How to Blend Tri Coat Paint

Three stage paint is often an intimidating thought to a new paint but the reality is it\’s a very easy thing to apply. With three stage paint you have to apply two separate paint mixes, one over the other. Your typical three stage will consist of a solid color down first, then the pearls over top. In the case of this Nissan it utilizes pearl in both the ground coat and color in the midcoat.

For the sake of the new reader when I refer to a ground coat you can consider that the first base application and the mid coat is the second. Using the picture below the first application of base is on the left (groundcoat) and the second is on the right (midcoat). The groundcoat is what will cover your primer, the midcoat is quite transparent and it\’s only real purpose is to provide the pearls on top effect.

3 Stage Paint Both Stages

The reason we are doing this spot repair is because when we painted the hood and fender on this car our painter had to bring the color to the edge of the post causing a color difference (needed to spray further then anticipated). To correct it we will bring the color up the post and blend the clear also.


off color

To prepare the post for painting we have polished it with a coarse compound way beyond where we anticipate our clear blend ending to be on the safe side. Next we take some 3000 grit (3M Trizact) and sand where we anticipate our clear ending. You will see the arrow that serves the painter as a visual aid not to bring paint past this point as well as helping him know where to blend the clear. We want our clear to start blending at the edge of our 3000 grit scratches and also keep all of our base coat inside it too.


Sanded with 3000

Below you can see two coats of groundcoat have been applied. Each coat went out slightly further than the previous one. If there were primer to cover you would spray your groundcoat until it was fully covered before moving on to the midcoat.


Final Thre Stage

Next, we have applied 3 coats of midcoat. You can see how it fades out by looking at the masking tape beside the post. You will also notice it is kept within the 3000 scratches. The first coat will cover the groundcoat , the second a little bit further, the third a bit past the second. Midcoat is blended just like any other type of basecoat.

Last Coat of Three Stage

The Clear is applied in the usual way. The first coat will cover the entire basecoating (both ground and midcoat), the second one will be go slightly further and ideally will end with your 3000 scratches. From there blender is applied to fade out the clear. The photo below shows the blend off the gun, near the top you can see a speckled look that is typical to what a blended clear edge first looks like. From there it will be sanded and polished to create an unnoticeable transition.


3 Stage Final

Let me know what you think in the comments below!


Blending Three Stage Paint
How to Blend a Three Stage Paint


1 Reply to “How to Blend Three Stage Paint”

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