Introduction: How to Plasti-Dip Your Car

Picture of How to Plasti-Dip Your Car

We've owned our '68 for over a decade and have watched its paint fade, crack and chip.
Some areas were down to the metal and we wanted to do something about it before it got any worse.

We discovered Plasti-Dip*. Plasti-Dip is resistant to sun fading, winter ice, cold, and salt. It is also a durable yet removable substance that will peel off when we decide to pay for a real paint job.

*We chose plasti-dip because: IT'S NOT PERMANENT. I haven't painted a car before and didn't want to test out doing a "real paint job" on our CLASSIC. I'm satisfied with the outcome (however temporary it may be) it's serving its purpose well: protecting the car while we decide if we will go with silver in the future


Picture of PRO CAR KIT

We purchased a large pro car kit on
The kit comes with the DYC DipSprayer™ System, 4 Gallons of Rubber Dip Spray,tape, DipWasher®, Decals, mixing stick, Dip Guard, Paint Stirrer and Microfiber Towels.
We used Plasti-dip color: Aluminum for the base and Silver Metalizer for the top coat.

Plasti-dip is also available in a spray can.



Because our old paint wasn't holding up anymore we spent a lot of time prepping our car to ensure an even surface.
Using an electric orbital sander we sanded the rough spots then covered them with a spray on auto primer that filled in small imperfections.
We also removed the emblems, lights and reflectors from the body of the car.

Step 3: TAPE OR NOT?

Picture of TAPE OR NOT?

Plasti-Dip can be easily peeled off areas (such as headlights) after you've finished applying the last coat... However: prepping the area reduces the hassle of removing plasti-dip later.
Using painters tape and newspapers, cover windows and areas that you do not want to get plasti-dip on.
We covered the wheels with 40 gallon sized trash bags.


Picture of WASH IT FIRST!

Before applying the plasti-dip to the car it MUST be clean.
Plasti-dip is an overlay that will form a separate layer on top of any surface- including dust and dirt... so get the surface REALLY CLEAN.
After cleaning the area dry it with a cloth.



Find an area that is extremely ventilated and out of direct sunlight. We painted the first coat on outside in the shade- it was not an ideal location- the smallest amount of wind created a lot of overspray build-up. The best area would be an open garage.



Wear a mask. It is helpful if you have someone that will follow you carrying the paint turbine as you go. Paint in sections as you work your way around the car. COVER EVERYTHING! Even lay on the ground to get the hard to see areas along the bottom of the car!
The first layer is your bonding layer- It is very important that this is a light dusting (50 -60% transparency). This will allow the rest of the layers to bond and stick to the paint. Spray in a clean sweeping motion, making sure to hold the sprayer 6–8 inches away from the area. Allow plasti dip to dry 15-30 minutes between each layer.
We painted six layers of Aluminum plasti-dip and three layers of Silver Metalizer.



After the final layer is applied, immediately remove any tape or newspaper from the car before plasti-dip dries.

Step 8: CURE IT!

Picture of CURE IT!

At this point the plasti-dip will take 4 hours to fully cure. DON'T TOUCH IT. And at ALL costs, avoid any substance that may cause damage to the area.



After it cured we put the emblems, etc. back on, replaced our sill-plates, hub caps, antenna and seat covers and added the C-Stripe decal.

This is a big job. Take your time and do it well. It took three of us working on it every open opportunity seven weeks to complete.

Step 10:


jam1701 (author)2017-03-12

I think it looks great! my truck needs a paint job and I'm thinking about doing the same. Thanks for the insight.

troberts8 (author)2015-10-06

Thank you to everyone that took the time to check out my project... And to all the voters out there!!

shambuda2000 (author)2015-08-28

I think it looks great. Personally, I feel like all the keyboard experts who are quick to say" with all that work you could have" or " why didn't you" or "you ruined it" can go to h e double hockey sticks. The important take away is that 1. It's your car 2. You like it 3. I don't see them posting pics of their work. I think you did a great job and you have my vote.

