Gone Outdoors

DIY How to Spray Paint Cars

by Cindy Paterson

A lot of people are afraid to spray paint their own cars for fear that they may apply too much paint on one area or totally ruin their car's look. It is true that spray painting cars can be a risky process, and you may need the hands of a professional to accurately complete the task. However, learning how to spray paint cars will not only provide you with more control over your car's design but will also save you a lot of money, as opposed to having a professional do the job.

Park your car is in a well ventilated area for easier drying. Use duct tape and a few plastic sheets to wrap parts of the car that will not be painted, such as the windows, mirrors and lights. You may also choose to remove the parts if you want to make sure that they don't get painted in the process.

Rub the surface of your car with a medium-grit sandpaper. Keep rubbing until you have an even surface. Do not miss a spot when sanding to make sure that the primer will adhere to the entire surface. Wipe your car with a dry towel to remove dust, dirt or small residues.

Apply a layer of primer directly onto the surface of your car. Use your brush to coat the primer thinly and evenly. Leave the primer to dry for at least 3 hours.

Sand the surface of your car using a fine-grit sandpaper. Sand with a back and forth motion. See to it that the surface of the car is evenly treated before wiping off the tiny dirt and sand residues with your dry towel.

Shake your can of aerosol paint before using it. Try spraying the paint over old newspapers to make sure that it is fully functional prior to applying it directly onto your car.

Spray the paint on your car's surface lightly using the recommended distance of the manufacturer. You may notice a lighter tint of the paint during the first coat. Do not overspray the paint and leave the light coat as it is, as this will be evened out after the next coating.

Leave the first coat to dry for one hour before doing another coat. Repeat the previous step twice to achieve three coats in total. You may choose to add another coat if you feel that the first three coats are too thinly done. Leave the final coat to dry for at least 3 hours.

Apply a layer of clear finishing coat with a brush. Then use the fine-grit sandpaper to sand out the surface. Apply another coat of clear finishing coat and repeat the sanding using an extremely fine sandpaper to fully buff and polish the car's surface. Apply the final clear coat and allow the car to dry for at least 3 hours.

Wipe the hardened and dried surface with a microfiber cloth dabbed in multipurpose polish to provide the newly painted car with a natural shine.

Items you will need
  • Duct tape
  • Plastic sheets
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Dry towel
  • Primer
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • One can aerosol paint
  • Old newspapers
  • Clear finishing coat
  • Extremely fine-grit sandpaper
  • Microfiber cloth

About the Author

Based in Santa Rosa, Calif., Cindy Paterson has been writing articles on travel and lifestyle since 1991. Her work has appeared on ForbesTraveler.com and MSNBC.com. Paterson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing from Columbia University in New York.