$100 DIY Paint Job: Budget Black Blazer

How to Perform a $100 Flat Black Paint job; Giving New Life to a Rough Chevy K5 Blazer.

By Tommy Lee Byrd – Photography by the Author

The old adage “you get what you pay for” rings true for just about every aspect of building an old truck. Whether it comes to parts, supplies, or labor costs, a “cheap” job usually doesn’t produce the best possible outcome. But, in the case of our rough and ragged K5 Blazer, we wanted to freshen up its appearance without spending much money. We perform a budget paint job on our Chevy K5 Blazer project, here’s why and how.

01 This Chevrolet K5 Blazer has beaten its way through the woods quite a few times.
Here’s our starting point: an ’87 Chevrolet K5 Blazer that has beaten its way through the woods quite a few times. The truck was originally blue but has been spray painted flat black in the past. To put it plain and simple, the truck is rough.
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We know the truck will get used and abused, but the idea is to give it a much cleaner appearance. With so many options for paint, we opted for the most affordable, which is Rust-Oleum oil-based enamel. This is not standard automotive paint, so it can be found on the shelf of your local hardware store or it can be sourced online.

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02 The flat black spray paint didn_t hold up against fuel
You can see where the flat black spray paint didn’t hold up to fuel sloshing out of the filler neck and you can also see the chipping and scratches, due to poor prep underneath. Our goal is to feather out the chips and imperfections and give it some fresh black paint.

If we wanted to upgrade our painting materials to something nicer, Summit Racing has several great choices for affordable flat black paint, but the idea in this article is to show you how we took a rough K5 Blazer and made it a little more presentable for about $100 all together. That includes the cost of the paint, acetone (thinner), masking tape, masking paper, sand paper, and even the spray gun! We’ve had great luck with the purple HVLP Gravity Feed spray guns from Harbor Freight—they’re usually priced at less than $20 and they are an excellent value.

03 We will be filling in some imperfections in the paint job
Most of the items we’re removing will not be going back onto the K5 Blazer. The banged-up and crudely trimmed wheel well moldings are going away, and in our case, we’ll also be filling in the emblem holes in the front fenders.
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We shopped around to find the best deals on supplies, but we did splurge when it came to masking tape, as the cheap stuff is usually more trouble than it’s worth. Between Harbor Freight and Summit Racing we were able to pick up the paint supplies that we needed. Our K5 Blazer needed a little bit of additional work, so we also spent some money on body filler and primer, but the basic paint job could’ve been accomplished without the underlying bodywork.

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04 We had filler work and covered it with urethane primer
Every hot rod project is different and everyone’s expectations are different, but our example had some problem areas that needed to be addressed, so we did some body filler work and covered it with urethane primer. We sourced our sandpaper and other materials from Summit Racing.

You will also need to spend a few bucks on a respirator if you don’t already have one in the shop. For the average “scuff and shoot” paint job, you can expect to spend about $100, which is well worth the money and time, when you consider the big difference it made on our project. The Rust-Oleum paint is also great for using on frame and suspension components, so it’s a good idea to keep some of this stuff around the shop for all types of projects. Take a look at how it transformed our worn-out Chevy K5 Blazer and put these tips to use on your budget-friendly project.

Summit Racing
(800) 230-3030

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Harbor Freight
(800) 444-3353

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