Exact Materials Needed to Paint a Car

by Caleb Schulte
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The reconstructed ancient car painted in two colors. image by Yuri Bizgaimer from Fotolia.com

If you're looking to paint your vehicle but don't want to leave the job in someone else's hands, it is possible to do it yourself. All you need are the proper materials and a little instruction and you will be ready to complete the task of painting your vehicle.


You will need an enclosed space with ample room to paint your car. Wind and debris make it impossible to complete the task outdoors. Make sure to cover any surfaces that you don't want to get paint on with a painter's drop cloth or sheet of plastic. Masking tape is essential for covering any part of your car that you do not want painted, and can be used it in conjunction with plastic sheeting to cover large surfaces such as windows, tires and bumpers.


Protecting yourself from the harsh chemicals in paint is of the utmost importance. Goggles that provide a seal will protect your eyes from particles, paint and vapors that could cause serious damage. A high-grade mask is also necessary. The standard painter's mask may prevent the inhalation of paint or particles, but might not be strong enough to block the toxic vapors that result from painting in an enclosed space. Nitrile gloves will protect your skin from the old paint particles during the sanding process as well as the new paint going on. All of these safety items should be worn during every step.


Prior to painting, you will need to sand the old paint off. This can be accomplished with a sandpaper grit anywhere from 80 to 220 on a sanding block or sanding board. Use a body filler or a glazing putty to fill in any dents or nicks in the surface of the body to give the vehicle an smooth surface. Once the putty or filler is dry, you can use the sandpaper to smooth it out.


Before painting, you must apply a layer of primer, which will act as a sealer to the metal of the body. This will also aid in creating an even surface so your paint will look smooth after it is applied. An epoxy-based primer will aid in corrosion resistance and will go on much easier than other primers. You will need a spray gun to apply the primer, which should be done in steady horizontal sweeps. It may take more than one coat to achieve the end result of a solid color with none of the underneath metal visible.


There are many options for types of paint, but one of the best is a urethane-based paint. This will aid in the protection of UV rays, which cause the color to fade. Be sure to clean the spray gun of any residual primer before loading your paint, and apply the paint in steady, horizontal sweeps. It may be necessary to apply more than one coat.

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