The extensive range of colors and combination of color enhancements offered by manufacturers makes color matching of the bodywork very challenging. For instance, you may have prepared the intermediate coat precisely and applied the color uniformly on your automobile, but all this effort invested is in vain if you don’t attain a good color matching. Luckily, paint shop professionals use innovative techniques, including color blending, to meet this challenge. So, what is blending in auto painting?
Blending in auto painting is among the most common painting procedures performed in the automobile industry. It involves applying a new paint color to certain parts adjacent to the repair area on your car. This technique avoids color variations for optimal integration between the repair area and the adjoining parts.
This guide offers more insight on blending in auto painting, so keep reading to learn more.
How Do You Blend Car Paint Like a Pro?
Proper blending of car paint is one of the most significant aspects of automotive painting. The technique allows you to achieve slight color differences between the paint you apply and the default paint, unnoticeable to the human eye.
Blending also compliments the repair process, optimizing paint consumption to guarantee color matching.
You can achieve blending by applying a single layer base coat finish, two coat finish, or three coat finish. The process is different from partial painting, which focuses on the actual part instead of going beyond the repair area.
If done correctly, you will have shorter repair times, giving you enough time to perform other tasks like masking and more. Here’s how to blend car paint like a professional:
Step 1: Do the Body Repairs
Before blending your car paint, ensure you mend the damaged areas. This allows the subsequent steps to go through smoothly, including scuffing and surface preparation.
After repairing, scuff the panels you plan to blend into with a base coat according to the user’s instructions printed on the paint can. That includes any parts you will be coordinating the base coat into.
You can achieve this using various products that do an excellent job, including scuff pads and prep liquid. You may also wet sand the panels with medium-grit sandpaper. Ensure you do this step precisely to avoid delamination issues in the future.
Step 2: Mask and Prime.
Next, mask any areas you don’t intend to blend to control the volume of basecoat you apply on the panels. After that, use a color-keyed primer to coat your surface until full coverage on the intended areas. If you don’t have this primer, go for a color-keyed ground coat and apply it over the repaired areas before applying the basecoat.
Step 3: Choose Your Reducer
After priming, decide on the temperature range of the reducer you plan to use in the basecoat. Avoid using a reducer that dries too fast, as it will cause the blend edge to look coarse. Instead, opt for a slow-drying reducer that lets the base coat lay flat, allowing for an invisible blend.
Deciding on the reducer shouldn’t stress you. All it takes is to consider the booth temperature and humidity. Increased humidity allows your paint to set up faster, just as high temperatures do.
After deciding on the proper reducer, you can now apply the basecoat based on the package’s user instructions. If you didn’t lay a color-keyed primer, use a ground coat now. The ground coat resembles a keyed basecoat, so you must apply it like a basecoat.
The essence of the ground coat is to minimize the amount of paint required to attain full coverage. For best outcomes, aim to achieve a perfect blend to avoid compromising the blend effect.
Apply your base coat to the repaired spot, and expand each coat beyond the next. Continue doing this until you seal all the primer/ground coat. You then mask off the panels you are blending before extending 2 to 3 inches basecoat onto them until you attain a smooth blend.
- Avoid dusting a coat on the whole panel, thinking it will cover dry edges or sanding marks.
Step 4: Let It Flash Off.
After laying down the basecoat, let it flash off according to the package instructions – usually 30 to 45 minutes. Remember that the more basecoats you lay down, the more flash time it will take.
That’s because solvents get trapped under multiple paint layers. Therefore, give them enough time to escape before applying the clearcoat.
Step 5: Grab a Tack Rag
After the basecoat flashes off, use a tack rag to tack off the refinish areas. Ensure the tack rag is designed for basecoats and be careful in the process so that the tack rag doesn’t blend into the basecoat or Irritate the metallic effect.
It’s wise to use the tack rag because basecoat tack rags don’t stick on surfaces like regular tack rags. So if you opt for a standard tack rag in this step, the tackifier will come off the tack rag because of the solvents in the basecoat, resulting in a paint defect in the clear coat.
Step 6: Apply the Clear Coat.
