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Coloring lightbulbs

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 1great40, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. 1great40
    Joined: Jan 1, 2008
    Posts: 471

    from Walpole MA

    I have Dolphin gauges in my 40 pickup ( no Dolphin is crap stuff please, I know that already)

    When I installed the gauges, it turns out that the light for the speedometer is clear and the rest of the bulbs for the other 4 gauges are green. I like the look of the green. Have any of you guys colored a clear bulb?

    I painted the bulb with some paint and a brush but it turned out that I still had white light due to the fact that the paint didn't cover evenly. Then I added some more paint, once I had it good an covered, no light came out.

    I just cleaned the lamp again and made a "wash" of paint that was thinned and dipped the lamp in it. I'm guessing that I could do multiple dips until I get the density of green that will let light through but no white spots.

    Any suggestions?
  2. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,991

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    The paint may fade/wash out real quick. IIRC, VDO gauges used to have silicone "boots" to put over the bulbs to change color. Probably last longer than paint. You might try an internet search?
  3. mashed
    Joined: Oct 15, 2011
    Posts: 1,474

    from 4077th

    I've bought gauges before that came with thin rubber "caps" in red and green that slip over the bulb prior to installation to match the pre-existing dash lights glow.
  4. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,185


    I think that "wash" thing is pretty much what some of the bulb compainies did with their bulbs when amber bulbs got popular back years ago. It won't be perfect but the bulb won't be exposed to the elements or contact with anything either so you should be good for a long time with your "washed" bulb.

  5. pljas104
    Joined: Feb 1, 2013
    Posts: 20


    you might try an art store like JoAnn's they have paint for glass to make it look like stained glass it come in small jars and they have green,good luck.
  6. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,531


  7. scrap metal 48
    Joined: Sep 6, 2009
    Posts: 6,075

    scrap metal 48

    I've used magic markers with some success...
    Joined: Jun 23, 2006
    Posts: 1,484


    Go to the hobby store and buy some transparent spray on model car paint. Works perfect - I've tinted all the interior lights in my car. Works better than the caps, because you can control how tinted they are by the number of coats you spray on. Also a whole bunch cheaper too - tint a couple dozen bulbs for $5 bucks vs $5 bucks a pair for the caps!
  9. 1great40
    Joined: Jan 1, 2008
    Posts: 471

    from Walpole MA

    I checked with Jo Ann's and the local store didn't have the paint. My wash approach didn't work. The other lamps have the little silicone "rubbers" on them. I found some automotive spray paint in my stuff. I cleaned the lamp real well and I'm building coats on the bulb right now. I think this is going to work. The little "rubbers" from Summit would be perfect but I was trying to get the thing back together for a car sow tomorrow.

    Thanks so much to everyone that helped! This place is a great resource.
  10. dadseh
    Joined: May 13, 2001
    Posts: 526


    So , cant you buy some globes that are OE in your Dolphin gauge set?

    Edit..... sorry I missed your comment about a show tommorrow.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
  11. jazz1
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,500


    I used to paint the interior light bulbs in my big truck cause they were too bright. Model car paint lasted years and big variety of colours to choose from
  12. unkamort
    Joined: Sep 8, 2006
    Posts: 1,014


    X2... model car paint

    Attached Files:

  13. Why not try green LED's? You can get them with a built-in resistor from electronics supply stores to operate on 12 volts (Do they still have Radio Shack in the U.S?)
    I have used white light LED's to light some old gauges , they last virtually forever and use very little current.
  14. sport fury
    Joined: Jul 25, 2009
    Posts: 593

    sport fury

    thin out some clear silicone adhesive with heptane and dye it. dip the bulb into it. you should be able to thin the silicone out enough to thinly coat the bulb.
  15. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,662


    For some reason your typo made me laugh out loud, as it brought back memories of a slightly chubby girl I used to hang with, because she liked old cars. My buddies lovingly called her my "car sow".
  16. 1great40
    Joined: Jan 1, 2008
    Posts: 471

    from Walpole MA

    The green spray paint worked out pretty well, thanks! Sorry about the car sow typo. Well I did make it to the "sow" today. There were a few sows there and then there were a few gnarly cars too. In general the quality of the cars gets better every year. It's great to see so many well executed rides at these shows!

    I got a phone call the other day while at a show and they told me I had taken a trophy at a previous weeks show. I didn't even know I was in the judging! Every other show I had been to, I never filled out the judging form or even opened the hood. I guess being judged is OK but anyone who can build a car and get it there under it's own power is a winner to me.
  17. I went to my local craft store and bought some orange Glass paint for my turn signal bulbs, works fine.
  18. 1great40
    Joined: Jan 1, 2008
    Posts: 471

    from Walpole MA

    After a few tries, I arrived at a shade of green that worked pretty darn well. Thank you all for the help!

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