DIY Car Painting Equipment List: How to Paint a Car at Home

Have you decided to spray paint a car at home yourself? If yes, then all you need is a resourceful DIY car painting equipment list to know exactly what kind of car painting tools and equipment needed to spray paint a car and make it shine.

Painting your car isn’t as easy as painting your walls. It’s not like you only need the roller brush and paint can. Instead, you have to have complete knowledge of DIY car painting, along with the required materials and tools for painting cars. Else, your spray paint job won’t take much time to convert into a DIY spray paint disaster.

Whether you are just bored of the same old color or your car paint got damaged (deep car scratches or car paint sun damage), or you think it’s too pricey to do a professional paint job, in these cases, giving your vehicle a new look all by yourself is really exciting and fun. You just need to have a grip over a few things, and you’re all set to show your skills.

car painting equipment list
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When it comes to changing car colour or painting your car, almost all the automotive professionals and DIY car painting experts will tell you that- “End-look always depends on the preparation.” Yes, the preparation of paint is as necessary as applying it to your car’s body.

And since you want to do-it-yourself, you have to have a clear idea of all the necessary car painting tools and equipment required for painting cars. Only then you can go for the preparation and start with your paint job.

To help you prep a car for paint and paint it like a pro, we have come up with this comprehensive guide on do it yourself car painting. Starting from the DIY car painting equipment list to how to paint a car at home step by step, I have shared every detail here.

So, now scroll down to make yourself well informed about what supplies do you need to paint a car or what kind of car painting tools and equipment needed to paint a car at home yourself and get your car ride-ready with a new look. Here you go!

DIY Car Painting Equipment List: What Do You Need to Paint A Car?

When your car’s exterior paint starts fading or in a too bad condition, a vinyl wrap won’t be able to give the finishing touch that you wish for. In such cases, DIY car spray painting is the only best option that you’re left with.

Yes, if you opt for a DIY car painting job, instead of taking your car to an auto body shop, it will save you a considerable amount of cost. But it’s not that easy to pull off a DIY auto painting like a professional. You have to have the right knowledge of the car painting materials, all the essential tools for painting cars, and the basic step by step process of painting a car.

Even if you are a professional, sometimes going through all the necessities once again will help you to grab all the DIY car painting tools and equipment needed to spray paint a car.

But there is nothing to worry about now because here I have provided a comprehensive car painting equipment list to give you a complete overview of the required materials, tools, and estimated budget. So please let’s scroll down and go through it now.

Spray Gun or Paint Sprayer

The spray gun is the first one on this DIY car painting equipment list. This is the most essential car spray painting equipment. A suitable spray gun or paint sprayer will get your job done with precision. However, there are two types of paint guns available in the market.

  • Can-Style Paint Sprayer: In the can-style paint sprayer models, the paint is stored in a paint can attached under the paint spray gun.

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  • Gravity Feed Spray Gun: The gravity-fed sprayer guns hold a cup on the top of the gun and stores paint there.

Fuji Spray 5175G - T75G Gravity Spray Gun

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Most DIY car painters go for the HVLP gravity-fed spray guns. The only reason is that low pressure creates less overspray; plus, these models reduce product waste. So, you can easily use one to carry off your car painting job.

Electric Random Orbit Sander

Random Orbit Sander is among the most beneficial DIY tools for painting cars. I would recommend you to buy a dual-action electric sander because these tools save you a lot of time with the basic body filler shaping tasks along with the sanding jobs.

The unique design of these circular pads moves in an orbital direction instead of just spinning in circles at a high-speed. The random orbital sanders come at a really affordable price. Yes, the price may range from $50 to $175.

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Moreover, this product is available in different sizes and power ranges. You just need to pick one, keeping your requirements in focus. Purchase one to make the hard work more comfortable and save a massive amount of time to put it somewhere else.

Air Compressor

Do you take up the painting job occasionally? If yes, then you can consider borrowing or renting an air compressor for paint sprayer. But if you want to change the paint of your car quite often, you must buy this essential and professional car painting equipment: a powerful and best air compressor for painting cars. This machine powers all types of air tools, including your paint spray gun. Well, it’s worth investing if you think about the long term usage.

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In fact, the best part is, you don’t need a heavy-duty air compressor to power your spray gun. You can use a home-use portable air compressor easily that comes at a lower price than the industrial ones. However, here are some of the most essential things to consider when buying the best portable air compressor for spray painting:

  • The compressor has to be compatible with your paint gun, and it should meet your spray gun’s all requirements.
  • Make sure it works efficiently when separating the moisture because you only need the supply of dry air to compensate your pain gun’s demand.
  • The compressor must have a long lifespan so that you can make the most of your investment
  • Your compressor should handle a decent workload.
  • An air compressor with a 60-gallon receiver tank is much appropriate for DIY car painting rather than the 25-30-gallon air tanks.

