How to: What’s involved in DIY painting

Let’s face it, if you don’t have a friend of a friend that knows a professional spray painter or something along those lines, then getting a new body kit sprayed  for your car isn’t going to be a cheap excercise. Unless you give it a go yourself.

Painting isn’t an easy task, and does require quite a bit of patience to get right. Depending on what type of paint you are using, you can get a great result for a quarter the cost of having it done by a professional.

The easiest way to do it is to get some paint matched up in an Acrylic spray can. However if you do have an air compressor you can get your hands on, it is the better option as it’ll produce a more consistent result.

The only downfall to painting yourself, is that you can only do it in Acrylic paint. As 2 pack paint is quite harmful if you aren’t wearing the right equipment.

But Acrylic isn’t as bad as some people make it out to be. It can have a similar finish to 2 pack paints but it does need to be buffed, whereas 2 pack have a glassy finish “off the gun”.

Items needed:

Ok, below is a list of what I used to paint a front bumper, side skirts, rear bumper, rear spoiler, roof spoiler, and mirrors.

  • 8 cans of colour matched acrylic pressure packs.
  • 4 cans of acrylic primer.
  • 4 cans of acrylic clear.
  • 800, 1200 and 1500 grit wet/dry sandpaper sheet.
  • wax and grease remover.
  • various rags/microfibre cloths.
  • masking tape.


You’ll need to prepare the surface for paint, doing this ensures the paint work will grab to the surface, for maximum adhesion

  • prepare bare item for primer by sanding with 800 grit sandpaper.
  • check surface has been sanded, it should go dull after wiping down the item.
  • sand with 1200 grit, this makes the scratches less visible. This isn’t necessary if you are applying primer.
  • clean up your item by using some wax and grease remover. Be sure to wipe it off shortly after use.

Base coat/primer:

The base coat/primer is used to help the paint bond to the item you are spraying. It can also act as a filler to cover up those imperfections.

  • Spray 2-3 light coats over your item, followed by 1-2 heavier coats, or untill your item is evenly covered.
  • let primer dry for at least 4 hours before sanding. I normally leave it overnight.
  • lightly sand with 1200 grit sand paper, followed by some 1500 grit paper.
  • clean thoroughly with wax and grease remover


It’s time to give your panels some colour!

  • Ensure surface is clean and dry
  • spray several light coats in an even pattern across your item, on big parts this is vital otherwise the paintwork can come out blotchy
  • spray 2-3 heavier coats, or until the surface is completely covered.


The clearcoat is what makes the paintwork have that nice glossy finish, it’s also designed to protect the paint from UV rays and being damaged.

  • wipe down surface with a microfibre cloth, I wouldn’t use wax and grease it could eat into the paint.
  • apply as many coats as you wish, 3-4 should be sufficient.


After the clearcoat has hardened you can then cut back and buff your items. This will give them a nice shine. I’ve skipped this step for now.

How much?

It costed me a little over $300 to gather all the materials for this job.

Where from?

I got all my paint from Peps autospares in Wetherill park, NSW. I believe some Autobarns do paint mixing too.

The steps above are what I apply to my painting, and I’ve had good results. If you are willing to give painting a go, be sure to try on small objects first. Things like bumper bars can be quite frustrating to work with due to their size.

Remember, practice makes perfect!



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