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If you don't have an art car of your own, there are lots of occasions when the temporary transformation of a rental car, a friend's car, your teacher's car, your boss's car or some other car can let you be part of the show. And you'll also get a taste of how much fun it is to drive across the lines of conformity in your own art car!

Here are a few ideas to get you started. Note that none of these methods are sure fire "won't screw up the factory finish" methods, so if you will have a heart attack if you accidentally scratch your car, don't even think about creating a temporary art car.
(See the "Weee didn't do it..." statement below.)

Click on each picture to see a larger version.


You can actually do a great deal with magnets glued onto the back of things. The first version of our car Gertrude was covered with CD-ROMs that had junk glued all over them. We attached them to the car with a couple of small magnets glued to the back of the CD. You could move the CDs around, add more, take away a few, whatever you want.

desert car

A small set of these CDs were temporarily attached to a rental car that was driven in the desert at the 1995 Burning Man. All of the CDs were lightweight and had small things glued to them so they were fairly well wind resistant.

When using magnets to attach objects, keep wind resistance in mind. Something big and heavy will probably blow off of the car even when attached with strong magnets.

midlife chryslerThe Midlife Chrysler is another car that successfully uses magnets, though it is not really a temporary art car. All of the penguins on the side of the car are printed vinyl magnets. They look just like paint from a distance and even up close it's hard to tell. Occasionally, someone will touch the car and discover the truth. Only once or twice has someone actually removed a penguin and run away with it!

Temporary Paint

Once again, don't attempt this at home unless you are willing to accept the possibility that the paint might leave a mark on the factory finish. With that in mind, there are two types of paint you can use. Tempera paint and AquaFlow, a special automobile paint from a company in Georgia.

Tempera paint is a good all purpose paint that even kids can work with safely. It can be applied to the car with regular or foam brushes, and comes off easily with soap and water. The only drawback here is that it will also come off if it rains. Oh well, we are talking temporary here.

If you want your masterpiece to last through a rainstorm, you might consider a new automobile paint called AquaFlow. It is designed to be applied to cars with an airbrush, though just about any method of application will do. We tried both regular and foam brushes as well as sponges with great success.

Once you have applied the AquaFlow paint, the finish will withstand most kinds of weather and even the car wash. When you are finished with the temporary art car experience, you use a special cleaning fluid to remove the paint. A little bit of elbow grease and a few rags later, you are back to the original factory finish. The paint comes in a variety of colors as well as finishes - even sparkles.

toyota 1We tried this paint on our family car and liked the paint job so much, we left it there. We also tried this paint on a white rental car for the San Francisco WestFest. The pictures below show the this car before and after we removed the paint.

znid car 1znid car 2
znid car 3.


If you are interested in AquaFlow, take a spin over to their web site. While there isn't a whole of information there, you can send them email to request additional product information on AquaFlow. Ask for a color chart, and mention that you read about it here at Art Cars in Cyberspace.

Temporary art cars are windows into the world of art cars. Create one and get a glimpse at what it might be like to drive an art car everyday.


"Weee didn't do it."

Art cars are very susceptible to Murphy's law: if there is just a 20% chance of rain on parade day, then you can be sure that it will rain at some point during the day.

Murphy's law also applies to temporarily transforming your car. Therefore, we, at Art Cars in Cyberspace, cannot be responsible for anything you do to your car or to anyone else's car for that matter. Use this information at your risk, and please use it responsibly.

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Last update April 1, 2004