How To Use Spray Paint (Simple Step-By-Step Guide)


Spray paint is a quick and inexpensive way to change an inexpensive item you found on Craigslist or eBay into something that looks like it was purchased new.

Almost anything may be painted using spray paint, but even an apparently straightforward endeavor can rapidly turn into a disaster if it is executed poorly.

Drips, crackling, and unequal coverage are typical issues that can be avoided if the person applying the coating takes their time and is knowledgeable about the process.

We have come up with some key pointers to help you make your next job involving spray paint a successful one.

Preparation To Use Spray Paint

Weather Considerations

Painting is difficult in humid weather. The drying time of paint is slowed down by high humidity. Painted surface condensation is possible when low temperatures and high humidity are coupled.

If this happens, the paint may start to peel off the walls. It is best not to paint if the humidity level is greater than 70%. Spray painting should be avoided on windy days.

Controlling the spray’s direction will be difficult in a high breeze, which will also impede the paint’s application. Make sure the wind is blowing away from the project item when you set up your work area.


Another factor to consider is the ambient temperature. Oil-based paints work best when heated to 45 degrees Fahrenheit or above.

Spray paints made of latex or acrylic, which make up the majority, may be used at or above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. As the temperature drops, curing times also take longer.

However, if at all possible, stay out of the sun when painting. As a result, the paint may dry too quickly. Between 45 and 80 degrees, Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature for spray painting.

You should aim for somewhere in the middle of the range if you can. Ideally, you should plan to spray paint for two to three days at a time when the weather is favorable.

The best conditions for your project will be provided by cloudy and dry weather, little wind, and low humidity.

Protect The Area

Drop cloths, tarps, or sheets of newspaper can be used to cover the ground. You should put some plastic sheeting and painter’s tape behind the area that you plan to spray paint in order to protect it.

A drop of plastic or cloth can be used to conceal any adjacent fixtures or objects. If you are going to be spray painting, you might want to think about utilizing a pair of sawhorses to support it off the ground while you work.

It will be considerably simpler to access each and every side of the object. Because you won’t have to bend over quite as much to get to the working area, your body will be subjected to less stress as a result.

Consider making a paintbox if the size of your object falls between small and medium. You’ll need a cardboard box that’s bigger than whatever you’re going to paint, so cut one side of that box open.

This should be positioned in addition to a drop cloth or tarp. After that, place the item inside the container. Because of this, the spray paint will be confined better, and there will be less overspray.

If you have a huge painting job to perform, you might want to consider purchasing a paint box that also comes with a turntable.

This enables you for spinning the object, which might assist in applying the paint more evenly and enables you to do so.

Factors To Remember For Taking Different Spray Painting Projects

Smooth Job

When dried, spray paint has a gloss that accentuates any defects on the surface, such as scratches, dents, and nicks.

You must sand the area and apply at least two coats of primer before applying the final layer of paint. Between each coat, sand with fine sandpaper.

Primers can be used with a brush, however, spray priming is significantly faster. Spray painting wood requires sanding after applying a primer because the primer raises the grain of the wood, resulting in a rough, fuzzy appearance.

The increased grain in the primer can be knocked down with fine-grit sandpaper, resulting in a flat surface for the subsequent priming application and, finally, the paint topcoat.

Using sandpaper-wrapped sanding blocks can be just as successful as using an orbital finishing sander. To save money, you can create your own sanding block out of a piece of 1×3 or 1×4 lumber.

Before putting the next layer of primer or paint, be careful to thoroughly clean the surface with a tack cloth after sanding.

Remember that a sanded-smooth, the prepared surface is essential for a flawless spray paint finish.

Big Dropcloth

When spray painting larger jobs, you shouldn’t waste your time on newspapers to absorb overspray because the newspaper will tear and break apart as you paint.

Instead, you should just use a dust mask. Spread out a wide drop cloth made of canvas or plastic. Plastic is preferable.

When you put the paint using that method, you will have adequate protection against overspray.

Fast Finishing

Try this tip if you want to paint small fasteners with spray paint, like nails, screws, cup hooks, bolts, and screw eyes: They should be affixed to a piece of cardboard.

Put the cardboard in an upright position, preferably outside, and then paint it with a spray can.

Spin Painting

Putting smaller things to be sprayed on a turntable, which can be purchased for as low as $6, is an approach that is not only straightforward but also highly efficient.

The paint should be sprayed on as the turntable is slowly rotated in the other direction. If you want to prevent drips, just be sure to maintain a consistent distance between the can and the component you’re working on.

Pattern Test

Before spray painting a surface, shake the can well until the sound of the mixing ball bouncing around inside the can be heard. After that, give it a good shake for at least a minute and a half.

Now, and this step is critical, test the spray pattern of the can by spraying some paint over a large cardboard piece or old plywood scraps.

When you have a good idea of the spray pattern, you will be able to make adjustments to your technique and figure out the distance from the workpiece the can should be held.

Also, when spray painting large or long items, begin spraying the paint about an inch or two away from the piece’s near edge, then continue putting sprays until you reach the far edge.

Maintain the same distance between you and the object so that it is perpendicular to the working surface; do not move your arm back and forth in a circular motion.

High-Build Primer

The rough and grainy surfaces of wood have a tendency to be seen through spray paints, for a textured surface.

Use high-build primers, also known as filler and sandable primers, when painting anything like fir plywood. These primers are often referred to by their previous names.

