How to Custom Paint Your Car at Home

A silver car.
  • 2-20 hours
  • Advanced
  • 200-750
What You'll Need
Paint stripper
Paint sprayer
Spray paint booth
Car paint, primer and sealant
Masking tape
Plastic sheeting
Face mask
Protective gloves

Creating your own custom car paint design is a great way to produce a vehicle that is unique in appearance and attractive to other auto enthusiasts. Following a sequence of steps to help complete the task will ensure that your preparation and painting techniques are efficient and effective.

Step 1 - Prepare

After gathering all the equipment that you need to complete the task, the next step will be to prepare the car to accept the custom car paint. The existing paint will first need to be stripped away and this should be done outside of the paint booth. After protecting yourself with overalls, gloves, and a face mask, use a paintbrush to carefully apply the stripper to the car. Cover the entire car in plastic sheeting to contain the fumes, if the instructions recommend it. Once the necessary time has elapsed, neutralize the paint stripper by rinsing it with water. Proceed to remove any remaining paint with a scraper and sandpaper to get the surface smooth.

Step 2 - Apply Protection

Move the car to the spray paint booth if you are using one. Cut out precise pieces of plastic or paper sheeting so that you can use them to protect the sections of the car that do not require any custom car paint to be applied. Secure the protection to the surface with masking tape, making sure that the tape is laid against the edges in a precise position as this will prevent the paint from seeping through.

Step 3 - Apply Base Coats

Before creating your custom paint design, you will need to apply a primer to protect the paint and ensure an even base. The primer can be applied with the sprayer and can actually be a way to practice applying the paint. If necessary, cover one of the car panels in a large piece of paper sheeting and practice with the sprayer, standing in the correct position to do so. Do not aim the spray in one place for too long, but keep it moving in a slow, sweeping motion. After applying several coats of the primer, leave it to dry in accordance with the instructions. At this point, you will be able to apply a sealant to further protect the car from rusting. This should then be left to dry.

Step 4 - Apply Paint

When applying the custom car paint, begin at the top and gradually work your way down so that you reduce the risk of disturbing the paint as you go. Work in straight lines to avoid overlapping the color and keep the paint sprayer moving to prevent drips and hold the sprayer approximately 10 inches away from the surface. Complete one coat before beginning another and use as many coats as the instructions recommend. This will enable you to ensure the custom car paint is even. If you are using metallic paint, alternate the direction of the application of the paint layers to ensure the best result. Leave the paint to dry before removing the protective shields.