Diane2create (author)2015-08-17

I think alot of people have missed what troberts8 said why he choose to Plastic-dip his car and if you have a classic or any car for that matter, when you do decided to paint your car, you want the color to be something you'll love for the life of your car. We have a 69 fastback VW that seriously needs a paint job, ...What a great idea! We have put off doing a real paint job for all the same reasons that you used the plastic dip. Our biggest reason is we can't decided what color scheme to choose. We really want to do something different but then your stuck with it. This just seems like a great way to be able to try some thing maybe a little outrageous that you wouldn't if you know that you'll be stuck with it if if comes out crappy.

We also have a 84 Eagle bus that my husband rebuilt/converted from the ground up. We also plan to do our on paint scheme on that ,too. We have done what a lot of you have suggested regarding paint equipment from Harbour Freight, we haven't used the spray gun yet, so I can't tell you now good/ bad it is. What we have done so far to protect the steel until we get to a place to do a full paint job is we used " Rust Oleum" by the gallon that we rollered on (the bus is 40' long and 13' high) in black and that has worked fantastic so far and you really can't tell that it's just a primer coat. We never imagined that the rust-oleum would come out so well and they have a ton of colors ( I sound like a commercial...not my intention) The Plastic-dip might be a great way to do the graphics?

Thanks so much for your project, it looks great and gave us some new options.

birdsloper (author)2015-08-13

Impressive result. Most ppl live inside of a box, a few of us plasti-dip that box!

darus67 (author)2015-08-12

I have to admit, I came here expecting to be horrified.

When I saw Plasti-Dip I was thinking of the thick, yellow, blobby stuff used on tool handles. I wasn't aware it came in a medium capable of being sprayed on.

Your end result looks all right.

echristensson (author)2015-08-09

Should blackout ur tag in future pics...

DIY Micah (author)2015-08-09

Great job! Unlike many of the other comments on here, I think Dipping your car is a great idea for a temporary/semi permanent finish. Yes, the work you put into prepping your car was a lot but when you're ready for a professional paint, it'll be that much less work to be done. One thing to look into is PlastiDip's glossy finish. I'm not sure when you did your spraying if it was available but I think it's out now. I personally haven't used it but I hear it gives a nice shiny top coat. I also wonder if you could spray your dipped car with a glossy finish that is typically used when finishing a car. It would give a hard coating and protect it better to. Great 'ible!

jnereb64 (author)2015-08-08

great job! i can see where plasti-dip would be a good medium for some one with little or no experience with automotive finishes. Much more forgiving and easier to fix if you mess up. And yes I have paint and body experience, and have owned 92 different cars and trucks over the last 35 years, mostly classics. Sometimes you just need to cover it until you can do what you want with it.

troberts8 (author)jnereb642015-08-09

Thank you for commenting! I have to admit it isn't flawless, but I'm still pleased with the outcome. I think it will be even more awesome (in the future) when we have it done with automotive paint. Plasti-Dip is a neat product - but it is not smooth or mega shiny like the real thing.

newb (author)2015-08-08

One thing to add is when you wash your car it helps to clay it to get any wax off of it, the dip doesn't like to hold to anything with wax on it. Also it takes about 24 hours to fully cure. The other great use for it is a quick cheap substitute for vinyl, I dipped an American flag on my trunk while on my lunch break right before the 4th of July and its held up no problem for over a month.

newb (author)newb2015-08-08

And the ragged edges are what happen when you don't have any real tape so you have to try to use scotch tape, not the best idea but it worked well enough lol.

whiteboardwarriors2 (author)2015-08-07

Your car, your way. I say "Right On!". You may love it or hate it in a couple of years but you will never have to wonder what would've happened if... My son and I restored a 1972 Land Cruiser and the guy that did the sand blasting had restored a Jeep and he Rhinolined it inside and out. Said that he could paint but wasn't up to the high level body work to make it perfect. How true that was for us.

