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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.

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wow it LOOKS great
Thank you!
That's a nice Beretta you have there :)
Why thank you!
not a poor man, a thrifty man
Thank you for the wonderdul article! I just finished the 4th layer of paint in my car with rustuleum, I couldnt find the high gloss paint in Home Depot, so I got generic gloss white paint instead. I sanded the car before painting but I did not sand in between layers. I'm wondering if it's still worth sanding the car with a 1000 paper now that I'm happy with the even coating. I'm afraid that sanding now might mean I'll have to do a 5th coat. Also, do you think it would be helpful to do a clear coat if I don't sand it? Thank you again!
If you're happy with how it looks now I wouldn't mess with it. But I would put on a clear coat to help keep it looking good longer.
What 's so different about using a brush or roller. As long as you apply the paint at the same Timerate you will get the same results using a brush or roller.
I found that the roller applied too much paint at once, leading to the need to sand heavily between coats. With the brush you get a lot more control of how much paint is applied and where.
I'm going to Walmart right now
When I was 17 I painted my whole car with white out sharpies and paint markers.
<p>When you say &quot;two coats in a warm day&quot; how warm is warm? I live in AZ and what I'm used to as a warm day may be different than yours. Thx.</p>
Colorado warm... 70* or more. Part of the key of this paint process is to not paint in direct sunlight as it will cause the paint to dry too quickly. If you're in a smokin' state such as Arizona you'll definitely want to do your painting in a well shaded area.
<p>thanks for an awesome tutorial!! I am looking at a tacoma pickup truck that would need the hood and roof painted at a minimum but currently being in Guam for the next 3 years I don't want to put the money into a professional paint job just to have it ruined by the weather here, I will definitely be doing this as a temporary solution!</p>
<p>I was wondering if you would suggest a different paint that the oil-based one as they are restricted in Europe and theres no way to buy them. I cant buy them in the states either as they are flammable and therefore not allowed to be shipped.</p><p>Would be great to hear back from you as I want to get my hands dirty :)</p>
I have no experience with any other paints so sadly I cannot recommend another paint or brand for you. I'm sure a local paint store can assist you with this question.
This guy uses rustoleum professional series spray paint. Looks totally wicked. https://youtu.be/dZr560JW5Ck
<p>I was wondering if you would suggest a different paint that the oil-based one as they are restricted in Europe and theres no way to buy them. I cant buy them in the states either as they are flammable and therefore not allowed to be shipped.</p><p>Would be great to hear back from you as I want to get my hands dirty :)</p>
<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>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>

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