How to Mix Car Paint

A man painting a car blue.

Mixing car paint prior to application is a straightforward process. By using the correct choice of hardeners, thinners and mixing ratios, an ideal viscosity and chemical combination can be achieved for perfect paint application.

The values listed below are typical for each type of paint but attention should be paid to technical data sheets for individual products.

Water-Based Color

Water-based color can be used directly from the can but it is possible to help the flow of material by simply adding 10 percent water-based mixing additive by weight. Do not use tap or distilled water for this process.

Solvent-Based Metallic Color

Solvent-based metallic color should be thinned down at a ratio of two parts paint to one part standard basecoat thinners using a 2:1 scaled mixing stick. There is no need to add hardener to metallic basecoats.

Two Pack Acrylics

Two pack materials require a suitable fast speed hardener and a fast speed thinner to assist with drying times and flow. Mix to a ratio of two parts color to one part of hardener. A total of 10 percent of thinners should be added as well. Use a 2:1:10 percent mixing stick for this task.

Clear Coatings

Clear coatings, such as lacquer, should be mixed at a ratio of two parts clear coat to one part of fast hardener. Some paint sprayers will prefer to add up to 10 percent of fast thinners to help with the flow of the material. A standard 2:1:10 percent mixing stick is ideal for measuring clear coatings.

That's all there is to mixing car paint. Time to put a fresh coat on your baby!