When you want your lowrider custom paintjob to stand out from the rest and interrupt people’s attention at a car show, make the big move and go Big Flake by Ditzler. Always bringing innovation to the surface, PPG’s Vibrance Collection flakes us out with a waterborne flake creation that offers up to nine colors as well as four color-shifting versions to create a wide range of basecoat and tri-coat custom color formulations. Ditzler Big Flake can be added directly to basecoats or used as a ground coat, especially on a two-toned candy and flaked 1984 Fleetwood Brougham Cadillac, as we have featured here.

These waterborne flakes come in all of your favorite lowrider colors as well:

Standard Big Flake

  • VM4401 Gold
  • VM4402 Silver

Color-Shifting Big Flake

  • VM4403 Green to Purple
  • VM4404 Blue to Red
  • VM4405 Red to Gold
  • VM4406 Gold to Silver

Various Colors and Sizes

  • VM4420 Mini Gold
  • VM4421 Mini Silver
  • VM4422 Red
  • VM4423 Orange
  • VM4424 Blue
  • VM4425 Purple
  • VM4426 Green

We went down to the PPG training center in Ontario, California, with a Cadillac in tow to receive a demonstration on how easy the waterborne flake process is to spray, and to find out why the Ditzler Big Flake product is a better system than the old-school solvent flakejob as a comparison.

We all know that the most extreme choice in custom paint is to go either full flake or add flake to a paint scheme. PPG’s expert instructors, Paul Stoll and Frank Ramos, state that with the waterborne system when flake is applied the material lays down flat and dries quicker so that when you add the solvent clearcoat after this process will prevent that high-risk chance of a massive run or drip from the weight of the flake that, as painters all know, cannot be fixed or repaired. The other added plus about waterborne flake is that you don’t have to shake your spray gun to get the flake to rise up because with waterborne the flake floats at the top of your gun. With the Ditzler Big Flake you can also add candy on top of the process for a deeper, more vibrant look, if desired. This Vibrance Collection comes in color-shifting creations as well, which are very tempting to use when complementing other colors in a paint combo of color designs.

The PPG facility’s massive, state-of-the-art spray booths are big enough to handle any large vehicle, especially a 1984 Brougham, so follow along with the demonstration of waterborne flake magic as PPG instructor/painter Frank Ramos creates the first steps of this three-part series on exclusive custom paintjobs. To begin this special segment we started off with the Ditzler Big Flake.

1. Getting started from the base of the situation.

The high-performance Envirobase basecoat begins with the product mixtures of T 492 adjuster, T 493 modifier, T 494 thinner, and T 409 deep black basecoat color. Ramos, along with his custom paint attire, begins the spraying process of the flakejob by laying out the desired basecoat over the two-tone upper roof and top center of the hood. The solvent water-resistant basecoat is very durable and chip resistant.

2. Let the flake begin!

The waterborne process continues on as Ramos breaks out the Ditzler Big Flake at the laboratory section of the facility. The mixtures of VWM 5556 Intercoat clear and VM4425 Purple Violet flake are the right concoction for the Fleetwood’s chosen glitter of color. Three complete coats of Big Flake are applied over the dark base, but you can add more coats if you desire a different look. Like most flakes that spray everywhere and make a mess in any shop, the waterborne technique you see being sprayed here only lands where you apply it. Notice that the flake rises to the top. When the water evaporates (flash time 20 minutes) you can add candy or clear immediately.

3. Time to get up close and intensify.

Ramos wanted to add a vibrant depth to the Purple Violet flake so he put together a solvent candy mixture of VWM 500 midcoat, VH7780 clear hardener, D8767 slow compliant thinner, and DMX215 Radiance II Candy Violet. Three coats (3 to 5 percent) of Candy Violet dye were applied to the flaked-out portions of the Cadillac’s paint design.

4. The final result is always clear!

PPG’s solvent VC 5700 was clearly the chosen product for the final wrapup and clear finish result for our waterborne flakejob. The final result is a water “born to be wild” result for this elegant look on the top half or inside the chrome strip design of the Fleetwood Brougham’s molded roof and center hood design.

When it comes to choosing the better product and application or comparisons from the Old School Flake and New School Flake products, Ditzlers Big Flake process is easier to apply, there is less of a risk in runs, and it lays down flat so you can get a better visual of the sparkling effect. It does all depends on your choice of flake size that the old-school flake categories have to offer, but it also depends on how much flake you want poured over the other layers of flake too. Some guys like to bury the flake! There are also other painter opinions out there saying it’s always better to have a background basecoat present to separate the detail of flake and how it reflects. Our opinion is that you can rub out your car one time with the new-school waterborne flake from Ditzler, and you won’t have to worry about the sun or any heat creating that never-going-away orange peel effect we are accustomed to in the Old School Flake application.

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of this paint series as we mix it up with the new Murano pearls and Candy Apple finishes PPG has to offer.