Do you have a fun car that you just KNOW will go faster with a brand new paint job?

This method is based on the idea of using a foam paint roller to put many layers of Rustoleum on your car. Except, I used a professional airgun and only 2 coats. The result? Pretty dang good, for the money.


So why Rustoleum? Well, on the internet you can find people who rolled it on, and the cars look pretty good. But most of all, you can get a quart for under $5 at any hardware store, whereas automotive paint can be 20-50 times that much.

I have a neighbor who has a paint shop in his garage, so I got to use his spray gun. You will need a spray gun and air compressor, but if you don't you can still try rolling on the paint.

Other thoughts:

Throughout the project I kept telling myself, "self, if this works out...you'll have to do an Instructable on it," and it worked out, so this is my first instructable.

Note: I'm not liable for....anything. If you ruin your car, my condolences but remember, YOU did it. However you probably won't ruin your car unless you try.

Step 1: Preparation

First, you'll need some items:

  • A car you're willing to ruin the paint job on
  • 2-4 quarts (depending on size of car) of gloss Rustoleum - color of your choice
  • 4 or more cans of Rustoleum auto primer spray paint
  • 1 quart of acetone
  • 1 can of Bondo (optional)
  • Sand paper - 120, 400, 800 grit (or the closest you can get)
  • Mixing can/bottle/whatever
  • Stir stick
  • Masking tape and paper
  • 4" super-fine foam paint roller (optional)
  • Spray gun - bigger nozzle seems to work better
  • Air compressor - big enough for the spray gun's requirements
  • Dry, well-ventilated area to paint in
  • A bunch of misc. tools - these may include screw drivers, ratchet sets, allen wrenches, a can of liquid wrench
  • 2 gallons of diligence

You'll do well to make sure the primer is Rustoleum, to ensure compatibility (paint can act stupidly if it doens't like the primer). Also, use dark primer if your car color is dark (blue, green, black, etc) and lighter primer if the paint is lighter. This way you won't have to spray on 20 coats to cover it up.

