How to Paint A Car Like A Pro: Superb Guide

Painting a car with your own hands in a garage or on the street is not a difficult process for a knowledgeable person. But at the same time it is a time-consuming and multi-step activity, and it is easy for a beginner to miss an important point.

It is important to understand how to prepare both the room and the car itself for car painting; how to choose a primer, putty, paint and, finally, varnish. How to apply and dry layers correctly, how to prevent defects and how to remove defects if they do occur. And much, much more.

Here is a brief step-by-step instruction on how to paint a car like a pro with your own hands. The steps will go in the following order:


Preparing the place for painting

Where to paint a car

The preparatory step is just as important as the painting process itself. If you don’t prepare the car and the paint job properly before painting the car yourself, there is a high risk that you will have to redo it.

And the first question you need to decide is where to paint the car? Fine, if some of your friends have a garage, already equipped for painting cars with their own hands, and you can settle in there for a while. But if there are no such facilities, then you will have to paint your car either in an unequipped room, or directly on the street.

Car painting on the street. Features of the process

Can I paint my own car right on the street? – Of course you can. But remember that the result of your efforts may be lower than expected. Even if you manage to meet all the necessary conditions.

Rules for painting a car outside

Firstly, it is better not to paint your car outside in winter. Most paint coatings require a temperature range from +15 to +25 degrees Celsius. Some paints are good and dry at +8-+10 degrees Celsius.

Second, you should choose a clear, windless day. Otherwise, sudden rain or wind-blown dust will ruin your work.

How to Paint A Car Like A Pro

Thirdly, to paint the car with his hands on the street is better to buy the kind of paint, the appearance of which is least affected by minor defects.

Specialists recommend taking ordinary acrylic and applying it in several layers, so that later polishing will eliminate the shortcomings. Powder and polyester paints are more suitable for outdoor use.

Dust Protection

For greater safety, it makes sense to put a quick construction, which will protect the freshly painted surfaces of the car from dust, poplar fuzz, as well as flies, which in summer is quite a lot.

It can be a blown tent with nets instead of doors, or a makeshift construction like a greenhouse: supports + polyethylene. It is good if the protection is comprehensive (including the roof), but sometimes you just put a barrier on the side where the wind blows.

Of course, make sure that dust and dirt do not fly out from under your feet: from the ground or grass. In the places where you walk, put a thick material that does not stick to your feet (bedspread, old linoleum).

Preparing the garage for the painting of the car with your own hands

Painting the car with your own hands in the garage is the most common way. As a rule, to find a free garage for 3-4 days is even easier than to assemble a canopy shelter from the wind and bad weather. But keep in mind that even the garage needs to be thoroughly prepared for work.

Make sure that:

  1. The garage is the right size. The car should be arranged “comfortably. And so should you. Keep in mind that you will have to walk around the car and squat with the tool. The minimum distance from the wall to the car body should be 70 centimeters. Space in the room should also be enough for tools and those elements that will be painted separately, removed from the car.
  2. The garage is clean. It is necessary to sweep with a wet broom (ideally, wash) not only the floor, but also the ceiling and walls. If you have a blow gun, use it. Move away anything from which dust, sand, cobwebs, lint, etc. can fall on fresh paint. If dirt is falling off the garage ceiling, it is usually covered with polyethylene. It is not uncommon to cover the entire garage with polyethylene from the inside. This is especially true if the walls are rough or if you plan to use heat fans or heat guns, which will cause air masses to move in the garage and bring up all the dirt that you haven’t cleaned up.
  3. The lighting is adequate and even. It’s usually a little dark in garages. In such conditions, it is easy to make a mistake when painting a car. It is better to buy more lights and distribute them around the room so you don’t have to drag them back and forth when painting a car. If you want to paint the car evenly and the right tone – do not spare time to prepare the light. The light must be both top and side. Ideally, you should choose bright daylight lamps.
  4. The garage is dry and warm. To paint the car with your own hands in the garage may need heating. Not a problem if your garage is unheated – it is quite suitable oil heater or fan heater. Open flame devices and unprotected coil when painting cars can not be used, it is flammable. The room is heated BEFORE painting begins, and then the desired temperature is only maintained.
  5. The garage is well ventilated. Sweating and wearing a mask during the whole painting process is a real torture! A couple of parts can be painted, but the whole car – we would not advise it. Painting a car with your own hands is a laborious and responsible business. And paint dries in a stuffiness slower than expected. Besides, because of high humidity serious defects of coating may appear: from matting loss to appearance of swells and paint delaminations. So take care of a quality hood. If it is warm and not windy outside, it may be enough to open the garage door. But again, make sure that the gnats from the street do not stick to the fresh coating.
  6. The voltage on the power line is quite high. If there is a low-voltage line to the garage, it would be better if you knew about it before you start painting the car. The mains must be able to handle all the lights, compressor, and, if necessary, heaters and forced air extraction at the same time.

That’s it! You can drive your pre-painted car inside! Adjust the position of the car, and before the painting itself, spill water on the floor of the box. This will reduce the amount of dust.

At what temperature to paint your car

When painting a car with your own hands is advised to maintain a temperature of 15-25 degrees. That is why it is recommended to paint the car by yourself mainly in summer. Or at other time of the year, but in a heated garage with a quality hood. The temperature is important for proper application and drying of the coating. At what temperature to paint the car with a particular paint is written on the package of the paint, but as a rule, most of the available compositions fall within the specified range.

What a low temperature leads to:

  • To increase the drying time. Both the primer and the paint itself.
  • To the appearance of blotches, undercurrents and gaps in the coating.
  • To a decrease in the durability of the coating.

What too high a temperature leads to:

  • To blistering of the paint coating.
  • To a decrease in the durability of the product.
  • To the loss of gloss of the varnish.

However, this temperature range is not the final verdict. There are paints that do a good job at lower temperatures. In addition, on forums, you can often see stories of car enthusiasts that they successfully spray-paint their cars right outside in the freezing cold. Well, you can’t lose your skills. But for an inexperienced “house painter” it is better not to take such a risk and to do everything according to the rules.

Violation of the required temperature range when painting a car (and even with your own hands) can be unnoticeable when painting a single part or painting only the damaged part of the body element. To paint a car completely in unsuitable conditions is a huge risk.

Why is temperature so important?

The working temperature on the paint can is indicated for a reason. These are the most “comfortable” conditions for the paint to set and cure properly. And its curing must occur within a certain time. The same refers to varnish. Painting a car in cold weather may lead to the fact that lacquer simply will not cure and will never get the needed properties.

Do not confuse ordinary automotive paint with industrial automotive paints used in factories and large service stations. Other materials and equipment are used there. There, the painted items are dried in special chambers at a temperature of 60-200 degrees, depending on the type of paint.

How to Paint A Car Like A Pro

What you need to paint a car with their own hands in the garage

So, you decided to paint your own car… Make sure you have everything ready. Otherwise you will have to rush to find missing materials or tools.

List of tools and materials

You will need the following:

  • Prepared area for painting a car.
  • Tools for disassembling the body.
  • Covers on the wheels of the car.
  • Painting tape, film newspapers – for pasting windows, etc.
  • Rags.
  • Work clothes, gloves, construction goggles, respirator or mask. Overalls are preferable to pants with a jacket because they are tighter against the body – there is less risk of waving on the fresh paint of a hollow jacket or robe.
  • Compressor. And to it a good air hose and quality pneumatic fittings (cheap always jam). Also a moisture separator filter is desirable.
  • Paint sprayer. Ideally, two pieces: under the paint itself and under the primer.
  • All kinds of grinds. Different shapes and grit sizes. Hard and flexible. It’s good if you have a sander, it makes the work faster.
  • Degreaser + wipes.
  • Putty.
  • Primer.
  • Automotive paint. Depending on the paint you choose, you may need a solvent, pigment, and fixer.
  • Varnish.
  • Scrapers, spatulas, brushes.

Note also that if some of the body parts are damaged, you will also need to have them straightened, welded, straightened, and so on before painting. All the tools required for this must also be prepared in advance. More info What Materials Do You Need To Paint A Car?

Car cleaning

Car Wash

Unfortunately, many of those who intend to paint the car with their own hands, badly wash the car before starting the work. It seems to be clean, but not really.

The fact is that just washing a car with water is not enough. Even after a professional car wash, sometimes there are residues of bitumen, polish and other “tenacious” compounds on the body. So if you have applied polish or noticed any complicated stains on your car – tell the washerman about it, he will use the appropriate car care products.

