How to Blend Touch Up Paint

Written by elton dunn
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How to Blend Touch Up Paint
Use spray-on or brush on paint. (spray with a cap image by Yasen Pramatarov from

Whether you're restoring the finish on a classic car or trying to get out the car park ding on a modern car, you'll need to work with touch up paint to fix minor cosmetic damage. To have properly blended touch up paint, you'll need to apply the paint in the right manner and buff the finish afterward. This project is time-consuming and includes a lot of drying time, so leave yourself a weekend to complete the task.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Liquid dish soap
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Tack cloths
  • Base coat touch up paint
  • Brush, 2-inch (optional)
  • Clearcoat touch up paint
  • Rubbing compound

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  1. 1

    Mix 1 tbsp of liquid dish soap with 1 gallon of hot water.

  2. 2

    Dip a tack cloth in the soap solution and wash the area in need of touch up. Clean away all grit and grime, then rinse with water.

  3. 3

    Let the area dry naturally or towel dry it with a new tack cloth.

  4. 4

    Read the instructions on the back of your paint can or spray bottle to find the drying time you need to wait between coats. This varies by brand but will be listed on the back.

  5. 5

    Open your can of touch up paint (if using) and dip a 2-inch paintbrush inside.

    Or shake an aerosol can to mix up the paint, then remove the lid.

  6. 6

    Apply one coat of paint to the affected area. Brush paint on in even strokes, working from side to side. Or spray paint on, holding the can 6 inches away from the car. Avoid spraying so much that you get drips since these will show in the finish. Wait the recommended drying time.

  7. 7

    Paint a second coat in the same manner. This time, paint a little bit into the area surrounding the affected area, approximately 1/2 to 1 inch on all sides. Again allow the paint to dry.

  8. 8

    Add a third coat, expanding to 3 inches around the damaged area on all sides. By now you should not be able to see the damage.

  9. 9

    Let the paint dry overnight, recommends Paint Scratch.

  10. 10

    Prepare your touch-up clearcoat paint in the same manner, either by opening the can or by shaking the aerosol to distribute paint. Then apply three coats of clearcoat in the same manner as you applied the coloured paint. Let the clearcoat dry the manufacturer's recommended time between each coat and again let the final coat dry overnight.

  11. 11

    Pour a quarter-sized amount of rubbing compound onto a tack cloth. Rub the compound over the area you painted, working it into the surface in concentric circles. Then wait until you see the compound develop a waxy haze.

  12. 12

    Wipe off all traces of rubbing compound with a clean tack cloth. This removes the grit in the finish and restores the shine. Afterward, you should not be able to see any difference in your car's finish.

Tips and warnings

  • Work outside in bright light, low humidity and no chance of rain. Paint takes longer to dry in heat and humidity.

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