How to Paint a Car with a Spray Can – 9 Easy Steps

How to Paint a Car with a Spray Can

Do you ever stare at your car and wish for something new? But you cannot afford it, nor does it make sense if you already have one. Changing the color is always an option. There are many ways you can change color, for example, spray painting. Once you master how to paint your car, you will switch the colors as many times as you fancy. Find out below How to Paint a Car with a Spray Can.

9 Easy Steps on How to Paint a Car with a Spray Can

1. Pick a Location

You will need a location that is readily available for the number of days you plan to paint. Painting may take time; therefore, ensure you do not move the vehicle during the job. A suitable area would be where there is adequate shade. Try to avoid spaces where any elements could disrupt the paint. A garage is a likely choice.

2. Prep Your Tools

Before you start, ensure you have all the necessary tools. Some of the materials you will need include;

  • Spray can
  • Masking tape
  • Wet grit papers
  • Air compressor
  • Dry sandpaper
  • Air-powered or electric sander
  • Undercoat
  • Dust extractor
  • Safety glasses
  • Paint thinners
  • Enamel paint
  • Face mask
  • Buffer or polisher

3. Prep Your Paint

You need to determine how much paint you need. Still, it would be best if you had lots of paint because you are not experienced and waste paint. As you gain experience, then the amount of paint will require will slowly reduce.

If you are using a paint gun, you need one gallon of base coat, three gallons of clear coat, and three gallons of topcoat for smaller or medium vehicles. You need 4-5 gallons of base coat, 3-4 gallons of clear coat, and 4 gallons of topcoat for larger cars.

4. Match the Color Coating

Find the original color code of your car, and match it with the coating. Find this information on the driver’s side door. Case in point, if you have a silver vehicle, you’ll have to match it a top-quality silver spray paint for cars.

5. Get a Quality Paint Sprayer

Fantastic painting requires you to have a quality sprayer can. Check out comprehensive sprayer reviews online to get the top-quality car paint spray can for the job. A good sprayer should be excellent enough to be used by an amateur for a professional career.

6. Prep Your Work Area

Clean the area you will do the job; ensure there is no grease, road dirt, or dust left on the car. Decide what part of the vehicles you are going to paint.

7. Do Some Thorough Sanding

It will help if you put on your face mask before getting into this part. For additional protection, put on protective eyewear. Clean and turn on your dust protector in case you are going to use one.

Sanding is the first step towards being a pro car painter. It removes the previous paint you had in your car. A recommended one is large-grain sandpaper that will rub the whole surface of the vehicle you intend to paint.

Sand in circular motions, and carefully pay attention to the crevice parts on the car. Keep at it diligently since it gets tiresome at this stage. If you are using 600-grit sandpaper or something similar, switch to a 1500-grit one or similar, once the paint has completely been removed. Repair any accidental damages you may have encountered before proceeding.

The result should be a smooth and even surface where you were sanding. It will make the painting process more manageable. Use Top-notch wet sandpaper for adequate results. Use a rag to gently wipe the entire sanded surface and give it a moment to dry and completely evaporate.

8. Priming and Painting

Using old newspapers or an alternative, cover all areas you don’t wish to paint. Tape or plastic sheets will work just fine. It is now time to prime your car with the spray can. Mix the primer and thinner combined as elaborated on the paint can.

Shake the can for about three minutes to ensure the consistency of the paint. Hold your spray can and lightly practice on a sheet or a board before spraying your car. For the rest of the procedure, ensure a 6-inch distance between the spray can and the sheet. Hold the sprayer in a vertical position, and get acquainted with the process.

Move the can across the surface using consistent back and forth strokes. Wait for 15 minutes in between the three primers you applied.

Once you are confident enough, you can do it, begin spraying the car panels. As you paint, ensure you allow maximum time for the paint to completely dry; 10-13 minutes is recommendable. Try and coat everything as evenly as possible, and apply two coats for the best results.

9. Refinery

Scrutinize your paint job for any undesirable work. If there is any, use wet sandpaper to smooth the area out and then repaint it. Note that you need to apply two coats before the last one. To get rid of any powdery residue, use the wet sandpaper as well as dry 200-grit sandpaper.

Use a clean rag to wipe the car, and get into the final coating. A 10-minute break between layers is advisable.

Tips to Put in Mind

  • Hold the spray can down while you are moving to prevent overcoating.
  • Spray horizontally and not ultimately, not vertically.
  • Ensure the paint is dried before moving to the next coating.
  • Use short overlapping strokes will help avoid the unavoidable nozzle clogging that occurs from spraying paint out of the can for a long time. 


It is advisable to paint on a clear coat to protect the paint once you finish. Otherwise, the paint will fade from the sun or any elements. With a clear coating, you will have a stable budget paint job on your car. Once you finish, be sure to remove all the tapes, newspapers, or plastic sheets from your vehicle. With this knowledge, you can choose to repeat the process whenever you want a different color.

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