It is better to wash the car yourself before painting with an electric car wash of the “Kercher” type. Firstly, the unit cleans the car under high pressure. Secondly, you do not have to rub the surface with a rag or sponge, that is, there is no risk of inadvertently badly scratching the car hit by the rag sand.

The use of car shampoo is very desirable.

The car is washed for 2 times: firstly all accessible surfaces are moistened with clean water. Particular attention is paid, of course, to the underbody, wheel arches and the wheels themselves. Lumps of dirt from the bottom of the car are a source of dust during painting. When the dried mud soaks away, the car is washed with auto-shampoo. Then double-check for stain residue.

After that, all elements that can interfere with the painting of the car are removed from the body: seals, plastic parts, moldings. Usually dirt accumulates under them too. These places must also be thoroughly washed.

Degreasing of surfaces

Is degreasing before painting a car with your own hands really necessary? And why degrease what you’ll soon be scrubbing with sandpaper? – That’s what beginner car enthusiasts think and neglect this step. And very wrong!

Any service technician will tell you that degreasing surfaces before painting a car is one of the most important preparatory steps. Grinding the part only partially removes the grease. Its particles only dig even deeper into the scratches left by the sandpaper. Moreover, they get stuck in the sandpaper itself and leave traces wherever it is used. So degrease, friends! Degrease!

Be sure to do this after washing and drying the car.

What to use? – Basically any store degreaser or antisilicone. There are also complex products that perfectly remove both grease and silicone residue after polishing.

What NOT to use? – Popular folk remedies such as acetone, gasoline, or nitro solvent should not be used. Acetone and nitro solvent evaporate before they have time to dissolve the grease. The grease will just end up smearing on the part. Gasoline is not a bad way to get bitumen off a car. Especially high-octane. But it has too much grease in it.

A tip from experienced painters: Wet the parts with degreaser using a cloth or spray gun and wipe the dissolved grease off the surface with a dry rag. It is better to have plenty of clean rags on hand so that the grease doesn’t stand a chance. Better yet, buy a couple rolls of paper towels. They don’t leave lint on surfaces, unlike rags.

Another rule: work in small areas, wipe off dissolved grease quickly, that is, before the degreaser dries. Otherwise, the grease will remain on the surface. Or worse yet, it will smear even more on it.

Consequences of bad cleaning

If you are going to paint a car with your own hands in your garage, then remember that properly prepared surface – at least 50% of success. And badly prepared car is almost 100% defect. Paint problems caused by poor cleaning of the car:

  • Roughness (due to dirt not washed off the bottom)
  • Low adhesion (paint will come off)
  • Grease and silicone craters (chips, cracks will appear quickly)
  • Weak gloss of the coating

Driving a clean car to the place of painting and fixing it

Before painting, the washed and dried car is driven into the garage. The car is placed in such a way that it is convenient to move around the garage with the tool in hand.

After that, it is recommended to pour water over the concrete floor of the garage. This gives additional protection against dust. But note that humidity also plays a role (it is critical for many paints and some paints), so if you do not have a quality hood, it is better not to water and do not arrange a steam room.

Shrouding the wheels

Shrouding the wheels before painting the car yourself in the garage is necessary to prevent paint residue from flying off the wheels into the air. Sometimes even after the best wash, dried mud remains in the treads and wheels. It can crumble and become dust in the process of work.

After shrouding, it’s a good idea to slip “boots” under the wheels. This is a safety necessity and will save you a lot of stress, especially if the floor in your garage is uneven.

Disassembly of removable elements

Before painting the car with your own hands you need to remove all removable elements from the car (bumpers, turn signals, mirrors, hands with locks, wipers, license plates, decorative grille, antenna, lighting equipment, etc.). Also removes anti-shock protection of wheel arches (if any).

Ideally, the bumpers and doors are also removed, it is better to paint them separately.
When dismantling can be dirt, so it is a good idea to have a small vacuum cleaner, and at the end of disassembly once again wash the garage floor. And be sure to degrease the mounting areas of all removed elements and all surfaces that have come into contact with them.

Protective pasting of elements

For protective pasting you can use ordinary newspapers and masking tape. The door openings can be covered with film. Everything that cannot be painted is covered, including the wheels.

Inspection of the vehicle for defects and cleaning of damaged surfaces

How to Paint A Car Like A Pro

Car inspection

Before painting your car, you should also inspect it for defects: dents, scratches, chips, rust marks. In order not to miss anything, it is better to mark the problem areas with bright spray paint. Dents are straightened out, holes are welded, and corrosion spots are sanded to a metallic sheen with an emery cloth and polished.

Damage clearance

Start by sanding the surfaces with a 60-180 grit sandpaper, then take progressively finer sandpaper, increasing the size by no more than 200 units. The dust resulting from surface finishing is periodically collected with a wet rag so that it does not subsequently settle on the fresh paint.

Protruding seams left after welding cannot be smoothed with sandpaper. A grinder or grinder is mandatory here.

Stripping extends not only to the damaged area, but also takes over the space around it. Especially if the element has been damaged in an accident. Nearby obvious defects can hide hidden chipping and detachment of the coating.

Transitions from scraped metal to coating should be as smooth as possible.

How to Paint A Car Like A Pro

Selection of sandpaper by grit

For painting cars with your own hands in the garage must be a wide range of sandpaper. At least 5 different ones. Sandpaper is required not only for scraping damage and corrosion spots, but also for smoothing putty and primer, and later – for matting paint and polishing varnish.

  • 60-180: Used for roughing parts. Cleans up swollen paint and rust well. Also cleans up coarse-fiber putty well. It is not recommended for use on healthy areas because it can severely scratch metal.
  • 240-480: Finishes after the previous one, removes smaller irregularities and surface imperfections. Scrubs fiberglass putty. It is also used in the liquid putty processing stage. It is used for scraping metal when a new, “bare” part is to be painted.
  • 600-800: used for even better stripping of metal, matting of paint coating and finishing of soft putty. Practically does not scratch the metal.
  • 1000-1200: gives the metal a glossy finish. You can also use this sandpaper to clean the primer before painting.
  • 1500-2000: initial polishing of the paint coating.
  • 3,000-5,000: It is used to polish paint or varnish.

Frosting the old paint

Matting or matting is the rubbing of the coating to a matte state to improve adhesion. Before painting a car, both the metal, the primer, and the base are matted when working through the surface. This is in areas where the coating has been scraped down to the metal. If the old paint is holding up well, there is no need to scrape it off. Just matting the paint is enough.

No great tricks or special tools are needed: sandpaper or Scotch-Brite will do. Usually they use #800-1000. This number is suitable for scraping the paint under the new paint and varnish. It is also recommended to use for matting the transition areas on the paint when painting locally. If you are repainting a car, the old paint needs to be sanded down with the same abrasive.

For acrylics, it is better to use a coarser sandpaper: #320-400. For metallic, old paint is matted with abrasive #500-800.

When matting the surface, it’s a good idea to use a vacuum cleaner to keep the dust from rising into the air.

During surface matting, small cracks in the coating or even swelling, peeling may be detected. In these areas, the old coating is scraped more deeply – until it reaches a solid layer. You may even have to brush down to the metal.

Is it necessary to remove the old paint from the car before painting

The question is not an easy one. On the sites before painting the car with your own hands is strongly advised to completely remove the old coating. In the opinion of experienced craftsmen, this is a completely unnecessary procedure. On the contrary, the painters try to keep the factory primer as much as possible due to its high quality. Usually, the old paint is just matted. And, of course, the coating in areas of corrosion and scratches is scraped.

How to remove old paint from the car body before painting

If desired, it makes sense to scrape the paint over the entire area of the element to be painted. There are three ways to remove the paint:

  • mechanical
  • thermal
  • chemical

Mechanical cleaning

It is carried out with an abrasive tool: sandpaper, grinder or sandblaster (sand or dry ice).

Dry ice is the best. It removes not only paint, but also stains. In addition, it does not scratch the coating, is safe for the environment and does not require washing off. However, it is also the most expensive method.

The sandblasting method is cheaper, but also requires special equipment and equipment.

The cheapest method will be an emery or sandpaper, although the labor intensity of this method is inferior to the previous ones. But it is this method that is most often used.

Thermal cleaning

Use a construction hair dryer or a gas torch to heat the paint, causing it to swell and come off the part. Then the “crust” is removed with a spatula. The car is washed, dried and painted.

