Don't do it. Please don't. I've painted cars and I think you'd be making a big mistake. At minimum, don't use spray paint. If you must paint it yourself, go rent an air compressor and paint gun -- that's something you should be able to do for way under $100. Buy a professional paint (a quart should do it) and even the most expensive paint should be less than $40 in that quantity.
If you bought spray paint, you'd spend most of that to get enough paint to cover the top. IMPORTANT -- spray paint is notorious for spitting and dripping at less than 50% of can capacity. The $50 or so bucks that you save by using spray paint comes at the expense of having an eye sore for as long as you own the Jeep. That, or you'll experience the joy of waiting for the paint to harden, wetsanding and re-shooting, which will ultimately take MORE time and money than getting the right equipment. You love your Jeep enough that the chips on the top bothers you -- so much so that it's motivating you to take on the task of painting it. That qualifies you as a person with enough pride in workmanship that you won't suffer doing a job like that while getting a bad result. Shucks. Spending the time and money and getting a bad result will bother me more than having the top chipped in the first place! At least the chip didn't cost me anything.
Since 70+% of the surface you'll be painting is horizontal, even a cheap spray gun will give you great mirror like results because the paint can flatten out without running as would be the case if you had a vertical surface with lots of contouring. Of course, you need to be extra careful on the sides, but a can of spray paint won't give you good results regardless of where you apply it. The surface is too big for spray paint. You'll get spit droplets, ridges, and the paint won't hold up as well.
The other thing is if you do use spray paint be careful using Rustoleum. It is not compatible with other brands of enamals. Rustoleum includes an oil additive that if painted over using a non-Rostleum brand will produce shitty adhesion and cosmetic quality.
Just remember -- use a cheap paint and you also inheret the laborious task of removing that paint if later on you decide to really do the job right.
Aside from the need to get breathing and skin protection when painting, there's nothing wrong with painting it yourself -- just not with spray paint. And pulease use protection. I see guys on TV painting with spray paint with no breathing protection or cover for their skin. Even spray paint includes some nasty molecules like Methelene chloride and toluene. No top, or Jeep is worth hearing the doctor give a diagnosis of cancer. F that! Get yourself a 3M mask rated for spaying paint and a painting coverall, gloves and hood. And use them! And if you go professional ASK whether the paint you select can be shot with a 3M mask. Some professional paints have isocyanide and other molecules that go right through a charcoal filter. Guess what they cause. Painting can be fun and if you haven't done it before, you'll really feel good about getting this handled. (all of this assumes that you don't have neighbors in close proximity -- if that's the case, man, I'd take that top to a body shop and have them shoot it.)
Siggie thank u for your very informative post..i never thought about the fact about it being a horizontal surface plus cand sgiving about 50 % u are so right..take care
Owner stock 89 Wrangler 4.2,5 speed,,110,000 miles
I used a roller to paint a top on my old CJ, I had it for a few years after the paint job and it still looked great. I forget what kind of paint I used but I'll ask my brother who reccomended it at the time.
Spray it yourself. I did mine as well as a lot of others. Krylon Fusion. No it is not perfect. On top, you can notice some blotches and lines fron the rattle can but who sees the top. I'd give mine a 8 out of 10. The problem with a roller, at least for a TJ top would be getting into the recess around the window, the ridges in the top and in the rear hatch area.
Krylon fusion is NOT the right product for this kind of project.
Anyone interested in undertaking this sort of project (and hoping to get good, long lasting results) should read through and follow the advice of Siggie & tiny terror.
06 Rubi with some sort of double ended, chrome knobbed, cross threaded, infinitely adjustable, frequently breakable, worn out flammywhammers zip tied onto it.
It used to be a jeep thing... til that sh!t broke!
Not the right product if you are looking for a perfect paint job (and that will depend on the shop. plenty of auto paint shops do bad paint jobs).
It is an accepaible product for a very low cost color change and it will hold up. ($20 vs a couple hundred) I did mine two years ago and others have had their's done for longer. The only place I has issues was in the recess around the side glass. I did not make sure to get a good coat there first. Some of it was over spray so some did not adhere and I've had to touch up.
It depends on your Jeep. Mine is not show and on many Jeeps, imperfections come with the territory.
I painted my hard top with Krylon Fusion last year and it turned out well. It still looks good other than around the side windows where it was harder scuff. The paint flaked off around the windows.
The Krylon Fusion is designed for plastic and won't chip due to the top being able to flex when you're out putting the jeep in compromising postitions.
I will be doing mine again this summer when it stays warm.
I suggest if you are going to do it yourself, try to paint the top of it as it sits on the floor, but be able to raise it up to your height when doing the sides. You can pay a little more attention to detail if you aren't laying on the floor trying to get the bottom, under the windows.
At some point during jeep ownership, you will BUST A NUT!!!
Just get a few rolls of black duct tape & cover it with that. You can make the rows fo tape go back to front, side to side, weave pattern... the options are endless. And if it gets nicked up on the trail, guess what... simple to touch it up again.
If you really want to get creative, get a few different colored rolls & have some REAL fun!
Bought this hard top off of craigslist for $100 with no windows. I used rustoleum primer and flat black. After it dryed the streaks went away, I have washed the top several times and have had no chipping or any other problems.
I was going to put windows in but turned out to expensive, so I am going to cut it down and use it as a hard bikini top!!