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Help me choose paint for Mardi Gras themed art car!

We have a 1995 Geo Prizm that is awesome and possibly could outlive us. However, the paint job is peeling/faded. We would like to sand the car, paint it primarily purple and then invite artsy friends to help us paint designs, glue Mardi GRAS themed items all over it. I have never painted a car before and am wondering what kind of paint to use for the base color as well as the accent colors. Where would I buy such paint? Any tips greatly appreciated!!

for an art car I’d just rattlecan it with whatever I liked from Home Depot that says it sticks to metal.

Oh boy. You buy paint at an automotive parts store such as NAPA. Automotive paint is made by Dupont, PPG, and several others. There are numerous types of paint such as urethane, acrylic enamel etc. Some is single stage, some requires a base coat and clear coat. There are reducers and additives that are added. It is applyed by an air spray gun and a respirator is required if you value living long. If you aren’t sure where to buy the paint, which is expensive, you probably don’t have the other equipment needed. Best option is to let a chepo paint shop like MAACO do it for you in the color of your choice. Then you can decorate it any way you want.

Now when I was a kid, the guy down the street got out a can of black enamel from the hardware store, and a brush, and repainted his Hudson black. From 100 feet it looked ok but he should have brushed it the same direction. Three or four quarts of Rustoleum from Walmart should do-applied by brush, roller, or spray.

I still can’t figure out how they get the designs(snake skin, splatter paint, etc) to spray out from just one can of paint. they even have glow in the dark paint. :o

If you’re considering using regular automotive paint designed to be mixed and shot with a gun you should be aware that this project will get expensive very fast, especially if you go the multi-color route. It would not be difficult at all to sink a grand into paint and supplies on something like this and that’s assuming you don’t go the high roller route.

Much depends on exactly what you’re wanting and expecting out of this. The only way you’re going to get off (comparatively) dirt cheap is by following shadowfax’s suggestion about Home Depot rattle cans, or foo-foo cans as I call them.

You could have MAACO shoot a base coat (body work extra), invite the friends over for a foo-foo can decorating party, and then take it back to MAACO for some clear coat to seal it all up.

I used to do a bit of custom motorcycle painting (that’s tedious enough) and there are a number of things you can use along with some imagination to create some unique designs. Lace, chicken wire, fishnet, paint soaked rags dabbed on to simulate marble, etc, etc. The sky’s the limit on this kind of stuff.

The guy at the body shop today said his current cost for a gallon of clear alone is now $450. That’s just the clear, not the base or the additives. The last pint of pearl base I bought cost me $80 which was enough for a bumper and partial fender. People have no idea how material costs have escalated.

If you’re going to glue things on it, it obviously doesn’t have to be a very good paint job. If you have a vo-tech school with auto body classes near you, maybe they’d paint your car for a low price.

Considering what you’re using it for, I’d recommend rattle canning it with Krylon. I’d use white instead of purple because white is a far better base for artsy painting designs on.

Before spraying it, clean it with a good citrus based cleaner to remove any wax, and then with Ivory liquid in water to clean the citrus residue off.

I’ve actually rattle canned an old beater, and it comes out surprisingly good from a distance. It should work beautifully as a base for artwork and with the proper cleaning it won’t peel off.