Next, apply the clear coat as instructed in the user’s guide. If you want to blend the clearcoat, use the same tapering technique as the basecoat. ( extend each coat slightly beyond the previous one to get a tapered edge.)
Avoid extending the clearcoat to an area that wasn’t appropriately scuffed because your car will end up with peeling issues after enduring abuse from direct sunlight.
If the paint manufacturer provides a blending solvent, apply it carefully because too much blending can make the clear coat sag at the blended perimeter.
Step 7: Wet sand and Polish
Lastly, polish and wet sand the tapered edge to get an acceptable paint match.
Common Mistakes When Blending Automotive Paint
Blending automotive paint sounds easy, but even professionals find it challenging to achieve the perfect blend. Here are the common mistakes made while blending automotive paint.
It’s essential to figure out your car’s paint code before blending. The paint code Is highlighted inside the driver’s side door frame.
However, you can still encounter different variations even if you have the correct paint code, causing the new paint to differ from the original color slightly. So to avoid such, you need to test the paint codes for consistency.
Taping Close to the Repair Area
Taping off an enclosed area makes it hard to blend automotive paint. That means you need to blend a large surface area for the new paint to match the original color. If not, you won’t achieve a perfect blend because the transition will be visible.
Temperature variations can give automotive paint numerous complications. For instance, painting in low temperatures results in an orange peel effect, making your car appear unsightly.
So if you leave in a temperature-controlled environment, give your car enough time to adapt to the average temp before blending.
Poor blending technique is a typical error with any painting endeavor. This can cause sags and runs due to inconsistent air pressure in your spray gun. So to avoid such, use a spray gun with a good tip and air cap.
This misstep is among the main mistakes during blending automotive paint, and it manifests as bubbles on the surface. It occurs when you skip cleaning the surface before blending.
Don’t worry if this happens, as you can fix it using the information in this guide.
First, if you encounter this problem when the paint is wet, wipe out the fisheyes with a solvent, then reapply another coat. But when everything is dry, sand out the blemishes lightly with medium-grit sandpaper.
Types of Blending Application In Vehicle Repairs.
Below are the types of blending applications to use on your c4car.
Cut painting is based on applying color to the entire part irrespective of the size of the damaged area. Remember that this technique needs accurate color adjustment on all parts adjacent to the repair area because of the difficulty in concealing color differences between parts.
It’s commonly used in less complicated colors, like plain colors. However, it’s not recommended for more complex colors like metallic colors.
This application method involves applying a clear coat or color to the defined spots of the damaged surface. It’s used in areas with moldings in body panels, providing visual separation of parts.
How Do You Blend Old and New Car Paint?
Blending automotive paint to match the existing color can prove difficult if you don’t master the correct technique. And for that, I have come up with a step by step process to help you get through with the task. Please check out below:
The first thing you should do is get your vehicle’s paint code and ensure you have the right paint at your disposal. Secondly, come up with a perfect plan. You may want to start applying light coats from one end of the panel as you work towards the edges to fool the eyes.
Remember to shake your spray can thoroughly to mix the paint pigments that settle in the bottom when idle. Then start spraying the new paint in a sweeping motion to attain full coverage. Don’t aim to gain a perfect blend with the first coat.
You will need multiple coats to blend the new paint into the existing one. After spraying the paint to full coverage, let the paint dry depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations, then add a second coat. Use the same application technique as the first coat, but do it lightly, so the paint doesn’t appear sagged.
The second coat will give your panel a darker color. But keep in mind that whenever you apply a fresh coat of paint, you will have a dry line. So when applying subsequent coats, you will want to cover up the dryline, forcing you to paint further out to achieve a perfect blend.
Lastly, spray the final coat towards the panel’s edges and be consistent to cover the entire board. Wait for your paint to dry, then add a clear coat to enhance the shine.
The idea of color matching is to attain a gradual transition from your fresh paint to the existing paint, unnoticeable to the eye. Doing this precisely will give you that acceptable match.
How Do You Blend Single Stage Paint On a Car?
