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Sorry! My website that all of the links in this write up point to is down. I will have a new and improved one up soon!

I have developed a new method of applying rustoleum as an automotive paint that is, in my opinion, vastly superior to applying it by roller. A method I have come to term The Poor Mans Paint Job. This method of paint at home application relies very much so on the methods seen in other online auto paint how-to's, but uses a different paint application technique in order to lessen the amount of sanding involved. This method uses a high density foam brush as opposed to those other methods, resulting in a lot less sanding to finish the job.

I have seen plenty of people paint their car at home with a foam roller brush, with good results. BUT, it takes a lot of sanding work to get it right. I have also seen people use a sprayer with Rustoleum providing excellent results as well, but then you get into dealing with the overspray, needing a sprayer and somewhere to do it.
If the Poor Mans Paint Job is performed correctly, it will help to lessen the amount of sanding involved with an at home auto paint job like this. Oh, there will be some sanding involved, but we will try to keep it to a minimum. Of course, if you are not happy with the finish without a final sand and polish, just prepare for that scenario ahead of time. Make sure to lay down enough coats throughout the procedure to be able to sand at the end if you like. However, I am a lazy SOB and would like to not have to sand too much.
You too? Here's how!

DISCLAIMER: I am in no way responsible for the results of this project when tried at home by you. This is what I did, and this is how it came out. Am I happy, yes! However, I can in no way provide any assurance that your attempt at this will turn out as well or be as satisfying. Please also see step 5, "downsides and drawbacks" before making your decision to try this at home.

Obviously, it worked well enough for me. I cannot guarantee that it will work this well for you. Please, try this at your own risk. BUT, feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Step 1: Supplies

First, you will need to purchase all of the materials needed to complete this job. Below is a list of everything I needed to get my car painted. You might need more, you might need less depending on the scope of your project. One of the best things about this is that it is very inexpensive. As you can see I spent very little on the project.

Item Quantity Total Cost

Rustoleum high gloss white paint - 3 Quarts = $23.61
Odorless mineral spirits - 3 Quarts = $17.97
Primer spray paint - 1 Can = $4.99
4" High density foam brushes - 7 ea. = $5.67
2" High density foam brushes - 7 ea. = $3.95
Paint trays - 3 ea. = $3.21
Sandpaper - 2 packs = $9.50
Painter's tape - 1 Roll = $5.84
Total: $74.74

