How to Use a Touch-Up Paint Pen

by Vanessa Knauf

As you walk out to your car--your arms full of groceries--you can see the fresh scratch on your car door from 10 feet away. The culprit is long gone, but you don't have to take your car to the dealership or to a mechanic for a new expensive paint job. With a touch-up paint pen, you can cover any nicks or dings in the comfort of your own driveway. Be sure to wield your paint pen carefully, or you could make a small scratch more conspicuous.

Clean the scratch with dishwashing soap and a rag. You can also use grease remover.

Paint primer onto any section of bare metal or plastic. Let stand 15 minutes. Sand the primed area smooth. Shake your paint pen until you hear the ball inside rattle. Remove the cap and depress the paint pen by pressing the tip onto a test surface until paint begins to spread.

Wipe excess paint from the tip of the pen, and then apply the 1st layer of paint to the scratch. Let paint dry 20 minutes between each layer. Apply layers of paint until the scratch blends in with the surrounding surface. Let the final layer of paint dry overnight. Apply 2 or 3 layers of clear coat to the painted scratch. Let stand 2 hours.


  • check If the scratch has begun to rust, remove rust with a wire brush or sandpaper before priming. If the outside temperature is lower than 70 degrees F, the paint will take longer to dry.


  • close Don't apply paint directly to plastic or metal surfaces; it won't stick. Don't depress the tip of the paint pen on your car; it will smudge and look unsightly.

Items you will need

About the Author

Vanessa Knauf is a freelance writer specializing in dog-related content. Her work has appeared at, and local publications in Mobile, Ala., including Lagniappe and She has a master’s in writing from Kennesaw State University.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Photo: BlackHawkTraffic