How to Plasti-Dip Your Car

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About: I am troberts8, also known as Tami Roberts. I am an artist and craftsperson. I am an identical twin Gemini. I live with MS. Some of my favorite things to make are TV/Movie replicas, customized shoes/clothes ...


We've owned our '68 for over a decade and have watched its paint fade, crack and chip.
Some areas were down to the metal and we wanted to do something about it before it got any worse.

We discovered Plasti-Dip*. Plasti-Dip is resistant to sun fading, winter ice, cold, and salt. It is also a durable yet removable substance that will peel off when we decide to pay for a real paint job.

*We chose plasti-dip because: IT'S NOT PERMANENT. I haven't painted a car before and didn't want to test out doing a "real paint job" on our CLASSIC. I'm satisfied with the outcome (however temporary it may be) it's serving its purpose well: protecting the car while we decide if we will go with silver in the future

Step 1: PRO CAR KIT

We purchased a large pro car kit on dipyourcar.com
The kit comes with the DYC DipSprayer™ System, 4 Gallons of Rubber Dip Spray,tape, DipWasher®, Decals, mixing stick, Dip Guard, Paint Stirrer and Microfiber Towels.
We used Plasti-dip color: Aluminum for the base and Silver Metalizer for the top coat.

Plasti-dip is also available in a spray can.

Step 2: SURFACE PREP

Because our old paint wasn't holding up anymore we spent a lot of time prepping our car to ensure an even surface.
Using an electric orbital sander we sanded the rough spots then covered them with a spray on auto primer that filled in small imperfections.
We also removed the emblems, lights and reflectors from the body of the car.

Step 3: TAPE OR NOT?

Plasti-Dip can be easily peeled off areas (such as headlights) after you've finished applying the last coat... However: prepping the area reduces the hassle of removing plasti-dip later.
Using painters tape and newspapers, cover windows and areas that you do not want to get plasti-dip on.
We covered the wheels with 40 gallon sized trash bags.

Step 4: WASH IT FIRST!

Before applying the plasti-dip to the car it MUST be clean.
Plasti-dip is an overlay that will form a separate layer on top of any surface- including dust and dirt... so get the surface REALLY CLEAN.
After cleaning the area dry it with a cloth.

Step 5: PERFECT PAINTING PLACE?

Find an area that is extremely ventilated and out of direct sunlight. We painted the first coat on outside in the shade- it was not an ideal location- the smallest amount of wind created a lot of overspray build-up. The best area would be an open garage.

Step 6: SPRAY ON THE PLASTI-DIP

Wear a mask. It is helpful if you have someone that will follow you carrying the paint turbine as you go. Paint in sections as you work your way around the car. COVER EVERYTHING! Even lay on the ground to get the hard to see areas along the bottom of the car!
The first layer is your bonding layer- It is very important that this is a light dusting (50 -60% transparency). This will allow the rest of the layers to bond and stick to the paint. Spray in a clean sweeping motion, making sure to hold the sprayer 6–8 inches away from the area. Allow plasti dip to dry 15-30 minutes between each layer.
We painted six layers of Aluminum plasti-dip and three layers of Silver Metalizer.

Step 7: REMOVE THE TAPE

After the final layer is applied, immediately remove any tape or newspaper from the car before plasti-dip dries.

Step 8: CURE IT!

At this point the plasti-dip will take 4 hours to fully cure. DON'T TOUCH IT. And at ALL costs, avoid any substance that may cause damage to the area.

Step 9: FINISHING TOUCHES

After it cured we put the emblems, etc. back on, replaced our sill-plates, hub caps, antenna and seat covers and added the C-Stripe decal.

This is a big job. Take your time and do it well. It took three of us working on it every open opportunity seven weeks to complete.

Step 10:

Car and Motorcycle Contest

Second Prize in the
Car and Motorcycle Contest

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    47 Discussions

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    jam1701

    1 year ago

    I think it looks great! my truck needs a paint job and I'm thinking about doing the same. Thanks for the insight.

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    troberts8

    Reply 2 years ago

    We probably spent a month's worth of weekends on prep work.... but the actual painting process can be done in a few hours.

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    troberts8

    3 years ago

    Thank you to everyone that took the time to check out my project... And to all the voters out there!!

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    shambuda2000

    3 years ago

    I think it looks great. Personally, I feel like all the keyboard experts who are quick to say" with all that work you could have" or " why didn't you" or "you ruined it" can go to h e double hockey sticks. The important take away is that 1. It's your car 2. You like it 3. I don't see them posting pics of their work. I think you did a great job and you have my vote.

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    Diane2create

    3 years ago on Introduction

    I think alot of people have missed what troberts8 said why he choose to Plastic-dip his car and if you have a classic or any car for that matter, when you do decided to paint your car, you want the color to be something you'll love for the life of your car. We have a 69 fastback VW that seriously needs a paint job, ...What a great idea! We have put off doing a real paint job for all the same reasons that you used the plastic dip. Our biggest reason is we can't decided what color scheme to choose. We really want to do something different but then your stuck with it. This just seems like a great way to be able to try some thing maybe a little outrageous that you wouldn't if you know that you'll be stuck with it if if comes out crappy.

