Spray Paint FAQ’s

by Diane Henkler

 FAQ’s : Spray Painting

Two of the most important tips about spray painting not to overlook:

  • Shake, shake, shake the can for a minute, then shake it again for another minute and also while you are spraying.
  • For optimal paint adhesion and drying,  try to spray when the temp is between 65 – 85 degrees. Cooler is better.  75 degrees and no humidity – perfect.
  • Long  light fluid strokes are the way to spray – and don’t forget to shake the can a few times while you are spraying.

Question #1:  How long should I wait until I can re-coat my piece?

It all depends on the weather. If the temps are optimal between 65- 85 degrees you can re-coat about every 5 minutes as long as you are applying  light even coats.  If the item is two sided let the first  side dry, then flip and paint. It should dry to touch in 30 minutes, to handle – 1- 2 hours, and be fully dry in 24 hours.

Questions #2:  Why did the paint finish crackle or wrinkle when I re-coated?

A few different factors can cause the finish to wrinkle or crack when applying another coat of paint.  The most common – is applying the paint too thickly – which makes the surface of the paint dry too fast and not the underside.   When you re-coat the solvents in the paint shrink and this causes the wrinkling.

The way to avoid it – spray only when the temperature is 65 – 85 degrees, apply only light even coats, and re-coat every few minutes.  Also read the back of the can. Some brands say you should get all re-coating done in under 30 minutes. After that, do not re-coat at least for 24 hours or the paint may wrinkle.

Another reason it may happen is if there is wax or residue on the item that is incompatible with the paint. Sand, clean well and dry your piece before painting. Use a primer and make sure the spray paint you are using is made for that specific surface.   Read the label.

Question #3:  How do you spray paint when it is too cold to go outside to do it? 

Create a no-cost collapsible spray booth to store in your garage.  This not only keeps the overspray from going everywhere, but is also a place to spray paint when it is too cold to go outside.  Just be sure to open the doors while you spray and then close them when you are done.  See this post for the tutorial on how to easily make a spray booth.

Spray Painting tutorial and tips


Question #4: I just spray painted my chandelier – it came out nice, but some of the sections are not smooth – they feel like sandpaper. What am I doing wrong?  Help!

This happens when you paint outdoors when it is hot or in the sun.  The paint spray dries before reaching the surface and it cannot level because of too rapid evaporation.  It can also be caused if you hold the can too far away.    It is better to spray in the morning or evening during the summer and keep the can about 10-16” away from the item as you spray.  If it is a chandelier or large piece that has to be sprayed in sections, block off  everything while you spray one section at a time with a piece of cardboard.


Question #5:  The pieces that I spray paint always have raised blotches, do I have to sand it and start all over?

When spray painting, after shaking the can for a minute and then shaking it again for another minute – hold can upright 10” – 16” from surface. Press trigger and begin covering surface lightly in a steady back and forth motion, slightly overlapping each stroke and shaking the can a few times as you paint. This will give you a nice even finish.   You get blotches of paint when you hold the spray in one area for too long.

Question #6:  My nozzle leaks or gets clogged so I can use the can, how do I fix it? 

If you have a few cans of spray paint in your paint supplies, try switching out the nozzles.  This usually helps get the can spraying again.    Before I throw out used cans of spray paint, Ii the nozzle is a good one, I place it in a baggie and store it so  I have plenty when I need to change a bad one.


{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Keria September 30, 2013 at 12:31 pm


Instead of buying a new bedroom set, i would like to spray paint the one i have. But i want to use the “stone” spray paint.The set has a dark cherry finish. Is this a good idea? Do I have to sand it? Please help.


2 Marlene October 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Where can I purchase ( walk in retail store ) the champion sterling silver spray paint? I’m in Plano Texas. Thank you!


3 Diane Henkler October 10, 2013 at 3:42 pm

HI Marlene – I am not sure what store sells it. I bought my can over a year ago, but it was either at Lowes, Home Depot, Michaels or ACMoore.


4 Nury December 3, 2013 at 1:21 am

Hi, I’m actually preparing my daughter’s beach themed wedding, and she wants to have candles along the aisle as she walks in. She is actually getting married on the beach in Laguna and at sunset, so I thought some candle light would be lovely. What do you think would be a good idea for candlelight on the beach that won’t either blow over or blow out? I also wanted to ask you, have you ever painted metal. I saw a silver metal tree that I would love to use for a wishing tree, but it’s the wrong color. Do you know if it would be possible for me to maybe spray paint it gold, because it is silver at the moment. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide, it would be much appreciated. =)


5 Diane Henkler December 3, 2013 at 11:15 am

Hi Nury – You can definitely spray the silver to gold. Make sure the piece is clean and dry. Then spray the gold over the surface, wait a few minutes then repeat until you have the coverage you desire. Let it dry. If it is after an hour and you see it needs more paint – wait 24 hours before applying another coat. This will lessen the chance of wrinkling.

For a candle on the beach idea – check out this post. I sprayed mine oil-rubbed bronze, but you could paint them any color. http://inmyownstyle.com/2011/06/trash-and-thrift-store-treasure-outdoor-candle-lantern.html


6 tami January 3, 2014 at 12:04 pm

What is the best surface to paint chalk board backing I used an old picture and painted over the glass. Needed something quick and it was handy . Love your blog thank you Tami


7 Diane Henkler January 3, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Thanks Tami – You can paint it over any smooth surface. Painting on the glass works, and like you said is quick and handy, but if it gets a lot of handling – you may see the paint come off since glass is very smooth. The paint has nothing to adhere to. If it does come off (it may not) – run some sandpaper over the glass to rough it up and then repaint. I have painted right over fake oil paintings in frames that I find in thrift shops to create my chalkboards.


8 Kat Diamond January 14, 2014 at 1:06 am

I am so confused over spray cans of Clear Lacquer, like which one is the best that will NOT yellow and hold up to anything and never chip, also which one will prevent you from being placed 6 feet under from all the fumes if you live in a small condo place. I don’t have a problem with the actual spray paints because I use my over head oven fan, kind of a unique trick and it works well, but not with the Clear Lacquer. Any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it very much, thank you! Kat


9 Diane Henkler January 14, 2014 at 8:45 am

Have you ever tried the spray version of Minwax Polycrylic? It comes in an aerosol crystal clear semi-gloss or stain finish. It hardly has any smell to it at all. Almost all spray lacquers -solvent or oil based will smell or will darken or turn what you are working on yellow right away. Polycrylic is water-based.


10 Kat Diamond January 14, 2014 at 3:34 pm

I have never even heard of this Diane, does it also spray well for metals??? I love that is it great for wood furniture and stuff but I am curious if it works good for metal. I also use a lot of metal objects in my projects and a I would also be looking for the perfect clear – non yellowing – non 6 ft under, spray, lol. Sorry, I just had to say that again, all that I have heard on spray cans it can get really bad. Any ideas would as always be greatly appreciated, Blessing, Kat


11 Diane Henkler January 15, 2014 at 10:31 pm

I believe it works on any surface. Almost all spray cans of paint and sealers are going to have some smell associated with them. Some more than others. ARe you trying to seal the metal so it will not tarnish? or another reason.


12 Kat Diamond January 18, 2014 at 1:58 am

Thank you for taking your time out to help me Diane…I do work with metal more so then any other medium so yes, I really would love to see a sealant not tarnish. If you look at my web site, I design doll clothing made from metal, so it’s important that what I use looks like a show piece. You have been such a great help and if you have any other ideas, I am ALL ears, HUGE HUGS fro Vegas, Kat


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