Painting the car yourself requires a few careful steps. Wash and clean the car body completely with soap and water. Apply a coat of wax-grease remover to make sure there is no dust or dirt hanging on to the body surface. Sand down the body to a smooth finish using sandpaper. Wash the car again and let it dry. Use masking tape and newspaper to mask off trim, glass, headlights, side mirrors, lamps and areas that need to be protected from paint. Apply a coat of primer to help the new paint attach to the body surface. Let it dry and sand it down to a smooth finish. Apply two coats of paint with a 15-minute interval in between and let the paint dry for 2 hours. Finally, apply three coats of clear paint with 15 minutes intervals in between and let the paint dry for 2 hours.
Car painting should be done in an enclosed and warm area to protect fresh paint on the body from wind and dust. Before you begin, thoroughly wet the floor with fresh water to help trap dust that might be floating around the room as much as possible. Always wear eye and mouth protection to avoid breathing spray paint. Also wear long sleeve shirts and latex gloves to keep paint off your skin.
Car paint could be really tricky to work, even when you are working inside a building, away from wind and traffic smog. Dust tends to find its way and stubbornly adhere to fresh paint. To solve this problem, many auto painters use a wire to ground the frame of the vehicles they are about to paint to a ground in the building, like an electrical box on the wall. This trick helps keep dust from sticking to the paint.
To preserve the new look of the body paint, wash your car with soft water to avoid contaminating the new paint with minerals; wash the car with an appropriate polish or shampoo; wax your car regularly after a wash to keep dirt from finding its way into the texture of the new paint; and wax your car under a hot sun, or you will discolored the new paint.
You can dress your car with a new, temporary paint job for a special event. A German company is marketing their own temporary car paint--called foliacar--that you can use without the need to remove the original paint. And you can go back to the previous paint on your car whenever you want. And if you are the artistic type, you can use car paint to transform the body of your vehicle into a canvass. Just choose whatever theme you like and paint your artistic piece (see Resources below).
Painting a car is a great way to finish a body repair job or restore a lost shiny appearance to bring back the beautiful look you fell in love with. However, car painting has gone beyond the goal of making your car stand out like new; it can also unleash the artist in you to express yourself to the world, one road at a time.