Basecoat on a Powder Coated Cup

Let's talk about blinging up a powder coated cup.

First let's talk about the quality of the powder on all of the cups that I have tested.  It's crap, pure crap.  But, it has adhesion and can offer a solution for some designs that are very fast to produce.

Fast to produce means you can sell at a lower price point.

They also could be a great jumping point for "Man" or "Kid" cups.  Cool colors, some graphics and done.  Match the color to a car, team etc. could easily be done.

The cup featured here was done in less than an hour including clear coat.  A group of cups could be done at one time forming an assembly line for stock type cups.  

Vinyl graphics can be used, or stencils and airbrushing could be done.

Hydro Dipping with marble paints can also be applied from Beach Girlz Glitter.

This article shows one color.  Multiple colors can easily be done, but the time to produce would be extended a bit to maybe 2 hours.  

The cup in this article was purchased for $4.50 each.

Let's get on with the "how to"

I will have Amazon links to the items that I use, but similar items of other brands are available.  These are Amazon Affiliate Links.

  1. Clean the cup with Hot soapy water.
  2. Clean with Isopropal Alchol and a Spun Lace solvent towel wiping wet with one towel, and drying with a clean towel.  Do NOT use Acetone, Wax and Grease or harsh chemicals.  They will destroy the Crappy Powder Coating.
  3. Sand LIGHTLY with a Gray Scuff Pad.
  4. Mask any desired areas and set up for painting.
  5. Re-Clean with Isopropal Alcohol and Spun Lace towel to remove any oils, sanding sluge etc. 
  6.  Use a tack rag between any coats.
  7. Ready to apply the first color!

More products that I use are listed in the "Prepping a Stainless Cup" page.


For this particular cup we started with a pink cup.  White could have also been used with this color.  With Pearls, the base color can drastically change the color as illustrated here.

The left speed shape is over white.  The Right speed shape is over black with 1-2 light coats.  The center speed shape is over black with 3 light coats.  Iridescent series and the Super series change color a lot by the ground color.


Other pearls are not as color sensitive.  The rear one is over white, the front is over black.  About 2 coats.


Any color could be a choice including automobile colors.  These would not be as sensitive to base color, but most paints will cover better over the right color ground coat.  Example.  Yellow colors ALWAYS use a white ground coat.

Cup as purchased.


Cup cleaned, sanded, prepped and ready for paint.


One color applied


This was two coats of pearl Peach Red available on the website.  I used about a 1/2 ounce of basecoat per cup.

Generally about 10 minutes between coats dependent on temperature and air movement..

This basecoat is ready to apply a second color, nib dirt if needed within 15 minutes depending temperature and air movement.

I like to see a bit more time before appling stencils or vinyl graphics.  Especially graphics as they will trap solvents and can develop bubbles from the solvent escaping.

If doing multiple layers of painted graphics a coat of intercoat clear can be applied between colors as a bit of insurance if a bit of nibbing is needed.


Vinyl graphics and automotive clear coat applied.

Clear coat only side.


Clearcoat and Vinyl Side. Clearcoat is over the vinyl.


Finished in under an hour.  Possible delivery the next day.  Shipping I would wait a day or two to allow the clear coat to cure further especially if wrapping in bubble wrap.

The will be largely dependent on the clear coat used.

As for clear coat.  I used Limco LC4000.  A simple 4:1 clear that is fairly fast with a fast hardener.  I wouldn't get hung up too much on brands as long as it is a faster clear that is easy to spray.

Paint guns:  This really is not the job for an "air brush".  I use an Iwata LPH80 with a 1.2 tip.  " Mini Gun or also called a "Detail Gun".  We will be doing an article on guns in the future.  

Please note.  When purchasing a higher end gun, many do not include the cup.  The above link has a cup with it.   Research to get the necessary gun.  

For now, I will say a better gun will use less air, have a better more controlled pattern, and use less paint.  But cheap guns can be used.

If you are a member of my facebook Metal Flake and Pearlgroup, feel free to hit me up with any gun questions.  

Custom Aerosol with our Pearls are available in our Ebay Store.

Automotive Basecoat Clear is available on our website.  Please note that this is not clear coat.  This is a medium to use an an intercoat clear or to add metal flake or pearl to for spray application.

As always, please use in a well ventilated area using Personal Protection equipment including a Paint Respirator.















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