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Tailgate Customization

Tailgate Customization

Michigan winter temperatures made working in the shop less than ideal.  Even with my garage heater running, doing any paint or trim work on a car is difficult.  It is important to have temperatures consistently above 60 degrees (Fahrenheit, for you Canadians!) in order for paint to cure and decals to stick.

We had a couple of good days last weekend, so I was able to add to the transformation of the family truckster I wrote about in the related article below:

Related articleTransforming the Family Truckster

Letter Color Change

During my initial transformation, I applied vinyl letters over the chrome emblems on the tailgate and doors.  The doors looked good, but I wasn’t crazy about the tailgate letters so I removed the vinyl and decided to use PlastiDip.

I’ve used PlastiDip on wheels in the past (I covered that HERE), but never on the emblems.  It actually works better on emblems as they don’t get the same road and weather exposure as the wheels.  The process could not be easier, and I encourage you to give it a try!


The following pictures show the steps involved in applying PlastiDip.  You can find PlastiDip at most home improvement stores and in black, gray, red or white.  It costs about $6 at Lowe’s and Home Depot, but Amazon charges $20 for some reason.  

If you want more color selection, go to  That’s where I bought the gray color seen below.  I also used that color to “dip” the factory wheels that came on my car.  More on that change later!

Bonus: Badge Fabrication

In addition to changing the color of the tailgate letters, I also made a badge for the new “adventure package” I covered in Name The Next Adventure Vehicle.  One of my readers suggested “Base Camp” for my vehicle, which I turned into a badge to apply to the newly revised tailgate.


A summary of steps followed to produce and paint the new Base Camp badge is shown below.  I bought the primer, paint and clear coat at my local hardware store.  Rust-Oleum is my product of choice, as it consistently produces a high quality result.

The Base Camp decal was made by a seller on Etsy.  She already had the basic design, and added my BASE CAMP name to the decal.  I bought several decals in case I made a mistake (I did), so it was money well spent ($3.50 per decal, plus shipping).  You can access her store HERE.

The final result can be seen below.  I’m not sure the Base Camp badge will stay as-is.  The color wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but I figure I will live with it a while and see how I feel about it.  Getting new decals made is cheap, and easy to install.

I hope this easy project inspires you to try something new on your car.  I am not finished playing around with my car yet, so stay tuned for another update!


As I said above, I am not finished playing around with the car.  

After I lived with this new badge on the tailgate for a while, I grew to dislike it.  In my workshop, the gray on tan color combo looked really good.  On the car in the real worl, not so much.

I contacted the Etsy seller to order new Base Camp decals in a khaki color.  This was not one of the colors she carried, but she quickly offered to find the color for me.  She cut new decals and had them in my hands within a week.  

That’s the beauty of working with a small business for custom work.  

The new khaki decals are on the tailgate and front doors.  Check out the latest look below>


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