Powder coating jigs yourself is super easy only requires a few simple tools. It is one of those processes that seem complicated and time-consuming but I actually found it to go much quicker than using regular vinyl paint. Paint not only needs time to dry but will run on you. Often requiring complex drying rigs that rotate the jig heads to prevent drips from forming. Powder coating is fast, easy, and requires no dry time (but does require a bit of cooling time). It is my go-to method for finishing pretty much anything I cast out of lead, whether it be a round-head walleye jig, spinnerbait, or even bullet weights. Powder coating is an extremely durable finish and can add a little extra flash to even the simplest of jigs or tackle.
- Powder Coat Paint
- Heat Gun
- Fluidized bed (optional)
- Cheap Toaster Oven (optional)
- Something to hang the finished jigs on (irrelevent if you go the toaster oven route)
There are tons of different powder coats on the market with most being intended for automotive or similar use. Its a popular coating for things like wheels because of its excellent durability. That said, the majority of people use “Pro-Tec” powder coat paint for there fishing lures. It’s marketing specifically for this purpose and is available from Cabelas or just about any sporting goods store. It is what I currently use for pretty much everything. Color range from your standard reds, whites, yellows, etc. to glow in the dark colors and reflective/glitter colors such as there “disco green” color. Make sure to get whatever colors you plan to make, they run about $7.00 for two ounces. Two ounces will do 300-500 round jig heads depending on the size of the jig head and how often you knock the container over if you’re a klutz like I am.
This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Heat guns for powder coating jigs can be had on like this off my mother-in-law for free. It was only big enough to hold 2 pieces of toast, but it will hold up to ~100 round jig-heads. Just make sure it has a rack, as the rack’s make for an easy way to hold your jig heads.
Something to hang the finished jigs on
The jigs are hot after you dip them, and the powder coat needs to cool down a bit before it will set. You need something you can hang them on that won’t mind the heat, and will keep the jig heads suspended. If you went the toaster oven route, just hang the hooks directly on the rack when they’re coated. After baking them in the oven you can just turn off the oven and open the door to let them cool. If your skipping the toaster oven, an old ceramic bowl with a thin wall works well. Just hang the hook over the side of the bowl. If you’re not making a lot of jig heads, you can set them on the bowl and throw the whole bowl in the toaster oven when your ready.
How to Powder Coat your own Jigs & Tackle
First, get prepped. Lay out your jigs in a convenient location along with your powder coat, your heat gun, and your “drying” rack. If you bought or built your own fluidized bed, nows the time to load it or hook it up to the air pump. I generally try to work from left to right because I am right handed, and that’s the hand I hold my pliers with. So jigs laid out to my left with room to set down my heat gun. Powder coat in front of me, and my toaster oven rack on the right. That gives me the most dexterity for dropping the hook on the toaster oven rack.
The process is going to be very simple but the dipping process is slightly different depending on whether or not you use a fluidized bed filter or not. Either way, you start by grabbing a jig and holding it in the pliers. With the other hand use the heat gun to heat every side of the jig head. I try to focus my efforts on the bottom and sides of the jig head. The less heat the eye of the hook gets, the less likely it is to get covered. It only takes 5-10 seconds to heat the jig head with my heat gun (probably requires less but I tend to overdo it, just don’t go long enough to melt the lead. If it starts to get glassy looking your way too hot). Now if you have a fluidized bed, take the jig head and dip it in the powder coat quickly. Just a quick dunk and back up is all it takes. If you are just dipping in the jar, the powder probably won’t be fluid enough to dip the jig in. In this case, turn the jig sideways and lightly move the jig on the surface of the powder, flip it over and hit the other side. Give the jig a few quick taps to dislodge any look powder coat and then watch your jig. It will go from looking like a dull powder finish and gloss over into full color. If you still have a little bit of powder that hasn’t cured, hit it briefly again with the heat gun (unless you’re going to be curing in the toaster oven, then you don’t have to heat it again). Now set the jig on whatever your rack is, whether its too cool or to get it ready for the oven.
If you are going to cure your powder coated jigs (I always do) then set your oven to 350 degrees and allow it to warm up. When it has reached temperature, slide the rack into the oven. The powder coat instructions say to bake for 15 minutes. With most powder coating the timer doesn’t start until the powder coated object (jig in this case) reaches the cure temperature (350F in this case). In the case of the Pro-Tec powder paint, they don’t specify, they just instruct you to bake the whole jig for 15 minutes. Since I am started with a preheated oven, I just set my timer for 15 minutes and when the timer goes off, I turn off the oven and open the door. They won’t cool instantly and the powder coat has always been super durable.
Here is an example of each method, the first part shows coating the jig with the fluidized bed and the second without it. Both work, but you can see how much easier it is to coat the jig in the fluidized bed.