This method is more suitable for processing dismantled elements with all plastic and rubber parts removed. Care should be taken, because the heating is strong (up to several hundred degrees). This also applies to fire safety rules and respiratory protection (red-hot varnish is toxic).

Dry cleaning

Before painting the car, the old paint is washed off with solvent, acetone, turpentine, alkaline paste or other flusher.

This is probably the easiest method. The selected product is applied to the vehicle for a short time (15 minutes to 2 hours), then scrubbed off with a spatula or scraper.

At the same time, chemical removal of old paint requires several important conditions to be met:

  • Strict adherence to the instructions on the flush;
  • the use of personal protective equipment;
  • Quality washing of the treated elements (flush residues can destroy both the metal and the new coating);
  • Use of a degreaser.

Industrial methods

Laser. Some workshops use a more advanced method – laser cleaning. It produces a very high quality of work, and it can be set to remove the LC coating layer by layer. With this device, the risk of hitting deeper layers is negligible.

Acid Bath. The whole part is immersed in a bath of acid. Under the influence of acid, the paint peels off. Then the body is washed, dried and primed before painting the car.

In the garage, of course, these methods do not apply.

How to Paint A Car Like A Pro

Putty and primer

Painting a car with your own hands in the garage is a painful job. It is one thing when you just want to change or refresh the color, but it is quite another thing when you have to correct a bunch of body defects. In first case it is enough just to paint the surface. In the second case, you will have to work as a blacksmith, a painter, and even a sculptor.

If you plan to paint a “bare” part or clean corrosion spots down to the metal, you have to involve primer and filler.

Primer. Types of primer

A primer is something that serves to better bond the paint coating to the body elements. In addition, some types of primers also protect metal from corrosion.

The primer coat comes in:

  • acrylic
  • epoxy
  • Acid

Acrylic is the most commonly used. It is a two-component compound that is prepared just before application and dries for 3-8 hours. Acrylic primer can be used to coat both metal (including galvanized) and plastic. Acrylic is also suitable for applying over putty, i.e. as a finishing coat before painting the car. It can also serve as a smoothing layer. Most often used for secondary priming.

Epoxy primer serves as an anti-corrosion protection for metal. It is also a two-component compound. Epoxy smoothes out very small irregularities and can serve as a base for paint.

Acidic (phosphating) primers are good because they protect the metal from corrosion more reliably than other means. Thanks to the acids, such primers literally dig into the top layer of the metal.

The primer can be applied to the surface with a spray gun, brush or roller.

Peculiarities of using acid soil

Acid or phosphating (or also etching) primer is a lifesaver for those parts and areas of the body where corrosion is most likely to occur. Acid primer neutralizes under-cleaned rust residues and protects surfaces from the appearance of new rust spots.

Rules and peculiarities of the application of acid primer:

  1. Phosphating primer is applied in a very thin layer.
  2. The acid corrodes the paint.
  3. The etching primer is not matted.
  4. Acidic primer does not mix well with epoxy, so it is recommended to apply acrylic as a secondary primer.
  5. For better adhesion when painting aluminum, a layer of reactive primer or wash primer is applied between the primary acid and secondary primer.
  6. Acid-based primer should only be applied to a well-greased surface.
  7. Secondary primer or primer over the acidic is applied not earlier than 10-20 minutes (better to see the information on the packaging).

Acid-based primer is not often used to paint a car with your own hands. Usually it is bought if you want to paint a clean factory item in the garage.

Features of epoxy primer application

If you decide to paint the car with their own hands in the garage, then epoxy primer – that’s what you need.

Epoxy is less problematic and has all the properties required for a primer. It can be said to be a universal product with good adhesion characteristics.

How it is applied:

  1. Grind the iron with sandpaper 240.
  2. Wipe the surface with a degreaser.
  3. Prepare the primer by mixing the components, and wait for the time specified on the packaging, so that the components gave the desired reaction.
  4. Spray a thin layer of epoxy on the element.
  5. If necessary, after 15 minutes, apply a second coat.
  6. After 30 minutes, apply a levelling acrylic primer.
  7. After 8-10 hours, proceed to paint the car.


  • If more than 72 hours have elapsed since the epoxy was applied, acrylic can only be applied after the primary primer has been sanded (#120).
  • Painting a car on epoxy primer without sanding is possible if the epoxy has not yet fully cured. That is, if a day or more has passed, the adhesion of the paint with the epoxy primer will already be bad. It makes sense to apply a risk. The gray scotch-bright will do. And if only 10-12 hours have passed, you can freely paint. But in this case, too, it is better to sand down the primer.
  • If several days have passed after applying the epoxy primer (sometimes elements are “preserved” in advance if they have to wait a long time for painting in the garage), you cannot paint directly on the primary primer. It is necessary to mat the epoxy, then apply a layer of acrylic, dry this layer, mat it and only then proceed to paint the car.

Acid primer or epoxy?

Acid and epoxy primers are in some ways competitors. They have much the same properties as each other, but are very different in their use.

In terms of the degree of metal protection, the acid primer, of course, is better. But… it spoils the old coating: in places of contact it destroys the old paint layer and gives contouring of the old primer. In this regard, epoxy is better and more convenient.

Another nuance: phosphating primer is not compatible with all types of putty and finish coatings, so for self-painting the car in the garage and choose it infrequently. It is easier to take the epoxy primer at once – there is no risk.

As a rule, garage repairers don’t bother using epoxy primer. It’s easy to apply when you don’t want to sand the whole part down to metal.

Savvy painters do things smarter: first they apply an acidic primer to the metal “stain,” then an insulating layer of acrylic (with a slightly wider stain), and then everything else. After that, you don’t have to worry about the putty and the LC coat. Naturally, this is more labor intensive.

But for the most part, the ground rules are as follows:

  • If you paint a bare part, you always apply the etching phosphating primer first.
  • If you plan to paint the element with partial stripping it to the metal – use epoxy.

How to Paint A Car Like A Pro

Can acid and epoxy primers be used together

Acid primer and epoxy primer are not friends! They even write “Do not use under epoxy primers” on the label of a phosphating primer. Acid and epoxy primers may sometimes be compatible with each other in the same brand of coatings, but this is rare.

Why combine these primers? – This is usually done to combine the advantages of both primers. That is, to use the etching compound to clean up those traces of rust that were not taken up by the sandpaper, and to use the epoxy to protect the metal from corrosion in the future. But it doesn’t work that way.

On the forums, people sometimes write that someone has managed to combine an acid and epoxy primer without any problems. That’s fine. The coating defects of such a combination may remain hidden for a long time, but they are there. They are:

  • Partial neutralization of the properties of the phosphating primer.
  • Deterioration of epoxy primer adhesion.

Conclusion: Acid and epoxy primers can be applied together, but only if an insulating acrylic layer is placed between them.

Putty. Types of putty

Putty or putty is the filling layer. Putty is used to bring uneven surfaces to a perfect condition.

Before painting the car in the garage, large dents are straightened out, deep rust defects are welded, but small dents still remain. Not everything can be straightened out by force. In such cases, putty saves the day. It fills in the small irregularities and pits.

Types of putty

The two most common types of automotive putty:

  • fiberglass
  • polyester

Fiberglass putty is more stable in terms of shrinkage and shrinkage, so it is convenient to fix deep scratches and dents with it. It is called a reinforcing putty because of its hardness.

Such putty has a porous structure and therefore cannot serve as a base for painting. As a rule, it is used as a base.

Polyester putty gives a smoothing effect. It can be easily sanded for painting.