They are more viscous, but they still dry quickly, which enables you to apply numerous coats in a short amount of time despite their thickness.

Get thick layers, which is an aerosol rubber coating, if you truly want to hide the grain on the surface of the wood.

Tough Paint

When you need a coating with a high gloss that is resistant to rust and chemicals, take a cue from the auto-body business and get 2K spray paint instead of a conventional one.

In the same manner, as with epoxy, the solvents and resin are kept apart until it is time to paint.


Applying a coat of white primer, which has shellac, is an effective method for preventing resinous and sticky tree knots from seeping through a topcoat of paint or varnish.

Shellac is all about a natural resin that is produced by the female lac bugs that live in Southeast Asian countries. It not only performs an amazing job, but it also does a good job of locking in odors and stains.

Spray Painting Techniques

  • Make sure the paint is dripping from the nozzle before you begin painting on your item. In this way, you can avoid blobs of paint dripping off the edges of the work.
  • Spray the paint from approximately a foot away from the surface. Runs and drips are the results of being too close. You won’t receive much coverage if you’re too far away.
  • Always go beyond the edge of your item while sweeping the paint across it. This can be done in any direction. Overlapping paint is caught by the tarp or cardboard.
  • To ensure complete coverage, rotate the direction of every coat. If you sprayed your initial coat horizontally, spray it vertically the next time.
  • For a professional-looking finish, apply only a few light layers. Heavy layers of paint can run, smear, and dry unevenly, much like other kinds of paint.
  • Be patient and slow down. Spray paint will probably need to be applied multiple times. Wipe up any spills or stains as soon as possible.
  • When the paint dries, sand it down to get rid of any drips or uneven areas. After that, clear up any dust and re-apply a thin coat of paint.

Spray Painting Safety Measures

When spray painting, it is important to pay attention to safety. When left on the skin for an extended period of time, certain types of paint can be unpleasant.

The majority of spray paints have volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are released into the air. When exposed to these substances, there is a possibility of experiencing various short-term adverse effects like nausea, headache, dizziness, irritation, breathing problems and more.

Always use protective clothing and be sure to take measures when spraying paint, regardless of whether you use cans of spray paint or a paint sprayer.

  • Under no circumstances should you ever spray paint inside. Perform your labor either outside or inside with abundant cross-ventilation.
  • When painting inside, it is important to keep all of the doors and windows open. If there is a need for further assistance with airflow, use fans on a low speed.
  • Always read the warning labels before using a container of spray paint.
  • Don’t get paint on your skin. In that case, wash it off as soon as possible.

Safety Gear Required:

  • Respirator mask with a carbon filter.
  • Hair covering
  • Safety glasses to keep your eyes safe.
  • Rubber gloves.
  • Coveralls for if you want to skip all the above.
  • Shoe covers

Tips On How To Use Spray Paint

  • At a local store, if you’re unsure about which paint to buy, ask a clerk. The raw materials and their usage will allow them to recommend appropriate primers and paints. Spray paint has a limited palette, but it is extremely useful. More colors can be found in craft and art supply stores than in local stores, but the prices are usually higher as a result. In most cases, if a retailer does not stock a particular hue, they will be able to get it for you. Just let us know what you need.
  • The greatest place to do this is in the open air. It’s best to avoid working in full sunlight and on a windy day to avoid contaminating the freshly painted surface with dirt and debris. Cover all surfaces in your home with plastic sheeting if you must do so indoors.
  • Everything you don’t want spray painted over can be shielded with newspaper or drop cloths. Spray paint can travel a long distance. A light layer of paint can be found on just about any surface if you’re not attentive.
  • Wearing a mask is highly recommended when working with spray paint because of its high toxicity. Make sure you don’t ruin your hands by wearing disposable gloves.
  • To achieve a flawless finish, you must begin with a clear surface. Remove any blemishes and old paint and stain with sandpaper. After sanding, thoroughly clean the surface to eliminate any remaining debris.
  • This phase can be skipped depending on the project, but it’s typically a good choice to start from scratch. Spray paint will go on more evenly if you prime the surface first, and if you don’t, you may wind up having multiple applications. Before spraying the spray paint, let the primer dry to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • It is critical to stir the can thoroughly before and during use, as well.
  • Use an unnoticeable portion of your surface to test the nozzle before using it on the rest of your project. There are times when the spray heads of the nozzles need to be reinvigorated. Spray maintaining 6-8 inches from the surface and apply a thin, even coat while sweeping the can from side to side to provide even coverage of the paint job. To avoid drips, apply several thin layers rather than a single heavy coat.
  • If the second layer is required, allow the project to dry for the recommended amount of time on the can, which is usually 24 hours. Let the paint cure for at least 24 hours after you’re satisfied with the covering.

Final Verdict

Hopefully, we have helped you to understand how to use spray paint in the best way. We have covered all possible areas that may be needed for the job.

Take our safety cautions and measures very seriously otherwise, you will not only be exposed to the paint stains but also the chemicals included in it.

Rest the method details would help you out.

Leave a Comment

Explore Us

Follow Us On:

About Us

House Whirl Logo White has a team of professional industry experts to help you find guides on painting, finishing, flooring, bathroom & kitchen to make your home look stunning. We have tested, researched & written hundreds of buying guides to help you select the top-notch & affordable products out there!

Disclosure is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to