It's also a good idear to handle any bodywork your car needs. If you don't want to do this, get a professional to do it but see if you can have him skip painting it to save money. However, for small dents Bondo (or any number of superior, more expensive fillers) is really quite easy to use. I had to replace a destroyed fender and bondo a big dent on the hood before painting, but it was a lot easier than you'd think.
<p>Here's another vehicle sprayed with satin black Rustoleum: before and after. I used quarts and cut them with acetone, sprayed in my garage with a HVLP Harbor Freight gun ($9), dries fast! Looks great under $50!</p>
<p>Ive painted several vehicles with Rustoleum: Satin black, on a 4x4 Sub, all for under $50!</p>
Few comments to people that want to do this to their car. Rustoluem is a good product at a fair price. That being said if you paint your car with Rustoluem the paint is porous. any bird poop get on it will eat into the paint then you go to the car wash to wash it off all the detergents in the soap will get into the paint and it will chalk the paint after awhile. The paint will look good for a period of time. The Rustoluem need a clear coat to protect it from the elements. A tip for the guys wanting to go with a satin or flat black paint job buy a good quality epoxy primer. It seals itself and is not porous and you will not have the problems with it like you do with Rustoluem. I like to use Montana &quot;big sky epoxy prime&quot; it flows out of a gun so nice lays down great. Even a cheap gun will work. it been a few years since I've had to buy any but I paid 50 bucks for a half gallon which would cover a average car with a gun.
<p>i dont understand do you put it on top of the paint? or as the primer? also how many coats is good?</p>
<p>clear coat always goes on last by itself. it is the protector of the underlying color. lay it on thick and it will serve you well</p>
<p>Nice car, see some more cars here:</p><p>http://www.gari.pk/new-cars/</p>
This my 03 cvpi, decent I thought. Chrome trim needed treated better though
Hey how do yall think i did??
Hey, nice! How many coats is that?
I used a total of 8cans of rustoleum Spray paint
DirtCheapDaily on YouTube did this too. He spray painted his car in his driveway. Gotta love this blue, it looks totally wicked. https://youtu.be/dZr560JW5Ck
<p>Hoping I can ask some advice from you fine people...</p><p>In Cyprus I cant get white primer let alone a spray gun and<br>psi compressor etc. Cypriots here have hit off both wing mirrors for parking in<br>their (public parking) space. Scratched side of car for parking in their<br>(public parking) preferred space, and the sun damage to bonnet and roof was<br>terrible. The guy I bought the car from used a cheap scratch hider so about a<br>month later all these scratches came up... Anyway car doesn't feel great and none of this was any fault<br>of my own so took matters into own hands. Wanted to know if a normal<br>non-professional could pick up spray cans and revitalize his car. Here's how I<br>got on:</p><p>Today went to check on car and some Cypriot guys shouting at<br>me to move the car. Then noticed the same guy had stolen my new polishing<br>cloths and scrapers etc... I just smiled.</p><p>So far: Tape car -&gt; prime car -&gt; paint white on primer<br>-&gt; sandpaper drips -&gt; paint white until drips gone. </p><p>No clear coat, no buffing, no rubbing compound, no wet<br>sanding... just primer and 27 cans of white gloss and lots of care and<br>attention. My problem is I have shadows of white despite having a thick<br>base coat. Probably just because its an outside job and spray paint in wind etc<br>isn't great. Should I use a thick foam block by hand lightly skim the top<br>surface with rubbing compound, then buff and clear coat? Or wet sand, then buff<br>and clear coat? I've never wet sanded before and doesn't feel right on a thick<br>base coat...</p>
<p>were do i find 2 gallons of diligence ive looked everywere for it!!!</p>
<p>The car looks fantastic, and it's in my favorite color!</p>
Very nice! I love the car and the color!
Forgot to mention. If any of you guys decide to spray a car with any product and you need an advise on guns/tips/reducers/catalysts/any product(single stage,base, clear, pearls) etc don't hesitate I will be happy to help anybody and walk you through it. Let my experience benefit you.
Forgot to mention. If any of you guys decide to spray a car with any product and you need an advise on guns/tips/reducers/catalysts/any product(single stage,base, clear, pearls) etc don't hesitate I will be happy to help anybody and walk you through it. Let my experience benefit you.
I gotta agree that rust oleum or tremclad how it's called is a rather surprisingly nice product. I'd like to share my experience with using inexpensive methods of spraying a car. And trust me there is a way to paint a car with good quality in under 100$ worth of material. I spray for living. Once I have decided to spray a car with plasti dip. I won't be talking about plasti dip here because I don't wanna promote this product as my personal opinion on it is not the best. But as soon as I peeped that off and while having my car still masked and in a booth I wanted to experiment. I heard some guys roll on themclad with good results. I will begin with the fact that difference between rolled on and sprayed on product is huge. I wouldn't attempt rolling my car. So back to the story. I went to the store and got a can of rustoleum/tremclad in white matte. Thinned it down about 20% and sprayed it. What I discovered that it payed down and flowed very nice. But there was something I did not like about it. Even dry and cured it was still a bit