Sandpaper and paint can turn a pinewood block into the sleek body of a pinewood derby racer. The trick is knowing how to use your supplies and your skills.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- Coarse, medium-grit and fine sandpaper
- Liquid Sanding Sealer
- Enamel paint
- Decals or self-stick numbers
- Testor’s Glosscote clear gloss paint
- Floor wax paste
WHAT YOU’LL DO
Support Your Sandpaper
Begin by wrapping sandpaper in a block of wood 1 inch by 3 inches. Without a block of wood for support, sandpaper can leave dips and gullies in the pinewood body.
Round the corners of the pinewood with coarse sandpaper. For the squared-off look of an antique car or a modern Indy 500 car, sand the edges lightly. If you want the shape of Sprint or older Grand Prix cars, sand until the pinewood has an oval or elliptical shape.
Change to medium-grit paper for smoothing rough edges. Finish with fine sandpaper to remove any sanding marks.
Hide the Grain
Just painting the pinewood won’t hide the wood’s grain. Apply two coats of liquid Sanding Sealer (sold at hobby shops). Let the sealer dry overnight before sanding it lightly with fine-grit paper.
If the grain still shows, apply two more coats of sealer. Let it dry overnight and sand again. Repeat the process until the grain disappears.
Choose a color for your racer. Then apply two to three coats of enamel paint to the pinewood body. Spraying the model with paint from an aerosol can is easier than using a brush.
If you use a brush, dip only the lower third of the brush into the paint. Use single, smooth strokes instead of dabbing the paint on the model. Blend the strokes so they can’t be seen.
Pick a Number
Place a race number on the car. Buy self-stick numbers at stationery stores or decals at a hobby shop.
Seal and protect the race number by spraying the entire model with Testor’s Glosscote clear gloss paint. Other clear paints may make the numbers curl. Test the clear paint on a decal or number stuck to scrap plastic before spraying your racer.
Let the clear paint dry for at least a week. Then cover the model with floor wax paste and buff to a high gloss. The wax will protect the car and give your pinewood derby racer the look of shining steel.
More pinewood derby fun:
- Complete pinewood derby guide
- How to use science to make a fast pinewood derby car
- 100 amazing pinewood derby cars of 2014
- Click here to submit a picture of your car
- Secret tips to make your car go faster
- Make pinewood derby car display
- Watch video of a super-fast pinewood derby track
- Play Pedro’s Nitro Derby