Tips on a Two-Tone Auto Paint Job

Updated February 21, 2017

Two-tone paint jobs can set a vehicle apart from others on the road. Some people who restore vehicles want to give a car a two-tone paint job as a tribute to past designs when the car was made. Hot Rod Magazine spoke with automotive designers and came up with some general guidelines on how to design an attractive two-tone paint job.

Body Lines

Be aware of the vehicle's body lines. Every make and model has its own unique curves. Putting the borders of the two paint colours along the main body line helps accentuate the natural look of the vehicle. On some, though, the main body line sits high on the vehicle. These cars already appear to be short, and placing the colour line too high tends to make the vehicle look squashed. Bringing the colour line down some is a good idea, but the line should still be perpendicular to the car's body line.


A diagonal two-tone paint scheme on cars started to become popular in the late 1970s. Today the diagonal line is not accepted in car design circles, especially since it distracts from the look of a vehicle. The diagonal line does give a sense of forward motion to a vehicle, but it is discouraged by design experts. If you do place a diagonal line on your car and then put it up for sale, there will be many people who will be turned off by the paint job.


Remember to balance the amounts of the two colours. Balance does not necessarily mean the car needs to have the same amount of each colour. Most cars, in fact, do not look good with an even amount of two different colours. Finding the right balance for your car is something that can take some time and experimentation. Sketch out your car and play with different placements of the colour line until you come up with a good compromise between the two colours. This may take some time, but patience is the key.

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