What is orange peel? It's a texture that develops on your finished paint that is generally seen as an imperfection.
What causes it? Well, there are a host of things:
- premature evaporation of thinner
- too much humidity
- not enough humidity
- too hot
- too cold
- incorrect air pressure in your airbrush or spray can
- too much paint
- not enough drying time between layers
- too much drying time between layers
- chemical interactions between different types of paint
- bad batches of paint
- painting at an angle rather than perpendicular
- a horse sneezes upwind in Guatemala
- paint gremlins... getting the idea?
There are so many things that can go wrong it's really difficult to tell you exactly what happened and most of the articles I've read put 90% of the fault squarely in the hands of the painter. It just happens sometimes regardless of the paint and product that you are painting, and there's no promise it won't happen again under "better" circumstances.
So what do you do to fix it? Personally I've had the best luck with wet sanding. Using progressive grades of damp sandpaper, apply some elbow grease, and work at it until you are happy with the finish. When you are ready to repaint, keep in mind the conditions involved in your first paint and try something different. Alternatively, if you are doing a custom piece, roll with it. Make it part of your finish and own it.
If this has happened to you, I'm sorry. It's incredibly frustrating and you probably don't deserve it.. Just pull up your big girl or boy pants and get back to work!