When painting a car, spray painting techniques can be the difference in a great looking paint job and one that you might not want other people to see. Whether you will be using a standard auto spray gun or a car airbrush, there are ways that you can help ensure that you do the job right the first time and avoid wasting time and money in doing the job over again. Here are some tips to help you:
Remove or Tape to Avoid Overspray - Until you are experienced in using a paint sprayer and comfortable painting cars, you should attempt to remove parts of the vehicle that need to be painted. This is especially true if you are only painting a bumper, door or a single quarter panel. However, if you're not able to remove the piece, make sure that you tape off the area as to avoid overspray in areas of the vehicle that don't need to be painted. If you need to tape off an area, make sure to use a painter's grade of masking tape that will not damage the finish of the vehicle.
Surface Preparation is Essential - Before you even hook up your spray gun, you should spend a lot of time preparing the surface of the vehicle. When painting a vehicle, sandpaper can often be your best friend. Use low grit sandpaper such as 80 or 300 grit pieces to smooth out the scratches or imperfections in the surface of the vehicle. You should also spend some time practicing good wet sanding methods with 1000 or higher grit papers. The more time you spend preparing the surface of the vehicle, the easier spraying the car will be.
Spray Several Light Coats Rather One Heavy One - Many inexperienced car painters tend to try to paint a vehicle too quickly. Sometimes, you may be tempted to spray a lot of paint onto a car. However, this almost always results in runs or paint build up. Therefore, make sure that you hold your spray nozzle approximately 10 to 12 inches away from the vehicle and spray the vehicle with slow and even strokes. Spray the vehicle from black to left, and not up and down. If you miss an area don't break your rhythm and just wait until you apply the next coat to cover the missed area.
Don't Rush Between Coats - After you've sprayed a coat of paint onto the vehicle, you'll need to give the codes enough time to set properly before applying the next coat. For most types of car paint, you should wait about 15 to 20 minutes between coats. If you are applying a primer, you should wait about 24 hours before applying a base coat or enamel based paint. Also, between primer and paint applications, you should wet sand the vehicle with a 1000 - 1200 grit piece of sandpaper. This will make spraying the vehicle much easier and allow you to use less paint to cover the car.
Correct Mistakes Before Continuing - If you do make a mistake while spraying the vehicle, continue spraying the current coat of paint. However, do not apply another coat of paint until the mistake has been corrected or repaired. Again, use a piece of sandpaper to lightly sand away paint buildup or runs. Just make sure that you allow the paint to drive before correcting the mistake.