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How to Paint Your Car at Home

How to Paint at Home

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Having a car with nice paint is both the biggest reward and the biggest hassle in car crafting. Between searching for a paint shop that will do a complete repaint on an older car, getting the job done to your satisfaction in a timely fashion, and paying for it, having a car painted can be a harrowing experience. But there’s no reason to let all that stand between your car and a great paint job. After all, you know the old saying: If you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself. And you really can if you’ve got the time and patience to do it right.

The most daunting challenge for the first-time painter is understanding the various steps of the process: prep, primer, blocking, and the final spray job and detailing. Taken as a whole, it seems like an insurmountable hurdle, but each step by itself takes no more than a couple of days. Pacing yourself, you can get the job done in a reasonable amount of time if you have a plan and stick to it. We painted this ’70 Duster in just about a month from the time the bodywork was started until it was color-sanded and ready to drive out of the garage.

It may be the oldest cliché in the trade, but there’s no escaping the truth that the final result of any paint job is only as good as the prep work. The Duster was hiding its fair share of damage, with some rust down low in the quarters, and plastic body filler higher up from previous repairs. From the doors forward, the paint was mostly original, but numerous past repairs had left the rear of the car a patchwork of partial repaints. Some were skillfully done, while other were amateurishly overloaded with filler. We took the time to get the bodywork right before moving on.

Another point we can’t hammer home hard enough is that you really need to check your local environmental regulations regarding mixing and spraying paints at home. The local fire department or autobody supply store is probably the best place to start. But even if you stop short of actually spraying the paint yourself, the techniques shown here will at least allow you to get the car ready for a pro to lay down the paint, saving you a ton of money. We’ve assumed you already know how to strip a car of all its trim, bumpers, mirrors, grille, and other items that need to be removed before you paint it, so let’s get down to the nitty-gritty details.

SOURCES
D’Angelos Automotive & Industrial Coatings
1260 S. Central Ave.
Glendale
CA  91204
Valspar Refinish
The Eastwood Company
263 Shoemaker Rd.
Pottstown
PA  19464
800-345-1178
www.eastwoodcompany.com
Harbor Freight Tools
800-444-3353
www.harborfreight.com
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107 comments
Derek Konczal
Derek Konczal

Air in ... And air out ... Nice and slow not too much draw

Kelly Parrish
Kelly Parrish

make sure u spray the door jams if ur painting it a different color

James Vickers
James Vickers

plastic not good dry overspray could end up paint when plastic flexes

Chuck Strigl
Chuck Strigl

In a garage you should lightly wet the floor so dust and dirt dont blow into the paint... The water will keep everything left after cleaning on the floor

JK Images
JK Images

When you think its ready, block/ sand it one more time.

Paul Redondo
Paul Redondo

best way to this in a garage is to do it a section at a time,if you want a nice clean job!

Robert Williams
Robert Williams

Tape on the floor, the length of the body, and as close to the car as possible. (whatever shows up best in contrast to your shop floor color. Much easier to spot dry spots, or runs.

Steve A. Kerezman
Steve A. Kerezman

Like Andrew said a chain over the axle or body / frame rail will ground the body & repell dust from your paint job. Has worked for me the last 28+ yrs...

Jim Watson
Jim Watson

Mango tango.orange..wanna paint by 65 Biscayne that color!

Stephen Mitchell
Stephen Mitchell

Use a good gun ie Satajet's, half lap patterns, keep gun moving w/6 inches from metal and most important to anyone thinking there Superman Wear a respirator because those fumes are floating kryptonite.....

Frank Tobia
Frank Tobia

Rims tires. Flames. On. The. Front. Exhaust. Pipes. Down. The. Side

Gary Huddleston
Gary Huddleston

I always seem to mix a spot or two with degreaser and dust tack cloth...so I put 2 drops of wd-40 in the pot...no more fish eye.

Greg Vodde
Greg Vodde

Keep air hose over shoulder and down your back so it doesn't riun just sprayed paint

Greg Vodde
Greg Vodde

Best to have 2 air hoses ...one on each side so that pulling and moving the hose doesn't fling water in fresh paint

Fred Druken
Fred Druken

spray bug killer close doors and wait for a while then go in and wipe off bugs before they stick on paint when they land on it

Rick Davis Sr.
Rick Davis Sr.

Hope you were shooting for orange..'cause you nailed it

Donald Wilson
Donald Wilson

there is a reason for primer,when you have different colored body parts

Dana Compani
Dana Compani

Many of those jobs coming out our shop in the back!

Jason Rains
Jason Rains

HOW MANY PPL REMEMBER THIS CAR ? IT WAS THE DUSTER THAT APPEARED ON NOVEMBER 1998 COVER :) 14 years ago people well maybe 15 now still got the issues of this car

Iz Hung Lo
Iz Hung Lo

Biggest most important thing is wash thoroughly inside jambs. Hood trunk. 90 % of dirt comes from there into the job

Curtis Parker
Curtis Parker

My best advice is dont let the EPA or fire officer see this picture. It' would be bad if they see those box fans in the window. Min fine is 10 grand. But the paint job looks great.

Marty Decker
Marty Decker

Cover any and everything clear coat will stick to it like glue to include yourself wear a disposable painters Suite and good Respirator they are not expensive and will save you.

Carol Gismondi
Carol Gismondi

Im the best maskerupperer 1 of my ex's was a panelbeater and used to mask up all the cars and i was quick and gr8 at it mmm xo full of suprises hey haha xo

Christopher Carswell
Christopher Carswell

Lots of great comments! I also keep 2 tweezers close for bugs and wipe the air hose down with a damp cloth between sprays. Also, rent or borrow a mig welder if patching. I used a Tig and it took forever.

Joe Compani
Joe Compani

I'm a painter by trade, but I bought a house with a two car garage to do side work in with the idea of starting my own business and moving in to a shop within a few years. I'm in my own shop now but I had good luck spraying in my garage. Keep the floor wet down, wash and dry the car real good before you mask it off and paint it. Definitely have a fan set up for exhausting the fumes. Also don't blow your house up with your pilot light from your water or house heater. And it's not cool when your family and pets feel like crap from the fumes. And don't be scared to spray waterborne in your garage I did a few completes with it and it worked fine.

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