Paint Touch-Up for Industrial Sewing Machines
Does your Sailrite® sewing machine have some nicks and scratches? First of all, it's important to note that scratches are a completely normal and expected effect of using a sewing machine again and again. These superficial blemishes do not in any way impede the sewing process or the quality of your machine. But if these small flaws are bothering you, there's something you can do about it! We purchased a variety of Testors enamel paints and experimented with combining colors to achieve a close match to our machine heads. In this blog. we'll share our process with you so you can touch up your Sailrite machine too.
Sailrite sewing machines, as well as most other heavy-duty or industrial sewing machines with a metal body, have a powder coating paint finish. Powder coating is applied to the sewing machine's metal body as a dry powder, unlike conventional liquid paint. The powder coating is usually applied through an electrostatic process and is then cured under heat or with the application of UV light.
Why are metal sewing machines powder coated? Powder coating is a more advanced finishing technique than traditional liquid paint. It improves the durability of the metal's finish. Powder coating has a reduced environmental impact compared to liquid paint, and it produces a higher quality appearance as well.
Because our machines are powder coated, we are unable to send you replacement paint to touch up your machine. That's why we experimented with Testors paints to cover up scratches and nicks. Mixing the enamel paints to achieve a close match to our machine colors was a trial-and-error process, but we managed to create a close match to our machine colors and we're happy with our results. We'll share what worked for us and what didn't work so that your painting process goes as smoothly as possible.
What We Learned
1. Wipe down your sewing machine with a dry, clean rag to remove oil and dust before you paint.
2. Smaller brushes work better than larger brushes. Instead of painting a larger section, just apply the paint to the nicks and scratches using a very small craft paintbrush. That way, in case your mixed paint color isn't an exact match to your machine, it's not as noticeable if just a small chip is painted versus a larger swatch.
3. After painting over the scratches, we used a foam brush to "stipple" over the painted spot to blend in the painted section with the surrounding area of the machine head.
4. Testors enamel paints, though they come in a "glossy" finish, do not dry as glossy as the finish on Sailrite sewing machines. So after our enamel paint fully cured, we applied a layer of Testors clear gloss spray paint to add more of a shine finish to our painted spots so they would blend in more with the rest of the machine head. Be sure to tape off areas of the machine you do not want to be covered in the top coat spray (needle plate, balance wheel, etc.) and protect your work surface as well.
5. Depending on how deep the chip or nick in the paint is, you may need to apply several coats of enamel paint in order to achieve the same thickness transition between the enamel paint and powder coating finish so the paint job looks more natural. Let each coat dry thoroughly before applying additional paint coats.
Before and after of a row of nicks along the top of the machine near the balance wheel.
6. If you spilled the Testors paint, clean it up immediately with acetone nail polish remover or mineral spirits. It is very difficult to remove Testors paint, especially once it starts to dry. We recommend wearing old clothes or an apron to prevent stains on your clothing. You can also wear gloves while painting to avoid getting the paint on your hands. Protect your work surface with old towels or a drop cloth.
7. The paint requires 48-72 hours for a full cure. Drying times may vary depending on humidity and environmental conditions, so take that into consideration for your specific cure time.
8. Clean your paintbrushes with paint thinner or brush cleaner.
Touching Up the Ultrafeed® LSZ-1 Sewing Machine
To create a paint color that closely matches our blue Ultrafeed machine, we combined Testors enamel paints in colors: Gloss White, Gloss Dark Blue and Gloss Black. Pour the three colors separately onto a disposable plate. With your paintbrush, pick up some of each color and begin blending them together until you create a mixed color that matches your Ultrafeed as closely as possible.
Once you're happy with the color you've created, carefully paint over the chip or scratch. Use a foam brush to stipple the painted area to blend in the enamel paint with the powder-coated finish. Leave the machine for the appropriate drying time and then apply any additional layer(s) as needed until you're happy with the touch-up job. After the final cure time, apply a light layer of Testors Clear Gloss spray paint to match the shine finish of the rest of the machine. Once you let the clear gloss dry for its recommended dry time, your machine is ready for use again.
Here's the finished touch-up job on our machine base. We think it looks pretty good!
Touching Up the Ultrafeed® LS-1 Sewing Machine
To create a similar color to the powder-coated finish on our red straight stitch Ultrafeed, we combined Gloss Dark Red, Gloss Yellow, Gloss White and Gloss Black. Pour small amounts of the four colors onto a disposable plate and begin combining and mixing them together with a small paintbrush until you achieve a close match.
Once you are happy with your paint mix, use a small craft paintbrush to fill in the nicks or scratches on your machine. Let the enamel paint dry completely (48-72 hours) before applying any needed additional coats. Wait till your last coat of paint has completely dried before applying the clear gloss spray top coat to mimic the glossy shine of the machine's powder coating. Once dry, you're ready to use your machine again!
A before and after comparison of our touch-up job on the Ultrafeed LS-1.
We hope this information has been useful if you have a scratched machine that you'd like to touch up with some enamel paint. If you need presser feet, binders or sewing gauges for your Sailrite sewing machine, you can find everything right here at Sailrite.