How To Paint Ghost Flames - Airbrush Guru

How To Paint Ghost Flames

The elusive ghost flames tutorial will show you how to paint old school ghost flames from flame lay out with fine line tape to painting the ghost flames.

In today’s fast and the furious world of custom painting, much of the what was hip in the 50’s 60’s and 70’s has been lost or is a dying art form. With many of the new custom painters today, most of them focus on the new types of designs and bright colors. This is great for the younger generation, but many people still desire the old school look with a little twist.

In this article we will be looking at some old school with some new technology. Armed with this information we will hunt for the elusive ghost flames.

I am not sure when or were ghost flames first showed up or who was the original creator of this great feat. I do know that when done right it will stop most people in their tracks to take a second look.


  • 180 grit sand paper,
  • Wet or dry paper ranging from 600-3000,
  • 3M blue fine line,
  • 3M green 3/4,
  • House of Kolor Products: 233+ BC-25 black, DP-39 Lavender Pearl, UC-35 Kosmic Kolor Klear, RU-311 reducer, KP-21 Kwikure epoxy primer, KS KO2 sealer

clean the tank

1. I start by cleaning all the parts that need to be painted with soap and water and towel drying.

sanding tank

Removing logo

Logo removed

Ready for paint

2. Before we can move to wet sanding the whole tank with 600 grit we need to remove the vinyl sticker under the clear. I begin doing this by taking 600 grit sand paper and begin sanding the clear until I can gauge the depth of the clear. I need to feather out this area so that the flames that I will be adding later will not have a big dip from the sticker removal.

We will lay some primer in area so that later we can blend our color. I have sand the whole area and removed the sticker. Taking a clean rage with a little reducer and begin removing the adhesive from the tank.

As you can see from the picture the adhesive has lifted enough for me to get it started. By taking my finger I begin rolling the adhesive into itself. I would stay away from using an X-acto knife. The adhesive will come off pretty easy. With the adhesive removed I take my 180 grit sand paper and begin feathering the area so that there will not be any ridges.

Blowing out dirt from tight areas

3. I have wet sanded the entire tank and now begin to blow all the little hiding spots for dust to be sitting.

Painting black

4. Now I take and lay down some black KS KO-seal 2 and let it dry. I then lay down some KP-21 primer and let it dry overnight. After the tank has dried overnight I wet sand to blend everything together. I then take and mix up some KS-KO-2 black primer sealer and shot the tank and wait about an hour and a half. I take and mix up some BC-25 black and shot the tank then wait about 30 minute for it to dry.

Fine line tape

5. With the tank dry I start my flame layout. I take my 3M blue fine line tape and begin by laying out my first flame. I use a 10 to 12 inch lead and allow the tape site just over the tank about a 1/2 in or so. Most people hold their tape higher, but this is what works for me. You may want to adjust the height to where you feel comfortable.

Flame layout

Laying out flames

5. When going into a turn I shorten my lead up to about 6 to 7 inches this gives me a little more control. I then put just enough tension on the right side of the tape to pull the turn to the left and opposite for turning right. With the right side of the tank done I begin with the left side in the same manner. With this design the owner did not want symmetrical flame. He wanted a random flame layout.

Ghost flames done