Cordyk's Chrome corner tutorial


Sheriff Woody (Admington)
View attachment SM1.pdf

Hello people, so who’s up for a little Chrome Lettering! You are….good then have a bash at this!
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Ok, so this little tutorial/challenge is mainly aimed at the complete beginner or anybody who has never done fancy pants Chrome lettering before. It is more of a technical challenge rather than a painting one, which is why it’s great for beginners to learn some important cutting and masking skills, plus you can achieve something quite easily that looks really rather cool and you can show of to your mates!. This is also a good thing early on in your airbrushing journey and a confidence builder.
I have tried a few different ways of doing it, and this is the way I have found to be the quickest and easiest way, when you become competent in this method this tutorial should only take about an hour to complete.
I am not saying that this is the only way and you yourself may find another method you like, but for the sake of this tutorial/challenge I would like you to try this method and show us your results!

So, this is what you are going to need:
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A good craft knife
Some masking film(frisket)
Cutting mat
A3 size or equivalent paper/board (200gsm+ is preferred)
Masking tape
(Steady hand)J
1 or 2 copies of the downloadable exercise sheet.(see attached pdf at the top of the page)

Ok, let’s get cracking, find yourself a good flat surface to work on, place your paper on your cutting mat and a sheet of mask (frisk) over that.
Now place you printed of copy of the letters(SM) in the centre over the mask, it’s now a good idea just to secure everything down with a bit of masking tape and mark with a pencil the position of the corners for a later stage.
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Now draw a line through the middle of each letter and draw a curve at the end of line at each edge, this will give the effect of a meniscus as it leads off to a bevelled edge and be your horizon line. Now take your knife with a very sharp new blade and carefully cut along the line you have just drawn, be aware that you will usually be able to cut with a lot less pressure than you think! Also the less pressure on the knife will enable you to have better control, but this will come with trial and error.
Now cut around each letter on the inside edge only and remove your cut outs, you can now carefully remove the print off sheet and put to one side as you will be needing this later.
You should now be able to see the outlines of all your cuts and we are almost ready to throw some paint down.

Secure your surface ready for painting and make sure there are no bare areas showing that can get overspray on. Now with your knife carefully remove the bottom only of each letter…this is where you find out how good your cutting skills are!!
Now we are ready for some painting, for this exercise I decided to use one colour to make it easy, but feel free to do your own thing and experiment. Generally you will see a reflection of the horizon and a blue sky which most people do, but chrome will reflect whatever is facing it so you have complete artistic license.

I used (com-art) transparent emerald green for this but you can use opaque’s, but first I added a few drops of black in the green for the horizon line as this needs to be the darkest part. Go back and forth across the horizon line until you have a good dark coverage, be careful at this point because paint does build up and stay wet on the frisket film for some time, so allow drying in case of running down the page! When you are satisfied with the depth of colour add straight green back into the brush and repeat the process over the horizon line but begin to fade the colour down the letters, it should fade to almost nothing at the bottom of the letters retaining some of the white of the paper.
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Now you are ready to remove the mask from the top part of the letters, now spray with straight green only across the top of the letters fading down to almost white again to the horizon line.
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First part all done….excellent, have a fag, coffee or whatever floats your boat and allow that to be all thoroughly dry before we do the next stage

Ok, refreshed….good lets crack on!
Now you have remove all the masking and stand back and admire you work so far, starting to look like chrome lettering….pretty cool hey!
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Next we are going to do the bevelled edge, now this bit is rather a bit more fiddly and requires that steady hand again. You now have to use another sheet of mask(frisk) over the whole letters, take your original template that you cut earlier and reposition it using the guide marks you made earlier. Now you have to cut the outside of the bevelled edge, you may want to use a couple of small pieces of masking tape to secure the inside edges a bit, especially the on the S as it can move when you cut.
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When you are happy with you cut around the letters remove the template and put to one side as there is still one more use for this. Now carefully make a cut through the mask(frisk) on the inside of the bevelled edge, now we are ready to start the next stage of painting.
You have two choices now depending on how confident you are spraying off a straight edge mask, for the corners of the bevelled edges you will have a sharp line where each corner meets. You can either cut a line, so you remove each edge one at a time or just hold a straight edge as a sheild and spray against it; with both of these methods you need to think about the reflections and which edges will be darkest? You should start with the darkest ones first, a simple rule to remember is that all the edges facing down will reflect the ground(dark) and all the edges facing up will reflect to sky(light). Any edges on the sides or curved will have a blend of the two but be lighter than the bottom edges, just play around with this and see what looks cool!
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When you are spraying your edges it’s very easy to go to dark, this is because your overspray is going over the rest of you letters and makes it difficult to judge, so go easy as it’s very tempting to over do it!! When you’re done carefully remove all masks and we are nearly done with the letters. Next we are going to create the reflection of the letters on the ground using the template that we have cut the letters out of, you do this simply by flipping your template over and position it up against your chrome letters on the bottom. Now spray a mist of colour fading out into nothing.
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Looking real good, and now has some depth to it, now we are going to add a bit more depth by adding a horizon line behind the letters. To do this simply position another piece of paper the same size as your picture across the middle, you can mask over the letters if you like but I just held a straight edge shield being very careful in between the letters not to get overspray on them. You will need to spray a good amount to get a good deep colour on your horizon if you are using transparent.
When done remove the piece of paper across your work and then carefully spray a mist around the top half. Now all that’s left to do is spray a few highlights with white on the edges and bingo, you are done.