According to the type of use putties are also divided into:

  1. General purpose filler compositions. The filler used is talc or hollow quartz microspheres. This makes the filler lightweight and easy to sand. It is very easy to use. This putty is recommended if the part is properly sanded. It can be applied to bare metal.
  2. Special-purpose compositions. This includes:
  • Fiberglass putty. Applied where a thick leveling layer is required. It is also used if you want to protect a welding area from corrosion. It comes in short or long fiber. Short fibers are more pliable and easier to work with and can be applied to large areas of metal. The long fiber is more suitable for patching local cavities. Not recommended for application on the car roof (large area + vibrations). Fiberglass is not suitable for plastic parts.
  • Carbon fiber compounds. They are known for their elasticity, so they can be used on the roof of the car. They can be used to create thick enough layers, but it is better to apply carbon fiber in several layers, sanding each dried layer in between. Carbon fiber putty is more brittle than fiberglass and can crack if struck by a rock or a blow.
  • Putty with added aluminum powder. Excellent withstands vibration and temperature changes, but is poorly sanded (clogged with sandpaper) and has poor water resistance. Recommended for sealing welds.
  • Putty for plastic. Designed to seal small scratches on plastic parts. Applied in a fairly thin layer. They tolerate vibrations well and boast an enviable elasticity. Ideal for plastic bumpers.
  1. Sprayable mixtures. Applied with a spray gun. Such composition can easily fill any pores and grooves, hide notches from rough sanding. It is applied in 2-4 layers, and after drying is sanded with sandpaper 120-240. Spray putty is convenient to use when it is necessary to make the finishing leveling of the whole element or just a large area.
  2. Finishing fillers. They are used to complete the leveling of the surface. They consist of very small particles, which allows them to fill even very small grooves and create a perfectly smooth finish. The maximum allowable thickness of application of such a product is 2 mm.
  3. One-component formulations. There is no hardener, so when drying such a product can give significant shrinkage. One-component putty is used only point by point, to eliminate small irregularities.

How to Paint A Car Like A Pro

The rules of puttying before painting a car

Putty rules:

  1. All dents are straightened out beforehand! And the welds are ground to zero with the surface.
  2. Before filling, the surface is degreased and sanded with sandpaper #80-120. Sanding is done with a spot a couple of centimeters wider than the putty area. The edges are smoothed with #180-220.
  3. Putty is prepared strictly according to the instructions on the package. As a rule, 2% hardener is added to the basic composition, or a little more if you have to putty in the cold.
  4. Putty is applied to the prepared surface no later than 3-9 minutes (look at the package) after mixing the components. The time depends not only on the type and brand of putty, but also on the ambient temperature. For example, at 35 degrees Celsius the putty sets on average 3 times faster than at 20 degrees.
  5. Almost all fillers require subsequent sanding and priming with epoxy or acrylic.

Important: puttying – a very responsible process, so it is better not to experiment with temperature conditions. If there is no possibility of heating the garage to the required temperature, it is allowed to locally heat the element with a heat-verter or heater.

If you putty dents in the cold, the putty will take too long to dry or will not set at all. If you increase the amount of hardener, it will become more brittle.


Antigraviolet. Application rules

To protect the most vulnerable places of the car (the bottom arches and sills), you can additionally cover them with antigravim.

Anti-gravel is a special compound based on rubber and synthetic resin.

Sold, as a rule, in cans.

This product is applied to a primed surface. Shake the can with antigravim before spraying for 5-7 minutes. It is also important that the can itself is warm.

Some manufacturers allow the application of antigravure on bare iron, but this is not the best option. Dried and sanded acid primer or epoxy works well as a substrate for the antigraviolet.

The complete drying time of the antigravine is 30-40 minutes. Sometimes an hour. When applying 2 coats, this time increases to 10 hours, and the intermediate drying time is reduced to 10 minutes. After drying, the element can be painted with any two-component paint or varnished immediately.

Important: The first week after the painting the car should be operated in a gentle mode to antigravim (and paint layer, too) finally cured.

Antigravior is usually black. But you can also find it in white or gray, and if you want to tint the white anti-gravel to any shade.

Mistakes in the application of antigraviolet

How to properly apply sill wax from a spray can, usually indicated on the can itself. But car enthusiasts still often do it wrong. Here are the main mistakes that are made when working with antigraviolet:

  • Applying an anti-grav compound on a rust that has not been removed. In this case, the corrosion will continue to develop, and the antigravide itself will soon begin to peel off.
  • The application of antigravure on bare metal. Antigravine compositions are porous, they “breathe”. Therefore, the metal under the anti-gravel will 100% be covered with rust.
  • Application without matting. The gravel itself has excellent adhesion, but when applied without matting the surface, it can break off in pieces, such as when washing with a kerosher or a large stone.

How to Paint A Car Like A Pro

Car painting

Finally we came to the actual painting of the car in the garage with our own hands. But it’s too early to grab the spray gun or canister. First, let’s understand the paints, their types, properties and features.

Automotive paints

When painting a car, the LC coating is needed for:

  • defect concealment
  • giving the car body an attractive appearance
  • protection of the body against external influences

To perform all these functions, automotive paint must be hard enough (after drying), dense, but also elastic (so as not to crack under temperature changes and impact).

Depending on the composition, some paints are harder, but less elastic, some vice versa. All and at once you can not get, you need to prioritize correctly. In addition, to paint the car with your own hands, and even in the conditions of the garage, you should choose the most convenient option for you. For example, it makes sense to refuse very hard paints in view of the fact that they are difficult to grind in artisanal conditions.

The paint may contain the following substances:

  • Pigment. What provides the paint with the desired shade.
  • Binder. Something that not only binds the paint parts together, but also ensures good adhesion to the surface.
  • Solvent. This is what gives the fresh paint its fluidity and helps us apply the paint very thinly and evenly.
  • Filler. Something that gives the compound extra volume and changes the density of the paint.

Not necessarily all of these elements need to be in the paint at once. But the binder and pigment are present in any paint. Transparent varnish, for example, has no pigment.

Depending on the type of paint it is applied with a spray gun, can, airbrush, brush or even a special pencil. For self-painting a car in the garage most often choose either a spray gun with a compressor or a spray can.

Types of automotive paints

To paint a car in the garage with your own hands it would be nice to know at least a little bit about the types of automotive paints, because among them there are highly specialized compositions. So, get acquainted:

Nitro Dye

The nitro paint is popular with metallic enthusiasts. It dries quickly and covers light scratches and chips well. However, this type of car paint is not recommended for painting a whole car. Usually it is used to touch up defects.

Nitro paint is not sufficiently protected against aggressive environments and other negative external influences. It must be coated with a varnish. In addition, nitro paint is very toxic. It requires good ventilation of the garage and compliance with safety rules.

Acrylic paint

Acrylic is a favorite of garage painters. With it, you can paint your car quickly and without much trouble. Acrylic paint is durable and fast drying. Acrylic itself is resistant to external influences, so it is not necessary to apply a coat of varnish over it.

Acrylic paint comes in hard (HS) and soft (MS). It is best to use both coatings: first apply the hard acrylic for strength, and finish with the soft acrylic paint to make polishing easier.

Acrylic is suitable for any job. It can be used to paint a single element or the whole car at once. And if you add phosphor to the paint, the car will glow in the dark.

The disadvantage of acrylic is its “transparency”. To get the desired color and the desired thickness of staining, you have to apply 3-4 layers of paint. And even in this case, it is better not to apply a dark primer under the light paint.

Alkyd-based automotive enamel

Inexpensive, high quality paint that maintains its perfect appearance for a long time during the operation of the car. Most often used when painting individual elements of the car.

Like acrylics, alkyd automotive enamel is easy to apply and resists corrosion well.

The disadvantage of this type of paint is the long and uneven drying time. Polymerization begins immediately after application, but the film formed on the surface begins to interfere with the drying of the inner layers of paint. To accelerate drying, alkyd automotive enamel is thinned with a solvent.

Cellulose paints

These paints are easy to apply and dry quickly. They are easy to apply with a spray gun. But at the same time, cellulose paints have a number of significant drawbacks. For example, these paints are fire-hazardous, and they easily burst into flames. In addition, this type of coating requires multiple coats. At the same time, each layer must be well dried.

Cellulose paints do not give a shine, so they have to be polished or varnished. The color of such a coating is not long-lasting – the shade begins to fade rather quickly.

Glyphthalic paints

Glyphthalic paints are based on synthetic resins. This composition makes the coating durable and glossy. The big disadvantage of this paint is its long drying time. At a temperature of 20-25 degrees Celsius, it takes one day for the coating to set. And after that 2-4 weeks more the painted element remains very susceptible to both the solvents, and to mechanical contact. All this time the car must be protected from dust.

To accelerate the drying of glyphthalic paint, keep the part in a room or chamber with a temperature of 60-80 degrees. It is acceptable when there are no plastic inserts and rubber seals on the element. So this type of paint is better to use when it is necessary to repaint only separate elements. When painting the whole car, the plastic may suffer from high-temperature drying.

What car paint to choose

To paint the car with their own hands is very important to choose the right paint, because it is possible that in your garage you will not be able to create all the necessary conditions for the application and drying of the coating.

