July 3, 2007

Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Tuning?

David from Hemming's sent me this link to Sniff Patrol's latest spy shots of the BMW 1-Series, which got me thinking about sweet, small coupes.

Totally unrelated to that sight gag, I remember seeing a momblogger who'd repainted her kid's Little Tikes Cozy Coupe, turning it into a black-and-purple fringed gothmobile. [Ring any bells? Was it just an aspartame-induced hallucination? update: here it is, from NM in the comments.]


Has anyone had any luck repainting Little Tikes cars or other Giant Primary-Colored Polyethylene Gear?


The Little Tikes Care & Maintenance FAQ actually says not to paint their products because "paint will not adhere" and it "could damage the polymer structure." And yet, the pitch for Krylon Fusion spray paint for plastics promises to "turn a treasured toy into something new again." So which is harder to believe: that the paint works, or that there's such a thing as a treasured plastic toy?


Because the two projects I've seen are less about tending heirlooms than about salvaging a dingy garage sale find. Subaru racing fandad Ed Johnson used paint and decals to rework a LT Cozy Coupe from a church sale into a kidsized replica of Petter Solberg's 2001 Impreza WRC. It looks awesome--it got a mention in the Subaru magazine, and even he got Solberg to autograph it--but his HowTo photo album shows the decals pulling up the Krylon Fusion paint. He solved the problem by double-layering with a clear decal sheet, but still. Is this a fruit rollup situation, where you just need to monitor your kid's Fusion intake?

Almost more importantly, are there any other great mods out there?

Project Cozy Coupe WRC gallery and discussion forum [imagestation.com]
Gothmobile, aka Pimped His Ride [craftster.org via dt reader sara]
Krylon Fusion for Plastic [krylon.com]


I repainted a crappy plastic kids picnic table thingy with Krylon. I did wind up with primary colors. They weren't my first choice, but then I was pretty lazy in searching out colors I actually wanted to use.

I also was too lazy to do much more than just painting it two colors.

It seemed to work okay, but then it hasn't taken too much abuse just yet. I'll let you know how it survives my daughter's birthday party.

ps - When I taped to paint the second color, the tape did pull off some of the paint it was taped to. But then, I only gave it about 24 hrs dry time. I believe Krylon recommends more than that.

[on the web, people talk about aggressive, ammonia-based cleaning to prep, and multiple, thin coats, too. -ed.]

Greg, did you mean this [one on Craftster]?

[bingo. thanks. also, you scare me. -ed.]

Nice. That's inspired me to mod out a Citroen WRT pedal car and try to get Sebastien Loeb to autograph it!

Goodyblog coverage of Punky Moms

They also did this at punky moms but the link is broken so you can't see how they did it

[i scare myself now, because I think I saw it on Punky Moms. -ed]

It's the same artist!

I wanted to paint a picnic table my mom had trash picked for my daughter, but didn't like any of the Krylon for plastic colors available. So I used their spray primer for plastic and then regular spray paint and it turned out awesome. I did do a clear coat on top, but it hasn't scratched, chipped, or anything and that thing takes a beating out on our patio.


[wow, that looks great. I like the idea of primer-paint-coat, though it does increase the work -ed.]

I've done a huge amount of research on painting this type (high and low density polyethylene (HDPE, LDPE)) and it is virtually unpaintable.

Krylon Fusion doesn't stick, nothing sticks, actually - since the surface is very "waxy." I have tried numerous surface preps - lacquer thinner, sanding, etc.

I've read that there are some surface treatments to prep PE for painting. One is flame treating which is using a torch to heat up the surface of the plastic. Another is high intensity corona discharge which is pretty impractical. There are adhesion promoting primers that some have suggested but obviously they need to be able to "bite" into the plastic which is the problem in the first place. The last thing is to just paint the entire surface so that the paint's skin pulls itself around the object. This is only practical for smaller objects and means that while the paint will sit on the plastic, it's still easily chipped off.

I tried to paint a Step2 kitchen and the only way I got the paint to adhere by scuffing the surface with 80 grit sandpaper. The paint stuck but it looked terrible.

I am sure the spray paint is just as bad as the colored plastic on the car...since it's probably made in china

I got a little tykes climber used. It has alot of sunfading so I would like to paint it. But not sure how safe it is for kids? Do anyone have any advice on how to safly paint it without having any toxins on it.

I'm looking to make this for my daughter,


and in reading everyones comments other than, Katie from July 4th it looks like it might be a challenge.

I also haven't figured out yet how they changed out the poles that connect the roof and the car.

Any input would be greatly appreciated!

The majority of the polyethylene toys by Little Tikes and even Step 2 are still, surprisingly, made in the U.S.

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