Using single-stage paint on your car is a huge bonus as it guarantees a perfect balance between cost-effectiveness, resistance, and durability. Here are other advantages linked with this paint option.
Increased Speed and Simplicity While Coating
Applying single-stage paint on your car saves you a step in the repair process because the final coat will contain one coat, needing no clear coat. That means the working time will reduce as you will not engage in material preparation, drying times, and applying multiple coats.
Additionally, it minimizes the possible occurrence of painting defects on the top clear coat. However, applying single-stage paint requires professional touch for a quality finish, free from typical errors like clearcoat sagging, blooming, and loss of gloss.
Optimizing Costs and Resources.
A single-stage paint saves you on material consumption as the final coat is not required. Besides, it also limits the consumption of bodywork supplies such as paper, masking tape, and mixing containers. This allows you to save extra resources to face new repairs, increasing the opportunity cost.
Let’s now discuss how to blend single-stage paint on your car. The process is a little challenging, but the correct application method and surface prep will get you out of trouble.
How to Blend Single Stage Paint On a Car
First, lightly wet sand the area you plan to blend with 1500 grit sandpaper. This should prepare the surface for the new paint to grab hold. After that, apply a color over the blend or repair area to achieve full coverage. Go over this area with a reducer to let the paint go through the existing color.
However, this step requires accuracy. Therefore, you should apply the reducer carefully not to overspray on the soft edge. If you accidentally overspray the smooth edge, use a fade-out spray to remove it. You should apply this medium once the reducer is dry. If not, it will break loose your paint because it’s a hot solvent.
Next, wait for a few days, then come with 2000 grit sandpaper to scuff up the blended area for mechanical adhesion, then polish to enhance the shine.
However, don’t get over-aggressive with your sandpaper or pad because it will result in problems such as a break back. This problem might manifest after your paint job, and I bet you won’t like it. So please be gentle with your sandpaper or pad.
Blending single-stage paint is not easy as it seems, so you must wait for the paint to harden before polishing. By doing that, you reduce the risk of break back, displaying visible repair and other surface irregularities.
How Do You Blend Auto Touch Up Paint?
The best DIY solution to addressing small chips and scratches on your car is to add auto-touch-up paint. Find out below how to blend your auto touch-up paint for a uniform appearance.
Step 1: Clean the Surface You Intend to Blend
You must always work with a clean surface when undertaking paint repairs. Make sure you give your car a good wash, then apply a spray glass cleaner to wipe out the tiniest debris. After that, use a clean microfiber cloth to dry off the car.
Step 2: Identify the Damage
Inspect your car all along the body to mark the damaged spots with masking tape. This allows you to identify the repair areas while touching up with your paint.
Step 3: Sand the Damaged Surfaces
To avoid premature peeling issues after application, you need to sand the damaged areas with 200 grit sandpaper. Use short and light strokes for this step until the existing paint slightly loses its shine.
After that, gently run your finger across the sanded area to see if it feels smooth around the tiny chips. If that’s not the case, repeat sanding until the sanded spots feel smooth.
Step 4: Clean With a Paint Cleaner
This step involves applying a paint cleaner to the sanded area to allow the touch-up product to hold better. Take your cotton swab and insert it into a bucket of general-purpose automotive paint thinner. You then remove it and clean up the sanded area.
Step 5: Blend Your Touch-up Paint.
This is the most time-consuming part of this process, and any small mistake guarantees a poor final result. Start by spray painting your car from one end and gradually letting it off to make the paint more transparent as it integrates into the existing paint. Continue doing that until you have full coverage.
Next, tack-rag the surface and let it dry before administering subsequent coats. You will notice that the paint loses its volume as it dries. So you have to let each coat dry entirely then decide if you need more coats before applying a clear coat.
Step 6: Apply a Clear Coat.
After the paint dries up in 30 minutes, apply two to three coats of clear coat to reveal the shine. Allow the clearcoat to dry according to the user’s instructions, then go on with multiple coats if necessary.
Blending auto-touch-up paint makes your repairs less apparent, giving you the illusion of a better paint match. However, a common mistake is masking off the repair area, making it hard to achieve a perfect blend.
