Three (3) Stage Pearl Paint Job – AutoBody Q&A

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Q&A: If I do a three (3) stage with pearl, can I use clear coat as the second stage?

Yes, absolutely! Three (3) Stage means that your inner coat/middle stage is a carrier of some sort. You can use a clear coat as a carrier or a clear base coat. They sell certain carriers for certain custom projects but you don’t have to use what they sell. 

For instance, House of Color has a “Kandy Karrier” which is literally a clear coat that you mix your candy concentrate into, spray it, let that flash, then just put more regular clear on top of it. You could just use a regular clear coat as a candy carrier and that’s what we gonna do in this project here. 

And yes, you can use a clear coat as your second stage, as a carrier to carry pearl, flakes, or candy. The only thing is when you’re using a clear coat and you screw up on that stage, you have to do the paint job over. Like if you ran pearl, flake, or candy during that stage.

Like me, I ran candy because I’m rushing it. I wanted it to get dark, I was rushing it and I ran it. So that’s why it’s good to use a clear base coat which is PPG. You can get PPG DBC500 is the product that I use, it’s a clear base coat more for pearl and flake.

For candy, you’re gonna want to use a clear coat or inner carrier clear from the candy product that you are using to lay it on. Then you put clear on top of it.

Q&A: How fine do I need to sand before applying a 2 part sealer before the base coat? Would 500 be fine enough? Would a follow-up with a gray scuff pad on a DA be a good idea or no? The base will be a pearl.

You should be finishing at 400-500 grit. A 600 could be good as well, but I think for me I finish off at 400, then you could do a two-part sealer on if you want. And then you could put a basecoat on. After you do the sealer, you don’t sand, just tack it and you paint, right top of it. I wouldn’t be doing any D.As after the sealer. Just after the sealer, you put the base right on top of it.

Q&A: Does a retarder just make your reducer slower?

It does a little and it also makes clearcoat duller. So if you want to do like a matte clear coat on top, like if you’re looking for a hot rod custom flat black look. You wanna put clear on it, you could put a retarder in it, to basically drop the sheen. 

We’re going into that stuff as well. So there’s a lot of content that I’m going to be making soon.


Don’t forget to go to to get your free Auto Body training and if you’re interested to join VIP, definitely check that out. We’ve helped tens of thousands of people from across the world.

Learn this skill set, apply it, make money from doing Auto Body jobs and they’re part-time opening up their own body shops. Just customize your own car and feeling the pride and joy of creating something cool from your imagination. Just doing some cool projects. 

Thank you guys! Talk to you soon!


For More Helpful Links:

Explaining The Use Of Mid Coat When Painting With Pearls And Flakes: Auto Body Q&A 

Primer Types and Sandpaper Grits to Use For Each: Auto Body Q&A

Can You Sand Out Runs In Basecoat and Respray Days Later?

2k Filler Sealer Primer Flash Time (Is Sanding Needed Between Coats?

Prepping Before Car Paint: Sanding, Buffing, and PrimingT

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