gummy. So my curiosity did not end there. And I am very happy I continued pursuing the search for ultimate cheap method to spray a car. So I went to the store Sherwin Williams and got Sher-Kem metal finishing enamel. I'll be honest I used this product before and it sticks to anything as long as the surface is pre sanded and degreased. so there we go I masked my car in the booth again thinned it down to an appropriate viscosity and did couple testing pieces on a waste pieces of metal. This product is amazing and I will choose it again in the future. So when I sprayed it I got same result at rustoleum. But on the other piece I have added catalyst to it (yes they sell catalyst for it) and the difference in hardness and speed of drying was night and day. I even added pearls in there and they flowed very nice. So if you guys are planning to use rust oleum on a car take this in consideration. Sher-Kem from Sherwin Williams plus catalyst and it comes in different sheens and you can get them to Color match to what u want. Adding pearls to it is very much acceptable and durability and scratch resistance on my opinion isn't any worse than autobody clear. The bottom line is that you get a professional looking pain job with the product that is easier to apply than auto body clear/base and that stands up to weather and every day wear like a champ. (Where I live in winter it gets to below 40 Celsius). And forgot to mention that it's roughly the same price as rustoleum. I hope my experience will help somebody.
<p>I think a '98 Chevy Malibu with a A-Team paint job would be rather nice.</p>
i am on the fence on whether or not i want to spray paint my car or roller paint it. Spray paint requires less sanding and dries faster. Im not completely sure about the benefits and what they are of roller painting verses spray painting besides being more cost effective. However, my real question here is: Is it possible/practical to spray paint the base coat and then roll on the clear coat. I want the base to be black and the clear coat to have specific metal specks in it. Ive decided that i am going to have to roll on the clear coat. With that question aside, i'd also like to know if when applying a clear coat like rustoleum auto body clear coat, would i still want to cut it with mineral spirits to make it easier to apply with the roller? OR would that ruin the clear coat?
Hey how did this turn out xxjhansenxx ?
All this work- and using soft enamel that is made not for road and auto use- but to paint furniture. You can use real urethane which is far superior and made for autos-- and roll it on if you like, although it is far easier to just borrow or rent a compressor and spray it on.&nbsp;&nbsp; A quart of decent single stage real auto paint is all of $35. You don't need to apply coat after coat after coat, etc. Far easier, far better paint.<br> <a href="http://www.easypaintyourcar.com" rel="nofollow">Neil </a>
How much coverage would a quart of decent automotive paint be? <br>Also, would applying multiple basecoats and/or more than one topcoat help prevent fading from sun and salt air (I live near the ocean)?
well, i have already primed most of my car with the rustoleum auto primer. I havent bought the paint yet. Can the urethane be put over the rustoleum primer? and where can i get it? i only have advanced, auto zone and carquest around me. I have a napa near me but every time i drive there, they arent open. weird? I am open for any ideas. but i dont want paint peeling. the rustoleum auto paint is a laquer and according to rustoleum, it gets raelly hard so that was my thinking for the process... regular rustoluem with the hard stuff over it. im an amature at this so i will take any good advice. <br>I dont have access to a spray gun or a compressor and after buying tons of new parts for my car i dont have the extra cash to start spending on things like that... however, im not sure how much things like that would run me so please dont think i am just trying to count those out as options. I just assume they will cost me more than i have
its better it use spray gun its nice<br>
i dont have access to one or everything it requires to work.
there is a triger for spray cans you could use that
tinker, i dont really know what you mean by that. I had considered getting the clear coat put into spray cans but that is just going to cost a lot and defeats the purpose of not spending so much. ive made my budget a bit higher than 50... more like 250 because of all of the supplies to do it right as far as sanding discs and body filler and primer
i meant that there is http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=spray+can+handle&amp;hl=en&amp;prmd=imvns&amp;bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&amp;biw=917&amp;bih=497&amp;um=1&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;tbm=shop&amp;cid=9086268114377819105&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=DGqxT6jLGZPTgQfm06iHCw&amp;ved=0CHsQ8wIwAA <br> <br>that could help with the spraying
yea, but i dont want to use spray cans for the paint... how does this work with regular paint from a can
does anyone have any experience with something like this? <br> <br>http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=spray+can+handle&amp;hl=en&amp;cid=17186538752054589215&amp;ei=9YvST7uKMcWzmQeL47XiCg&amp;ved=0CAsQrhI
spray paint is going to cost so much as you dont get very much out of a can
yes i thought that might help if you decided to go that that way but rolling it is a better option