When choosing a paint, be sure to consider:

  • Allowable drying time.
  • Temperature conditions.
  • Recommended method of application (you may not have the right equipment).
  • The area of the surface to be painted.
  • Your financial capabilities.
  • Additional features of the coating indicated on the package.

Some paints can be applied directly to an old paint coat, others do not; some paints require both pre-priming and subsequent varnishing, and some are completely self-sufficient.

When you need to paint not the entire car, but only individual items, you can use alkyd automotive enamel or nitro.

If you have your own garage and are in no hurry, you can apply glyphthalic paint to particularly impact-prone parts of your car. This paint creates a very durable coating that is not affected by chips and scratches. But you should also keep in mind that not every primer is suitable for glyphthalic paint. If you intend to dry the coating at high temperatures, you have to give up thermoplastic primer right away.

And yet to paint the car with your own hands in the conditions of the garage the acrylic paint is considered the absolute leader. It is easier to use and can be used both when painting just one part of the body or when painting the entire car at once. Acrylic is a great combination of quality and price.

If we talk about specific brands of automotive paints, the best quality noted in the following brands:

  • Duxone
  • Vika

Among cans, it is better to focus on the manufacturers:

  • Sadolin
  • ABRO
  • KUDO

How much paint to paint a car

So, a very important question!

How much paint you need to paint your car depends on several factors. Among them:

  • The size of the machine or the number of parts to be painted.
  • The previous color of the car and the desired shade (the more the desired shade depends on the existing shade, the more layers of paint will have to be applied).
  • The quality of the paint (different paints have different hiding power).
  • Gun type.
  • Your experience.

On average, it takes 100-300 grams of undiluted paint to paint one car element. Naturally, the roof will take more: 300-700 grams. And if you need to paint an element on both sides, multiply the consumption by two.

According to statistics, an experienced painter for painting a medium-sized car requires 2-2.5 kg of paint and the same amount of varnish. By the way, you also need the same amount of solvent.

When the car is painted with all openings, it consumes 0.5-1 kg more paint.

So, if you are going to paint your car in the garage for the first time, you better reassure yourself and take about 4 kg of paint and the same amount of varnish.

Below you can see a table of paint consumption depending on the type of body element and the degree of damage to the previous coating:


How many cans of paint are needed to paint a whole car

It’s a little more complicated with cans.

On average, 2 to 4 cans of 150 grams should be used for quality painting of one square meter of the surface. Based on this, you can roughly estimate how many cans of paint you will need to paint the entire car.

There is, however, an unpleasant point here: not all spray cans give out paint completely, and some nozzles get clogged at the very beginning of use. You never know, even when you buy a good product from a good company. Therefore, it is better to buy consumables with a large stock at once.

How to dilute car paint

When diluting the paint before painting the car, you should first of all be guided by the manufacturer’s recommendations, but also the proportions may depend on such factors as:

  • Indoor temperature
  • Paint sprayer features
  • Gun speed
  • Distance from the gun nozzle to the surface

The purpose of dilution is to create optimal density and fluidity of the paint so that the paint adheres well without creating gaps, streaks, or smudges.

Here are average recommendations for paint dilution:

  • Acrylic paint: 2 parts paint + 1 part hardener + 0.1 part thinner
  • Base: 1 part base (paint) + 1 part thinner or 2 parts base + 1 part thinner.
  • Varnish: 4 parts varnish + 1 part hardener + 0.1 part thinner or 2 parts varnish + 1 part hardener + 0.1 part thinner.
  • Water-soluble paint: 1 part paint + 0.1 part water thinner.

Painting a car in the garage

For self-painting a car in the garage, it is better to use either a spray can or a spray gun. If the garage is prepared, then before you start painting, it is worth to double-check the performance of the compressor. Be sure to check the hose that connects the compressor with the spray gun – it must not be dirty.

Paint and spray gun preparation

Before pouring the paint into the tank of the spray gun, the paint must be properly mixed: combine the pigment and the solvent so that a thin thread (no more than 1-2 mm thick) is obtained when pulling it out. You can also check the density by the way the paint drips from the spatula back into the can: in one second you should count 3-4 drops.

Then strain the ready mix to make sure there are no clots or dirt in it. The tank of the spray gun is not filled completely to make it easier to hold the gun in the air for long periods of time.

You don’t have to do all this with a spray can. All you have to do is check the expiration date of the can and give the paint a good shake.

Setting up the spray gun: pick up a nozzle №1.4 mm and set the pressure of about 2.5-3 atm.

Setting up the spray gun for car painting

How to Paint A Car Like A Pro

This is roughly what a paint sprayer looks like. It mixes the air from the compressor with the paint so that the paint is sprayed as evenly and efficiently as possible on the surface of the part.

A normal gun has four regulators:

  • Air pressure regulator. It is good when it is on the side of the hose that is adjacent to the gun. If the pressure gauge and regulator are located at the compressor, however, its readings will be slightly incorrect because each meter of hose eats up a bit of pressure.
  • Air regulator. Not available on all guns. It is used to fine tune the air supply. It can be adjusted during the painting process.
  • Torch regulator. It determines the size and shape of the torch depending on the amount of air flowing through the special holes in the atomizer head.
  • The paint regulator. Its setting determines how much paint you get in the air jet.

When setting up the gun, first set the air pressure to about 2.5-3 atm and turn the paint regulator to maximum

The sequence of paint gun settings:

  1. Turn the paint regulator to maximum.
  2. Slightly pull the trigger of the gun, so that the air flows.
  3. Set the air pressure (2.5-3 atm).
  4. Press the trigger a little harder to add paint and do a test spray on the roughing surface.
  5. Depending on the observations during the test spraying, adjust the shape of the torch.
  6. Check the pressure (it may have changed after the flare settings), and fine-tune.
  7. Adjust the paint flow (again, on the draft).

Note: if you increase the paint flow, you also increase the air flow. The jet will be more powerful, so you will need to move your hand faster while painting the car.

When adjusting the torch shape, it is usually sufficient to turn the knob almost to the maximum. You should get a wide oval flare.

The figure shows the possible forms of the flare:

How to Paint A Car Like A Pro


  1.  too much air supply, high pressure in the line.
  2.  insufficient air supply, low pressure.
  3. insufficient paint supply.
  4. too much paint flow.
  5. 5 – the correct setting.

Causes of excessive fog around the torch are too much air pressure and paint that is too liquid. This also includes an increased distance of the gun from the surface.

Sometimes a normal flare will result in a dry and rusty finish (shagreen). This happens when the paint is sprayed too viscous. It can be increased by turning the air pressure regulator to get a normal spray pattern, but the paint will still be a semi-dry blob.

Also, problems of improper flare can be hidden in the clogging of the air head.

Sometimes the spray pattern is intermittent. There are several reasons for this, from a lack of paint and high viscosity to a clogged or loose gun spray mechanism itself.

Car painting technique

Features of spray painting

Paint the car with their own hands in the garage is not very difficult, but the work will go faster and without jams, if you follow some rules:

  1. Before starting work, the sprayer is tested on a test surface (cardboard or plywood).
  2. A paint test is carried out to check the compatibility of the old coating and the new paint (if the part is repainted locally or with a transition to the adjacent panel). To do this, the paint (with a spray gun or can) is applied to the old coating in a place where it is inconspicuous. And give it a chance to dry. If all is well (the old coating is not wrinkled, cracked, peeled or blistered), you can start painting.
  3. If the car is painted completely, then start with the roof and move from top to bottom.
  4. If you are painting a complex element, you first paint all the “difficult” areas: the insides, ends, corners, edges and arches, and only then move on to the front. In this way, the front surface is the most beautiful, with a minimum of smudges. Difficult areas are sprayed by holding the spray gun a little closer to the surface than usual.
  5. The distance from the paint gun nozzle to the surface to be painted should be between 15 and 25 centimeters. If the paint is too viscous, you can shorten the distance. Conversely, if you have added too much solvent, it makes sense to move the gun further away so that the passes are wider.
  • If the distance is too great, microdroplets of paint will be dried up on the surface. The result is undesirable dusting, increased paint consumption and a “dry” finish.
  • If the distance is too small, the coating will be too thick and “orange” (so-called “shagreen”), with undercurrents and will take a long time to dry.
  1. The paint is always sprayed at right angles to the surface to be painted. If the angle is not maintained, the final shade may be uneven. This is especially noticeable when coating the car with metallic paint. Inclination of the nozzle is acceptable only in extreme cases. For example, when painting ends, arches and so on.
  2. Passes are made by successive horizontal lines from left to right with an overlap of 50% (or more) of the previous pass. This eliminates the appearance of unpainted areas.
  3. The passes start “before the part”, i.e. in the air, and end after the part is off. This ensures uniformity of spraying. The spray gun must not be switched on over the part itself!
  4. The speed of the pass is 2 seconds per medium-sized part. If you move faster, the paint layer will be too thin. If you go slower, it will be too thick. The pass is always done “in one breath”, that is, without stopping and at the same speed.
  5. Horizontal surfaces are painted “from yourself. But if you’re painting, say, a roof or other long piece, you might want to cover it in the middle and then go to the other side and continue to paint toward you.
  6. Very long parts are always painted in sections with an overlap of about 10 centimeters. It is not a good idea to try to make too long passes!

