Before your begin to paint your vehicle, there are some things that beginners often overlook. Be sure to properly prep the surface. A poorly prepped surface will show in the final finish. Make sure the products you are using are compatible (different types of primers and paints may not work together). As important as a properly prepped surface, make sure you have a clean environment to spray in. In addtion, you need to properly protect yourself from the chemicals in the paints and primers you will be spraying. Painter's suits, gloves, goggles, head socks, and fresh air respirators should be used with today's finishes.
When setting up your paint gun, ensure that you have the proper cfm for your spray gun and have the proper PSI to the air cap. Clean, dry air is necessary when painting. Hold the spray gun 6 inches from the test surface and adjust to get a fan pattern that is approximately 6 inches for spraying automobiles. If you are spraying smaller objects, a 4 inch pattern is usually ideal. Practice with different fan patterns before you begin spraying your project.
When spraying, be sure to keep the gun parallel to the surface you are spraying. If you are spraying a solid or metallic color, you should use a 50% overlap on each pass. For candies and pearls, you usually want to use a 75% overlap. When spraying, you should walk with the gun and keep the gun an equal distance from the surface. If you move your wrist, this will vary the gun's distance from the surface you are spraying, resulting in uneven coverage. There are many books, videos, and DVDs available that offer valuable information on how to paint a car, but a large part of spraying is developing a feel. The more you practice, the better you will become. There is a fine line between laying the paint on flat and texture-free, and running it off the panel. To get this feel, you must practice and become acclimated to your spray equipment and the products you are spraying. Before jumping into your project, practice spraying extra parts (doors, hoods, and fenders make good practice pieces).