Moving Checkers Effect - Pete "Hot Dog" Finlan

Hot Dog dubs this technique “Moving Checkers”, a trick he perfected while painting surfboards early in his career. Ideal for filling panels and small projects, the pattern is blurry, yet mesmerizing. Best of all, executing this attention-stealing design is as simple as it is rad.

In this example, Hot Dog uses an electrifying blue over frosty silver, but you can use any color combo, even two cool shades to dampen the effect. “I’ve done it with a white pearl on a white basecoat. The design isn’t even there until the right light hits it. That’s as subtle as it gets,” Hot Dog explains.

While simple to tape and spray, this technique requires a fine touch for fading and spacing, but with a bit of practice, you’ll quickly become surehanded. “Even on a car with one color, you can tell a painter has confidence,” he says. “It just comes out.”

How to Achieve the "Moving Checkers" Effect

Laying the frameworkStep 1 – Laying the Framework

To create a base for the color to pop against, Mitch sprays a coat of White (T400) and then a coat of White Pearl (T453) with Tinted Clear Additive (T490) (1:9 ratio). Once dry, he masks his design. The irregular shapes feel like puzzle pieces, creating a ‘60s vibe.

Center and Edge TapingStep 2 – Center and Edge Taping

Finlan tapes around the edges of the board. He also masks the center, in effect dividing the area into two panels. “Moving Checkers looks better when broken up,” he says

First TapingStep 3 – First Taping

He places the first stripe down the center and works toward the sides. He uses 3/4-inch tape with a 3/4-inch gap in between stripes. You can choose a different tape width depending on the size of your project.

First Blue LayerStep 4 – First Blue Layer

Setting his gun for a one or two inch pattern, Hot Dog sprays a custom mix of RADIANCE® II Blue (Green Shade) DMX216 and VWM500 Custom Midcoat. The blue lines are spaced to fade gently into each other.

Remove TapeStep 5 – Remove Tape

As you can see, the design is already taking on its trademark trickiness. “Photos don’t do it justice. It’s really cool to look at,” Hot Dog says.

Second TapingStep 6 – Second Taping

Tape is used to mask off the blue he just sprayed. This leaves white gutters the length of each panel.

Second Blue LayerStep 7 – Second Blue Layer

Hot Dog adds more blue across the board. “You spray between the other lines with the same faded edge on it.” It’s the overlapping of these fogged layers that builds the restless effect.

Edge FoggingStep 8 – Edge Fogging

After removing the tape, Hot Dog fogs the edge of each checkerboard to reinforce the panel’s border. This also directs the viewer’s eye toward the center of the pattern.

Clear and PinstripingStep 9 – Clear and Pinstriping

After clearing the board, Hot Dog adds pinstriping around the panels with 1 SHOT® 199L Lettering Black. He also adds his signature freestyle pinstriping to the silver center area.

Download the Moving Checkers Effect Tutorial

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