Introduction: How to Spray Paint Your Jeep and Make an Assault Vehicle

Picture of How to Spray Paint Your Jeep and Make an Assault Vehicle

Ok since my jeep is a major beater and I take it offroading, what better way to paint a fading beaten up jeep than with spraypaint? I chose to paint it up like an Army assault vehicle and add some zombie stickers. So to start you need a vehicle you plan to paint. (I advise it to be something that you dont really care about getting beaten up) For me that would be my 1990 Jeep Cherokee that I drive offroad a lot. Heres a picture of what it should look like once it is done.

Step 1: Find a Vehicle

Picture of Find a Vehicle

Step one find a vehicle. You can use an existing vehicle or go buy one like me from craigslist for dirt cheap. :D Aw look at the lil jeep the day I bought it.

Step 2: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

Now drive to your nearest hardware store and buy the following:

-Spray paint (10 cans of Krylon Satin Italian Olive)
-220grit sandpaper
-a can of mineral spirits
-3 rolls of blue painters tape
-a sanding block

Other supplies you may need:
-newspaper or paper to tape up windows.

Step 3: Prep the Vehicle for Paint

Picture of Prep the Vehicle for Paint

First I needed to remove the pinstripe from the vehicle. I used a heatgun and a razor to remove the pinstripe.

Now remove all the parts you dont want painted off. (lights, roofrack, spare tire, etc)

Next You need to wash the vehicle.

After washing the vehicle you need to sand it down with 220grit sandpaper as shown in picture.

Step 4: Wipe Down

Picture of Wipe Down

After finish sanding you need to wipe the entire vehicle down with some Acetone or mineral spirits to clean the surface.

I then Painted the door jams so that I wouldnt have to go back and mess with it and it looks cleaner. (This step may require removal of some interior panels depending on model of vehicle. In my case I didnt have any really so I didnt have to worry about it.

Step 5: Mask Off the Windows

Picture of Mask Off the Windows

After prep and doing the door jams. I needed to mask off the windows and lights so that I wouldnt get paint all over them. I just used paper I had laying around.


Picture of PAINTING!

Ok now for the fun stuff PAINT. Break out all the spray paint you bought and start spraying. Make sure your (insert nice car here) isnt parked nearby or you may get overspray on it. I advise you to do one complete light coat first then a final coat after. Krylon covers quite well. Coats may vary based on what kind of paint you use.

Step 7: Remove the Masking

Picture of Remove the Masking

After letting the paint dry for an hour you can remove the masking on the windows. Should look something like the picture below. (Notice the numbers I stenciled on before taking off the tape.)

Step 8: Reinstall Parts and Enjoy

Picture of Reinstall Parts and Enjoy

Now reinstall the parts you took off (lights, roof rack, etc.)


Picture of EXTRA STEP

I bought a front bullguard and wanted to paint it to match the truck. So ill add this step in aswell.

1) Sand down bullguard with 200 grit sandpaper

2) wipedown with acetone

3) paint with duplicolor truckbed paint

Step 10: Final Install

Picture of Final Install

I installed the front bullguard and it looks like this: The second picture is a year later after I added zombie decals to it and got a new front bumper for it. As you can see the paint has held up fine even after beating it on trails.


halo99 made it! (author)2017-08-03

Very helpful, here's a picture of a second paintjob I did. I can tell the paint will definitely fade but I'm not too worried about it seeing as a coat of dirt will always be present so it doesn't really matter.

Eli D S (author)2017-05-31

Where is the driver door?

farna (author)2015-01-08

Find a cheap paint shop like Maaco in your area. They start around $300 in most areas for a basic paint job. Do all the prep work mentioned here except the wipe-down and masking. Also take anything off that comes off easy that you don't want painted. They can spray it with automotive paint a lot better than anyone can at home. It's not a show car job, but that's not what a project like this calls for. I've ad a few of my classic cars painted like this. The paint is good (I always used the mid priced job, which has a longer lasting paint), it's the prep work that makes a paint job. I always did my own prep and body work -- at least most of it. A couple times I had them do some more complicated body work, but that's where they make their money.

BenM213 (author)farna2016-09-27

Farna, that's brilliant. Any more specifics on what prep work you did before handing it over to the paint shop? Did you have to negotiate the deal for Matte Green by explaining you'd do some of the prep?

farna (author)BenM2132016-09-27

No negotiating over price. I removed all the trim, bumpers, and lights. One car I drove to the shop so left the tail lights in, took a screwdriver and removed them when I got there. I also wet sanded the car and filled a few minor dings. Even if you let them fill the larger dings still wet sand the car yourself. You need to research paint prepping a car, you can find several articles on the 'net better than I can explain. If you want a color they don't have you will need to purchase your own paint. Talk to the shop owner about what brand and type paint they prefer before buying. You may need more than just paint -- they should be able to tell you what you need to bring if you use something other than what they normally use -- or they may refuse to spray a different type/brand. As I said, no negotiating on price. You buy the paint job they sell. If you do more prep work you get a better, longer lasting job and they tend to take more care also. If you bring your own paint they won't reduce price normally. When using house paint their cost is minimal since they buy in bulk. They can usually mix just about any color, the house paint is a good quality paint in most cases.

