How to use spray cans

If you’re tackling a small paint job, then using a spray can may be the perfect solution. Spray paint is fast drying and quick to apply and, best of all, anyone can do it.

What are the Options?

Spray paint comes in a wide range of colours, finishes and textures; and can be used for anything from touch-ups to upcycling an old piece of furniture.

Getting Started

Spray cans are ‘pre-mixed’ – all you have to do is select the colour and the finish (gloss, satin or flat) and you’re ready to go.

Always spray in a well-ventilated room. Cover anything that you don't want painted with masking tape, newspapers, drop sheets and wear a spray mask.

To mix the paint simply shake the can. You will hear a rattle inside the container as you flip it back and forth – the rattle is a small steel ball that is mixing the paint. If you don't shake the container long enough, the paint will come out very thin; or the pressure in the can will run out before all the paint is used.

Before you start on your project, make sure you do a test spray pattern on a piece of cardboard or scrap timber.

The Perfect Spraying Technique

To ensure you get the best finish possible, follow these steps:

  • If the project is ‘open’, hold spray can at 45 degrees. This will help to reduce paint thickness and build up.
  • Hold the can about 300mm from the surface to be painted, then move the can from right to left.
  • Go slightly past the edges, keeping the can even and the same distance from the surface at all times.
  • Make sure that each pass with the spray can overlaps the previous pass by approximately 1/3.
  • To avoid sags and drips, keep the spray nozzle as square to the surface being painted as possible.
  • Clear the Paint Nozzle

    To clear the paint nozzle, turn the can upside down and press the spray nozzle until no more paint comes from the container. If the hole in the nozzle becomes clogged with paint, you may be able to open it with a pin.

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