How To Custom Paint A Union Jack Flag

This image How-To consists of painting a Union Jack flag on a Mini Cooper S. From start to finish. From prep, to layout, to painting the pinstripe first, to painting the design along with clearcoating. I also included a video at the end.

See some other How-To’s (these are 7+ years old, but still may be helpful to other painters)

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We prepped the roof using 600 grit DA. Then we wetsanded with 1000.
We masked it up so we can paint the A pillar moldings and the belt moldings toward the end of the paint job.
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First things first. We need to find the center of the roof. Then you’ll want to mark this by using some green masking tape. Here I have it laid out using 1/4″ masking tape. You’ll want to avoid using ‘fineline’ anytime you are using tape as a “guide” since the masking tape is quite a bit cheaper than the fineline.
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What I did here was use 4 pieces of 1 1/2″ 3M tape as a guide. I put 2 pieces on each side of the 1/4″. I put the 2 center pieces right down the middle of the 1/4″ NOT next to each side.
So the total of four 2 1/2″ pieces makes it 6″ wide. If I put it next to the 1/4″ on either side, of course the total would be 6 1/4″
I used these four pieces as a guide to lay some 1/4″ fineline next to it.
You can see how I did this in the above image.
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Next, I masked up the 2 main stripes.
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One thing you have to watch for is the tape pulling, This will leave a gap where you can get ‘blow-through’
I help eliminate this by putting a slice in the tape, Then I push it down real good
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Then I will at an extra piece of tape in which I make sure this gets pushed down as well
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Now you’ll want to butt up 1 1/2″ tape on each side of the +
This will be a guide to lay your next stripes. It’s a good idea to lay some on each end and closer to the center as well.
This way you have a guide to use from the start to the end
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Run 1/4″ fineline next to the 1 1/2″ guides. I’ve already removed the guide on the lower corner. You can see it on a couple of the corners toward the center. This ensures that this area will be 1 1/2″ wide
You’ll see toward the end of this How-To that 1/4″ of this area will be a red stripe for the edging.
IMPORTANT as I did not do this the first time around. Run the tape all the way until they meet on all 4 areas..
You can see I did do this on the left bottom corner area.
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Now on opposite corners. Run a piece from the corner of the INSIDE lines to the corner of where you want the center of your graphic to end
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From here on out, I used 1/8″ fineline
Ignore the lower right for now. Pay attention to the upper right.
This is where it really starts getting confusing. So bare with me lol.
In the upper right hand and the lower left hand corners, you will see the 1/4″ guide masking tape that goes from the corner down the corner of the roof. On one side of the tape where the smaller side of the corner stripes will go, I placed a 1 1/2″ pieces of tape. Then I put another one on the other side of it. I put the fineline up against that.
Then I placed two 1 1/2″ tape, PLUS one more 3/4″ (now you can look at the lower right)
Do the same in the OPPOSITE DIAGNOL corner (noted in teal lettering)
So now you should have 2 corners done. You have 2 more to do. DO NOT use the 1/4″ green tape down the center method. You will need to do the other 2 corners differently.
Pay attention to the triangles to do this. See pic below

IMPORTANT – Now do the other 2 corners by making the exact same triangle noted by the IMPORTANT green lines. You’ll want to make the triangles the same. You can do this by running a piece of masking tape directly across to the other side. Once you have this noted, you can run your piece of 1/8″ fineline down to the edge of the roof. You’ll want the width of the spacing to be exactly the same on the the sides. See the green lines on the end of the roof. Spacing is the same.
The triangle starts directly across from the other.
Now once you have that 1/8″ line down, work your way backwards using 1 1/2″ masking tape as guides

You can also use the image below as a reference
The two yellow lines are 3/4″ tape that you use to help make the angles the same as the other side. Start those at the same place as the other side and make sure that the width is the same at the end of the roof and those angles should be the same.
union jack
Union Jack Flag
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Here you can see where I used the yellow 3/4″ tape (the tape going across the white masking paper) to make sure that’s the same place I started the angle on the upper left.
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Now it’s time to CAREFULLY cut the corners. You’ll want to use a new blade whether you are using a razor blade or an exacto knife.
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Once you get all the corners cut, you’ll need to mask all areas up except the areas that get painted.
Note the printout that I used as a reference. Not to scale since we wanted to make sure the flag design looks good on the roof
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Another pic of the area all masked up. I am also painting the belt moldings along with the pillar trim and a couple bumper ducts.
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Ready to do the red pinstriped edge FIRST.
Doing the stripe color first makes it a LOT easier to do since you don’t have to guess at the width of a 1/4″ stripe.
You are using the 1/4″ tape to make it for you by covering the area you want to leave as the edge.
For those who haven’t seen my YouTube channel, I have a video that shows how to do a pinstripe backwards.
You can see that here
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Here you can see where I sprayed some red around the edges where the actual stripe will go. You don’t have to do the complete area, just the area where the stripe will be. You definitely have to make sure that you ‘overpaint’ the area versus underpainting.
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You can see how to do the edging. I used 1/4″ fineline to do this. You’ll butt this up against the edge of the stripe.
You’ll want to take your time and do a good job as if you leave a gap, then this area will become wider than 1/4″ once done.
The green masking 1/4″ runs over where the orange tape and the previous orange tape butt up against eachother. If you do not do this step, any hairline gaps will leave blow-through. This is just an ‘insurance’ step.
Cover that gap!!!!
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The 1/4″ fineline edging tape is all done along with the 1/4″ masking insurance tape
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Here I sprayed black to ‘kill’ the red. This ensures that it will take less of the main color to be sprayed in the next step.
It will make it easier to cover the black versus the red overspray areas.
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The charcoal basecoat is sprayed!
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Starting to untape the area. You can see how that 1/4″ fineline used for the red edging worked out.
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Here is is all unmasked. It all worked out excellent!!!
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This is how it looks like after clearcoating.
The customer wants the gray to have a matte finish. So we’ll buff the roof. Then we’ll mask off the gray areas again, scuff them. Then we’ll spray a couple coats of clearcoat with flatting agent.
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Here I have it all wetsanded. 1500 wetsand. Once it’s dry, we’ll buff and polish the roof.
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We got it all buffed. It came out great.
Due to the colder weather, the fact that I used a High Solids clear along with the humidity we had, I opted not to spray the matte clear over the gray. I started doing the outline but it was leaving a print. Prints on this roof with a gloss and matte finish would be a disaster as there is no chance of buffing them out if needed. So I told the customer if he still wanted the gray stripes matte clearcoated, he can bring it back in a couple weeks. This way, we know for sure the paint will be cured.

Thanks for reading.