance to sand any dust or debris out of the VHT before clearing them. Just be careful of all your edges and not to stay in the same spot too long.

7. Clean, clean, clean. Once get them to where you are happy with them, take your alcohol and clean the lenses off one last time. Once you are done, you are ready for clear.

8. Spraying the clear is very similar to spraying VHT, just clear is a little bit harder to tell when you have enough. I did about 4-5 coats of clear on my set. Using side to side motions seems to be the best way IMO. Same times apply to the clear as did the VHT. 5-10mins between coats. Let them sit for at least 2 hours before handling them.


9. I got away with not having to sand down my set after the clearcoat process. If you do it right, you won't have to, but if you have any dirt or debris that gets in the clear while you are spraying, this is your chance to get rid of it. This is the same process as before after we sprayed the VHT, but this time use the 1500 grit instead of the 1000 grit since you will have to buff the lights out after. If you don't have to sand anything out of your lights, you are finished.

Here is my finished product:





Here is parking lights:

And brake lights:

Naturally I forgot to pull the third brake light in this entire process so I still have to do it, but it will be done soon.

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awesome write up, between yours and maxstealths write up mine should come out lookin great.

Not really hard to do at all. Some people do it different from others. I just try to make sure I cover all my bases to make sure I end up with a good finished product. I've done about 8-10 sets and they all seem to get better each time.

awesome job