yea, i appreciate it. thanks! so does anyone have experience with issues with the rollers or pad things? I took off my hood scoops and spoiler and i got those prepped and i did the first coat with the foam brush and it came out decent and then i did the next layer with the high density roller to see which application looked better to me... The roller looked better, application-wise, but there was bits and pieces of small debris in the paint that i had to buff off.. im not sure what caused that im certain that the roller will get the car done quicker but i dont want to have to keep buffing off the particles of crap that rose to the top. <br>
yea you got to clean really well before you start
<p>I always spray, never roll...</p>
<p>Any suggestion as to what product would give a good flat finish over this?</p>
<p>Did my wheels to match the car. I'm pleased with the look.</p>
<p>Yes, acetone is the correct thinner to use with the Rustoleum, Tremclad etc. I painted my boat hull last winter with it and it turned out fantastic. I used Cloverdale alkyd rust paint with polyurethane. This is an excellent paint to brush on but I had never sprayed it before. The paint salesman suggested mineral spirits for thinning so I tried a test spray with that first. The next day the paint was still not dry!. This may work if you are in an extremely hot environment but most of us amateurs paint at room temp. Next, I mixed a bit up thinned with Acetone and sprayed a test panel of masonite. The paint &quot;flashed off&quot; which means went tacky within about 15 minutes. This is perfect as you can do another coat almost right away, allowing the two coats to melt together without running and give a really nice glossy finish. This is the trick of professional painters, of which I have helped a few on paint jobs. Timing the coats so that they can adhere well to each other without getting a run. The reason acetone works well is that it evaporates faster than regular paint thinner or mineral spirits. When I used to buy automotive enamel paint to spray cars you could get the reducer (thinner) in a fast, medium or slow which related to the dry time of the paint and based on the temp of your spray booth. If it drys to fast you don't get the gloss and if it drys too slow you get runs.</p>
Is there a certain type of roller to use? I was at home Depot and bought a foam roller but it leaves lots of dust or particles in paint.
GOD BLESS RUSTOLIEUM! Thats a total of 7 cans of paint. Super quick paint job litteraly! No sanding no primer! This paintjob will last a solid year. Total cost was about $24 the car cost $75 I'm in to.this beauty for $99
Did you roll or spray? <br>
<p>I would like to try this. I'll take the risk</p>
<p>Don't use rustoleum is does not shine and you have to do a lot more sanding and the spray can are a wast of time </p><p></p>
<p>are you realy REALY sure you used acethone as a paintthinner ?</p><p>they actually use that stuff as a paintremover (like with nailpolish ) and to thin 2 compound resin (think fiberglass)</p><p>the original paint on youre car and rustoleum are oil based and spraying it on youre car mixed with the rustolium even with a primer undercoat will have the same effect on youre old paint as painstripper would , it will start bubbling and you can peel it off in sheets down to bare metal</p><p>on the 50 dollar paintjob (the original one on a mopar forum who started the hype ) he thinned with white spirit , the slow drying time and the thin layers made the paint lay verry flat after rollering and the thin layers prevented the thinnergasses to get locked in under the hardened surface of the paint made it realy tough to scratch once all those thin coats where finaly and polished </p><p>i agree on the fact that its a lot more work and time than spraying it on though , it will take a lot longer to get truely hard enough so you can wetsand and polish the surface to a mirror finish </p><p>anyone who's willing to try the acethone as a paint thinner but want to know for sure , heres a simple test to check :</p><p> take a rag , make sure its a white natural fiber (cotton wool) rag as some fabriccollours will allso leach out with accethone and anything based on plastic like dralon will melt </p><p>make it wet with acethone and lay it on the car on the old paint and leave it there for a little bit then pick the rag up and dry the surface of the paint</p><p>if it dry rag sticks to the surface the paint feels like rubber or you can wipe the paint of to the bare metal dont use it as a paintthinner but use white spirit </p>
i nead help i want to paint my truck 2003 silverado dont mind spending up to 1,500$ i nead some guidness on what paint is the best i want some shine and last atleast 8 years im not sure black or cherry red
Yeah, rustoleum is absolutely key, great article. If anybody is looking for quality automotive paint products that you can buy right from your computer, check this site out, it's helped me a lot: http://www.eastwood.com/paints.html
Here is a car I helped a friend paint with Valspar spray paint in the can from Lowes. <br>The color was Cherry (they don't make it any more). The picture was taken one 1/2 year after sitting in the sun. So yes, if you know what you are doing you can spray paint a SMALL car and end up with a show car paint finish. We took the hood off laid it flat and sprayed it by itself which was the key. After it dried for two weeks, we wet sanded with 1000 and buffed with polish. <br> <br>http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2009/10/18/20/35/1989_volkswagen_cabriolet-pic-6136056206649887329.jpeg
rustoleum is about 10 bucks a quart now 2013 <br>love to see how it held up 6 yrs later

About This Instructable




More by DrSimons:Professional grade duct tape bike leg strap Giant Fresnel Lens Deathray: An Experiment in Optics Paint Your Car With Rustoleum 
Add instructable to: