Birds of a Feather Drive Together - Paint Your Car Into a Parrot




Introduction: Birds of a Feather Drive Together - Paint Your Car Into a Parrot


The Flock Fleet Revolution

Refuse to be oppressed by your Junker, Lemon, Jalopy, Wreck, Beater and take matters into your own hands by dressing your A-B in a bird suit.

Turn your car into your favorite bird... its the only logical thing to do!


Let me venture a have always wanted to shed the shackles of car painterly freedom but sobering thoughts of resale value, and or feeling obligated to following a labor-some professional process has staved off your car mural painting efforts all together. Yes I know. I too was once beholden to such oppressive thoughts. Until I realized it would be great fun to laugh every time I entered my car not to mention all the other shinny grins, and odd looks.


With a single after work time slot reservation, 1-2 roped in friends with sturdy back, take out/ delivery/ pizzabeer/ chips and hummus you will have your car looking fantastic. As for the master piece mural to go over that paint job... indulge!


150 - 220 Grit Sand paper for orbital sanders, this depending upon how rusty your car is. Both will come out smooth in the final coat. 220 grit hand paper

Two orbital sanders, 3 if you have a van or truck + additional friend ( 2 total )


Acetone and Rags

Chisel, screw driver, razor blade, scrapper ( to take decals off )

Lot of Blue tape ( 2 rolls )

Tape paper trim roller thing ( must have way easier )

Additional large brown paper roll to fill in windows etc.

8 Cans primer coat spray paint

8 Cans finish coat spray paint

5 Cans clear coat


Step 1: Washed Car & Ventilated Open Space

1- Find a good open space free of neighboring cars, kids at play, expensive computer equipment.. whoops.

2- Give the car a quick wash, don't go nuts on this one your going to be sanding it all off soon.

3- Snap some before pictures so you can impress your friends with your new found skillzzz

Step 2: Remove Labels, Plates and Do Last Quick Repairs

1- After the mud is un-caked begin removing decals. If they can't come off leave them for taping.

2- If you want to bust out the Bondo be my guest although this will void the 1 night guarantee.

3- Don't forget the plates, although I left mine to be taped and papered.

4- Wozzers, the clock is unforgiving, that took almost 15 min. Time to fire up the sanders.

Step 3: Sanding

1- Dig in. Every inch of your car's remaining clear coat should look like a baby in a bubble bath.

2- Work that orbital into every crevice. Its impressive where that machine can go with a loose wrist and a bit of creative positioning. ATTENTION-TO-DETAIL-ALERT = make sure you don't nip the light covers, you don't want people to get the impression you did this in 4 hours now do ya?

3- Done? Keep going. Still have the roof, door edges, mirrors, skip the plastic stuff. Have you worked through the bumper stickers yet? You may have to pull out the 100 grit for the stickers.

Step 4: Clean All Dust Off With Alcohol or Similar

1- Use Acetone, denatured alcohol, or the like and wipe away all of the clear coat dust. Our can of Acetone was completely bone dry luckely we found a lonely bottle of hydrogen peroxide. Key factor here is that the solvent needs to evaporate without leaving a greasy residue.

Step 5: Cover Everything That Cant Get Sprayed


1- Ok this is where your really going to get the value out of your paint job lb-for- lb.

2- Focus.

3- Yes 1 mm is a big deal! Don't cut corners. Yes you will notice if that tiny sliver of rubber has paint on it!

4- Mustering your best zoom vision begin taping every inch of black plastic, silver trim, hood ornaments, glass, details, deco,and dark rubber.

+ Technique Tip: When using the tape roller around the rubber trim of the windows: Slip the tape out of the dispenser in very tiny increments at a time. Controlling the tapes trajectory with each release. Guide the tape with your finger pressing the tape firmly against the rubber edging ensuring that it sticks to the car. Before removing your finger keep it pressed firmly against the tape ensuring there is enough pressure to hold your tape in its affixed position before your next tape pull dispense increment.

5- If you think you've covered everything its now time to circle the car a few times with a spotter. I'm sure you will discover a few missing spots in need of some blue tape love.

Step 6: Put Primer On

1- Spray on, spray on

2- The primer coat is rather straight forward vs the final coat as it won't be seen.

3- ATTENTION-TO-DETAIL-ALERT = Drips are your worst enemy and will take you 10 times longer to fix vs taking more time up front to double back with 2nd coats.

4- Resist the urge to hover over a spot for to long.

5- The car will look half done after the first pass.

6- Circle the car many times until you have an even prime coat. Choose your primer lightness/darkness based upon the final color.

