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How To Acetone Your Badges

This tech article was originally posted at FordF150.net. It is primarily intended for 1998-newer Ford trucks but most likely also applies to other Ford vehicle emblems.

This is an easy mod that really changes the look of the truck. Take your time and be patient. It will give a chrome look badge that does not look stock. I have heard that this will only work on 1998+ trucks. It worked fine on my 2001 F150. As always, I will not be responsible for any damage you do, and by undertaking this project you admit full well that you know there are liabilities.

1. Supplies you need: There are a few basic but essential supplies that you will need to complete this mod. First, you need plenty of masking tape so that you can protect the surrounding paint. It is also convenient to have some paper towels on hand to help with masking and removal. Your tool that you will use is Q-tips. Make sure you have plenty of them. The agent that removes the black paint is Acetone. That is why it is important to properly mask off the body of the truck.

Photo of the supplies needed for this job

2. Masking around the badge: This step is crucial because the Acetone will also the damage the paint on the truck if it gets on it. It is very important that you take your time and ensure that you cover all of the paint around the badge. I found it easier to do the tailgate badge first because it does not have another badge below it. That gives you a chance to practice. Be sure you start at the bottom of the badge and then work your way to the top up the sides. That way the layers of tape you lay down are like shingles on a roof. This will prevent any Acetone from working its way behind the tape as it drips down. Cover a broad area around the badge for extra insurance. I used a couple of sheets of paper towels taped below the badge to protect the paint below from drips. Once you have it all taped up you are ready to remove the black.

Photo of the badge all masked and the surrounding area covered

3. Removing the Black Paint: This step is easy, but it takes some time. To start I found it easiest to use a small piece of paper towel wetted with Acetone and just rub around the badge. Try to remove the paint in the large areas with the tower, it is easier than using the Q-tips. Be careful that your paper towel does not touch exposed paint around the edges though. Also, change the to a new section of paper frequently so that you are not just moving the paint around on the badge. When you first start the surface will have a slightly hazy finish, but that is just residual paint. Once you get it all off it will be very shiny. This is what the badge looked like after I started to remove the black. As you can see it takes some work to get all the paint off. Just be patient and use plenty of clean towels and Q-tips.

Photo of the paint removal process

In this picture you can see that most of the black has been removed, but there is still some black around the edges of the letters. This is where the Q-tips come into play. Use them to work the Acetone into the creases surrounding the letters. This step takes some time so be patient. Also, do not forget around the edges of the badge itself.

Some of the black paint is removed...

Just to give you an idea, this is a picture of the materials I had used at this point in the project.

Photo of the materials used so far

4. Cleaning Off the Haze: You should have all the black cleaned off the badge now. As you can see in the picture below there will be a slight haze on the surface. This is the residual paint smeared across the face of the badge. To clean it off use a paper towel and wipe across the full surface of the badge. Make passes back and forth making sure the towel is clean. If the towel starts to turn black then use a new one.

Photo of the cleaner badge. It's looking better already.

Make sure you have removed all the paint, and that there is not residue hiding around the letters and numbers on the badge. Once the entire badge is cleaned up it should look very polished. If there are still some foggy areas make sure you clean them up with Acetone, you can not polish out the haze.

Here's a photo of the badge, almost done!

Now just remove the tape and clean up the area surrounding the badge. If you took your time masking the paint should look perfect around the badge. Now you just have to repeat the process for all the badges.

Here is the badge, cleaned up

Close-up of the clean emblem


Note: I have picked up a few tips from fellow F-150er's.

Thanks, good luck with the badges. This article has been generously donated by Jason Craveiro of FordF150.net.