    We also have a 84 Eagle bus that my husband rebuilt/converted from the ground up. We also plan to do our on paint scheme on that ,too. We have done what a lot of you have suggested regarding paint equipment from Harbour Freight, we haven't used the spray gun yet, so I can't tell you now good/ bad it is. What we have done so far to protect the steel until we get to a place to do a full paint job is we used " Rust Oleum" by the gallon that we rollered on (the bus is 40' long and 13' high) in black and that has worked fantastic so far and you really can't tell that it's just a primer coat. We never imagined that the rust-oleum would come out so well and they have a ton of colors ( I sound like a commercial...not my intention) The Plastic-dip might be a great way to do the graphics?

    Thanks so much for your project, it looks great and gave us some new options.

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    birdsloper

    3 years ago

    Impressive result. Most ppl live inside of a box, a few of us plasti-dip that box!

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    darus67

    3 years ago on Introduction

    I have to admit, I came here expecting to be horrified.

    When I saw Plasti-Dip I was thinking of the thick, yellow, blobby stuff used on tool handles. I wasn't aware it came in a medium capable of being sprayed on.

    Your end result looks all right.

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    DIY Micah

    3 years ago

    Great job! Unlike many of the other comments on here, I think Dipping your car is a great idea for a temporary/semi permanent finish. Yes, the work you put into prepping your car was a lot but when you're ready for a professional paint, it'll be that much less work to be done. One thing to look into is PlastiDip's glossy finish. I'm not sure when you did your spraying if it was available but I think it's out now. I personally haven't used it but I hear it gives a nice shiny top coat. I also wonder if you could spray your dipped car with a glossy finish that is typically used when finishing a car. It would give a hard coating and protect it better to. Great 'ible!

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    jnereb64

    3 years ago on Introduction

    great job! i can see where plasti-dip would be a good medium for some one with little or no experience with automotive finishes. Much more forgiving and easier to fix if you mess up. And yes I have paint and body experience, and have owned 92 different cars and trucks over the last 35 years, mostly classics. Sometimes you just need to cover it until you can do what you want with it.

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    troberts8jnereb64

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for commenting! I have to admit it isn't flawless, but I'm still pleased with the outcome. I think it will be even more awesome (in the future) when we have it done with automotive paint. Plasti-Dip is a neat product - but it is not smooth or mega shiny like the real thing.

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    newb

    3 years ago on Introduction

    One thing to add is when you wash your car it helps to clay it to get any wax off of it, the dip doesn't like to hold to anything with wax on it. Also it takes about 24 hours to fully cure. The other great use for it is a quick cheap substitute for vinyl, I dipped an American flag on my trunk while on my lunch break right before the 4th of July and its held up no problem for over a month.

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    newbnewb

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    And the ragged edges are what happen when you don't have any real tape so you have to try to use scotch tape, not the best idea but it worked well enough lol.

    Your car, your way. I say "Right On!". You may love it or hate it in a couple of years but you will never have to wonder what would've happened if... My son and I restored a 1972 Land Cruiser and the guy that did the sand blasting had restored a Jeep and he Rhinolined it inside and out. Said that he could paint but wasn't up to the high level body work to make it perfect. How true that was for us.

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    1961lincoln

    3 years ago on Introduction

    Great job! I did not know they had a full car kit. To all the people who don't get it. I built the bumper on my land rover in 08 and covered it with plasti dip. When I wanted to weld more tabs on it I simply pealed it off welded and re-sprayed it. If I scratch it up off road I re-spray it, dirty: respray it. It cost $6. for a can at home depot and covered the bumper. I have since done the same to my 2014 ram truck. $18. to do the front bumper, grill and hood. When I remove it years from now I will still have new factory paint underneath. Thanks for the info.

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    troberts81961lincoln

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! I am pretty happy with the results so far! In my experience the product worked really good- even fills in imperfections. It's only been on the car a few months, but holding together really good so far. We get a lot of (good) comments when we drive it.

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    troberts8

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    ATTENTION ALL TROLLS: I was not willing to permanently paint my classic car because of my inexperience with the job and equipment. I am content with the job I have done BECAUSE IT IS TEMPORARY.

    I will also say that it "was worth doing" and "it was done right" with the medium I chose. The car looks great and should for quite awhile until such a time that we hire an experienced person to do "a regular paint job" like "it deserves"

    Here is another saying "if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything"

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    throwedoff

    3 years ago on Introduction

    Most major automotive finish companies have value brands of products that are anywhere from 25% to 70% cheaper than their name brand. However, these value brands provide the same quality and value as their high priced name brands. Also, many community colleges offer continuing education classes in automobile refinishing that allow you to work on your on project vehicle. There is no better way to learn to spray automotive paint than to spray a few gallons of primer and sealer. With primer you also have the benefit of being able to easily remove an mistakes. Harbor Freight HVLP guns are extremely cheap and provide unbelievable spray quality for the money. I have done two different vehicles using a $29 Harbor Freight gun with no problems or lack of finish quality! However, if I were painting for a living I would certainly using a professional gun. The quality of the paint job is 75% prep work. The remainder is getting good even coats of paint and finishing (color sanding and buffing).

    2 replies

    I'd have to agree with you, throwedoff. I have seen plasti-dip cars and they get scuffed and scratched easily. If you are going to go through all the trouble of the prep work, which is most of the work, you might as well paint with real paint. I would think it would take a lot of work to thoroughly remove all the plasti-dip to do a real paint job anyway, getting it out of all those small spaces. You can get a spray gun for 10 bucks on sale at Harbor Freight which, I've been told, does a really good job.

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    troberts8throwedoff

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    That would be an incredible saving.... especially if it doesn't skimp on quality. However I'm positive we won't be taking on the job ourselves when we go back to automotive paint.