How To Paint Your Own Car

August 31, 2021

In this day and age having a car professionally detailed can be a major expense many individuals cannot justify when the economy is not always favorable. This is why becoming a ‘do it yourselfer’ comes in handy and painting a car is considered a project easily done at home. If the job is done well, the automobile can have an expertly restored look. Here are some of the basics to think about when painting cars.

What You will Need

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Have the supplies on hand in close proximity to the project. The basic items needed are white high gloss paint, acetone, spray primer, high-density foam brushes, paint trays, sand paper designed for wetting, and quality painter’s tape. A spray gun will complete the process. For some steps power tools are useful. When all the equipment is in hands reach the job will go smoothly, and the following steps can be accomplished in a coordinated fashion.

Prep Work

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The work area should be free of unnecessary obstacles and debris. Wash the car so nothing will impede the painting process. Cover or remove items from the vehicle that should not be painted like headlights, side mirrors, trim, and fenders. Tape remaining areas so they do not get paint on them. Double check to make sure all of the parts which are to remain unpainted on the vehicle have been properly taped to avoid mishaps.


Paint Pre Basic

The reason a primer coat is necessary because it ensures the tint will adhere to the surface of the car’s body. Using a two-stage spray gun apply several light coatings of the color and allow for the paint to dry thoroughly before adding another application. When spraying the surface hold the air down on the trigger until the pressure equalizes then pull the trigger again to allow the material to flow out uniformly and evenly.

Wet Sand


An option between priming and painting is wet sanding. Take 600 grit sandpaper and keep it wet by spraying water on it consistently; rub gently in back and forth motions to remove impurities. When that process is complete wet the 400 grit sandpaper and continue the procedure. Move to the next finest grit and do everything all over again. When this stage is complete hose the car down with water to remove dust and particles.

Spray Painting

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Once the primer dries thoroughly, the color can be applied to the automobile’s body. Using the spray gun filled with the appropriate paint color and acetone mix, sweep a minimum of two layers of it onto the car in concentrated motions. Do not stop or hesitate because it may result in drips or uneven coverage. It is best to avoid any interruptions as it will take some time and more money to repair the mistake.

Finishing Touches


After determining the color is satisfactory, a couple of layers of clear coat can be applied. It is an optional procedure and can be omitted if finances are tight. Always remember to let the product dry in between applications for a professional finish. Clear coat adds a protective layer to the paint. It must be maintained by washing the surface and waxing the vehicle regularly; This helps to keep the coat from peeling and cracking.

Wet Sanding

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This instance of wet sanding is also optional. If this is the route taken, then the sandpaper to be used must be specifically designed for wet sanding, and the grits appropriate for this job in this exact order are 800, 1000, 1200, 1500 and lastly 2000. This procedure will be useful to remove any spots left from an over enthusiastic, clear coat application. Make sure to keep the paper consistently wet to avoid any scratches.

Rubbing Compound


Rubbing is done so the top coat can be applied without any hassle, and so there are no visible blemishes or impurities. It is easier to use an orbital polisher, but it is possible to buff by hand using pressure and a microfiber towel. Rub one area of the car at a time by spreading a thin line of the product in small amounts to the car’s surface in order to have a consistent finish.



Polishing the car is one of the last things to be done after before waxing. It can be manually shined, or an electric polisher can be used. Both methods will still need the polishing compound to achieve the sleek sheen many people are looking for when they paint their automobile. The way to polish is by using circular motions; it takes elbow grease, but seeing it gleam in the sunlight will be worth the effort.



It is optional, but many people like to wax their cars for a professional look. After painting, buffing, and polishing, the paint job should be left to dry for a couple of weeks. Some people recommend waiting for thirty days; this is to ensure the paint has fully hardened or cured. Apply wax in thin layers and use microfiber cloths to gradually remove the residue left by the wax and to produce a brilliant shine.