When painting a car with your own hands in the garage with a spray gun, you need a steady hand and even a certain knack. If you are doing it for the first time, you should practice on “drafts”. And only when you are absolutely sure that you will be able to paint the car without defects with your own hands, then start to work. If your hand stubbornly shakes and the paint is uneven, it is better not to risk and ask professionals.

In the case where you only need to paint one element, it’s easier. Even if it turns out badly, it’s okay to peel it off and start over. When painting the whole car, it would be very problematic.

If you have trouble holding a full gun in your hand, it makes sense to fill it only a third or even a quarter full with paint. The main thing is to fill enough paint to cover the element.

How to Paint A Car Like A Pro

How many coats of paint to apply

As a rule, the paint is applied in 2 or 3 coats with short drying intervals. Usually 15-20 minutes is enough, but it is better to specify this information on the paint can, because the recommended intermediate drying period depends on both the composition of the paint and the temperature conditions of your garage.

The first layer – the binder, it may be thin, but must be uniform.

Ideally, for each new layer, the pigment is taken more liquid.

Final drying takes at least 36 hours.

In what sequence to paint the car

A well-thought-out car paint sequence is very important. Not only does it save time, but it also avoids the risk of dust.

How to Paint A Car Like A Pro

Usually the car is painted in the following sequence:

  1. Interior surfaces. You can also adjust the spray gun in the process if the paint is not spraying as planned.
  2. Roof.
  3. Front fenders.
  4. Hood Cover.
  5. Doors.
  6. Rear fenders.
  7. Trunk lid.

It is recommended that the bumpers be removed and painted separately. Ideally, do the same with the doors.

To make the process easier, many people paint the entire side of the car at once. That is, first the roof and uprights are painted according to all the rules, and then long passes cover the side of the car from left to right. It is extremely inconvenient to make long passes. It is necessary to be able to move freely and quickly through the garage. And also to be nimble and dexterous.

When painting the entire side of the car at once, the paint flow in the gun must be set to maximum. Obviously, the consumption will increase slightly. But it will save time.

Painting a car with a spray can

Spray-painting the car with your own hands – a favorite option for those who paint cars in the garage or even directly on the street.

The can has a lot of advantages. First of all, you don’t have to mix, dose, or adjust anything. You just buy the paint and paint away! Second, you don’t need any additional equipment like a compressor.

The main disadvantage of spray paint is that if you buy a substandard product, there is nothing you can do about it. If you’re not happy with the density of the paint, the pressure of the can, or the shape of the flare, there’s nothing you can do but go out and buy a different brand of can.

Technology spray painting a car is exactly the same as when working with a spray gun, but has some features:

  • The intermediate drying time between coats is usually longer than when painting with a paint sprayer.
  • The first coat is applied very quickly. It is allowed to be transparent so that the previous coat shines through. Subsequent coats are applied more slowly and are therefore denser.
  • During the process of painting the can must be periodically shaken.
  • Paint from a spray can usually has reduced hiding power, so apply more coats.
  • The final drying of spray paint takes less than a day.
  • The spray paint depends on the temperature. It shows its best properties when it is warm. Therefore, if the can was stored in the cold, it should be put for a couple of minutes in hot water (50-60 degrees).

Painting is done at a temperature of +10 to +25 degrees.

Hold the can so that the distance between the nozzle and the surface is always about 20-25 cm. If the paint droplets are not lying tightly (but at some distance from each other) when this condition is met, you need to bring the spray can a little closer to the surface. If, on the other hand, the paint is too thick, it makes sense to increase the distance.

If there is a spot that is underpainted when you run the coat, do not finish painting it right away. Allow the surface to dry and then repeat the pass.

Painting a car with metallic paint from a spray can

The peculiarity of metallics is the presence of metallic scales. When a thin layer of metallic is applied, gaps are left between the scales, so this paint is highly translucent. In addition, metallic is applied very quickly, and the spray can is held at a greater distance from the surface to be painted.

For a tight, non-glare coating, you have to apply five to six coats of paint and it is recommended to keep the gun closer to the part when applying the last coat.

Metallic is not glossy, so it requires a varnish coating.

This paint is not sandable. If there are runs, after it has dried completely, you can sand them off with a sandpaper №800-1000, but after that you will have to apply another thin layer of metallic paint. And then cover the element with varnish.

Painting a car with Raptor with your own hands

What is a raptor

In recent years, the so-called raptor has become increasingly popular.

This is a polyurethane automotive paint, which is actually intended to cover the bodies of pickup trucks and trucks. The advantage of this type of paint is that it is the most protected against mechanical and other external influences. It doesn’t get scratches from branches and rocks hitting the body. It does not chip. Raptor absorbs noise and vibrations.

Why Raptor? – Because the most famous paint of this composition is called Upol Raptor. In general, there are several such brands, but this one is more well known.

At first, Raptor was used as an antigravior, touching up only some elements of the car, but now more often it covers the whole car body.

Raptor has the added advantage of texture. With the right paint sprayer setting, you can create an interesting coating. If desired, it can be used to apply an anti-slip surface in the bodywork.

Peculiarities of Raptor application

In essence, Raptor is a paint, and for the most part, the usual application rules are suitable for it. But there are some special features of using this coating. Here they are:

  • Raptor is applied over an etch or epoxy primer. It can also be applied directly over old paint.
  • Raptor cannot be applied to bare metal!
  • The surface is sanded to #120-220 (or red scotch-brite) before being coated. Raptor is thicker than conventional paints and has good filling power, so it will easily cover even deep spots.
  • Sometimes an adhesion enhancer is also sprayed under the Raptor to improve adhesion. It can be used on bare plastic, aluminum, fiberglass or old paint coatings, even without sanding.
  • The raptor is sensitive to the indoor climate. The most comfortable conditions for him are 20 degrees of heat and 60% humidity.
  • Raptor is very toxic, so personal protective equipment and a strong hood are a must!
  • You can apply Raptor with an ordinary spray gun, roller or brush. But if you plan to experiment with textures, it is better to buy a special gun for Raptor. It has more possibilities.
  • The recommended distance from the sprayer to the surface to be painted is 40-45 cm. Sometimes it is increased up to 150 cm.
  • Before painting, the Raptor is diluted (3 parts Raptor + 1 part hardener + if necessary 0.1 part paint or pigment). The ready mixture should be used within one hour.
  • Raptor is applied in 2-3 layers, the intermediate drying time should be at least one hour and no more than 5 hours. If more time has passed, it is necessary to sand the panel before applying the next coat.
  • Drying under an infrared lamp is undesirable. You can speed up the process if you increase the temperature in the garage to 60 degrees. But complete curing will still take a week.
  • Raptor is sold in bottles. The bottle is screwed directly to the gun. If you run out of one bottle, you must flush the gun before changing to another. Solvent or acetone will do.
  • If desired, almost any paint and/or varnish can be applied over Raptor. In this case, the Raptor is used only as an anti-gravel and the texture is unimportant.
  • For the first week after painting, the freshly painted car should be used carefully.

The texture of the coating depends entirely on the settings of the gun. For the Raptor, the air pressure is adjusted from 2.5 to 5 atmospheres. The lower the pressure, the larger the texture elements (bubbles) and vice versa. However, the distance from the gun to the panel also affects this. It is also possible to apply a perfectly flat coating. Texture is tested on unnecessary sheets of metal, plastic, cardboard or plywood.

How to Paint A Car Like A Pro

Painting with transition

What is painting with transition

Transition is a smooth connection of the main color of the car with the future color of the part to be repainted.

