A great many things learned today!
First, we applied stencils.
Where stencil material met an edge (where there was no painting), we made sure to extend into the mask:
Ultimately, I have to agree with all of you, Pinball Pimp's stencils here applied fantastic. We took some tips from others, and covered the "X" registration marks with masking, so our opaque paint wouldn't obscure it.
All stencils applied and ready to go:
We used Delfleet Essential automotive paint. This is a 6 to 1 to 1 mix ratio and dries solid in about 30-40 minutes. My mistake, the other automotive paint I used for the base was Omni MBX, which dries much faster. At a high level, the stencils worked great and fairly happy with the results:
There were some great outcomes:
...and some HORRIBLE outcomes. You can't imagine how upset this made me... it was 100% my fault, I forgot to adjust the pressure on the first spray (yes, I tested it first, but failed to pay close enough attention). We'll have to sand this out.
In terms of when to remove the stencils, because we thought this was going to dry in 5-10 minutes, we began removing the stencils off one side of the cabinet really quickly (15 minutes) after application. we quickly realized this was a mistake. The paint was extremely sticky, and would sometimes stretch or string. It still kept the edges and lines as we wanted, but those lines are far rougher/more raised.
In contrast, we started the second side of the cabinet about 1 hour after application. All the lines were clean and no lifting or stretching. For paints like this, I recommend waiting for the initial cure time before removing, not when wet or sticky. Because the base coat was cleared and solid, there was no base lifting either, though the material from Pinball Pimp seemed unlikely to do that.
By the time we got to the head, the paint felt like the surface of a car, and yet it still came off cleanly. We used a pair of tweezers and an Xacto knife to get to the pieces.
As for those paint runs, I'm hoping I can just sand them down before the next stencil layer. Once the next stencil is finished, we'll do any touchups...and depending on how ambitious we are, we'll probably do some regular clear to level out the lines, sand, and do a matte clear to finish it off.