XxTylerRichardsxX (author)2016-03-13

Nice Job. What company makes that bullbar?

XxTylerRichardsxX (author)2016-03-13

Nice Job. What company makes that bullbar?

dreminofscremin (author)2013-08-29

My only question is; Where did you get your body mounted tire carrier?! I've been looking everywhere for one!!

sam24th (author)dreminofscremin2013-08-31

the carrier came off of a bronco II. There are also factory XJ carriers available aswell but those are rare and hard to come by. I had one awhile back that mounted to the bumper but I sold it.

rangerweavere (author)sam24th2014-10-06

lucky me that i noticed this cause ive been looking to.

dantribble (author)2013-08-01

Nice job, but you left out any instruction on basic spray fundamentals and technique - and a final coat of UV spray/sealer would have lessened the fading problems.
The Jeep looks great!

sam24th (author)dantribble2013-08-02

I would have used a sealer on top but wanted to keep the flat/satin look to the paint. I suppose I could have used a flattener to reduce the shine but it was really on my priority list. As far as spray techniques, not really sure what to say for that, I mean I just bought a ton of paint and sprayed the truck LOL.

HollywoodSnooks (author)2011-10-18

I have an old in pretty good shape 1982 Chevy S10 durango. Its color now is brown and i want to change the color. How many coats would you recommend?

sam24th (author)HollywoodSnooks2013-08-02

Sorry for the late reply I took a bit of a leave from this site for a bit.

Depends on the color, but probably about 4 if you go with a darker color and 7-8 if you are going with a lighter color. You could primer it first and use less coats if you like.

arabic (author)2012-06-28

Some questions:
What year is your Jeep?
What are the lights on the roof basket called?
lastly, what are the lights installed on the bullguard called?


sam24th (author)arabic2013-08-02

Sorry for the late reply I took a bit of a leave from this site for a bit.

Jeep is a 1990 Jeep Cherokee Laredo
Lights on the basket are KC daylighters 6inch
Bullguard is a romik bullguard from Japan and the lights are PIAA 7inch lights.

kfield1 (author)2013-06-20

Hey there! Would you recommend auto paint as well?? Also where'd you get the bull bar?? :)

sam24th (author)kfield12013-08-02

Dont really see much difference in the auto paint in a can and regular spraypaint other than it being a bit more expensive. It might hold up a bit better in the long run though. Bull bar came from a Japanese Jeep Cherokee. Its made by a European company called Romik I think.

sam24th (author)kfield12013-08-02

Dont really see much difference in the auto paint in a can and regular spraypaint other than it being a bit more expensive. It might hold up a bit better in the long run though. Bull bar came from a Japanese Jeep Cherokee. Its made by a European company called Romik I think.

goodolejim (author)2013-08-01

If you have noticed older cars with stripes or lines in the paint it is because they didn't use enough paint. Spray can paint is very good quality, just use enough. when I had a business and not wanting the expense of a paint booth I started painting with cans. I usually would buy four cases, that is 48 cans for each machine. After several years of being outdoors all the time my equipment still looked great. the cost was about the same as if I had purchased 1.5 gallons of regular auto paint. The fire marshal was ok with spray cans in my shop.

Mr Rancher (author)2013-08-01

I have a 2008 FJ Cruiser and I'm secretly waiting for it to get old and faded enough to warrant a repaint.
The Jeep looks great.

countrygirl022592 (author)2013-07-28

Omg! I absolutely love th is! I'm getting ready to paint my Cherokee a matte tan to look like an old desert army vehicle! I might just do it myself now!

Thanks! I really loved the color, but unfortunately the paint did fade after some time. I actually repainted the truck once again this time using tractor paint. It has held up much better and applies almost like auto paint. I am getting ready to write a tutorial on that aswell if you would like to check it out sometime.

creynolds13 (author)2012-11-12

Looks great man. I have an 88 Comanche done up the same way. Cop told me he didn't even see me go by once. I used Krylon Camo, the Olive Drab. Thinking about using their sand color and painting it in the spring.

Chocolate Moose (author)2011-07-10

Awesome Instructable.
I have a couple questions.
I'm thinking about doing this to my Jeep.
I just wanted to know what you could do as far as a protective coating.
I saw somewhere that someone put a layer of clear coat on and sanded it down a little in order to give it a flat/ satin finish but still be protected.
Also, what would you suggest as far as painting the plastic bumpers.

sam24th (author)Chocolate Moose2011-07-10

If you want a good protective coating your gonna want to spray an automotive clear on top of it using a spray gun. Could be done for another $100 if you already have an air compressor. If you want a flat/satin finish you can add some flattening agent into the clear coat to give it a bit of a dull look. I really just wanted to paint my ol beatup jeep so its easy to touch up after a day of wheeling. I really havent had to though as the paint has stuck really well. Its all about the prep work you put into the paint. Ive done jsut about any ghetto rigged paintjob you can think of.

