Fade An Auto Paint Job

Faded auto paint jobs have been around for several decades. This type of paint job was very popular in the early 1990’s, even showing up from the factory on some trucks. A faded paint job consists of two different colors, one one top of the vehicle and the other on the bottom, fading into one another instead of having a solid line divide them. The area where the two colors meet is blended and faded to create a softer look.


1. Find the location on the vehicle where the two different color paints will meet. Place a strip of masking tape along this line so you have a visible reference point. Use masking paper to cover the top half of the vehicle so that only the lower portion is visible.

2. Pour the paint for the bottom color into the spray paint gun. Begin at the front of the vehicle and work towards the rear. Hold the spray gun 6 to 8 inches from the surface and move it left and right, not up and down. Spray a total of three to four thin coats of paint on the prepared surface. Wait 5 minutes between each coat. Let the paint dry for 6 to 7 hours, or place automotive paint heating lamps around the vehicle to let it dry faster. Rinse the paint gun with reducer or paint thinner to clean it completely.

3. Remove the masking paper and tape from the top of the vehicle. Once you know the new paint that is on the bottom of the vehicle is completely dry, place masking tape and paper over it so only the top half of the vehicle is visible. Move the first strip of masking tape down so that the bare area under it can be painted.

4. Pour the second color of paint into the spray paint gun. Using the same spraying techniques, paint the top half of the vehicle. Allow it to dry completely. Remove all masking paper and tape from the vehicle.

5. Put more paint into the spray gun, choosing either the top or bottom color, whichever you prefer. Add some reducer to the paint, at a ratio of two parts paint to one part reducer. The reducer will cause the paint to become very thin and once sprayed, will ‘burn’ the surface and existing paint on the vehicle, causing it to fade slightly.

6. Spray this mixture along the line where the two colors meet. Concentrate on spraying the line first so that it is no longer visible and then move slightly higher than the line and then slightly lower. This makes the faded area look more even. For a larger fade, move even further above and below the original lines. Let the paint dry completely and then spray three to four coats of clear coat paint over the entire vehicle.