Among all the spray painting tools and in every DIY car painting equipment list, air compressor for paint sprayer holds a very top position because it’s one of the most crucial equipment needed to paint a car. Here are the top picks for the best portable air compressor for cars:

Sandpaper and Sanding Block

Sanding is an essential part before you spray paint on your car. You need to sand the chrome exterior of your car first, with sandpaper. Doing so will smoothen the rough surface of your car’s old paint or roughen the glossy areas. This will eventually make the paint stick better.

You can use a 1200 or 2000-grit wet-and-dry sandpaper to do the sanding job. If you want a perfect finishing touch on your DIY car painting job, sanding is mandatory.

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Sanding block will help you to have a firm grip over the sandpaper to use it as per your requirements. In addition to that, the sanding blocks and boards are quite an excellent match for smooth and flat sanding chores.

Rust Remover Spray

Rust remover is equally mandatory, like sandpaper. If your car has a lot of rusts on the exterior, consider buying a rust remover. The rust remover rust remover spray is a water-based substance, which removes rusts within minutes.

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The rust removing solution or rust remover spray for cars comes at a low price, and a plethora of options are available to choose from. If you buy the rust remover from a reputed company, then depending on the quality, it must remove 1/2lb of rust with just one gallon of the same.

Masking Tape

Masking tape is quite necessary as well if you don’t want to paint the whole body of your car. Generally, a newspaper or a cheap paper is used as the masking tape to mark and cover the no-paint areas. But these low-quality materials can leach the paint to the surface or underneath. Plastic can be also an excellent choice to cover the engine bay or other parts that don’t really need to be painted.

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In addition to that, wheel covers or trash bags are beneficial to mask large areas like wheels or tires. But if you want to see the efficiency of masking tape, you must buy high-quality automotive masking papers or tape. You can combine those with large plastics to wrap the areas like windows, bumper, or tires.

Body Filler or Glazing Putty

As you already know, sanding is mandatory to rub off your car’s old paint along with smoothing the surface. If you find dents or nicks on the surface of your car after sanding, you must use the body filler or glazing putty to cover that up. Eventually, doing so will give your paint the flawless finishing that you always wished for.

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The body filler comes with a putty knife, which you must use to spread the putty, aka Bondo. This DIY car painting material can be of two types- metal and plastic. The metal ones are amazingly durable, and you can clean the surface of your car very quickly once they get caked.

On the other hand, if you use the plastic filler, you have to wait for a long time to let it dry and get your perfectly maintained car.

Primer

Here comes another essential material in our DIY car painting equipment list- Primer. This is the one which will decide whether your paint will be long-lasting or not. Along with that, the quality and application of primer ensure the smoothness of the paint.

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Before applying the paint, you need to apply the primer to seal the paint with the body metal of your car. If possible, use an epoxy-based primer, which helps against corrosion, and it sticks the paint more efficiently than other ones. You may have to apply two or three coats of primer to get the best result.

Primer Thinner

Primer thinner is used for thinning the coat of primer. This material is not so mandatory if you can apply the primer like a professional. However, it’s always better to keep the fix in case your priming goes wrong.

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Yes, if your primer gets over-sprayed on the body of your car, then you must give it some time to dry and then wipe with a rag dampened with the primer thinner. Doing so will remove the excess primer easily and aid you in having the best paint job.

Automotive Paint

If you ask, what do I need to paint a car? Everyone will say Automotive paint first. Yes, this is the best car painting equipment that everyone will need. There are two types of paints available in the market- Waterborne and Solvent-borne.

Waterborne paint is quite popular among DIYers because of its ease-of-use. These are more environmentally-friendly and give your car an amazing look.

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Solvent borne paint is the traditional type which incorporates a solvent base like enamel, urethane, or Lacquer. Definitely, it brings more organic volatile compounds than plastic paint, but this one is not so convenient for beginners to apply on the car’s body. This type of paint is used for professional purposes.

Paint Thinner

Do you know that the quantity of paint matters? Yes, it does, especially when you want the end result to be a professional’s job. If you’re a beginner, there are chances that you will overspray some amount of paint. In these cases, use a paint thinner to remove the extra paint, just like a primer thinner.

