Maybe you’ve tried painting your wall before, so you think painting your car is pretty much the same thing. No, they’re far from the same thing, so make sure to know what you’re doing before attempting anything too crazy.
A decent car paint job needs paint rollers, multiple cans of paint, products, sprays and many more… This is why getting it done professionally can get expensive real quick. It’s a complex, but doable task if you’re confident enough in your skills. Plus, if you’ve come here to look for a guide on how to paint your car yourself, so here we go:
What do you need?
And patience too, painting a car is a process than doesn’t just involve raw painting your car thoughtlessly. It’ll take multiple days or even weeks depending on how fast you work and how neat you want the final result to be.
We’d recommend you to take a week off to get the whole thing done, don’t split it up on multiple weekends or you’ll end up getting all your free time eaten up.
- A place where you can work on your car
If you own a spacious garage, that’s good, otherwise, you’ll have to find a garage or a shed in order to store your car or to even have enough space to work on your vehicle. Oh and, things can get dirty so make sure the floor, ceiling, doors, windows and walls are properly covered or out of range (at least 3 meters so it’s unlikely you’ll find a garage that big).
- Tools and utility
Here’s the list of what you’ll need:
-Sandpaper, you can find some good and cheap ones online
-Dust Extractor, mandatory but good if you’re allergic to dust or suffer from asthma
-Newspapers, not to read while the paint dries but for masking off surfaces
– Paint Thinners
-Paint, a lot. You’re going to need at least 6 gallons of coat. Don’t take less, but this is the minimum required for smaller vehicles. For you larger models, go for 8 just to be sure. It’s better to have too much paint than too little.
Start off by cleaning the whole working area; make it so that you’re at ease when working on your paint job. Make space if you’re indoors, if not, get the whole area clean and don’t ever paint under a tree. If anything drops onto the wet paint, it’ll ruin the finish, that’s why we always recommend you working indoors, because it is cleaner and less risky.
Mask off areas you don’t want to paint and decide on what should be painted or not. Some elements may be harder and more complex to paint so make sure it’s something that doesn’t necessarily require mechanical knowledge.
Let’s get to the real stuff now. Start your sanding by doing multiple circular motions in order to remove all three layers of paint. However, some surfaces will have to be done by hand because the sander can’t reach it.
Get your car back to its bare metal, unpainted version. The smoother the metal looks, and the less paint you left, the better your final result will be. Take your time, it is fine if you need more than a day, that why you planned ahead and took a week or two off.
Once you’re satisfied with your work, wipe clean the structure with a clean rag and paint thinners, in order to remove any dust or small patches of paint that you could have missed out.
Mix the primer with the thinners, the ratio of both substances should be on the instructions. Then practice a bit beforehand: don’t start off right away with the car or you’ll mess up for sure. Hold the spray gun a few inches (5-6) from the panel and spray it sideways in a “sweeping” motion. If you hold it at the same place for too long, the paint will be too thick and run down.
Once mastered, apply the primer to the car, starting from the roof and going downwards, applying your initial cover in thin and even layers. Make around 3 coats: each one of them should take you 10-15 minutes. Wait at least 20 minutes for your primer to cure before going for another one.
After that, smoothen what you’ve done so far with your sandpaper, and wipe down the car surface with a rag dampened with thinners. Don’t put too much though or scrape for too long or you could end up removing the primer.
Mix the paint with the thinners beforehand, and spray the same way as you’ve been doing before. Apply multiple layers of paint, waiting at least 20 minutes between each coat.
Your last layer will have to be the cleanest, best looking one. Before you start doing it, use again your sandpaper and rag to smoothen the surface.
At last, remove your tape, and check out for unfinished jobs or imperfections.
If it’s looking good, well you’re done! Congrats on doing your first car paint job. You’ve just saved yourself a ton of money, and learnt how to repaint a car all by yourself.