Moving Checkers Effect – Pete Finlan

Pete 'Hot Dog' FinlanIn this Tech Talk, "Hot Dog" Pete Finlan demonstrates a paint effect that's anything but square. Finlan guides painters through his process for creating "Moving Checkers", a trick he perfected while painting surfboards early in his career.

In this example, Hot Dog uses an electrifying blue over frosty silver, but you can use any color combo, even two cool shades to dampen the effect. “I’ve done it with a white pearl on a white basecoat. The design isn’t even there until the right light hits it. That’s as subtle as it gets,” Hot Dog explains.

While simple to tape and spray, this technique requires a fine touch for fading and spacing, but with a bit of practice, you’ll quickly become surehanded. “Even on a car with one color, you can tell a painter has confidence,” he says. “It just comes out.”

How to Achieve the "Moving Checkers" Effect

Step 1 – Silver Basecoat

Hot Dog covers the snowboard in a mix of Ditzler® Big Flake™ Mini Silver VM4421 and Vibrance Collection® Midcoat VWM500. After drying, he applies VC5700 Ditzler® Custom Clear and sands until the snowboard is smooth.

Step 2 – Center and Edge Taping

Finlan then tapes around the edges of the board. He also masks the center, in effect dividing the area into two panels. “Moving Checkers looks better when broken up,” he says.

Step 3 – First Taping

He places the first stripe down the center and works toward the sides. He uses 3/4-inch tape with a 3/4-inch gap in between stripes. You can choose a different tape width depending on the size of your project.

Step 4 – First Blue Layer

Setting his gun for a one or two inch pattern, Hot Dog sprays a custom mix of RADIANCE® II Blue (Green Shade) DMX216 and VWM500 Custom Midcoat. The blue lines are spaced to fade gently into each other.

Step 5 – Remove Tape

As you can see, the design is already taking on its trademark trickiness. “Photos don’t do it justice. It’s really cool to look at,” Hot Dog says.

Step 6 – Second Taping

Tape is used to mask off the blue he just sprayed. This leaves white gutters the length of each panel.

Step 7 – Second Blue Layer

Hot Dog adds more blue across the board. “You spray between the other lines with the same faded edge on it.” It’s the overlapping of these fogged layers that builds the restless effect.

Step 8 – Edge Fogging

After removing the tape, Hot Dog fogs the edge of each checkerboard to reinforce the panel’s border. This also directs the viewer’s eye toward the center of the pattern.

Step 9 – Clear and Pinstriping

After clearing the board, Hot Dog adds pinstriping around the panels with 1 SHOT® 199L Lettering Black. He also adds his signature freestyle pinstriping to the silver center area.

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