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How To Spray Paint RC Car Bodies

Spray paint is an affordable and easy-to-use option to paint your RC car and give a newer, brighter look. Pairing with spray paint is also very fast and brings you great results really quickly. But, some people miss some important things to consider when spray-painting their RC cars.

If you’re looking to spray-paint your RC car and have it looking like new again, this article will let you know what you need to keep in mind to get the best results.

You can also watch the video below to see the process of painting your RC car with spray paint. 

Spray painting your RC car

Here are important things to know about spraying your RC car:

Use the right paint

Spray paints for your RC car abound on the market. Some RC body painters say it is best to use only products particularly created to be used on Lexan or other polycarbonate plastic used in the creation of RC bodies. 

However, some people have gotten good results using any old off-the-shelf spray paint or other paints like automotive paint. If it is your first time painting your RC car, sticking to spray paints may be a good idea, especially for your plastic RC bodies. 

Make preparations

One reason why some RC paint jobs look quite bad or do not last is not the paint itself or the method of painting used but the fact that there was no preparation done before the person started painting. Before you get on to painting your RC car, you should use warm and soapy to clean the body thoroughly, and after that, make sure you thoroughly dry it. 

Always handle the body of the car from the inside in order not to get oils from your hands on the surfaces that are to be painted. Even very little amounts of oil can prevent the paint from sticking onto the car.

Scuff the painting surface

Not everyone uses this step, but you should know that spray paints, particularly those kinds that are not specifically developed to be used on Lexan RC bodies, will typically stick better if you scuff the body. Using very fine sandpaper or steel wool, scratch the surface to be spray-painted very lightly, but be careful to make sure you only scratch lightly. If you do not scratch lightly, any deep scratches will show in the paint job. 

Carefully applied paint can hide light scratches, but there’s no hiding it if it’s really deep. Of course, you are going to want to avoid scuffing areas like windows that will not be painted because the scratches will be visible.

Shake the can

This is a very important step you can’t afford to take for granted. This shaking would typically take longer, and most can’t understand it, but there is a reason. When the can is thoroughly shaken, it greatly impacts the opaque finishing that everyone wants to achieve. 

When shaking the can, follow the directions that come with it for how long to shake it.

Warm up the paint

Spray paint has better flow when it’s at about 70° Fahrenheit so let the can stay under warm running water for a period of time or just keep the spray paint indoors for a couple of days to get to that temperature. You can also put the bottom of the can in a bowl of warm for that period of time. This will make the paint thinner and ensure that is sprays more evenly. 

Make sure to use only warm water and not hot water and don’t try using any other temperature-raising method. If the can overheats, it can explode.

Do a test spray

To make sure you do not experience any splatters and spurts from the can as well as ensure you’re using the right amount of pressure, first spray onto paper or cardboard, away from your car’s body and then move toward the car’s body and spray your first layer.

Spray light layers

Don’t try to use a single coat to completely cover the surface. Start by spraying a light and thin coat, which will be a see-through misting and let that dry. Then add another layer of a light coat of paint and keep repeating the process until you have gotten the complete coverage that you want.

It’s better and will look a lot nicer to have three or four thin coats of paint than to have one or two thick ones. With the thin layers, the chances of bleeding are less, and the paint is more likely not to run. 

Also, this helps to stop the paint from flaking or chipping when it is dry. 

Building up the first few (probably 5) layers in even thinner coats can be a better idea, and then you can keep making it thicker as the layers grow.

Don’t empty the can

While some people may think this is just a waste of paint, getting the very last drop out of the spray can is not the best option. Those last few sprays will most likely come out in uneven surges that can ruin the whole beautiful work you’ve been doing on your car.

But, that last bit of paint can be productively used in another way. If there are any small spots that may be needing a touch-up after the car has totally dried, spray that last bit into a little container and using a brush, carefully retouch any parts that need it. Make sure that the paint has completely dried, or you are just going to mess up your whole paint job.

Let it dry 

After you have painted your RC car, allow the car to sit undisturbed for a minimum of 24 hours or longer before you handle or touch it or do any more work on it.

You can even use a handheld dryer to make the drying process quicker. Keeping it between low to medium heat, hold it at least a foot away from the body, and slowly move it around it. If the paint has just been applied and is still liquid, don’t use the hand dryer, or the heat may make the paint run. 

Give it some time to set up a little before you use the dryer. You should also give it some time to dry before you handle the body at all.


Pairing your RC car with spray paint is an easy process if you follow the above steps. If you don’t clean the body or scuff it up because you can’t be bothered it will seriously affect the paint job and how well your paint sticks. 

The same is true with skipping the lighter costs and just trying to cover it in one coat. If you do that you won’t be pleased with the way that the paint job will turn out. 

Taking your time and working through these steps will help you achieve the paint job of your dreams and look for good for a long time to come!