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If you are painting a small or medium-sized car, you can use 3 gallons of paint for top coating and 2-3 gallons for clear coating. In case you are painting a large car, use 4 gallons of paint to make the topcoat and 3-4 gallons for a clear coat. But don’t use paint more than this size ever.

Cleaning Solvent

A cleaning solvent is required to clean out the surface of your car just after sanding and drying the putty. If you are using the metal putty, using the cleaning solvent is mandatory. You can use strong soap, grease remover, wax, or acetone as the cleaning solvent. Each of these materials will leave the same effect on your car.

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Whether you’re using sandpaper, rust remover, putty, or a cleaning solvent- it’s all about flattening the surface of your car and avoiding any clot or less pigmentation of the paint.

Respirator Mask

Respirator mask is an obvious thing to be on the car painting safety equipment list. Yes, it would be best to have respirator masks like the N-95 or something more substantial than that. N-95 masks provide adequate protection against different harmful particles.

But you need one, which can protect you against gasses, vapors, and different chemicals. So it would help if you put on a top-graded quality mask before starting your paint job. The best thing is such masks will prevent you from inhaling the paint while spraying.

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Along with that, such masks will offer you full coverage against toxic vapors. Use a respirator mask, which meets the standards of OSHA. Because only OSHA specified masks will discard the toxic particles that are harmful to the lungs.

Safety Glasses

Here comes another essential car painting safety equipment on the DIY car painting equipment list. Safety glasses or goggles will shield your eyes and keep severe damages away. If you’re using an electric sander, wearing safety glasses is a must thing to protect your eyes from the dust and debris.

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Additionally, high-quality glasses also block any type of fume or splash of the paint wafting from the spray gun. So, if you want to protect yourself from any type of damage, don’t forget to buy a pair of safety glasses.

Nitrile Gloves

The next one on my list is nitrile gloves. If you want to avoid all kinds of skin infections, you must wear a pair of gloves before starting the painting job. Your gloves will protect your fingers and skin from coming into contact with toxic chemicals.

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Along with that, there is another reason for wearing gloves. It keeps your skin’s oil off the surface of the paint area. So, eventually, you’ll get a perfect finishing. You can use PVC or neoprene instead of nitrile gloves but never use thin plastic gloves.

Painting Coveralls (Paint Suit)

Along with goggles and gloves, you must wear a liquid-proof painting coveralls. This bodysuit provides enough coverage to your appendages and torso. So, your skin will be completely protected from any harmful chemicals. Plus, these types of suits restrict the isocyanates from seeping through your skin.

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If painting coveralls aren’t available, use an apron, wear long pants, protective hoods, and full-sleeve clothes. Only in this way you can avoid any direct contact with the chromium or primer.

Inflatable Paint Booth

A paint booth is a specially designed place to do automotive painting jobs. Car painting requires a reasonable amount of time. Plus, it involves drying each primer or color coat. So, it would be best if you had a comfortable place to start your work.

Your garage or driveway is also acceptable, but you need to make sure that there is no dust or debris in your workplace. Else, your paint may catch the dust before drying. Also, never work under a tree or any shed where any substance can fall and damage your painting job.

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If you are working in a non-paint booth condition, try to work early in the morning. Summertime is the best to paint your car as it requires less time to dry the paint. But if you are working in a colder season, try to paint your car in the afternoon.

Must see: 9 Important Things to Know Before Changing Your Car Color

DIY Car Painting Tips: How to Paint a Car at Home

No matter whether there is a scratch on the body of your car or you’re just bored of the old color, DIY car spray painting is the best and cost-efficient way to change the color of your car. But you have to do a lot of research work, proper planning, and knowledge regarding the right process of painting a car.

Are you thinking about how to do these necessary pre-works? Well, fret not! I am here to guide you through the entire process of DIY car painting. Stay glued and let me provide the nitty-gritty one by one. Here you go:

Do you have all the prerequisites for spray painting a car at home?

What do you need to paint a car? We hope, you already got a clear overview of the car painting tools and equipment needed to spray paint a car. But in case, if you’ve missed it somehow, just scroll through the above explained DIY car painting equipment list once again and grab all those 17 spray painting tools for painting cars quickly and conveniently. For your help, here we are listing them once again:

Once you have all the car painting materials in one place, start with the process and learn how to spray paint a car at home yourself. Here I have divided the whole method into four parts. Make sure you don’t skip any step in order to get the DIY car painting right.

Part (1): Preparation

How long does it take to paint a car yourself at home? Well, you always need quite a reasonable amount of time to do a car painting job. It’s next to impossible to pull off in a rush. So, firstly ensure that you have 3 or 4 days of spare time in hand. Next, start with the first step.

