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Automotive Paint Mixing Ratios – How To Mix Auto Paint – Mixing Car Paint

How To Mix Automotive Paint in simple detail…

When a lot of newbie enthusiasts get into automotive painting there is something that usually confuses them.

Automotive paint mixing ratios.
That’s why you may be watching this video and reading this blog post. Well, mixing automotive paint is really a lot simpler than you think.

  • First let’s talk about single stage paints.

Single stage paints are a stand alone type of paint. No clear is necessary to produce a gloss. Think of it as ladys nail polish. You can lay a few coats of paint and you’re done. It’s glossy and durable.

A general mixing ratio for single stage paints is a 8/1/1 mixture. You will have 3 basic paint materials.

  1. Your Main Paint in which ever color you desire from metallics to solids.
  2. Reducer to thin down your paint so you don’t end up with orange peel problems.
  3. Hardener which is also known as Activator. Both are a catalyst which helps your paint cure and dry for a lasting finish.

automotive-paint-mixing-ratiosIn simple terms, let’s use 8oz cup sizes in this example because like you already know, there are 8oz in each cup. So for every 8 cups of paint you pour into your large mixing bucket you’ll have to add 1 cup of reducer and 1 cup of hardener. All of this mixed up will give you 10 cups of paintable material. Get it?


Depending on how well your paint looks when checking the viscosity while mixing and doing the drip test like I show you how to do in the VIP area of this site, you may need to add more reducer give or take.  That’s the general mixing ratio for a single stage paint. Other brands may be a little different, but now you have the basic idea. This mixing ratio is for the ShopLine product by PPG.

  • Two Stage Painting Ratio’s:
  1. Base Coat Clear Coat Paint’s as you may know are today's newest paint products. The water borne paint is also a base/clear paint. Base coat mixing is always a 50/50 mixture.

Very easy. 1 cup of base (your paint color) + 1 cup reducer = ready to paint.


Your paint never goes bad. If you have left over, just cap it in a glass jar or your paint can and seal it up. When you are ready for your next job, just mix again and you’re ready to paint. It makes it a LOT easier if you know your paint viscosity and can apply the drip test every time you’re getting ready to paint. Then it won’t matter if you put your leftovers from your gun back into the can of your unmixed base coat. I show you the short-cuts of the trade within the VIP members club of this site. No worries.

  • Clear Coat mixing for base/clear paints:

When mixing clear coat again, pretty simple. Usually depending on the brand you get you have a 4/1 or a 2/1 mixing ratio. So if you have been following along so far I really shouldn’t have to explain this one for you :)

I’ll do it anyway… a 4/1 mixing ratio goes like this. 4 parts of your clear coat to one part of your hardener. For a Gallon of clear in your bucket, you’ll add one quart of hardener… and the last time I checked there were still 4 quarts in a gallon.


Hope this post cleared a lot of confusion out of the air for you! If you are looking to get into automotive auto body and paint for a special project, or a money making venture, we would love to help you get started and off the ground quickly.


If you want to learn more about the Learn Auto Body And Paint VIP Membership community and how it can help you …feel free to check it out. You have nothing to lose and all to gain.

To learn more and to get a Free Auto Body click here

To get a Free 90-minute Auto Body DVD click here.

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