Do-it-Yourself Truck Lettering With Paint

by Tyler Lacoma
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Truck lettering can be done either with paint or vinyl. Paint is an older method and was used before the newer glues and adhesive were developed. Today, vinyl is a popular option, using labels that can be printed out, peeled off and adhered to the surface of the vehicles. Paint, however, is a more permanent option that can be used more easily in combination with both lettering and designs.

Prep Work for Your Truck Lettering

When painting letters on your truck, it is important to choose the correct kind of paint. You will want to choose an enamel paint that is designed specifically for outdoor work. It should be weather and wear resistant, and you will probably need to paint it on yourself, so be prepared to buy smaller paintbrushes if you choose a nonspray version. Be sure to check automotive stores first, because they will carry enamels more suited to your truck's surface.

Start by washing the vehicle very well and drying it so no dust or water is on the surface. Vehicle paints are designed to be slick, shiny and protective, which does not make a good surface for painting. Be sure to pick up a rubbing compound designed to prep the area of the truck you want to paint. This will remove the outer coating and roughen up the paint surface so that the new paint layer bonds well.

Different Ways to Paint Letters

You can choose to either paint the letters by hand, or to use a stencil to frame different styles of letters. If you use stencils, you may want to order your own stencils for custom words and letters. Websites such as allow you to customize and order your own stencils, or you can go to a local decal store and look for what letter stencils are available.

In order to create a smooth, full coat with your enamel paint, you may need to add a silicone compound to the paint to match the silicone found in normal auto paint. This will allow the paint to lay thick against the truck surface without smearing. Look for this silicone additive in auto paint and decal stores next to the enamel paint. Once you are done painting, be sure to wait at least a day for it to fully dry before you burnish and wax it.

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