I would say that two or three quarts of paint is all that you will need. Two will do a small car, three your average size car. If you are going to tackle an SUV or large truck, you might need four or even more to finish the job. I laid down six coats on the car and seven on my body kit, bumpers and hood with three quarts. Make sure to use high density foam brushes as they will hold the paint very well and help to eliminate residual brush strokes. As with any project, be sure to purchase everything you will need and have it handy once you begin.
wow it LOOKS great
Thank you!
That's a nice Beretta you have there :)
Why thank you!
not a poor man, a thrifty man
<p>I just sprayed my 94 Plymouth voyager with this same white gloss, sprayer, compressor etc, it came out perfect, was a lot of sanding, but we'll worth, perfect work van</p>
How long was this process?
After it was all said and done I had about 10 days worth of work or a total of 40 hours into this job. People argue that you can get a real paint job at a shop in a day or two but again, the work behind this process is what makes it so rewarding!
Looks fantastic! You want to paint my car. I'll buy all materials and pay you labor costs!
<p>Great job!!! Who would think you could get that good of results with a foam brush. It's also great that your sharing this information. How is the paint holding up looks like it's been awhile since you did this </p>
To be honest it seems the paint has a shelf life of about 2 to 3 years. I'm sure with more intensive prep and care in initial application it could last closer to 5. Again, it's all in the prep work and the details.
<p>Really helpful information posted here, I appreciate your time to get this useful information. Dorns Body and Paint is a auto detailing and car care shop in Richmond, VA. offering cleaning, restoring, polishing and protecting the exterior and interior of Any cars.</p>
<p>I have a1991 Chevy s10 that I would like to paint. There is excessive spots were the base metal is showing and the paint is completely chipped away. From your articles your car had some paint on it. What would you recommend for me to do? Would your method still work if I were to sand it completely down to the base metal for the entire body. Please let me know what you think. Thanks </p>
I am not a professional painter of any kind, please keep that in mind as you read my answer/suggestion. I'd say taking it down to the metal would be your best bet for a nice even end result. Otherwise you'll have ridges/edges where the paint was still on the car. You can try to avoid this by sanding down only the edges of the paint chips in an effort to smooth it to the metal. If you sand all the way to the metal you may want to research and see if there is anything you then need to do before paint. Also, don't let the bare metal get wet too often! Paint right away to avoid rust and what not.
<p>Or maybe fill the low spots with primer to bring flush...</p>
<p>what is &quot;Rustoleum high gloss white paint&quot;? They don't make anything called that. Is it a spray paint? &quot;Quarts&quot; suggests cans not spray. Is this a primer?</p>
<p>Rustoleum high gloss white paint is just as it says; it is a high gloss white paint made by Rustoleum. And yes, it is in quart sized cans. Are you in Canada? Apparently Rustoleum is called something different in Canada. Here's a link to what I used:<br><a href="http://www.homedepot.com/p/Rust-Oleum-Stops-Rust-1-qt-Gloss-White-Protective-Enamel-Paint-7792504/100117230" rel="nofollow">http://www.homedepot.com/p/Rust-Oleum-Stops-Rust-1...</a><br><br>I see they do have a primer as well, but it requires the car to be down to the bare metal. I'm sure you could use one of their spray primers if you wanted to as along as the original surface was prepared properly. </p>
<p>Sorry, they make a gazillion different paints including spray paints<br> and automotive paints for sprayers. I think they also own half the<br> paint manufacturers in the US now. Yes I'm in US.</p><p><br> <br><br> What you mean is called Rust-oleum STOPS RUST&reg; Protective Enamel<strong><br> - </strong>Gloss White #7792504:<br> <a href="http://www.rustoleum.com/product-catalog/consumer-brands/stops-rust/protective-enamel" rel="nofollow">http://www.rustoleum.com/product-catalog/consumer-brands/stops-rust/protective-enamel</a>. <br> I couldn't get to the link you sent, but I'm surmising that from the Paint Your Car with Rustoleum instructables, which has a<br> photo of the can.<br><br> <br><br> Anyway, thanks for the fantastic web page and especially the<br> multi-year updates. I'm gonna try it on my pickup.<br><br> <br><br> A couple of questions - did you do any of the painting outdoors? <br> Any experience with that you can share? Problems with drying too<br> fast or wind or bugs?<br><br> <br><br> Also, did you have to deal with any rusty spots, and has any rust<br> returned under the new paint?<br></p>
<p>Great questions! I should probably edit these answers into the write up as they are rather pertinent to the process. Yes I painted a few coats outside. This isn't really advisable unless you are positive it won't rain and there won't be any wind. Imagine a nice fresh coat on the car and the wind kicking the field next to you all over it. Temperature can play a factor as well. A hot car (the metal) will cause the paint to dry too quickly and therefore have brush lines. And yes, I did have a small bug or two land in my fresh paint. Just leave it! The more you pick at it and try to get it out the more you'll just mess up the paint. If it's just gently stuck to the paint it will just rub off easily once it is dry. Little bugs anyway like gnats and such. As for rust? I had none. I would simply suggest sanding off all the rust you can, treating it with a primer of some kind and then painting it. </p>
<p>thank you for the excellent tutorial.</p><p>Question about the bumpers. You took your bumpers off to paint. I'm considering painting my car and see my bumpers have a plastic around them the same color as the car. Should I paint these with the rustoleum? do I need to prime first? </p><p>Do you have any additional tips about painting these non-metalic parts of the car?</p>
<p>I'm sorry I never replied! I think this question would revolve around just how porous the plastic material on your bumpers is. Is it pretty solid/flat? If so I would think you may be able to paint it just like you do the rest of the car. Perhaps try a test spot to see how well it adheres. My only other tip would be to primer the plastic to help make sure the paint adheres well. </p>
thank you for your reply.<br><br>
<p>I have used Rustoleum for other outdoor jobs and noticed that the UV rays of the sun fade the color pretty quickly. So while this may work for white paint, I'd be leery of using colors.</p>
