Paint Your Van Like a Hippie!




Introduction: Paint Your Van Like a Hippie!

About: Hey, I'm Caleb I'm a Die-hard DIY-er and I love the spirt of instructables. We can make the world however we like, and we can do it from scratch. Lets get out there and re-use, re-think, modify, hack and Crea…

So I know there are a few paint your car ible's out there, but this is unlike all the others. I'm going to show you how I took my busted and ugly 1992 previa and turned it into an awesome hippie-van.

I did all this for a few reasons
1. The paint job my van has was on the fritz, peeling from sun-damage and old age.
2. I was fed up with the conformity of mono-tone cars rolling everywhere.
3. I wanted to ride in something that showed a part of my style.

so if anyone of those apply to you, I say it's time for a custom repaint you design.
that in mind, I am not a professional autobody painter, and this is no where near a professional finish.
okay, let's get to it.

Step 1: Design

As you can see, the Previa is a very jelly-bean shaped vehichle which lends itself nicely to lots of curves and organic shapes which is why the design has such a flowing feeling.
I also did lots of research looking over other hippie vans to get a grasp for the essence I wanted.
In the end I drafted the two sides that featured lot's of long curves along with mushrooms and creatures.

Step 2: Sanding and Priming

the next thing to do was to get all the old paint and clear coat off and lay down a nice even coat of gray primer.
This sanding process and taping off windows for sanding took me a long time and I was able to recruit a few friends to speed the process up. I used a 320 grit orbital sander to take off the original paint and then wet sanded with 600 grit after leying down the primer.
After finishing sanding and priming I was left with a super-sleek, gray jellybean. Already the van looks 20 times better than it's original paint job.

Step 3: Add Some Color

Putting the color down is the hardest part, This whole time I used only spray cans bought from Homedepot and Autozone, so there's a sweet spot in how far you're supposed to hold the spray can. I had to try many distances to find the right one, to close and it bubbles or runs, to far and it only dusts the surface.
I taped off most of the curves in order to get a clean line and crisp edge. This gives the car a more professional look rather than a vandalism vibe

Step 4: Disaster!

so it's going very well, spray down my color, putting on some clear coat and then one day BAM incident
wasn't even finished when my hood was crumpled up. However, I would not let this deter me, so I picked up a new hood and took the old one to the street! I held a mini art exhibit where I talked about my process and had anyone who wanted to, get a feel for what it's like to paint a car.

Step 5:

Now All that's left is to finish up the paint and turn to the interior.
I wanna redo it all along with the sweet coffee table I made for it.

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    10 years ago on Step 4

    I saw your Previa on I like it! How is the progress coming? Any new pics?

    Take care,
    Mr. Previa

    I had a previa like that one in powder blue that i repainted white with blue and purple flames on it.  Similar process. 

    I added a bondo body fairing step though, and then clear, of course done with spray paint, but if you put the effort in it looks like it came from the showroom floor.

    Very nice!


    Yeah man you need to finish this, it looks great though. Especially when we go down the freeway and try to hit on chicks.


    12 years ago on Step 1

    I must say, I like "VIP look" the best.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    I'd like to see the finished piece ! I've done a couple of rolling junkers/ratrides with spraybombs but other than taking off really bad areas or large flakes Ive never done that much sanding ! ! I have a 1989 s-10 blkazer 4x4 thats getting a new drivetrain right now, once thats done I intend to do a rattlecan funky urban camoflage kinda of paint treatment so keep your eyes open for a future instruc !