How to Mix Car Paint to Spray

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How to Mix Car Paint to Spray
Mixing paint is a lot easier than it used to be. (kid paint image by Andrey Kiselev from

There is no bigger way to change your car's appearance than to change its colour. Perhaps the most intimidating part of a do it yourself paint job lies in understanding how to mix the paint. The quality of the finished paint job is directly linked with the proper preparation and mixing of the materials used. With the quality of modern painting materials being as high as they are, a perfect mix is as easy as following the directions of your paint manufacturer. Unlike the days of old where a painter had to weigh his materials out, today's painter need only match the numbers on a mixing pail.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Workbench
  • Paint
  • Reducer
  • Mixing pail
  • Stir stick
  • Spray gun

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  1. 1

    Prepare your workbench. The key to any quality job lies in the preparation, and paint mixing is no different. Clean your workbench of all unneeded materials and arrange your paint supplies and tools in a manner that makes it easy to reach them.

  2. 2

    Read all of your directions. Reading and understanding your manufacturer's instructions is imperative to correctly mixing your paint.

  3. 3

    Decide on the amount of paint you need. If you are only doing a touch-up, you will not want to mix a full can of paint. Your paint sprayer will have markings on the paint cup, indicating ounces. Decide how many ounces of paint you want to mix and refer to the paint manufacturer's recommendations for mixing that amount.

  4. 4

    Mix the paint. Pour the paint into a mixing pail and fill it to the line of the number of ounces you wish to mix and the ratio at which you want to mix it. A mixing pail is a specially marked container sold at paint stores that is marked with several different mixing ratio lines and mixing increments, much like a cooking measuring cup. Add the reducer into the mixing pail of paint to the line designated for your mixing ratio. For example, if you wanted to mix 340gr of paint and reducer at a 8:1 ratio, you would pour the paint into the pail up to the "12 @ 8:1" paint line. You would add the reducer to the paint until the level reached the next "12 @ 8:1 line." You now have a perfect 340gr at 8:1 mix of paint and reducer. Stir the paint well with a stir stick, pour it into the spray gun and you are ready to paint your car.

Tips and warnings

  • These steps can be followed for mixing primer as well. Just follow the recommendations of your manufacturer.
  • Study the mixing pail and become familiar with its markings. There are markings for many quantities and ratios of paint, reducer, hardener, flex agents, etc. Mark the ratio and ounces that you want with a piece of tape or a marker to help with quick reference.
  • Never mix product types. For example, do not use a lacquer reducer with an enamel paint. They will not mix correctly and a dangerous chemical reaction could occur.

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