Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How to Spray Paint Your Car

There are several reasons you might want to spray paint your car yourself, such as to save money or to achieve a personalized look. This article will provide some things you should know – both in preparation and in application – before you are ready to simply grab a can and go for it. The task will take some time, money, and devotion, but if you are prepared with the correct guidelines, your car can achieve the same perfect professional look, even if you do it yourself.

What you will need:
  • Newspaper
  • Large-grain sandpaper or sander
  • Painters tape
  • Car spray paint (using spray gun or aerosol paint)
  • Primer
  • Car wax
  • Safety goggles, dusk mask, disposable gloves, old clothing or overalls
What to do:
  1. Preparation. Warm and dry weather conditions are ideal; if this is not possible, a well-ventilated garage can suffice. Using newspapers and tape, sure the surrounding area is well-covered from any possible overspray (such as the floor).
  2. Sand the car. Use the sandpaper or sander to rub over the surface of the car, since paint won't stick to a slick, shiny surface. Finer sandpaper can be used to remove scratches or corrosion. If there are any holes, you will have to use some putty to repair the damage. Apply a rust treatment product if needed; rusted areas should be sanded down to bare metal to prevent it from spreading. Ensure that the car is fully dried and free of dust, dirt, and debris (completely wash the car if needed); any trace of water will mess up the paint later on.
  3. Primer. Apply the primer to help the paint adhere well and make sure you get an even coat. Spray in thin coats and allow some time for drying in between (about 15-minute intervals). Pay special attention to areas with  bare metal and areas near the door and door handles.
  4. Cover your car. Using painters tape and newspaper, tape off any part of your car that you do not want painted. This may include windows, chrome, bumpers, license plate, mirrors, trim, and tires. 
  5. Paint your car. Put on your safety goggles and gloves. Stand with your spray gun about 10 inches away from the car, and spray using a consistent, even motion from side to side, allowing the paint to slowly build up. Multiple light coats are better than one or two thick ones, which can look uneven, and wait about 20 minutes between each application. You should spray different parts of the car at a time – for example, finish the hood first, then the fender, then a door, et cetera.
  6. Finishing touches. You should finish off the painting with one or two clear coats not only for a glossy, finished look, but also for protection from the sun and natural elements (make sure the car is completely dry between coats). As a final touch, you may want to apply a layer of car wax.
Final tips: Take your time and do not rush or take shortcuts during any part of the process, or you may make a mess. When it comes to spray painting, it is wise to practice on a piece of cardboard or sheet metal first. Remember to use good-quality equipment and products, as well as proper safety equipment.