Home About The Autens Paint By Numbers… Is “Horrible” a Number?

Paint By Numbers… Is “Horrible” a Number?

written by Fred Flintstone August 27, 2016

Painting these walls and cabinets would definitely present some challenges.



This post will be somewhat paradoxical. On the one hand, painting the interior was long, unpleasant, difficult and soul-crushing. On the other hand, there was nothing to it but to do it.

The existing walls were covered almost entirely in brown fake-rattan vinyl. The vinyl itself, in turn, was covered by years of grease, hippie sweat and (I assume) bong-resin.

Painting these walls and cabinets would definitely present some challenges.

First effort was to clean every single stinking inch of the RV that would be subjected to paint. Previous experience with painting RV surfaces taught us that prep is EVERYTHING. Vinyl is already pretty paint-hostile. Greasy, weathered vinyl is even worse. Paint won’t stick for shit.


That shit was as prepared as we knew how. But we couldn’t paint just yet. There was the matter of masking.



We scrubbed everything with purple Scotch pads and trisodium phosphate mixed in hot water. This combo removed years of surface grease and etched a bit of roughness in the vinyl wallpaper, as well as the wooden cabinets, doors and dinette structures. We went through maybe fifty pads and boxes and boxes of TSP and gallons and gallons of hot water.

The result was encouraging but the TSP and Scotch pads left a gritty residue which had to be rinsed off with clean towels and lots more hot water. Still, to be sure the surface was clean, we did one more pass with 91-percent denatured alcohol and paper towels.

That shit was as prepared as we knew how. But we couldn’t paint just yet. There was the matter of masking.

The dinette, drawers and cabinet doors were painted in a makeshift painters booth that we created by stapling heavy plastic sheeting around our carport.


Masking off the interior turned out to be way, way harder and more time-consuming than we had ever anticipated.



Masking off the interior turned out to be way, way harder and more time-consuming than we had ever anticipated. It took four of five full days of masking tape, newspaper and plastic sheeting. Honestly, I thought this part would never end.

But it did.


Once that was done, we went nuts with two passes of Zinnser II water-based primer applied via a simple Wagner “airless” power-sprayer.



Once that was done, we went nuts with two passes of Zinnser II water-based primer applied via a simple Wagner “airless” power-sprayer. The power sprayer was finicky and heavy but after some practice, it worked pretty well. Once the primer had been applied and allowed to fully cure for a few weeks, further revisions of masking and re-masking were executed to allow for our multiple color scheme.

Fine details were painted by hand with small art brushes.

If you decide to do this for your RV in the future, all we can recommend is that you don’t do it at all. Relax. Take  a nap. Learn to live with the color brown and maybe go watch something nice on TV.

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