To be honest, you don’t really need a tutorial for pimping your van or car into your best artwork. Art stays art and everybody is working differently. Before I turned this van into one driving- color bomb, I didn’t use a tutorial. But, I definitely wished I had one – because things were getting messy.

Spraying your van or car is big fun and imagine the fun of eventually driving it. You’re a huge painting on the road and everybody, no matter how good your art is, will look at you (still not really sure if that’s a good thing). The following 8 steps will help you along the way if you’re thinking about spraying your van or car. Have fun!

1 Think about what you want to create

If you’re good with improvisation then you can obviously skip this step – unless you want to create something in specific.
If you’re not that good with improvisation – like I am – then it might be good to think about the bigger picture. Do you want to tell a story in your artwork? Or do you want to paint something you really love? You can think about nature – sports – animals – abstract – quotes – people.
I chose to paint some landscapes I love, with some animals – quotes – objects – and some surf in it – because I adore these things. What is a VW T3 van without some surf in it, right?

2 Start to visualize it

After you’ve decided what you’re going to paint about – you can start visualizing it.
You can do that in different ways – like making a mood board by finding pictures on the internet or drawing it on paper.
I chose to search for some nice pictures on the internet which matched my theme. I gathered them and made my mood board. You can start creating your artwork by putting the pictures or drawing in a specific order of your preference. After that, you choose the things you definitely want to have on your van or car.

3 Start creating your artwork

After you’re satisfied with the selection you made – you can start creating it. Grab some thick paper or cardboard and draw the images – in real size – on it. You can do this in different ways – by drawing it with your own hand or to print from the internet and trace it on your paper or carton (which is cheating a bit).
After that, you can start cutting your images with a scissor or a sharp knife and cut the image out of the thick paper or carton.
I used both and I think that thick paper would be the best for small images because cutting patterns is a lot of work. My suggestion would be to use one image multiple times.

4 Buy your materials

After you’ve gathered your collection you can think about the colors and material you want to use. What kind of spray for your van or car are you going to use and of which kind of material is it?
I chose to buy some graffiti – just normal graffiti, because you also have special car graffiti which is triple the price of a normal one. Three years later and the color is still on it – but not that shiny anymore. Use a top layer to protect it from rainy and cold weather to keep it clean and shiny.

A few things which are also good to buy are:
– Mouth mask
– Gloves
– Cleanser to remove the graffiti at moments you need it
– Garbage bags to protect to floor from paint

Before buying, keep the basic rules for mixing up colors in mind:
– blue and yellow becomes green –
– red and yellow becomes orange –
– blue and red becomes purple –
– blue – red and yellow becomes brown –
– white makes things always lighter –

5 Clean your van or car

Before you start spraying your car – you need to check if it is possible to spray on it. Sometimes its necessary to abrade the previous top layer before you can even spray on it – otherwise it might not stick.
The only thing I did was cleaning the car with some cleansing to get rid of some greasy parts.

6 Tape important parts

This step I forgot to do – and if you don’t do this – things will get messy for sure. Tape your lights – tires – your windows – your glimpse mirrors and your license plate, before you start spraying your car. Before you know it you’re not even allowed to drive in your van or car anymore.

7 Start spraying that color

Before you start spraying your van or car – keep the weather in mind. The best circumstance is dry hot weather – so you can spray in the open air and that your artwork dries quicker.
Put on your old clothes – get your collection of images – your material – your graffiti and of course your van or car.
And now you can really start creating your artwork!

I’ve never used graffiti before – so it was a bit of a gamble. The basics are very simple and there is always a description on the bottle for how to use it. Just keep 30 cm distance in mind from the graffiti bottle till your van or car – and the magic can begin.
Start spraying the background first before you start spraying details. After you’ve done that you can hold your pattern against the van or car – hold it tight. Start spraying some white color first and let it dry. Afterward, you can spray it again in the color you prefer. And so on – and so forth.
Show it off baby
Now it’s time to show it off and to be proud of your artwork.
You also might like reading this article: 15 reasons why you should live in a van

8 Let it dry

When you’re done and your satisfied – or not – with the artwork, it needs to dry for a while. It depends on the surroundings you’re in, it might take a day or two. The color will change a bit and when it’s dry you can spray some more if you prefer.
If you’re satisfied then finished it with some top layer and done!

Show it off baby

Now it’s time to show it off and to be proud of your artwork.
You also might like reading this article: 15 reasons why you should live in a van

Hope you liked this article and that you enjoyed creating your artwork. If you did, let me know in the comments below how it worked out for you and share your artwork on Instagram using the hashtag #livethetravel.
Have you ever painted your van or car, before reading this article? If yes, how did you do it?

Love, peace, and hippieness!



Photography & content:
Live the travel / Silke Peulen

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