Trying to figure out the best way to paint my car

Hello my name is Kyle and I just recently got my first car. It’s a 7th gen Toyota Celica and I want to restore it inside and out. Unfortunately the previous owners did not take care of the exterior paint at all, I have to replace the front bumpers as well as drivers side fender. However I’ve noticed that the car seems to have no clear coat, as far as I can tell, the paint is red but it is all matte and sort of rough to the touch.Anyways where I live right now I don’t have a garage just an over hang and no where to store equipment to do my own painting, I can do the body work just fine but no room for a compressor. I know that it’s not recommended to use aerosol sprays for cars but the cheapest quote I got for my car was $3000 unless I go to MAACO,I know it’s a little more because I want to change the car from red to white but I can’t afford that right now. Can I use aerosol and make it last a year or two if I prep the body real good, if yes what brands would you recommend. I would like it to last a year or two then be able to get it sprayed, just want to make it look better and hopefully protect from any future damage from the elements.

@k_mcmahan01, I can’t personally answer your question as I have never tried what you’re asking. Will be interesting to here others opinions on this though. Good luck.

Kent aka “Genesis”

Thanks for the reply, hopefully there is some good insight that I can use, just have to wait and see.

if you are going to use spray paint I suggest rustoleum, as long as you do it panel by panel and not try and do the whole car at once it should turn out decent. the rustoleum is basically a single stage enamel without hardener/activator. good luck.

Thanks I was considering doing rustoleum to begin with and am glad I can do it one panel at a time. Would it be best to put a clear over it, could I use the rustoleum gloss clear cans? Also as far as application would multiple light coats work or should I do two light coats and felt them flash then do a wet coat, not sure if that would even work with a spray can and look decent. Also as for primer I know rustoleum sells automotive primer as well as filler, should I use these as part of my prep

I know ill get plenty of flack for this but since you’ve already mentioned Rustoleum… Do a Google search for $50 paint job. Look at the one about the Corvair. It looked like it turned out pretty nice. If you read down he has a 3yr update. Several years ago I sprayed (with a small 3hp 20gal compressor),an 82 Suburban with with a gal of Rustoleum I got on clearance from my local Ace hardware. It turned out pretty good, I wish I still had some pics of it. But that was before the era of smart phones and everything being backed up in the cloud. From what you’ve said this may be right up your isle. You don’t need a shop and can do it in stages if need be. Make sure you post some pics along the way so we can see your progress along the way.

:grimacing: Sounds ambitious to me. That is a lot to paint with spray cans… The only thing I can recommend is to get one of the spray can paint handles or your finger is going to be wasted after the first panel…


Yup I did get one, that at least makes it bearable in all honesty I spent probably 4-5 hours sanding and prepping by hand. I’ll post pictures of what has been done so far, it doesn’t look too bad I’d say a 6-6.5 out of 10, had a little bit of run with the clear coat that I’ll fix at a later time.

Here are the pictures of what I’ve done so far the drivers side door and quarter panel I used 2 cans of sealer primer, 2 cans of white gloss enamel that I let cure for 48 hours, then finally 2 cans of acrylic enamel clear. Also as you can see on the fender that the drivers side was covered in gray “paint” not sure what kind some could be scrubbed off but I ended up spending a lot of time sanding it but there was some still on the car when I primed. I used 320 grit sandpaper to start then primed, 400 grit wet sand, then painted. Once the clear coat is cured I’ll wet sand with 1000-2500 then buff it by hand. Thanks for all the help guys


This is the driver side all done except the fender that I need to replace, junkyard here I come. If anyone has some tips on what I did wrong or could do better I’d appreciate any input. As of now I’m doing this all by hand, sanding, buffing etc. Also how should I go about polishing the clear, should I dry sand with the 1000 then wet sand the rest or just wet sand with all grits, also what type of compound do you recommend

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Looks like you got some on your wheels. A trash bag makes a good wheel cover when painting. I am looking at your photos on my phone, so I can’t really see the details on the paint but for using rattle can paint, I would say it looks better than I thought it would. Happy to see you taking the time to learn and experiment. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. We learn from our mistakes. I just learned a valuable lesson myself about trying to color match using cheap paint. LOL

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Yeah, I wasn’t too concerned with the wheels, previous owner scuffed them up pretty good I’m gonna take them to be refinished later on lol. Thanks for the input I’m glad I managed to get hardly any orange peel only a small run of clear coat near the tail light that I might be able to sand out

Just wet sanded the clear coat today as it has been 24hours since applied. Since my base coat is white it is difficult to see high spots whilst sanding, if anyone has any tips on how to see better please let me know. I noticed that after wards it is shiny but dull as in not reflective but there are parts that feel smooth as glass and others that are rough as well as some “shiner spots” so I assume I have to sand again? Also I know a very useful tool to have for all types of body work is a DA, I know they make non neumatic ones, but I’m a little confused on the difference between a DA sander and polisher, other than the names I’m curious as to if one can be used as both ie the sander “can” have a polishing head on it or would I need one of each. I would also like to know what the clear coat should look like when it’s ready to be buffed and polished.
Thanks Everyone for the help

How many cans of paint did it take for you to spray this?