Also, keep in mind that this DIY solution is not meant for extensive paint damage. So if your car endures more severe damage, you will need a professional touch up.
How To Prevent Blotchy Automotive Paint
Spray painting your car needs more skill than painting using a brush. So when you spray paint your vehicle in the wrong condition or with below-average sprayers, the paint will appear uneven and blotchy. You will also notice visible spray paint marks throughout the painted surface.
So how do you prevent blotchy automotive paint?
Here are a few tips elaborating on avoiding a blotchy surface on your car.
Mix It Up
Inside all spray cans, you will find a small ball called a pea, and its default purpose is to mix the paint in the can. So before spraying your first coat of paint, give your paint a thorough shake for nearly 60 seconds.
This blends the paint’s pigments that settle at the bottom after long periods of sitting idle.
Learn Can Control
Here is another sure tip that will improve your paintwork. Remember that spray painting requires you to keep your wrist steady to ensure an even coat of paint hits your target. Slightly twisting your wrist will give certain areas more paint than others, creating blotches.
Keep the Can Moving
An easy fix to addressing blotchy automotive paint is ensuring your spray can move steadily and avoid stopping before you finish spraying.
Clean Your Spray Paint Equipment
A clean paint sprayer allows you to deliver even coats free from flaws. So when your sprayer nozzle is clogged with paint, it will create jagged paint streams instead of a fine mist.
Each manufacturer offers a stepwise process for cleaning a spray can, so you need to follow them to get consistent results from start to finish.
How To Blend Paint Patches On a Car
Repairing a car is quite expensive, so it’s wise to avoid costly repairs by handling minor dents at home. However, blending paint patches on your vehicle takes effort if you don’t have the right tools and skills for the job.
Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with this field of expertise, as this guide outlines the whole process.
Step 1: Sanding
Begin by sanding down the area to be blended using rough sandpaper. By doing so, you eliminate any grit or paint scratches for your blending job to go on smoothly.
After that, give the sanded area thorough cleaning with a wax-free cleaning solvent and rinse before drying with a cotton cloth.
Step 2: Mask the Areas You Don’t Plan to Paint
Suppose you’re blending a small area; it’s wise to mask off the nearby areas to avoid unexpected paint spills. Experts recommend leaving an overlap of three inches between the blending area and your car’s surface. ( you will blend the overlap after the paint dries.
Step 3: Apply the Automotive Paint
Next, take your spray can and start painting your car in a back and forth motion across the blending area. Do this until you attain full coverage, and the new paint matches the existing paint on the surrounding areas.
You should examine the spray can to determine the dry time between coats, but the usual waiting time is 15 minutes.
Step 4: Add More Coats
After the first coat dries, lay the second coat in the same pattern as the first one but do it lightly until you are pleased with the color. Applying even coats will give you a perfect blend.
Step 5: Apply a Clear Coat
After you’re done color-matching the paint, add two to three coats of high-quality clear coat to form a protective barrier and reveal the shine.
Step 6: Wet Sand
Lastly, you will want to wet sand the blended spots to remove any surface imperfections such as paint flecks, bumps, and other impurities in the paint. Use 1500 grit wet sandpaper to work over the repaired spots using light strokes.
Then change to 2000 grit sandpaper and use the same technique to get the job done.
Finally, let the surface air dry, then apply a polisher to restore your car’s natural shine.
Here’s a Video Of Paint Blending:
Manufacturers have come up with numerous color options, making it hard to attain a perfect color match. That means you should have good skills in automotive painting to optimize the integration of new paint into the existing one on your car. And for that, you need to know
What Is Blending In Auto Painting
Blending in auto painting involves the new paint being applied to the repair area to match the existing one on your car. This technique requires a lot of precision to get it done, so ensure you sift through all the basics in this guide for the mission success of your project.
By following the instructions and tips highlighted in this guide, you make slight color variations between the new and the original car paint. As such, you get a perfect color match that’s hardly noticeable to the eye.
I hope you found this post helpful to your DIY automotive painting blending technique. Do you have a burning issue that you would like addressed? Kindly Share it with me in the comment section below.