The Crazy Ways of Painting a Rat Rod

painting a rat rod

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One of the most important parts of a rat rod is painting a rat rod. Rat rod paint should look weathered and worn, but also stylish and unique. Here are some techniques and inspiration for creating a one-of-a-kind rat rod finish.


Painting a Rat Rod: Rust Effect

Rat rods often have a rusty look, which can be achieved with special paints and techniques. Here are some steps to create a rust effect:

  • Paint the car with a rust-colored base coat.
  • Spray the car with salt water while the paint is still wet.
  • Allow the salt water to dry on the car for several hours.
  • Wipe down with dry rag.
  • Apply a top coat of clear coat to seal the rust effect.

Painting a Rat Rod: Faded Paint

Another popular technique for rat rod paint is faded paint, or what some call a patina. This technique involves painting the car with a base coat, then sanding it down to reveal the layers underneath. Here are some steps to create a faded paint effect:

  • Paint the car with a base coat of the color you want to show through.
  • Now paint a layer of the color you want on top of the base coat and let fully cure.
  • Sand the car lightly with sandpaper to reveal the base coat.
  • Apply a top coat of clear coat to protect the finish.
    Read more about creating a patina look for your rat rod.


Pinstriping is a technique that involves using a thin brush to paint decorative lines on the car. This technique can be used to create unique designs and add personality to your rat rod. Here are some steps to create pinstriping:

  • Use a thin pinstriping brush and a contrasting color of paint to paint decorative lines on the car.
  • Practice on a piece of paper or cardboard before painting on the car.
  • Use stencils or templates to create consistent designs.


Rustic and Worn

A rustic and worn look is a classic rat rod style. This style uses earthy colors and rust effects to create a vintage look. Think about using warm colors like brown, orange, and red to create a worn look.

Modern and Sleek

A modern and sleek look is a newer trend in rat rod paint. This style uses brighter colors and clean lines to create a futuristic look. Think about using bold colors like blue, green, and purple to create a modern look.


The best rat rod paint jobs are personalized to the owner’s taste. Think about incorporating your hobbies or interests into the design. For example, if you’re a musician, you could use musical notes or instruments in your design.


Creating a one-of-a-kind rat rod paint job requires some creativity and skill. By using techniques like rust effects and pinstriping, and drawing inspiration from different styles, you can create a unique and personalized finish for your rat rod. Remember, the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the process of creating your own custom ride!

Author: Jake

My main passion is anything rat rod, cars, trucks, bikes and even lawn tractors. But I also just love anything rusted out, To me nothing makes a better lawn decoration then a piece of history (which happens to be rusty).

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