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Six Key Supplies You’ll Need to Start Working on Your First Car Paint Job

Going to the mechanic to get a professional car paint job done can be quite expensive. But unlike other types of work done at an auto shop, painting a car doesn’t require extensive training or in-depth mechanical knowledge. With the right equipment and sufficient dexterity to handle a spray gun, you can get the job done with an acceptable level of finish. This can not only save you hundreds of dollars, but it could even become a successful business opportunity if you have a passion for both automobiles and painting. Here’s a guide to the essential gear you’ll need for your first paint job.


At a minimum, you need to work in a space that’s clean, well-lit and ventilated, free of dust and debris and can accommodate your car with room for you to move around comfortably. If you plan on tackling more paint jobs in the long term, look for the right size automotive spray booth for sale. But if you don’t have the budget yet, a large shed or your garage will do – just wall off the area with large plastic sheets to keep it sealed from the elements and help minimize the mess.

Protective gear

Spray painting in such a confined space can put you at risk of inhalation or skin contact with toxic chemicals. You’ll need some basic personal protective equipment (PPE) to carry out the job. Safety glasses and an N95 respirator will provide adequate protection. Wear two kinds of gloves – standard hardware gloves when working with tools and latex gloves for better flexibility when painting.

Paint and thinner

Your paint may be expensive due to the specifications; the amount of paint and thinner needed should be specified on the can. Enough supplies for 3-4 coats should be ideal. Masking paper and tape will come in handy to block off areas which you don’t want to paint over.

You’ll also need the equipment for applying paint – a spray gun and air compressor. The price range can vary widely between models, and you do have the option to rent these, so before you make a hefty investment, factor in whether this will be an occasional hobby or a potential revenue stream down the line.


Before you proceed to apply the actual paint coat, you’ll need a primer. A small or medium-sized vehicle will require roughly one gallon; add another half-gallon for larger vehicles. This base coat will fill in the minor surface imperfections, giving your paint coat a better substrate to adhere to, and provides an additional layer of corrosion resistance.


polishing a car

A paint job also involves a lot of sanding work. You’ll need to sand down to the metal if possible before applying the primer, and after priming and painting, more sanding will be needed to ensure a smooth finish. A sander can save time and effort and maybe worth the extra expense.


To give your paint its final finish, you need to apply a clear-coat lacquer. This gives the paint coat shine and durability, letting it last longer with chemical- and weather-resistant properties. Acrylic products are safe to handle and inexpensive, while urethane-based products have superior qualities but are also more dangerous to handle.

Carrying out an automobile paint job on your own will take time and effort, but with the right equipment, it’s an easy way to save money, improve your car’s durability and appearance, and possibly earn additional income in the future.

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