Bodywork and Glass Painting
I painted mine... and you can tell - but I learnt a lot in the process!
Someone on a surfing website gave me masses of advice and I still have it so I'll copy and paste it straight in...
I have a 1984 VW LT31 that I converted from a minibus, it has changed configuration so many times over the years, the kid's beds would be in a different position each year! Anyway, I did the respray myself, I have all the equipment but, to be honest, not the space, so it was done on the drive on a calm day. I only did it in cellulose because to do it in 2 pack is lethal without a booth having extraction and filtering facilities (it contains cyanide!). It looks fine though. I should add that I have done a few spray jobs over the years, not as my job, only in my leisure (!) time.
A van like your Matt is quite an easy thing to paint because you can do it in panels, there is a join line between each so there are no massive panels to do in one go. One golden rule though....PREPARATION!!! You will spend most of your time rubbing down panels and filling dents, very little time is spent actually painting, literally minutes! Thing is to try it, so what if you do a panel and it blooms or something, it will only cost a few quid for the paint and even if you do need to take it somewhere to get it done in the end then the prep work is done so it will be cheaper (if it does come to that then make sure the sray shop does the final prepping, a reputable place would insist on it, anyone who says they will just give it a blow over should be given the heave ho!).
Go on, buy a big can of filler and get prepping, you could even buy a small compressor and gun for a lot less than the cost of a spray job.
Go for cellulose, thinned 50:50 with celly thinners (anti bloom may help in summer, in any case avoid working at the end of the day, too damp). If I were you I would spend some time filling imperfections with ordinary car filler then give it a reveal coat of grey primer (an aerosol will do) this will show up any bumps or hollows, then repeat until you get bored. Trouble with a panel van is the big flat panels show up any faults. A light coat of gloss for a reveal coat(again from an aerosol) is better once you have got a reasonable finish as primer tends to look flat regardless, you don't need much, just a light spraying will show up when you rub it back down.
As for rubbing down, use 120 to 180 grit Wet or Dry, used wet (put a drop of washing up liquid in the water to break suface tension), and a course dry paper (the white stuff) for rough flatting of the filler. Once you are happy, give it two coats of primer with a light rubbing down in between followed by three coats of gloss. The local paint supplier will give you an idea of quantities for the final coats and will have colour swatches. Above all, don't rush it, remember it is all part of the VW culture to drive around with every panel a different colour!
It's cellulose gloss from a car paint supplier (Autopaint are a big chain with outlets all around the country although I have had some dodgy colour matches from them, also the paint doesn't cover as well as more expensive brands (you pays yer money....etc)). They will give you advice.
You will need to thin it 50% with cellulose thinners and use around 50psi at the gun. The final coat will not need lacquering but it may need cutting back (until you get the hang of it) to get rid of overspray and runs. If the existing paint is in good nick then you may get away with just cutting that back (use Farecla compound or similar, T Cut is too slow) or if it is beyond that then just rub down the old paint and put top coat straight on, as long as it is keyed in there will be no need for primer.
As it says preparation is the key... and so is having a decent compressor!
And also, it WILL take you much much much much longer than you think!
Simply taping over the edges of windows, grills, etc etc will take you a whole day. And you need to make sure is going to be warm and dry for several days before starting anything if you're going to do it outside!
Its not a trivial thing to do, but it does give you immense satisfaction to see it changing panel by panel.