Top job! Stand back and admire your Chrome letters!!

Bonus points if you can guess what the SM stand for?? (clue: he should have put it in the mouth!!)

Well have fun with this and see how you get on, you can post and ask questions on this thread. Also if you want to post your finished picture you can post it in this 'Lettering' thread please. I will post up some more reference pics for you to look at also some by our very own AndreaZA

When you get the hang of this, lets see some more creative words and chroming, good luck people and have fun.


I used microsoft word to format the letters SM, its a great tool as you can play about with all styles of letters, you can add shadows, boarders and all sorts of effects. Then when you are happy you can just print it off and 'hey presto' you have a stencil!!
I think if you could probably put some low tack backed paper in to your printer, print it off then stick it on to any surface and carefully cut, say on a guitar maybe?
For the bevelled edge on the SM I just made the boarder to the letters as wide as i could, simples! just have a play about on it, I am still discovering lots of new tricks you can do and there must be other programs that do the same stuff, Apple for instance.

link to the lettering reference pics

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Cool, thx for posting, imma try this.

SM stands for super micron :p
Cool, thx for posting, imma try this.

SM stands for super micron :p

Sorry Rick, "SM" stands for "Super Madbrush" lol

Thanks Mr Cordyk, this will be extremely handy on my next project which I will post here, but it will take me a while to get to the stage of painting, so stay tuned.
Great job and excellent explanation!! When I finally get some time I will give it a go!!

PS. I know what SM stands for ;)

This is awesome! somehow i missed the orange section opening and just realised that this tutorial was here....gonna try it first thing tomoz. standby for dumb questions.

thanks for taking the time to do this by the way!
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Wooo Hooo I'm pretty stoked with that!

I need to take a little more time with the reflection and I'll try the horizon later. And i also think i cur too deep cause i went staright through the paper at some points! But apart from that I'm happy.

I might have a go at the white shiney bits later too, any tips for that?

View attachment 6669Wooo Hooo I'm pretty stoked with that!

I need to take a little more time with the reflection and I'll try the horizon later. And i also think i cur too deep cause i went staright through the paper at some points! But apart from that I'm happy.

I might have a go at the white shiney bits later too, any tips for that?

Fantastic job Max!! Top marks mate and go to the top of the class:). Only critique I can say is maybe a slightly bit darker on the bottom bevelled edged but that's it apart from that it looks crisp and clean, love it, when you add the horizon then bang on a few highlights it will pop out.
As I said it the tutorial, we all cut to hard to begin with but that will improve the more you do it. But I'm really pleased that you had a go and it makes it worth the effort for me. The more you do it the more confident and understanding of the process you will get, then you just apply the same principal to any chrome painting.
Well done, great work:)
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F- yeah! that's looks awesome Max!
and Cordy i have to say i love the look of the lettering - i've never tried this myself and big ups for posting up this fantastic tutorial - i'd love to see people putting their own spin on it and getting creative with it! i need to give this a go myself, it's something we haven't touched on at all on this forum..
Thanks guys. It was an awesome exercise to get use to stenciling. I'll have another go tomoz with a few different shapes and see how I go.
So excited about this lesson. Never used frisket before and had issues with my paper tearing. Pretty happy with it anyway.

nice one Alaska!! so when you did your horizon did you mask around the letters again? with frisket? You said you had issues with the frisket sticking? i had the opposite, mine wouldn't stick enough so it kept coming off when i blew air onto it so i kept getting underspray.....annoying...

like the colours too man....and you went and did the highlights...i didnt have the guts for that.

Thanks. I did remask for the horizon. That would have been annoying to have that problem with the frisket too. I ended up sticking it to my clothes to take away some of the stickiness for the second and third rounds of masking. Blue is my favorite color. Thanks again.
Well done mate, that’s a damn good bash at it and you learnt some pitfalls with Frisket along the wayJ. Frisket is a very funny animal to work with some times, but when you master it and know what surfaces it works well on and those it don’t it will become a lot easier! It only really works well I find on hard durable surfaces, boards like schoellerhammer are very good and can take a lot of erasing, scratching and mild cutting. It’s not great on regular paper and you have to be very careful cutting on mount or poster board, it’s very easy to apply to much pressure and cut through the top layer on some boards, then when you try to lift the mask it pulls away and leave a loose messy layer underneath…not good!
I have tried Artool frisket but found it to sticky, the one I prefer is just called Original Frisket but I not quite sure off hand who makes it? I do think they have changed the properties of it over the years and I have heard some say it’s not as good as it was, but I get along with it fine!
Great job again mate, it’s not too difficult to do and you get a really cool effect, now have a go at doing some words and lettersJ