As for the plastic bumpers I would just lightly sand using very fine sandpaper or maybe even a scotchbrite pad and then spray it with some spraypaint.

Rathrider (author)sam24th2011-08-06

they sell flat clear coat spray paint, i have been thinking about doing this too and thats what i planned on using as a protective layer

hairyyy0 (author)2011-07-26

Did you paint a white spot then tape the numbers on and paint over with the green and remove the tape to show the numbers? or did you paint on the white letters after the green paint had dried?

sam24th (author)hairyyy02011-07-28

I used stencils you get at like lowes or home depot and painted the numbers and letters on after the paint dried.

abadfart (author)hairyyy02011-07-26

let the paint dry and then go to big box store of choice and get magnetic paper and cut out the numbers

hackmattr (author)2011-07-10

When we had to move, my dad and I were restoring a 1964 Mustang. We had it sanded down and ready for paint, but had to put a protective coat on because of moving. We used white spray paint. The only problem I see is that it needs to be wet sanded in order to blend because it is hard to spray paint a large surface with spray paint without some light and heavy areas.

sam24th (author)hackmattr2011-07-10

If you use some of the cheaper spraypaints it tends to have off color spots from what I have experienced. Rustoleum and Krylon have far been the best spray paints Ive used. The colors tend to fill in the areas quite evenly on the better paints.

hackmattr (author)sam24th2011-07-11

I used Rustoleum

Confounded Machine (author)2011-07-09

Wow, its crazy how close our jeeps are to one another! Mines a 1990 and I painted it last summer. I used krylon flat OD green and it ended up coming out really well. Heres a pic of it in the garage during painting. Nice looking XJ man :).

Looking awesome. Im actually considering repainting my jeep in a desert tan color. Maybe after a proper lift kit and a rollcage I will.

heibert (author)2011-07-01

in Russia we need to re-register car in road police department if we changing color. it's not free and costs lot of time and documents :-/

uberchoob (author)heibert2011-07-04

We're supposed to do something similar here in the states, but it's a simple matter of changing the color field when we renew our vehicle registration (every 3 to 7 years depending on your state).

BtheBike (author)2011-07-03

awesome paint . a snorkel would look great

ctg4x4 (author)2011-07-02

nice, i panted my comanche like that!

nemhed (author)2011-07-01

Looks Great! I used the same paint on my commuter/suburban assault/TEOTWAWKI bike! It's my new "go to" color.

Blenderizer (author)2011-06-30

Whoaaa there, thats awesome!

My 91 wrangler was painted a year ago by the previous owner, but this looks pretty sweet....

sam24th (author)Blenderizer2011-07-01

I also had a 1993 Wrangler I painted using the same theme but a slightly different color. It turned out quite well. I still regret selling it.

maxhuey (author)2011-07-01

Some tips I have learned over the years...If you use wal-mart spray bomb at 99 cent each, you will save another 30 buck! they cover just as well as Krylon, no italian olive though, just black, white, red, green and blue...

I bought a Spray-It diaphram air pump with hose and spray gun from Craigslist for $15, I use no name brand "exterior" house paint, watered down to spraying consistency to paint a 69 ford custom (large surface areas are difficult to paint with spray bomb), after 10 years, the paint still looks good. I think its because this no name brand paint has a 15 years warranty...

I have also painted a small car with paint roller, just buy a small bottle of "Flow" to mix into the glossy paint and this will cause the paint to flow into a smooth shinny surface. The flow liquid actually delay the drying time of the paint.

sam24th (author)maxhuey2011-07-01

I have actually also painted a car with a paint roller. (the black firebird/camaro in this picture) It turned out awesome until I left it outside for a year and neglected it in which case random stuff like flower petals and pollen stuck to it like a magnet and ruined the paint.

Everlong (author)2011-07-01

Really nice job man, looks awesome!
Now, where to find me a Jeep...

jackfaciale (author)2011-06-30

you sand it all by hand ?? i

sam24th (author)jackfaciale2011-06-30

Yup everything is sanded by hand. I also sprayed the cans by hand also. I guess I should suggest get a spray can gun thingy that they sell for 3 bucks to spray cans easier. Unless you like cramped/numbed thumbs of course.

jackfaciale (author)sam24th2011-07-01

chapeau bas.... i started my motorbike tank i stoppped after three hours :p

Joemeza (author)2011-06-28

Do you live in Utah? i swear i saw a jeep just like that driving around today

sam24th (author)Joemeza2011-06-30

Nope, Im actually from NC. and go to school there.

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