1961lincoln (author)2015-08-07

Great job! I did not know they had a full car kit. To all the people who don't get it. I built the bumper on my land rover in 08 and covered it with plasti dip. When I wanted to weld more tabs on it I simply pealed it off welded and re-sprayed it. If I scratch it up off road I re-spray it, dirty: respray it. It cost $6. for a can at home depot and covered the bumper. I have since done the same to my 2014 ram truck. $18. to do the front bumper, grill and hood. When I remove it years from now I will still have new factory paint underneath. Thanks for the info.

troberts8 (author)1961lincoln2015-08-07

Thank you! I am pretty happy with the results so far! In my experience the product worked really good- even fills in imperfections. It's only been on the car a few months, but holding together really good so far. We get a lot of (good) comments when we drive it.

throwedoff (author)2015-08-06

Most major automotive finish companies have value brands of products that are anywhere from 25% to 70% cheaper than their name brand. However, these value brands provide the same quality and value as their high priced name brands. Also, many community colleges offer continuing education classes in automobile refinishing that allow you to work on your on project vehicle. There is no better way to learn to spray automotive paint than to spray a few gallons of primer and sealer. With primer you also have the benefit of being able to easily remove an mistakes. Harbor Freight HVLP guns are extremely cheap and provide unbelievable spray quality for the money. I have done two different vehicles using a $29 Harbor Freight gun with no problems or lack of finish quality! However, if I were painting for a living I would certainly using a professional gun. The quality of the paint job is 75% prep work. The remainder is getting good even coats of paint and finishing (color sanding and buffing).

I'd have to agree with you, throwedoff. I have seen plasti-dip cars and they get scuffed and scratched easily. If you are going to go through all the trouble of the prep work, which is most of the work, you might as well paint with real paint. I would think it would take a lot of work to thoroughly remove all the plasti-dip to do a real paint job anyway, getting it out of all those small spaces. You can get a spray gun for 10 bucks on sale at Harbor Freight which, I've been told, does a really good job.

troberts8 (author)throwedoff2015-08-06

That would be an incredible saving.... especially if it doesn't skimp on quality. However I'm positive we won't be taking on the job ourselves when we go back to automotive paint.

Nexus of Crisis (author)2015-08-06

I have a '67 VW bug that I have been planning on dipping until I can afford to do a full on body-off restore. Unfortunately, after a little research I found out that as a resident of the Peoples Republic of California you cannot get PlastiDip (or any other products like it) in bulk. I would have to buy the equivalent of 3 gallons worth of spray cans. Very expensive to do it this way and SO MUCH harder to get even coverage.

Also... Depending on how many coats of dip you put on your car, it may not be that easy to peel it off of primer. I hear it sticks pretty good to matte finishes, but the thicker it is, the easier it comes off. I've seen videos of people hitting it with 2000 psi pressure washers and not even lifting the edges.

I love classic bugs! Bummer that you can't buy in bulk! I support your theory about cans... it would be terribly uncomfortable trying to do even the smallest car that way. Best of luck with your restore whenever/however you get to it!

thuzil (author)2015-08-06

crazy. I have plastidipped lots of interior parts before. Watch out for bubbling and scratches. I find it takes up to a year to get nice and cured and scratch resistant. Before that peeling is a problem especially with 65 mph wind tugging at the edges.

Seriously though I would have put the effort and $600 into a real paint job.

troberts8 (author)thuzil2015-08-06

Thanks for the tip... I'm curious how 65mph wind tugging at the edges is effecting your interior parts.

aebe (author)2015-08-06

With all the care you put into prep work and finish , why use a coating that can be just peeled off ?

ac-dc (author)aebe2015-08-06

Exactly my thinking, it was pretty silly to do all the work then not end up with a regular paint job, especially since the Plasti-dip isn't an exact duplicate OEM color so it couldn't be argued that they saved money by not buying official OEM matched paint.

For that matter it would have been better to just finish it off with gray primer then put the money in the bank and come back later and paint it, except it would have been silly to have to clean and mask the whole car a 2nd time.

Tangski (author)2015-08-06

Well it is an interesting way to do a project, however, I still feel that a very good primer job, and sealer would have been the way to go, with what was spent. And you can then touch it up and get ready for the paint as you go along. Many do that instead, and since it sits most of the time, that would have been a bit more practical. However, good experiment. For my money, I think for the 600, would have paid for everything, and I have done that (and had a great finished product)and had a finished paint job for the car to boot, especially when doing it yourself. But, hey, nice color! Keep away from those shopping carts!!!LOL Start checking out those paint chips, you may find you have to paint sooner rather than later on this project:) Cheers, Vicki


troberts8 (author)Tangski2015-08-06

I am not an experienced car painter. If this project went wrong it would be easier to peel off plasti-dip than re-paint!!