Step 1: Pick the Right Location

Always select the location wisely before you start the painting job. Ensure that the place is airy, offers plenty of space to let you work around your car, dust-free, and well lit. Also, the place should have electricity else you may skip on the minute details.

Try to avoid any residential garage because paint fumes may cause fire hazard while coming into contact with heaters or furnaces. You must find a suitable place to start your DIY car painting project.

As you can see in the above given DIY car painting equipment list, we have also suggested a inflatable paint booth. So if you don’t have a suitable dust free and quiet place, you can get a portable car painting tent (inflatable spray booth) for your paint job.

Step 2: Remove the Rust, Dents, and Chrome Trim

If your car’s body has got rusted or any visible dents are there, first remove them by applying rust remover spray and then repair all the dents with a glazing putty or body filler. Then you have to remove the chrome exterior or plastic trim of your car. You can replace the mold and trim once you get done with your painting job.

Part (2): Sanding

Here comes the most fundamental part of the DIY car painting job – Sanding. This part involves three steps: Sand, Clean, and Tape the surfaces.

Step 3: Sand Down to the Bare Metal

If you want a flawless, smooth finishing, you must paint an even surface to stick on. This is where random orbit sander, sandpaper and sanding block come into the play. After removing rust, dents, and the trim, you must sand your car’s body to the bare metal; if you’re running out of time, at least sand down to the old primer coat. Else, the paint won’t stick at all.

Step 4: Clean It Well

Once you are done with sanding, use a rag and the cleaning solvent to wipe the entire body of your car and make it paint-ready. You can use mineral spirits or denatured alcohol as a cleaning solvent.

Step 5: Tape and Cover No-Paint Areas

At this time, you need to cover the no-paint surfaces of your car. Use masking tape along with newspaper and plastic to wrap the areas like mirrors, glass, window trim, grills, wheels, door handles, etc., that you don’t want to paint.

Part (3): Priming

As soon as you complete the 5th step, your car becomes entirely ready for skin a new look and get a new lease on life! To start this new installment of life, start with priming the whole car body except the covered area. This one involves 4 steps and is known as Undercoating. The primer prevents moisture on the surface and allows the Basecoat of the paint to stick well.

Step 6: Prime the Surface

Once you’ve successfully sanded down to your car’s bare metal and cleaned it properly, you need to prime the surface as soon as possible. You should use a self-etching and corrosion-resistant primer. And finally, apply it with the paint spray gun.

Step 7: Give It Time to Cure

In case you have removed lots of rust and repaired dents, apply the right amount of primer to coat those places properly. Also, give the primer coating adequate time to cure. The requirement of the time will be mentioned on the container of the primer. Make sure you do it accordingly.

Step 8: Sand the Primed Surface

Next, you have to sand your car’s body once again. Sanding the primer will give it a rough texture, which will aid the paint to adhere to. But make sure you do it gently and don’t expose the bare metal again.

Step 9: Wipe with Primer Thinner

Once you’re done with the sanding part, use a rag dampened in a primer thinner and wipe the whole body of your car. When done, your car will be ready to get colored again.

Part (4): Painting

Now that you’re all set to apply color on the surface of your car, let me tell you about two things. First, the color coat is known as Basecoat. This one adds color and protects the underlying coats. After that, you need to make a Topcoat with lacquer or any clear coat finish material. This one will protect the hard outer surface from chipping, UV rays, and color fading.

Second, you need to prepare the paint while adhering to the manufacturer’s guidelines. After you go through the instructions, follow the final steps to see the final look of your car.

Step 10: Use the Automotive Paint and Dry

After you mix the paint, take your automotive paint spray gun, fill it with the paint, and hold 6 inches away from the surface to color your car. Go with the side-by-side sweeping motion instead of the circular motion and apply the paint in thin and even coats.

It may take three to four coats to cover the surface entirely. When you’re done, give it the required time to dry properly. The duration will be mentioned on the package of the paint. It may vary to 20 minutes to an hour. So, be patient and cure the paint thoroughly.

Step 11: Do a Little More Sanding and Wiping

Once the paint gets dried, you have to sand the whole body of your car once again. Don’t overdo it; a little sanding will be perfect for removing the powdery residue from the surface. After sanding, wipe the surfaces with a rag dipped in the cleaning solvent. This step is very crucial, don’t ignore it.

Step 12: Apply Lacquer for a Clear Coat Finish

Yes, if you want a smooth finishing of your paint job, don’t forget to apply Lacquer. Put it in the spray gun and use the same trick to spread it over the painted body of your car.

