Spray Paint Tips and what NOT to do!


Have you had a bad accident using spray paint?  I did!  Sharing my mistake so we will both do better with these spray paint tips.

Spray paint tips for the novice or expert spray painter.

Let’s start with what to do first when we’ll get into the big what not to do.

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Spray paint tips for spraying the object

Read the back of the can.  Instructions are boring but at times there is good info.

Painting info like:

  • Use in a well-ventilated area…like outside!
  • Shake the can until the bead inside moves freely.  I didn’t once and the navy blue paint started out clear.
  • Move across the surface about 12 inches keeping the can in motion.  Spray off the surface on each side.  This keeps the edges from getting too much paint.
  • Apply light coats several times letting the paint dry between coats.
  • If you still have paint in the can when you finish, turn the can upside down and spray until air comes out.  This clean the nozzle of paint.  If you don’t the spray may not work next time.  This does work.

My additional spray painting tips

Spray paint nozzles to pick from

There are to basic types of spray paint nozzles on the market.  The white nozzle on the right is made to be comfortable on the index finger.  If the paint comes in the color I want, I pick the red nozzle on the right because…

Spray paint trigger in red

I use one of these spray paint triggers.  Because even the larger nozzle hurts after awhile.

Spray paint turntable

This was a plastic turntable to hold spices in my cabinet about 30 years ago.  For the last 25 years, it’s been a turntable for spray painting!

Give a lift to your spray painting

You can find spray paint risers on Amazon.  I keep meaning to order them, okay just did!  I have used four blocks of wood with a nail in the center.


Protect the area from overspray with drop cloths.  Never use plastic as a floor drop cloth.  They are too slippery!  Protect your nose and lungs from spray with masks.  I use these masks everytime I spray paint.  

What NOT to do when spray painting

What not to do with spray painting

My spray paint disaster

When I was 13 years old, dad dragged home a military desk lamp.  It had a short in the wiring and they were going to toss it.  Dad rewired the lamp.  Then I planned to spray paint it black.

I grabbed newspapers, the can of spray paint, the lamp and headed out to the patio.  It happened to be a rare occasion that I was home alone.

How many times have you had trouble removing the cap from the spray paint?  Crazy, right!  Well, think of this the next time you have trouble taking off the cap from the spray can.

Squeeze top so easy.
Where was this type of top when I was thirteen?

I squeezed the cap until my fingers turned red.  I pulled the cap to one side and then another.  Nothing.  Frustrated, I headed back into the kitchen.  I grabbed a butter knife.  Not sharp enough.  Opening the drawer for a steak knife, I saw it.


The ice pick! {this is the actual one I used}

After several tries of the point of the ice pick slipping between the plastic and the metal of the can…

I tried jabbing it in…

Black spray paint shot up to the ceiling covering my face and the light above the sink.  It wouldn’t stop!  I flipped the can upside down into the sink.  Dropped the can several times.

It’s amazing how slippery wet paint is!!

If that wasn’t bad enough, an idea hit me.

The lamp!

Yes, I did!  I grabbed a dish towel and trying to cover the hole, I walked back through the kitchen out to the patio.  Dripping paint from my elbows and leaving paint footprints.  I aimed the hole towards the lamp.  Then uncovered the hole.  Only to find the can was now empty.

Would you like me to come over and help you spray paint!!  😀

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  1. Your stories are so close to mine, lol. Loved knowing I am not alone out there. Thanks.

  2. Mary Barber says:

    The reason manufacturers make caps on spray cans hard to remove is because, shall I say idiots, will ‘test’ out the color on store fixtures or anything else. They just can’t believe the cap color is true. I have worked in retail and seen this many times. It’s people like these who make life for the rest of us more difficult. BTW wearing glove is a good idea which I usually don’t think of until I have paint on my hands. There are probably products that will help remove the paint but I have found good ole mineral spirits work best. After removing paints from skin be sure to follow up with soap and water.

    1. Mary, I never thought about it before, but I have seen paint sprays on shelves! Thanks for the mineral spirits tip! I never think about gloves when spray painting.

  3. I love wearing gloves. I buy the ones called “Great Lengths” by Playtex. It is HARD to get the paint off skin 😳

    We think alike! I have the turntable too. Double decker one😁
    This makes me want to paint.. but there’s too much humidity.

    1. TK, I have no idea why I don’t wear gloves when spray painting. You would have thought I learned my lesson at 13! Thanks for the tips on using the great lengths.

  4. Andi Cacciatore says:

    OH NO! What a nightmare! I can only imagine what you went through after your parents came home and trying to get all the paint off!!
    I like using spray paint, but I’m so impatient that sometimes I end up with drips and runs because I put too many coats on too fast. The worst is when a bug flies onto the wet paint!
    Those risers are a good idea, and I’ve been meaning to get some too – thanks for the link. I’ve been using my grandson’s big Duplo blocks – now they’re rainbow splattered!

  5. OMG Jeanette!!! I can only imagine the look on your parent face when they got home. And the surprise on your face when you looked in the mirror! You poor thing! I imagine you had scrubbing dreams for quite some time.

    I hated those old ones you had to use a screwdriver (not an ice pick) 😉 to get the caps off with!

    Bless your heart you didn’t give up.!

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