JamesR

Fabric spray paint for headliner

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I've recently acquired a driver level old car. I have a couple of other old cars - one refurbished , another all original. On the refurbished car - a 1954 station wagon - I installed a replacement headliner, and while I did an ok job for my first time out, it was a lot of work. All three of these cars have bow type headliners with the stretched fabric.

 

The car I acquired recently has the headliner all intact, everything looks solid, tight, no holes and no conspicuous mold I could see. However, it's white and shows it's marks and discoloration rather obviously. It also looks like some kid may have accidentally (?) marked the headliner with a marker or pen of some sort.

 

Since the headliner is free of holes, tight and intact, I thought it'd be a shame to tear it out. Have any of you ever used the "fabric spray paint" I've seen on the internet to recolor a discolored but otherwise fine fabric headliner? If so, any tips or recommendations would be appreciated. I assume I'll need to spray it a darker color than the flawed white that it currently is?

 

As I say, the car is a driver. The seats are leather, and obviously not perfect, but are rip free, so they'll stay. The dash pad is cracked, so it will only get a cover. The only thing I'll need to replace is the carpet. The car is in the original style, but the exterior has been repainted something approaching the original color. This is to give you an idea of the originality and condition of the car.

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I have used both spray fabric and vinyl dye with good results you must follow the directions. I think you should wash the headliner the best you can with a TSP solution. to remove discoloration, dirt, & mold. If you are redoing vinyl you can do white again as the product is designed to cover. I did the white interior in a mustang and redid the carpets black. It was an all white car I repainted to my preferences.

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Edited by JFranklin (see edit history)

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I think you might have a fighting chance if the headliner were vinyl. Even then I am thinking it might be near impossible to keep the overspray under control. If it were me, I would probably live with it or replace it.

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Thanks, guys. I'll check the material of the headliner. I've seen some positive reviews of the SEM products, and also some decent reviews of ATV products. Do you remember which brand of product you used, JFranklin?

 

The headliner receives such little wear that I don't think it would get much contact after being sprayed or dyed. Seats would be another matter, but there are no rips in my seats, so no problem. Good to know that the white product would opaque enough to  cover the marks. If that's the case, I'd go with white.

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Surely, whatever you do will depend on the fabric or plastic film or whatever the headliner consists of? So work out what it is first, then look for an appropriate product?

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Over the years, I have successfully used SEM Color Coat products to re-color cloth seats, carpets, vinyl door trim, dash pads and steering wheels. 

It will work on a cloth or vinyl headliner, but severe discoloration might "bleed through" after painting.

 

If it's a yellow/brownish color, it's probably smoke/nicotine staining.

I don't know if that can be covered up.

 

If the staining is due to rodent urine, I wouldn't keep the headliner.

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Thanks for the input, 95Cardinal and everyone. The car is a 1965 Thunderbird, so I believe it's a vinyl headliner, but if anyone knows different, I'd appreciate your input, as well. It seems like vinyl to me. I believe it to be original, as the whole interior has that original look.

 

The main reason for wanting to dye or paint it is to cover the mark on the headliner. There is also some discoloration, the kind I often see with aged cars, but I can't determine the source, cigarette smoke or otherwise. I'm almost certain it isn't rodent related, because the headliner is surprisingly tight for such an old vehicle, with no holes or rips for entry or exit. Also the discoloration is very gradual in the margins, not a liquid stain. The original color is a kind of off white, the leather seats are beige. I will clean the headliner first, as JFranklin suggested. I'll probably start with a Simple Green solution before trying the TSP, unless you guys can think of a reason not to. Could be the cleaning will remove most of the mark, in which case I'll forget about the dye.

 

Speaking of the seats...the rear seat has a superfluous black mark on it, which I'm reasonably sure was from a tire being stored in the back seat. What would you recommend for getting off that kind of mark on a 50+ year old leather seat?

 

 

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Some dry cleaners (and drapery services - if you are in a larger city) have mobile services - may clean up the mark you do not like.

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For leather, the colour is in the leather plus there was often a lacquer paint on the surface to give it a shiny appearance. If the black mark is on the surface, you may be able to find something that will remove it. A solvent will just carry it into the leather. I would try detergent and water, sparingly, first.

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