RobertA2 (author)2015-08-06

Great job. With all the work done you could have easily given the car a true paint job.

troberts8 (author)RobertA22015-08-06

I've never painted a car before and don't own the equipment to paint one ;-)

e5frog (author)2015-08-06

Why all this trouble and then not use regular paint?

troberts8 (author)e5frog2015-08-06

Experience, Equipment, Cost and unsure if we want to go with this color permanently.

fstedie (author)2015-08-06

I will be doing this to my car this year - way cheaper than even the cheapest paint job. It is easy to touch up scratches and of course you won't have a heart attack when someone scratches your "paint".

troberts8 (author)fstedie2015-08-06

I prob would be pretty upset if I end up with door dinks, etc. for this reason: You have to be careful not to lift the any of the paint off because it will come off in sheets... like when your skin peels after burn.

billbillt (author)2015-08-06

This is a novel and interesting solution.. Looks great... Got my vote!...

troberts8 (author)billbillt2015-08-06

You can’t see me but I’m totally doing a happy dance.

wilde one (author)2015-08-05

i am a mechanic, (NOT a body man) i am really impressed. it looks great. is it easy to peel off? that is the only advantage i see over regular enamel paint. the price is about the same, but alot less work to change colors. i am curiouse on how it holds up to normal wear and tear

troberts8 (author)wilde one2015-08-05

I can say we easily peeled it off the headlights BEFORE it cured... but have not attempted to peel anything else off. According to their advertising and videos on you tube it IS very durable- can even handle a power washer and is easy to peel off once you get an edge started.

gravityisweak (author)troberts82015-08-06

I've had some wipers that I plastidipped about 2 years ago. The original paint on them was coming off. I did maybe 4 or 5 coats and it's still going strong. I'm not really sure if I could even get it to come off now... It's been baked and frozen hundreds of times. Maybe I'll give it a shot one of these days, I'm getting curious.

ToolboxGuy (author)2015-08-06

Wow! With all of that prep and time involved, I am surprised you didn't wait to do a full paint job instead. Plasti-dip is fun stuff though! I've played with it to make a stencil (I wanted a thicker masking coat than paper tape provides) and then etch, colorize and burnish the exposed areas before removing the Plasti-dip mask.

Just don't let the kids find out how fun and easy it is to peel off !

...At least not until you need it off, and tell them they can help do it - and have a contest to see who can peel off the largest complete piece, as well as make the biggest ball of the peelings.

troberts8 (author)ToolboxGuy2015-08-06

You're right - it was a lot of prep work.... but not as much as if we were doing a full paint job! And who wants to wait anyway! We want to drive the car.

We live in Michigan - so this one gets parked for the winter season AND when it's driving season we keep it covered while it sits in the driveway.... I imagine we can make the Plasti-Dip last for quite awhile.

Right: NO SCAB PICKERS ALLOWED to touch the car - I don't want to have to remove the silver before I'm ready. ;)

xxlauraxx (author)2015-08-05

Thanks for sharing! I've never heard of this as a stopgap measure until you want to invest in a real new paint job, but it makes sense.

It's a little hard to tell from the photos: is the Plasti-Dip version more matte than the red paint?

troberts8 (author)xxlauraxx2015-08-06

Yes plasti-dip is matte, but they have Pearlizer, Metalizer and Glossifier top coats that you can put over the dip coat to add shine.

Trish Dee (author)2015-08-05

WOW absolutely great job. Lots of work, but it looks so worth it.

Thanks for the tips.

Trish D

troberts8 (author)Trish Dee2015-08-05

Thank you! It's a cool way to test it out in silver!

livichris (author)2015-08-05

what did the car kit cost?

troberts8 (author)livichris2015-08-05

There are different kit sizes. We needed the large car kit and ordered an extra metallizer gallon: so it cost around $600

About This Instructable




Bio: I am troberts8, also known as Tami Roberts. I am an artist and craftsperson. I am an identical twin Gemini. I live with MS. Some ... More »
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