The transition is necessary when you do not paint the whole car, but only one element. It is not always possible to perfectly match the native color. And even if you manage to find exactly the same paint as the car was painted, it is difficult to guess the required number of layers. It is possible to achieve a perfect match of shades at the stage of painting, but there is no guarantee that after complete drying and varnishing the color will not differ. Especially difficult to match the shade of metallic and pearlescent. Red is also considered a very difficult color to match.

The human eye is built in such a way that it can catch even a slight difference in shades, if there is a clear boundary between them. But a smooth transition from one shade to another is not. This is the basis of the color transition rule.

Transition is made:

  • Within a single element – with local underpainting.
  • With an override on the adjacent panel – when repainting an entire element.

On a large area (for example, on the door) transition is recommended to do on an oblique line, so it is less noticeable.

You can be limited to the transition on the paint, but you can also do the transition and the varnish.

Preparing the element

Prepare the part for the transition painting as follows:

  1. The transition area is matted (with a margin). If using the wet method, then sandpaper #1500. If dry, then #1200. After the wet method, the part is washed and dried.
  2. The entire paint area is degreased.
  3. All parts of the car that are not to be painted, but can get into the area of the spray gun, are pasted.

If you plan to do the transition and the varnish, then it is necessary to make a border: stick a strip of foam rubber just beyond the border of the varnish.

Painting with transition. Technique

Transition painting is done in much the same way as usual, but when approaching the border of the area to be repainted, the trigger of the gun (or spray gun) is gently released, and the gun itself is slowly moved into the transition zone. Often, the transition paint is taken a little thinner than usual, and the pressure in the compressor is reduced.

In this way, several layers are made, with the transition zone gradually expanding to the intended boundaries. A drying time is given between coats.

Attention: When working with metallic paint before painting the element and the transition area is applied binder – a special colorless base, which contributes to the correct orientation of the metallic paint particles.

After applying the last coat of paint, the element is given 20-30 minutes to dry and the varnish is applied immediately (with or without a transition) The border of the varnish necessarily extends beyond the borders of the fresh paint. The repainted area is covered with a whole layer of lacquer, and the transition area with a thinner, almost dusting.

Then the lacquer is allowed to dry a little, and then the transition area is covered with a thin layer of a special transition solvent. It is very liquid, so the gun feed should be set to a minimum.

If painting the element locally, it is better to do the lacquering without transition, but just cover the whole part with a layer of lacquer.

How to Paint A Car Like A Pro

Why the color of the bumper is different from the main color of the car. And what to do about it

This is a very popular question. Especially for those who have just recently started doing car painting with their own hands in their garage. The inexperienced painter feels that he did something wrong, and he begins to look for mistakes made when painting. Did he put the same number of layers? Did he use the same paint? Was it the same thickness? And so on. I wonder if all this can be the reason for the difference in shades. But even if everything is done correctly, the bumpers are likely to be darker. Why is this so?

It’s all about the material of the bumpers. Usually the whole body is made of metal, and the bumpers are made of plastic. That’s the problem.

  • First, paint materials evaporate differently from metal and plastic.
  • Secondly, plastic has a higher static charge and therefore the paint pigments on it may not be arranged in the same way as on metal. This is especially noticeable when painting a car in metallic and pearlescent.

What to do:

  • Quality skirting the surface.
  • Use antistatic materials (degreaser with antistatic or special wipes).
  • Paint the bumper with a transition to the adjacent part.
  • Use a binder (for matellicus).

How to Paint A Car Like A Pro

Polishing and lacquering of the body

Painting a car with your own hands in the garage is simplified if acrylic is chosen as the paint. It is an independent coating, which does not require subsequent varnishing. But, for example, metallic must be varnished.

Functions of car varnish:

  • color deepening
  • glossing
  • paint protection from external influences
  • extending the service life of the paint coating

How to choose a car varnish. Types of varnishes

Varnishes come in:

  • Soft varnishes (without hardener). Soft lacquers are easy to apply and then sanded and polished without problems. They are applied in 3-4 layers. Due to the strong fluidity, such materials can lay unevenly and form blemishes. They are recommended for use when touching up damaged car parts.
  • Hard varnishes (with hardener). Hard lacquers flow less, dry faster and give a stronger finish. In the past, hard lacquers could only be sprayed on a car with a spray gun. Now, two-component compounds are also available in spray can format. The hardener container is inserted into the cavity at the bottom of the can just before use.
  • Water-soluble. Sold in a narrow range and usually only on a polyurethane base. They are flexible, durable and highly resistant to mechanical and chemical influences.
  • Powder. These varnishes provide a high-quality and uniform coating. But due to the fact that they require special equipment for their application, such varnishes are used mainly in production and in large car repair shops.

The lacquers are also subdivided into gloss and matte. Glossy lacquers are the most popular because they usually go on all standard cars. The matte lacquers, on the other hand, have gained popularity not so long ago and are mainly used on black cars.

In addition, there are varnishes that are applied to dry paint, and there are those that should be sprayed immediately after painting the car while the paint is not yet cured.

Painting over undried paint is a risky procedure, and it’s best not to do it without enough professionalism. Therefore, for painting a car in a garage, usually choose a type of varnish that can be applied after the paint has dried. Otherwise, there is a risk of damaging the paint coating.

According to the chemical composition of automotive lacquers are divided into:

  1. Acrylic. Suitable for both minor repairs and painting an entire car. It is good and shiny, dries quickly even at room temperature. However, for a good effect it is necessary to apply 3-4 coats, and sometimes all 5. 8 hours after the last coat, the acrylic varnish can be polished.
  2. Polyurethane. Despite its two-component composition, this varnish is the most popular among car enthusiasts. It is characterized by easy application and fast drying. The result is a durable glossy coating. It is applied in 2-3 layers.
  3. Acrylic polyurethane. Here, in addition to acrylic resins, polyurethane compounds are included. Such varnish can be glossy, matte or even metallic. Base paint can be added to it. It creates an opaque coating that is resistant to external influences. It is applied in 3 layers. Dries under heat and requires polishing.
  4. Glyphthalic. It is made on the basis of synthetic resins. It adheres well, forming a strong film. But it dries for a long time and during the drying time it requires dust protection. Also, when applying glyphthalic lacquer inadmissible temperature changes and high humidity. It is rarely used for painting cars in the garage.
  5. Metallized. Often made on the basis of acrylic varnish, it contains aluminum or bronze particles. Ideal for applying over acrylic paint.
  6. Ceramic. A high-strength coating capable of regeneration. It is enough to heat the damaged area for the scratch to heal itself. Varnish is expensive and should not be applied on a thermoplastic base. As a rule, it is bought for those elements that are most exposed to stones (on the bottom of the bumper, wheel arches, edge of the hood).
  7. Cellulose. This type of varnish has already gone down in history and is now practically not used. It is just useful to remember that it is there.

What varnish to choose for painting a car, it is up to the owner to decide. It all depends on the compatibility of the varnish with the selected paint, on the desires of the buyer and his financial capabilities.

Peculiarities of car varnish application

To avoid making mistakes when varnishing your car, it’s a good idea to read the information on the varnish package carefully. As a rule, lacquer is applied on the pre-grouted paint and requires subsequent sanding, but the formulations and recommendations may differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. You should also look in the instructions to see if a particular varnish is suitable for your type of paint.

So, the peculiarities of work when varnishing the body of the car:

  • It is common to mat the paint with #1000-1500 paper before applying the lacquer. If the lacquer is applied over undried paint, it is not necessary to mat the coating.
  • Lacquer is more sensitive to temperature conditions and humidity levels in the garage.
  • The first coat of lacquer is always translucent, like a mist (to improve adhesion and reduce the risk of shagging), and the subsequent coats are more thorough.
  • To avoid stains, it is better to varnish the elements in the sequence shown in the picture.

How to Paint A Car Like A Pro

How to clean up the blemishes and shagging after painting a car

Leaks and shagging are a very common occurrence in those who do their own hands paint a car in the garage. And professionals rarely do without leaks, so there is no need to be sad about it. But it is useful to know that these defects can be reduced, removed or shifted to where they are easiest to fix.