Step 13: Remove the Masking Tapes and Covers

Now your car is about to be ride-ready. As soon as you’re done with Lacquer, remove the masking tapes to free the covered areas. After that, give the clear coat a bit of time as per the manufacturer’s guide to dry.

Step 14: Finally, Buff

The final step is polishing the surfaces. Use circular motions to buff out the painted areas. If you want a glossy finish, use a rubbing compound.

That’s all! You’re done with painting your car!

FAQ for the DIY Car Painting Equipment List:

You’ve seen the complete process of DIY car spray painting. Now it’s time to check out the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions related to what do you need to paint a car (DIY car painting equipment list) and how to paint a car at home outside. If the same types of queries are popping in your mind, get those answered below.

What Size Air Compressor Do I Need to Paint a Car?


Well, the requirement of an air compressor size solely depends on the size of your vehicle. Still, if you ask me about an average value, I’ll go with the 50-gallon air receiver tanks, because these types are ideal for painting small to medium-sized cars at a single pass.

If you need an air compressor to power your spray gun for little works like retouching, then 30-gallon air compressors can do the job pretty conveniently.

For more precision, I would ask you to go with the air compressors with 14 to 18 unit CFM to paint a large-sized car. If you are going to paint a small or medium-sized car, the air compressors with 5 CFM ratings will work.

What Automotive Primer Should I Use Over Old Paint?


First of all, you shouldn’t use primer over your old paint. For the best result, you must sand the old paint first and then apply the primer. Talking about which primer, then I’ll always advise you to go with an epoxy-based, corrosion-resistant primer because this type of primer makes the paint stick to the surface properly.

What Kind of Paint is Used on Cars?


Automotive paint is the one that you should use to color or decorate your car. The water-based acrylic polyurethane enamel paint is the new favorite of the DIYers because of it’s ‘less environmental impact.’ However, there are three types of automotive paints available in the market.

Urethane Car Paint: This is super easy to use and gives your car a fantastic look, plus, lasts longer. But you may face issues after some time as urethane paint sometimes has a plastic-like appearance.

Metallic Car Paint: This one is of supreme quality paint. It can really change the entire appearance of your sports or muscle cars. But it’s not recommended for DIYers as the application is a bit tricky.

Acrylic Car Paint: This paint gives your car a glossy finish. Along with that, acrylic paint is easy to apply and renders adequate protection to your car’s body.

How Hard Is It to Paint a Car?


Well, by far, the pre-work before you apply the paint is intense. If you’re a DIYer, nothing to worry about; there is no rocket science in spray paint a car yourself if you follow the DIY car painting equipment list and all the spray painting steps accurately.

You just have to get the pre-work and after-work right, because these two things decide how your paint will look and whether it will be long-lasting or not. Though the work is not challenging to pull off, it still consumes a tremendous amount of time, like 3 to 4 days.

Is It Cheaper to Paint Your Car the Same Color?


Yes, of course, it’s cheaper to repaint the same color on your car. Because you don’t have to prepare or mix the color and spray it in different areas like door jambs, trunk opening, engine bay, etc. Also, the already colored areas won’t require further coloring.

On the other hand, color-changing involves a lot of work and car painting equipment. So, it will cost you more than applying the same color again.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Car a Different Color?


If you opt for a professional car painting, it will cost you a huge amount ranging from $300 to $20,000 (if you need showroom quality painting). The standard professional painting costs around $1,000 and more.

If you want to DIY paint your car, then you only need the required car painting materials. These are available in stores or online and come at a low price, as low as $200. Apart from the materials, the only investment will be your time and labor.

Author’s View on DIY Car Painting Equipment List

Well, I have painted almost 15+ cars on my own. I know the number sounds incredible, but trust me, when your friend will see the new look of your car, that even at a low price, they ought to ask you to paint his car also.

Yes, that’s how I finished my journey from being a novice to a professional. However, as a piece of last advice, I will ask you not to skip any spray painting tool or material from the above explained DIY car painting equipment list. You have to have quality car painting tools and equipment, and all other necessary materials to have a flawless finishing.

If you have further queries regarding the DIY car paint spraying equipment needed to paint a car or do it yourself car painting steps, then simply drop a comment in the below box. Also, let us know how this guide helped you to paint your car in the same box. Stay connected for more DIY automotive guides. Till then, Adios and Happy Painting!

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About Amy Cuban

I am an automotive enthusiast who loves to be around cars. I enjoy working on cars in my spare time and love anything related to automobiles. I like using different types of car accessories, car gadgets, and innovative car care products.

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