headlight painting...

I wrote this for camaros, but you can use it generically, they are all basically the same. :slight_smile:

How to…paint camaro headlights.

Some people dislike stock chrome headlights and want a different look. Halo headlights are available, however they are costly and often end up leaking or condensating. They also have little LED rings on them that are kind of tacky, in my opinion. The simple $10.00 solution? Paint the housings black.


You will need:

sandpaper, black spray paint, clear coat, alcohol/acetone, an oven, silicon sealant, flathead screwdriver, masking tape

  1. Remove headlights from the car. There is one 10mm bolt behind each headlight. Remove it, push in and slide the light towards the center of the car to remove it from the bracket. Turn the bulbs to remove them from the housing. Remove the four little silver clips holding the lense to the housing.

  2. Heat up your oven to around 300 degrees. Stay by it the whole time when you’re doing this step, so you do not accidently melt your headlights. Put in one headlight at a time on a piece of wood (so the metal grate does not melt the plastic). Leave in there for around 10 minutes. When you pull it out, it will be hot. Stick a flathead screwdriver or butterknife in between the housing and the lense and pry it apart. If it does not budge, heat it up more. Be very careful and go slow - the housing is very brittle and will break easily if you pry against it too hard. Once you have the lense seperated from the housing, clean off any old silicon that you can. It doesn’t have to be perfect but the less old stuff that is on there, the better it will adhere.

  3. Next you need to mask off whatever part of the housing you do not want to paint. Most people leave the concave shape behind the bulb chrome so that it may still reflect. Take your time masking and press down hard on the tape so that paint does not seep through.

  4. After masking, start sanding. The old chrome needs to be removed so the paint will stick. Sand until it is all smooth - any rough spot will show up in the paint!

  5. Clean the housing with acetone (nail polish remover) or some kind of alcohol. All the dust from sanding, your fingerprints etc must be cleaned off.

  6. Now, being painting. The trick is very, very light coats with ample time to try in between them. If the paint runs, fisheyes or bubbles up you are putting on too much paint at one time. Don’t miss the little nooks, make sure you spray evenly throughout the housing. When it’s all black, follow with a couple coats of clear. You have to hold the clear coat can pretty close to the housing or it will become hazy…but not so close that it runs. Kind of a delicate balance. When you’re done let it dry over night. If you try and rush you’re going to ruin it!

  7. Remove masking tape, admire your work. Clean off any dust/etc that settled over night. Now’s a good time to polish your lenses if they are hazy. When both parts are clean, you may put them back together. The easiest way to do this is to lay the housing face up on a flat surface. Fill the channel around it lavishly with silicon sealant. Lay the lense on top of it, and press down firmly, holding it like that for a minute or so. Reattach the silver clips and give the silicon enough time to set up!!

  8. Now it’s finished and ready for reassembly.

Here are some photos of my painted lights on my 00 pewter Z28 and my 01 white Z28.



i’ve seen this done on a few EVO’s lately, good write up :tup:

:tup: Nice car

I like it. Cheap, effective…and most importantly, you did it yourself. :tup:

Thanks guys. You can’t beat it for less than $10!


Your website is great, if you are an F body person you should check out wnyfbody.com

i like it…good write up

i’d say use a heat gun instead though. It’s harder to use but safer!

butch did that like 2 years ago but good job

I actually like the oven idea better, it heats the whole thing at one time. With a heat gun it is easier to get carried away, especially in one spot, and accidently melt it :wink:

good write up :tup:

and yeah ovens work great for this.


i have helped several subys do the same thing, oven works really well, if you take down the heat to 225 theres almost a 0% chance of them melting if you leave them in too long.