How to Paint Any Car by Yourself?

The majority of car owners have this misconception that painting a car is a hard job. However, did you know that it doesn’t require a lot of skills? With just a set of tools such as automotive paint gun for beginners, you can get the job done without spending a penny on hiring professional car painters. 

Depending on your car’s model and the reasons for painting you can do it yourself and save money and time. If you are wondering how to paint any car by yourself, here we have a comprehensive step-by-step guide to get you started. Without further ado, let’s jump straight into the discussion.

Getting Ready

Before you kick start the project, you need to have the materials ready and prepare a suitable location for painting the car. We recommend an enclosed area such as the garage to protect your car from external elements.

Gather the Materials

The next step is to gather the materials which are available at car automotive parts stores. A quick suggestion is to write down a summary of what you’ll need to prevent a return trip to the stores. Here is what you’ll need:

  • Electric sander
  • Masking tape
  • Air compressor
  • Spray gun
  • Grit wet and dry sandpaper
  • A dust extractor
  • Base coat (One gallon) or primer
  • Topcoat- three gallons
  • Clear coat-three gallons
  • Newspapers/masking tape
  • Face masks
  • Safety glasses
  • Paint- and solvent-resistant gloves

It’s important to know the quantity of the base, top or clear coats that you’ll need. Quite often, this depends on the size of the vehicle. However, have enough supply to avoid running short during the painting project. 

Some cars come with color codes and it’s crucial to check which type of coating suits your model. Carry the color code to your supplier so that you can order the exact product. If you can’t find your desired code, contact your car’s manufacturer for guidance.

Prepare the Work Surface and Clean the Car

After gathering the materials, the next step is to clean the workspace by removing debris and dirt. Ensure the place has proper ventilation and perfect lighting. Likewise, remove any objects that may obstruct your activity and ensure there’s more room to work and walk around.

If working from outside, splash water on the ground to allow the dust to settle. Refrain from painting under a tree or a place where debris can contaminate the paint.

Detach the car’s engine alongside other parts such as door sills and trunk. Clean the car to remove grime, dirt, and grease. Using masking tape or old pieces of newspaper, cover those areas that you don’t intend to paint.

Put on Your Safety Gear

Your safety comes first and it’s essential to wear protective gear to protect the skin, eyes, and nose from paint elements. Wear plastic dungarees, hand gloves, respirator masks, and safety goggles. Ensure your overall has a plastic hood to shelter the head.

Masking, Stripping, Sanding, and Cleaning the Car

The next step is to strip the vehicle by removing old paint. If your car has chrome trims, remove them easily by snapping. But, don’t use force to prevent breakages and damage. Counter-check the manual and read through the transaction.

Check for rust spots and apply non-rust filler using a small tool or a putty knife. Next, smoothen out the material before sanding.

Sand the surface in gentle motions to remove the three levels of coat. A sander can speed up the process; however, for the crevices, corners, and openings, use your hand for a smooth finish. Afterward, wipe the surface with cotton and remove dust, including thinners from the paint.


Put the priming material and thinners in a clean container and mix thoroughly. Check the mixing ratio for a perfect blend. If you have an old panel or a steel material, you can test whether you’ve achieved the right ratio. 

Use a spray gun to apply the solution and master the technique. Now, prime the car from side to side in a round motion.

Start from the top downwards and apply thin and smooth coats. Apply up to three coats on the entire surface. The process can take up to one hour since you’ll be having like twenty minutes break to allow curing.

At this point, the priming product is now in powder form. Use the 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper to smooth.  


After sanding the primer, the next step is to paint the car. Add thinners into the paint and mix as per the instructions. It’s essential to use the correct ratio of paint and thinners for an efficient job.

Before you paint the car, you can practice by spraying on an old panel. Once you’re ready, spray your car with paint. Apply it across the board and allow around 20 minutes per application to allow for curing. The entire process can last up to one hour.

We recommend up to three or four coats depending on the outcome. Remember to follow the guidelines on your paint tin. After your second application, smooth out the powdery material using 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper. 

Next, wipe with a dry microfiber cloth and allow for some time before applying the clear coat. We recommend lacquer since it’s high quality and affordable.

Now, expose the masked areas by removing the tape and apply the clear coat. The paint takes up to one week to cure and, it’s vital to keep the car in a secure place to dry. Ensure the area is free from dirt.

Buff Your Car

After the clear coat cures, check whether there are any imperfections on the finish and smoothen out using the 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper. Then, spray expansively using a buffer from a distance to avoid burning or removing the paint. 

A buffing machine can quicken the process. However, if you don’t have one, a power polisher can get the job done.


Whether you want to hide some blemish or improve the appearance of your car, painting your car is a cost-efficient initiative that can also save you time. Besides, it’s fun, fulfilling and you get to acquire new skills by painting yourself. 

As you can see, the process is not rocket science since it requires a little practice to do a perfect job. Other than that, you need to patient to allow the car to cure and deliver a smooth and fine finish. 

By following the above steps and manufacturers’ guidance, you’ll be steps ahead and, the subsequent painting jobs will be pure bliss.

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