Hi, I belong to a newsgroup and this person owns his own restoration shop. he wrote a newsletter showing his technics on vinyl dye and prep work. So hopefully you might be able to use something out of this article below.
Lets talk about dying vinyl and painting plastic.............
Vinyl and can be dyed very nicely. You can really improve the looks of the interiors if you realize that dying vinyl is not hard or expensive.
First of all, there are a number of manufacturers that make good products to do this with. I know of a couple off hand. There is S.E.M. and Dupont. Most of the major paint manufacturers have a line of products that will do the job. My experience is with Dupont so I will talk about their product in my discussion.
It seems that no matter what manufacturers products you use they recommend some special products to prep and clean the vinyl prior to application of the dye or paint. Here is where I digress from the recommendations.
So, lets go step by step................
1) Get all your items out and handy so you can do all of them at one time. Any adjoining parts should be dyed all at once so you get the same shade on everything so it matches when installed.
2) When purchasing your dye you will probably have a choice of gloss you desire. I usually buy the glossy stuff and also get a small amount of the same dye in a medium gloss. When spraying I will use the glossy stuff first and see if it gives too "wet" of a look when it sets up. If it does look too glossy I will add some of the medium gloss to tone it down to where I want it to be.
3) Make sure you have all the trim off that you want to take off and then mask the rest so you do not get paint on any of it.
4) Scrub everything with a good water based cleaner. My preference is Comet cleanser and a brush. Make sure you rinse very well to get all the contaminants off. Let the parts totally dry. This is important.
5) Next you will need to clean everything with a good wax and grease remover. This stuff is availabe at any of the stores that sell the vinyl dye.
6) Now you are ready to set up the stuff for spraying. Before you go any further, make sure you have a good ventilated area and a good mask. This stuff stinks terribly. Do not do this in your garage that is attached to the house or someone may become very upset. Also, make sure you protect your lungs, they are not being supplied by any of the parts dealers and may never be made readily available so you will have to keep yours in the best condition possible. You are going to need a spray gun or maybe you were lucky enough to get the correct color in spray cans. You will need lacquer thinner. This is important. I use this to clean and prep prior to painting instead of all their recommended products. I have used this system for 20 years without a problem so I highly recommend it to you.
7) Get your dye into the gun and ready to go.
8) Now scrub down each piece to be dyed with lacquer thinner. Use plenty of it and change rags if you have to. You want to actually feel the vinyl soften just a bit. When you feel this happen stop scrubbing and get ready to apply the vinyl dye to this part before going on to the next part. This is the most important step I have found in this whole process. Reason for this is that the lacquer thinner will soften the vinyl to a point where the dye will "bite" into it and get a good hold so it adheres well. The next step is also quite important for this same reason.
9) Spray a good wet coat of dye on the part. If you spray it too dry, the solvents in the dye will not be able to get a "bite" into the vinyl. Once you have a good coat on this part you can go on to the next part and then as the dye tacks up you can put on successive coats to get the correct coloring on each of the parts. You will also want to pay close attention to getting a wet enough coat on successive sprayings that it will soak in and give a uniform appearance overall.
10) Let everything dry very good before trying to assembly any of the trim stuff.
11) When removing the masking tape from any trim that you had masked be careful not to pull up any of the paint from the adjacent vinyl surface. You may need to use a razor blade to separate these two areas prior to peeling off your tape. This is normal to have the paint "bridge" over to the tape and is nothing to worry about.
12) If you have problems or want someone to discuss this with, give me a call at 715-884-6546 during normal work hours here in Wisconsin.
Hope this helps anyone who is thinking of dying dash pads or painting plastics
ive had great luck dyeing--once i learned the vinyl prep routine/it is the key//ive used both types above and they are excellent...small pieces i use plasti-kote vinyl spray can/lg pieces my paint store can mix up qrts or more 4 my spray gun in my color.AGAIN vinyl prep into grain good/dry 100%