How To Paint Pinewood Derby Car

Painting a Pinewood Derby Car: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners


The Pinewood Derby is an exciting event where children and parents come together to create and race small wooden cars. One of the most enjoyable parts of this experience is customizing the car with paint and decals. If you’re new to the world of Pinewood Derby cars and want to learn how to paint them, you’ve come to the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process of painting a Pinewood Derby car, from preparation to finishing touches.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Before getting started, ensure you have all the necessary supplies. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

– Sandpaper (medium and fine grit)
– Paintbrushes (various sizes)
– Acrylic paint (assorted colors)
– Painter’s tape or masking tape
– Protective goggles and gloves
– Spray sealant (optional)

Step 2: Prepare Your Pinewood Derby Car

To create a smooth and even paint job, it’s important to prepare your car properly. Start by sanding the surface of the car with medium grit sandpaper. This will remove any imperfections, rough edges, or splinters. Once you’ve sanded the entire surface, switch to fine grit sandpaper and sand it again. This will ensure a polished and smooth surface for the paint to adhere to.

Step 3: Design Your Paint Scheme

Now comes the fun part – designing your car’s paint scheme! Consider the colors and patterns you want to incorporate. It’s essential to plan this beforehand, as it will save you time and effort in the long run. Grab a piece of paper and sketch out your desired design. This will serve as your guide during the painting process.

Step 4: Apply a Base Coat

Using a paintbrush or a spray can, apply a thin layer of base coat paint to the entire surface of the car. This base coat will create a foundation for the subsequent layers of paint. Allow the base coat to dry fully before moving on to the next step. Patience is key to achieving a professional-looking finish.

Step 5: Mask Off Your Design

Now it’s time to bring your design to life. Using painter’s tape or masking tape, carefully mask off the areas you don’t want to paint with the next color. This step is especially important if you want to achieve crisp lines and multiple colors on your Pinewood Derby car. Take your time to ensure the tape adheres firmly and covers the desired areas.

Step 6: Apply Paint Layers

Dip your paintbrush into the color of your choice and begin applying your first layer of paint to the unmasked areas. Use smooth and even strokes, making sure to cover the surface completely. Repeat this process for each color in your design, allowing each layer to dry before moving on to the next. Multiple thin layers will result in a more professional and vibrant paint job than one thick layer.

Step 7: Remove the Tape and Add Details

Once all the paint layers have dried, carefully remove the tape to reveal your masterpiece. This is the moment where your design truly comes to life! Take a step back and admire your work. If desired, you can now add additional details using smaller paintbrushes. Remember, it’s the small touches that can elevate your Pinewood Derby car to the next level.

Step 8: Seal the Paint

To protect your hard work and give your car a glossy finish, consider applying a spray sealant. This step is optional but recommended for a longer-lasting paint job. Follow the instructions on the sealant can and apply it in a well-ventilated area. Allow the sealant to dry before touching or handling the car.


Congratulations! You’ve successfully learned how to paint a Pinewood Derby car from start to finish. Remember, planning, patience, and attention to detail are key to achieving a stunning paint job. This enjoyable and creative process allows you to personalize your car and stand out on race day. So, grab your paintbrushes, let your creativity flow, and get ready to create a show-stopping Pinewood Derby car that will impress everyone. Good luck!

Leave a Comment