How to Mix Auto Paint

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In most cases, the ratios and measurements required to mix auto paint are found on the side of the paint can. Find out how to read a paint cup that is made specifically for mixing automotive paints with help from an auto restoration specialist in this free video on mixing auto paint.

Part of the Video Series: Auto Painting
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Video Transcript

Hi I'm Joel from Jonesy's Auto Restoration in Ridgefield, Washington and I'm going to show you how to mix automotive paint. So what we have here is we have a whole assortment of different types of paint and what I'm going to try to convey to you is that different brands of paint all mix in a very similar manner and there are some tips and tricks that you need to look out for so that you mix them correctly. Because if you don't mix them correctly, then all kinds of really bad things can happen. The paint won't harden properly, it won't spray properly, it won't have the right viscosity to work in your gun and you can just ruin it, it won't match subsequent top coats that you need to put on it. So one of the most common types of paint is a base coat, clear coat. And this is a base coat and again, depending on what brand of paint they have a different method for how to mix it. Sometimes it's mixed with one type of thinner and a hardener on top of that, sometimes it's mixed with just a reducer and so when I'm going to try to convey to you today is how you figure out what needs to be added to the paint and what ratio needs to be mixed. And nine times out of ten, you can find that information directly on the side of the can. This is a very common paint, it's a PPG paint and it tells you with a picture and then also a ratio of the two different types, this right here is a DBC and that's the actual base coat and the DT is a reducer. So it mixes 1 to 1 with color and the reducer. And so what you want to do is you want to get a paint cup that is specifically for mixing automotive paints, it won't deteriorate, it won't melt and then on the sides of the cup you'll see all of these different little legends. And so if I want to mix 1 to 1, you'd find up here 1 to 1 on that paint cup and then each one of these marks corresponds to the level at which you need to fill this cup. So you go up to the 7 with the paint and then you go to the next column over and you go up to the 7 with the thinner. So it's 1 part of paint, 1 part of thinner. And you can see they have it already marked out for a whole bunch of different ratios. 2 to 1, 1 to 1.5, 3 to 1, 4 to 1, 8 to 1 and then they also have gradients in milliliters, ounces and just generic scale. This is, this doesn't mean anything. So if you wanted to mix 1 to 1, you would go to 5 parts of paint, go to the 5 line and then 5 more up to the 10 line with the thinner. Getting a little bit more complicated is this is a single stage paint and if you can zoom in on there you can see that there's a whole bunch of different options for different products that you can mix. DCC, that's this paint, a DT is a reducer and then a DECX is the hardener. So they want this paint mixed 4 to 2 to 1. So that means 4 parts of this paint, 2 parts of the reducer and 1 part of the activator or hardener. So the way you would do that is you would want 4 parts of the one, so you would go 4 of the paint, 2 parts of the reducer so you go up to 6 with the reducer and 1 part of the hardener so you would go up to the 7. So it's 4 to 2 to 1. So if you do your math and you think about these cups, you can pretty much mix any kind of paint. Here's cleat coat, this one's very simple, again you always look at the side of the can and it says it needs to be mixed 2 to 1. So 2 parts of the clear coat with 1 part of the hardener. Again, you can find that directly on the side of the cup. You can find 2 to 1 and then all of these different gradients correlate to 2 to 1. So if you only need a little bit of clear coat, you'd put the clear coat up to the 2 mark and then in the next column over, you'd find the 2 mark and you'd put the hardener till the level goes up to that. Again, here's a completely different brand but on the side of the can it tells you specifically how you're supposed to all the information you need. Now if hypothetically the paint mixing information is not on the can, go to the manufacturer's website and what I always keep at my paint mixing station is a 3 ring binder and you can see this, we've used this a lot. And inside I print off all of the different types of paint that I generally use including the primers, all of their technical information. So DBC for example, that was the first base coat that I showed you where you mix it 1 to 1. Well if you go the manufacturer's website, you can print off technical information specifically for DBC and they do a great job of outlining different additives that you can use, what type of tip you need to run for your gun, all kinds of different things like the amount of time you need to spend between your coats. So go check out the manufacturer's website and you can download and print off all this technical information as well as safety information. Finally, if you still are not sure after checking the website and checking the side of the can, call the paint company that sold you the paint. They should be able to provide you with all the information that you need as well as all the chemicals and all of the safety equipment that you need to mix and spray paint successfully.


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