How to Properly Spray Paint a Car for a Professional Look

January 27, 2012

You may be considering repainting your car yourself, and wondering whether the best answer to your problems is to spray paint the car yourself, rather than allowing a professional to charge you a lot of money for the same effect. If you are looking to rent or buy a spray paint gun, then you should know it is not always as easy as it looks, and if you want the best for your money, you will need to get the amount of spray paint exactly right. This can be very difficult for an amateur. If you are looking for the best way to spray paint cars yourself, then you should follow a few simple pieces of advice to get the job done quickly and easily.

Materials Needed

  • Newspaper
  • Sander
  • Painters tape
  • Spray gun
  • Spray paint 
  • Car wax
  • Safety goggles

Step 1 - Prepare the Car

Before you can begin to paint the car, you will need to prepare it properly. In order to give a professional finish to the car, you have to sand down the former paint job, and also remove any corrosion, dents, or car wax build up that could affect the finish of your paint job. Park the car in a garage, but leave the garage doors open, or paint on the driveway, so long as you paint carefully.

Step 2 - Sand the Car

Using a large-grain sandpaper (say 600 grit, or similar), and rub over the surface of the car. This is very hard work, and you may be tempted to give up and let the professionals do it, but you will gradually see the paint coming away under your hand. Once the paint is mostly removed, you can swap to a finer paper, such as 1500 grit, which will remove scratches or corrosion. If you find any holes, you will need to use some putty to repair the damage before you begin to spray the car.

Step 3 - Paint the Car

Put painters tape over car bumpers, wheel rims, side mirrors, and window frames. Tape newspaper to the windows themselves, and put a layer of newspaper under your car. Install your spray paint in the spray gun, and then put on your safety goggles. Stand with your spray gun pointing about 10 inches away from the car, and spray using an even, regular motion. Move from side to side to allow the coat to build up. The coat needs to be completely even. Leave the car to dry.

Step 4 - Add a Second Coat

Professional painters give cars a second layer of paint in order to give the car a good look, so once the first coat is dry, return to the car and apply a second layer. You have to give the car an even coat, as anything less will not resemble a professional job. When you have applied the second layer of paint, leave the car to dry completely. This will take around 48 hours for complete dryness, and you can then add a layer of car wax to finish the job.

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