7- Your fingers should be tired by now, unless you have one of those handy dandy spray can gun trigger devices.

Step 7: Quick Sand N Clean

1- Pull out the 220 hand sand paper.

2- Fold the paper into quarters and start hand sanding the primer coat. You will notice there is a rough build up of paint in some areas. This is due to the several pass technique that we used. its a trade off. Some of the paint molecules dry in the air before reaching the car and end up dusting the car a bit. If you spray closer for a longer period you will not get this dusty build up but risk paint drips.

2- Keep folding the paper smaller to make the paper more rigid as this will make it easier to reach the crevices.

3- Continue sanding until there is no remaining roughness anywhere on the car. Run your hand along the surface of the car to ensure you've hit every spot, you know, like shaving.

4- The car will be quite dusty at this point. I took a broom and dusted the entire car. Don't use the Acetone as this could melt the primer. You could use something a bit weaker if you wish to whip rather than brush. I simply used the broom which seamed to work quite well.

Step 8: Spray Two Coats

1- You can see from the first picture that my bumper is falling off. I will fix the bumper in time however for now its a bit saggy.

2- Start spraying the top coat. I went to several automotive supply stores to find a high quality automotive spray paint but did not find any that carried the brilliant lime green intensity I was looking for. Home Depot did carry something rather close in an outdoor grade plastic/metal Paint + Primer all in one.

* Technique Tip: For the finish coat I hovered over a particular location for a longer period and with a bit closer proximity than I did with the primer coat. This allows the paint drops to pile up, break surface tension and pool up a bit more than the primer coat did with our conservative paint technique . The pooling effect also helps fill in micro sand marks from the primer sanding.

4- The name of the game is really to avoid drips Don't push your luck and hover to long in any one area which will very quickly cause drips. Its the swiftest way to ruin a quality paint job.

5- Check over the car several times making sure every spot is covered ensuring an even visual consistency.

6- All done? Great! Our shop floor is a smooth concrete surface which allowed the paint dust to swept up quite easy leaving no permanent marks.

Step 9: Draw Parrot Feathers With Marker & Add Color!

1- My Bird-Mobile happens to be a Parrot, more specifically the Blue-Fronted Amazon. I went to Dick Blick and discovered the perfect supplies for the car mural. I purchased a:

-Acrylic Marker with 3/4 chisel tip

-Package of oil pastels

-Giant sized oil pastels ( to fill out the Blue-Fronted Amazon fringe feather colors.

2- After doing a bit of research on the Blue-Fronted Amazon Parrot I understood the feather patterning and used this knowledge as graphical inspiration.

3- The coloration was added by drawing outlines along the black feather outlines and then blending the oil pastel media into the greater part of the feather giving it a smooth gradient effect. I choose only to highlight certain feathers where the coloration is most common on the Blue -Fronted Amazon Parrot. I really enjoy the stark patterned graphical look of the black and green dominating most of the cars area and left it mostly untouched.

Step 10: Put Clear Coat On

1- The last coat is the clear coat. I used a matte clear coat. This will seal in the oil pigment and keep it from smearing.

2- Two passes...Done. Go nuts if you want, its the your last chance before the paper come off.

2- I don't expect this paint job to last a super long time considering its under $100 but the clear coat will give it some added longevity.

Step 11: Take All the Paper Covers Off - Finished!


Unwrap your present. A very gratifying and much deserved revealing of the finished product.

Go out into the world young Bird-Mobile! Your art offering will bring much needed pleasure to the bird-mobilers-to-be on the hard worn paths of the highways and byways of the urban jungle! Look out for me singing and flying! Don't be jealous, you too can

JOIN THE FLOCK FLEET - We meet first Thursday of every even month in Oakland. Leave a comment below to find out more.

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    3 years ago

    You said you didn't expect it to last long, but how long has this paint job lasted? Did you have any trouble with any of the paint as far as rain, fading, peeling, etc.?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    this reminds me of those itasha cars in japan. you know, the ones with anime decals.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    That turned out Awesome... Wana come up to Canada and paint my truck ? lmao I might just look into painting it myself, after see in this !


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Wow! That would be awesome if you did, How can I support you in your pursuit? You would be the 2nd person to paint their car as a bird and continue the car bird movement, haha.

    I could add your car to the instructable and motivate others to do the same. It would be truly funny!


    7 years ago

    You should paint your wheel thingies too

    Awesome looking car! I love the different colors for the feathers, it gives it a great effect. Also wow all of those feathers, well done!