The ultimate in garage piloting is to remove the stains fresh, before they’ve even dried up. The basic rules for dealing with fresh leaks:

  1. Apply paint the right way! The right paint, with the right tool! Observing the painting technique, the angle and the speed. If the paint is of an optimal consistency and is applied evenly, drips are very rare.
  2. Do not try to remove the leak with a hoe/sponge/spatula/brush. Otherwise you could make it worse. You can partially reduce the drip with painter’s tape. Tape should only be applied to the clot itself, not to normally painted surfaces.
  3. Try to move the leak to the edge of the element. This is done by blowing it down with a spray gun. It is possible that the leak will disappear completely as you move it. At the very least, it will be in an inconspicuous place where it can be sanded down later.
  4. Dry the leak. If the leak cannot be displaced (for example, when it has already seized a little), you must stop its development by drying the area with a stream of air. For example, with a hair dryer in cold mode.

If the paint has already set, do not touch any of the blemishes. It is better to give them a chance to harden. After painting, at least one day should pass. After that, depending on the type of paint, the leakage is cut off with a thin blade or sanded off with abrasive paper, beginning with #1000 and ending with #2000. The shagging is also treated in the same way.

In the same way, remove smudges of varnish.

How to Paint A Car Like A Pro

Common car paint defects

When painting a car with your own hands in the garage, an inexperienced repairman may encounter defects caused by improper technology. However, painting a car is such a thing… Even experienced professionals do not always make everything go smoothly. The most common paint defects, their possible causes and ways to fix them will be discussed here.


“Fish eyes or small craters can form during or immediately after painting.

Causes of the defect:

  • Poor surface finish.
  • Dirty compressor (there may be water or oil droplets left in it).
  • Low solvent quality.

To avoid this, it is necessary to properly degrease the surface of the machine. Several times with clean rags.

Air bubbles or holes

This car paint defect looks very similar to the previous one.

Causes of bubbles in paint or varnish:

  • Condensation (high humidity in the room and improper drying).
  • Faulty or incorrect setting of the spray gun.
  • Water droplets in the compressor.
  • Stir the solution (if you start painting immediately after stirring the paint or varnish, bubbles are very likely to occur. The mixture should be allowed to stand for a while).

What to do? – You can try to get by with sanding the surface and applying another coat of paint, but according to all the rules. In the worst case, you will have to redo everything.

Solvent evaporation

These are also bubbles, but they are very small and are formed by the evaporation of the solvent. The top layer of paint sets and the bubbles can’t get out, getting stuck in the paint layer.

Causes of such a paint defect:

  • Using too fast a solvent for this paint.
  • Applying an overly thick coat of paint.

What to do? – Repaint! Every microbubble is a future crater and a hotbed of corrosion.


Sometimes it happens that freshly applied paint suddenly begins to wrinkle or roll off. This happens either directly during the painting process or when the car is drying. The old coating shrinks, which causes this defect.


  • Incompatibility between old and new coatings.
  • Failure to follow the recommendations for the drying time (when the previous layer has not yet set or when, on the contrary, it was too long).

What to do? – To eliminate this defect, you have to completely peel off the damaged layers and start all over again. It has been observed that paint is less likely to give this defect if the first coat is applied very thinly.

Light spots

Causes of the appearance of such spots:

  • Interaction of solvent from automotive paint with the old coating.
  • The reaction of a poorly mixed two-component primer.

What to do: let the paint dry, soak it, cover it with an insulating primer, and when the primer dries, treat it and go back to painting the car.


That is, after drying, the paint has lost its gloss.

This defect can have several causes:

  • The drying period between coats of paint is too short.
  • Poor ventilation.
  • High indoor temperature.
  • High humidity in the room.
  • The last layer is too thick.
  • Use of a low-quality thinner.

What to do? – The only solution to this problem is to polish the coating after it is completely dry. And also to apply an additional coat of varnish.


These can be cracks of different sizes and geometries.

Causes of appearance:

  • Application of an excessively thick coat of paint.
  • Express Drying.
  • Shorter drying period between coats.
  • Increasing the proportion of hardener in the paint or varnish.
  • Unnoticed defects in the old coating.

What to do? – You can’t make small sacrifices here, you’ll have to peel off all the defective layers, re-prime and paint the car.


This is more of an unfortunate oversight than a serious defect.


  • Holding the spray gun too close to the surface.
  • Slow spraying movements when painting.
  • Short drying time between coats.
  • The paint or varnish composition is too liquid.
  • Low temperature in the garage.


Shagreen is an orange peel on the car.

Causes of shagreen when painting a car:

  • Too liquid or too thick paint/varnish composition combined with poorly set up spray gun (low spray pressure, large nozzle).
  • Applying a “dry” first coat (it is applied in droplets, and the second coat only enhances this effect).
  • Applying too thick layers.

What to do? – How to remove shagging after painting a car, written in this section of the paragraph. In short, you need to let the surface thoroughly dry, and then sand it with sandpaper №1000-2000, and then polish the element.


This defect in car painting occurs when an element is not painted in its entirety, but only locally. And a slightly wrinkled contour appears around the area that has been treated.

Reasons for contouring the repair area:

  • Poorly elaborated edges of the repair area.
  • Using a one-component primer.

What to do? – Qualitatively sand the defect, including its edges, remove all fresh layers and do all the steps again. Always replace the one-component primer with a two-component primer.


Risks are scratches left on the surface of the element after it has been sanded. If the risks are small, they gradually disappear under layers of paint, but sometimes they remain visible even after painting the car (especially on light metallics).


  • Using too coarse a grind.
  • Processing of an undried primer.
  • Too thin a layer of fresh paint.

What to do? – If a thin coat of new paint is to blame, it makes sense to let the paint dry, then polish it and then apply another 1 or 2 coats. There are cases where you have to peel everything off and redo it.


This defect in car paint is observed when the adhesion between the base paint and new coats is broken.

Causes of paint peeling:

  • Poor quality degreasing.
  • Improper sanding of the surface.
  • Too long drying of the first layer.
  • Incompatibility of paint with the primer (or the previous coat if it is a topcoat).

What to do? – Only take everything off and redo it right.

Dust and lint

Deposition of dust particles, lint and other dirt on fresh paint is not uncommon when painting a car in the garage by yourself. Especially if you have neglected the rules of preparation of the room.


  • Poor preparation of the room and not enough washed car.
  • Dirty painter’s clothes.
  • Uncut paint.
  • The presence of a compressor directly in the room.

What to do? – Sand the surface! This will partially help improve the situation. If there was not much dust, then after sanding the defect will not be noticeable at all.

Non-drying coating

It happens that all the deadlines for drying paint or varnish are already out, but the surface is still sticky and susceptible to external factors.

Causes of slow curing:

  • Too thick layers.
  • Insufficient drying period between coats.
  • Failure to observe the recommended temperature and humidity during drying.
  • Incorrect proportions when adding hardener.
  • Poor quality paint.

What to do? – Give the paint more time. And you can use an infrared lamp to speed up drying.

Sagging of the repair area

This is another common defect in the artisanal painting of a car in a garage. However, even experienced painters can make this mistake if they are in a big hurry.


  • Undried putty.

What to do? – Redo! Such a defect will be noticeable even if you apply several coats of varnish on top. So it’s worth starting all over again and waiting for the putty to dry, and then check the geometry. If the area is sagging again, you need to add another layer of putty. It is better to put more than less, because the excess can always be sanded off.

Stains and Stripes

This happens most often with metallics, but sometimes it happens with other types of paint.


  • Poor quality paint.
  • Problems with the spray gun or can.
  • Excess solvent.
  • Incorrect overlap when applying paint passes.
  • Coat with varnish until the paint dries completely.

What to do? – If you want a perfect surface, you have to repaint.

Bubbles (bloating)


  • Failure to follow garage humidity recommendations.
  • Condensation.
  • Compressor moisture separator malfunction.
  • Moisture in the compressor.

What to do? – Of course, completely clean the surface and start painting again.

Transparency of coverage

Sometimes the coating seems dense and opaque, but when you take the car out into the light, the substrate is suddenly visible: the primer or old paint.


  • Low hiding power of the paint.
  • High concentration of solvent in the composition.
  • Insufficient number of paint layers.
  • Too thin layers.

What to do? – Check the density of the paint and apply one or two more coats. If the “glare” is not immediately visible, you will most likely have to mat the coating and only then finish painting the car.


So, now you know almost everything about how to paint a car with your own hands in a garage or even on the street, how to choose materials and tools for car painting, how to prevent the appearance of defects when painting a car and even how to eliminate these same defects, if they still appeared. Now the main thing is not to shake your hands, and you will succeed! Good luck!

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