<p>Remember, this isn't necessarily an end all solution as much as it is a cheap and easy &quot;fix&quot;. And who knows, maybe the fade will look good?</p>
Can you do this to a silver car to a black car??
<p>Sorry for the delay! Yes, you can use this method to change any color to another color. It will just take a few more coats to ensure good coverage of the prior color. </p>
<p>It looks great! Thank you for posting this informative write-up - now I know what my 2016 summer project is :)</p>
<p>Great idea, it really does look great! I've only ever heard of using a sprayer with Rustoleum. Would you say this &quot;poor man's method&quot; is easier? I've been wanting to repaint my car. I totally agree with the other comments though... It's not a POOR man's paint method...it's a THRIFTY man's method!</p><p><a href="http://www.a1roadlines.com.au/productsandservices/Attenuators/truckmountedattenuators" rel="nofollow">http://www.a1roadlines.com.au/productsandservices/Attenuators/truckmountedattenuators</a></p>
I haven't ever used a sprayer, at all... but I would think that is easier than this time wise. I would think you would spend more time taping everything up than you do actually spraying. This was my way of getting around spraying as I didn't have a place to do it, sprayer, knowledge, etc.
So I have a Nissan d21 and the paint is faded and down to metal in some places it was a work hunting truck but I want to go from the Greyish blue that it is now to blue what would be better light blue or dark and how much would I need to sand
I can't really comment on what color would be better save for to say that lighter colors will hide imperfections in the paint better. Sanding depends on your paint's condition. Your first sand you might want to take some time and do well as it is the base layer then for the first coat of paint. Imperfection in your sanding from the get go will show in every paint layer after that.
<p>you're a lifesaver. I was following the paint roller / hair dryer method and omgaaawd it's sooooo tedius. I did three coats with the roller, then noticed your foam brush tutorial. Tried it not thinking I'd be able to do it because I'm not the greatest painter lol. Needless to say, you've made my life 10x easier on the final few coats, and it looks alot better. Little to no orange peel and it goes so much faster then having to follow your roller with the hair dryer the entire time. You da man.</p>
<p>Thanks for the feedback! Good to see people getting use out of the Instructable after all this time.</p>
<p>Sweeet!!! I was looking for some other thing and ran across your paint job! Very cool. In 1970, my friend, Brad Roth, painted his VW, 1960's surfer van in a similar manner and, despite our criticisms, it came out wicked cool. As I remember, he used a synthetic enamel, conventional brushes (we had no foam brushes then) and a lot of sand paper. Our main criticism was at the time...He cold have gone to Earl Scheib or One A Day Paint for about $79.95, at the time!!! He spent maybe $50 all in and I swear, over 150 hours. I guess time is how you spent it.</p><p>Nice Job My Brother!</p>
<p>looks pretty darn good. I dig it. </p>
<p>Is there anyway you could post a link (maybe in the materials section or even just in a reply) to the exact white rustoleum paint you used? I know you said high gloss white rustoleum, but there are just so many different types of glossy rustoleum paint and i would like to be sure. Also thank you for such an informative and useful post!</p>
http://cohesiverandomness.blogspot.com/2013/05/diy-coffee-table-photo-dump.html<br><br>There really only is one gloss white Rustoleum paint...
I found this article after buying an older car (runs great, looks terrible) and deciding I wanted to try my own paint job. This definitely gives me an idea of where to start to bring my car to life.
I'm glad this Instructable could be a motivating and educational piece for you!
since this is regular paint and nothing is being used that can eat away plastic parts can power painter be used
I believe that others that have commented here have used power painters. But remember that you will have to tape up the windows, tires, engine bay and more if you want to spray paint onto the car. Plus, the mix may need to be thinner so it can pump through the unit.
2 questions:<br /> We have a beater car that we want to improve the look.<br /> <br /> 1) Were you limited by the choice of colors from Rustoleum?<br /> We were considering buying a professional series of Urethane BaseCoat/ClearCoat system, but was priced at between $240 (TCP Global) - $700 (PPG)<br /> <br /> 2) &nbsp;Do you need to topcoat with a clear coat? We live near the ocean and the salt air is causing the clear coat to peel on our current car. I suppose if you paint with a one-stage system, you don't need clear coat at all, so nothing to peel off? But doesn't the clear coat make things last longer?<br /> <br />
Clear coat didn't seem to work on your car, so why would you think it would make paint last longer? It's only necessary in a clearcoat/basecoat system.<br><br>I'm a pro painter of 40+ years...it's likely that the peeling clear coat on your car was a waterborne formula. They've got these to where they last 5 years and that's it.<br><br>Rust-O-Leum is paint I love to hate, but after seeing this Instructable, I've got to give kudos to the author. Tip: stay away from dark colors. Also, there are many high-gloss enamel paints with high pigment content that would also work. Rust-O-Leum is known to be brittle once dried, and stone-chips easily!
A little research into the history of paint on this car shows that the automaker goofed on their formulation of paint for two model years for certain colors, so all the cars painted with similar colors had their clear coat peeling. Unfortunately, I bought the car second-hand, so I did not qualify for any reimbursement or fix. <br> <br>The brittleness and proness to stone chipping convinced me to go with a professional formula.
Thanks for the props! And I am happy to say that there is no more chipping than you would see on any car with standard automotive paint.
1. Yes. However I have seen people mix Rustoleum colors to get the color they desired. And if you are even considering buying the fancy paints... I dotn think this paint application process if for you. go somewhere and have them do it right. You did say it is a beater car after all...<br /> <br /> 2. I am not a paint savvy person. All I know is that I have had Rustoleum on my car now for 2 Colorado winters... no issues. I do&nbsp;not have any sort of clear coat on my car. It is simply Rustoleum.