I've got a used car that had a lot of oxidation on it so I sand it, applied a primer and a cheap paint on it. Although the color code on the spray can matched the original code on the car, it seems that there are some differences in shade. It's not fully visible but there are some angles (like the one in the picture below) that looks very obvious. I don't want to paint it again or invest any money into serious body work, but I was wondering if it is possible to add some artistic elements that would diminish this shade difference from this angle. What colors or what trim elements would help to "trick" the eye? I'm not really an artist and I can't imagine if that is even possible, but any advice on how to make this possible would be great. Any creating (and hopefully cheap) idea would help a lot. Thank you!

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  • 5
    I am not sure what I see in the picture, but it looks like your car needs a proper painting, not a hack. The darker area looks spotted like camouflage, and the lighter area looks already scratched. None of these problems can really be hacked. Maybe apply a lot of dirt?! :)
    – virolino
    Commented Apr 15, 2020 at 5:57
  • The cheapest options that i can think of are buying a sharpie and just doodling away or using some stickers - plotted car wraps or sth like that - would be fairly cheap too if you can find some generic designs with fitting dimensions.
    – Lapskaus
    Commented Apr 15, 2020 at 12:48
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    Add a horizontal stripe along the side (just underneath that rim, or so) in a notable colour (e.g. neon red). It's mostly distraction at that point, so it will only draw attention while you drive by :) If it were up to me, though, I'd paint the entire car that way. I like texture and prefer matte finishes: it makes it look more unique, like a machine, and with a history.
    – Joachim
    Commented Apr 15, 2020 at 23:55
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    I am just curious, is the question proper for their site? The guy does not want to pimp the car, he just wants to hack a bad paint job.
    – virolino
    Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 6:08
  • 1
    Isn’t this an opportunity to test those “lovely” car cleaning products that are “seen on tv”? Otherwise a fun Calvin and Hobbes sticker should draw attention. Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 16:57

1 Answer 1


Add high contrast polka-dots all over the car. This will totally upstage the hand painted areas and make the fact that they don't match moot. It could be any other pattern, like zig-zagging lines, but polka-dots are the most effective due to the euphoria polka-dots trigger in the human mind.

BTW - You will never be able to just cheaply match an original or pro paint job. Auto paint is a multi-layered process involving wet sanding the layers, applying a clear top coat, etc... with specialty paints. With metallic (or flake) paint that gets even more involved. Pro painters often brag about the number of layers of top coat they use in metallic finishes to get "depth" to the effect. And even then, using the same color will not match because of fading, even if slight, of the original paint.

  • Painting a car to look like original is more of an industrial process than "arts and crafts" project. Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 16:34

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