NOTE: This is the way I paint custom balltops for my friends and myself. There is probably a better system out there.
What you need:
- A balltop. I normally use a plain white ball.
- Pencils. One for drawing and one you don’t care about ruining.
- A felt tip marker. I have one of the fancy artist one but a normal Sharpie will work fine.
- Paints and brushed. I use model car/trains/RC car paints in an asortment of colors and types(acrylic, emamel).
- 600 grit and 2000 or higher wet/dry sandpaper.
- Valspar Clear Glosse Interior/Exterior. I find this brand the most consistant and it leaves a true clear coat with no yellow hue.
**Optional **(but makes your life I ton easier):
- A bolt that will screw into your balltop. I was lucky enough to stumble upon one out in the shop. If I knew that actual size I would gladly post it. (Updated 6/29)* Want I have is a 10mm finethread bolt into a 3/8 hexheaded socket drive that I lock into a cordless drill. Obviously a 10mm won’t fit into a 3/8 drive, so I ground down the head some so it will fit. The best way I would suggest to go about making one is go to your local hardwarestore with a balltop and start screwing in bolts 'til you find one that fits. Grab it and go find a drive that’ll fit it. #rednecktech*
- A cordless drill and an adaptor that will fit your bolt.
- Rubbing Compound for final polishing. I use 3M’s Rubbing Compound. It’s semi cheap, it’s easy to find at any autoparts store and it small enough to store with my other art supplies.
- An old rag or towel you don’t mind getting dirty.
First, using the 600 grit sandpaper rough the entire surface of the ball. This is to give your paints and markings somehting to grip to. After that using an old pencil screw it into the ball. This gives you a nice handle to use while painting.
Now using the pencil scribble out what you want your ball to be. I’m making a Honda top.
When you like what you got you can try to clean up your ball some with sandpaper(I wouldn’t try an easier because it tends to just smeer and makes it look dirty) or go straight into inking your lines. If you don’t want to have any dark black lines on you ball then skip to the next step.
Lines done. Time to paint. Try to keep you coats as thin as possible and keep in mind that paints don’t always work well together. Make sure to give cost enough time to dry before applying another.
Painting done? Stop and let dry for AT LEAST 24-42 HOURS. Now is when I would go back in and do a little touch ups with the marker. I like having clean dark lines.
Clear coating. The very first coat of clear should be very light. Think of it as locking everything in place. Follow the directions on the can and apply 3-4 heavier coats. After you apply the last coat let it dry for another 24-48 hours.
Remove the ball from the pencil and screw it onto the bolt and powerdrill combo. Using the 2000(or higher)grit wet/dry sandpaper and some water sand the ball down some. You just want to remove the pumps and get it as smooth as you can. DO NOT SAND TOO MUCH. You will begin to eat into the base colors and this will be annoying to fix. When you have it semi smooth(it wont be completely smooth and thats fine) spray 3-4 more coats of clear. Keep doing this until after sanding the ball is completely smooth.
When it’s nice and smooth you’re done. It’s has a dull finish and within a week or two of normal use it will naturally polish over.
NOTE: THE PAINT STILL NEEDS TO HARDEN. With normal use you should be fine. But if your grip is really strong or you tend to store your stick in a bag I would let the ball set and harden for at least a week. A month would be better.
If you don’t want to wait or just want a very shinny ball using the drill and an old rag apply some rubbing compound. If you really want it to “pop” wax it with some car wax.
My sugarskull top has lasted little over a year now and still looks the same as it always has.
EXAMPLES(not all completed):
The same process with a little modding can be done to paint buttons as well. I’m not sure on how long they’ll hold up but as I said before my sugarskull top is still holding up well.