Spray Paint FAQ’s

Spray Paint FAQ’s

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 Paint faq's with tutorial and tips to follow


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.



  1. Keria says


    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.

    • says

      Keria, I love your idea of spray painting your existing bedroom set. Paint is always a great savings if the piece(s) your painting is still sturdy and useful. But I wouldn’t suggest the “stone” paint. Even though bedroom furniture is in a room less used than, say a family room, that rough surface wouldn’t be fun to rub up against while your putting on bedding, or if you happen to be wearing a sheer fabric item that accidentally gets caught on the rough/stone finish. If you love the stone look, I’d suggest using it on some accessories (lamps, vases, etc.) in the room and using a smooth finish on the furniture in some color that appeals to your design.

      Depending on what your furniture’s finish is, you may not need to sand it. My hubby and I have spray painted several pianos with Krylon made for plastic spray paint. It worked exceptionally well! We used satin black for most but did one piano in creamy white. Just make sure the surface is really clean (wash with TSP), dry and dust free before you paint.

      Good luck :-) (Sorry I’m just chiming in now…I just got Diane’s blog back.)

  2. Marlene says

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

  3. Nury says

    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. =)

  4. tami says

    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

    • says

      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.

  5. says

    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

    • says

      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.

  6. says

    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

    • says

      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.

  7. says

    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

  8. Jane Fletcher says

    I recently painted 3 different old furniture pieces in Annie Sloan Old White and never worried about tannin bleed, although each piece is pine and hand-made, because all 3 had been previously painted white. One piece is a night stand from 1960’s, another a plant stand from the 1950’s and a charming wall cupboard from about 1910.
    Stay with me here. I sanded all 3 lightly before the first coat. I put a second coat on one piece- the wall cupboard that been painted 3 weeks ago, and when dry, decided it needed a bit more paint. Then moved them all, after they were dry, from inside the house to the enclosed garage. I then decided that the third coat was a little too much in places, and sanded a bit off here and there. Imagine my surprise several days later when I found that each had pink bleeding through! My guy at Lowes thinks that putting them in a garage with moisture might be a factor. The A S gal says told me to apply Zinnser shellac and then repaint. She wasn’t surprised. I really like Annie Sloan paint although I am experimenting with your calcium carbonate/P of P recipe, but the primary reason I use A S is because of the simple prep before painting. Do you have any ideas regarding why this happened?
    If I distress an older painted piece of furniture a bit here and there, and add a touch of paint, am I always taking the chance of bleed though?
    Thanks for your help. Am dreading shellac and repainting. Grrrrr…..
    Happy Easter!
    Jane Fletcher

    • says

      Hi Jane –

      Old furniture is always prone to bleed through – it happens all the time. It could have been the moisture in the garage, but I doubt it. Old furniture – wood and stain just bleed through, that is why primer was invented. Wood tannins are more brown. Stain bleed through tends to be more pink. It is most noticeable with lighter colors. Sanding can bring the tannins out even more. I just know when I am redoing something old – that bleed through can happen. I always look for it. If I am using white paint and the piece is really smelly and old, I brush on one coat of Kilz original. It is a shellac based primer. No more bleed through. I had bleed through on the back of my vintage file cabinet. To remedy it, I made up my DIY mix with more Plaster of Paris. This did the trick – no more bleed through. Since you already painted, the clear shellac will keep any future coats of paint from turning pink. With a little more effort – you will have 3 very nice pieces :)

  9. Lianne says

    Hi – what a great website! I bought a costume jewelry ring and sprayed it with Krylon clear acrylic spray and now it’s sticky/tacky. Is there something else I can coat it with so it’s hard and smooth?
    Thanks for your help!

  10. Christopher Williams says

    Like a fool, I just spray painted a couple of chairs on a very humid day. After almost 48 hours, the chairs are still sticky in places. If I just wait, will they eventually dry or do I need to do something drastic?

    And, I know, never again in humid weather.

    Thanks in advance,


  11. says

    I painted a steel swing recently and I realised the paint doesn’t last long I can even use my nails to remove it,what can I use to keep the paint adhesive to the material and stay strong for long

  12. Nathan says


    I came across your site whilst looking for an answer to my spraypainting problem.

    I have a piece of flat pack furniture, it’s melamine fake wood coated, like a mid brown/orange colour.

    I tried spraying a test piece (an internal shelf) grey, two coats, Valspar paint & primer, grey.

    The finish was brilliant, yet it still seems soft (after a week), easily scratched with the back of a finger nail, however, it only scratches the paint, i.e., it doesn’t scratch down to the melamine – what did I do wrong?

    • says

      Hi Nathan – I don’t think you did anything wrong. Usually the problem is adhering. Sounds like you rocked this by using the right primer/paint formula. The reason why the paint is still soft, could be that the paint has not cured yet. Depending on the humidity in the room and the thickness of the coat, it could take up to 30 days to harden. After about a month – re-check you may be pleasantly surprised.

  13. Tina says

    Hey there Diane! I am most appreciative for all the great spray painting tips! However, I think I got a little anxious and tried to rush my project (after tons of prepping/sanding/cleaning) and painted when it was still a bit too cold. I have used about every paint method know to man, and I was really eager to try spray paint because I LOATHE brush strokes! After priming and sanding, I let my table sit for a few days and today was the warmest opportunity I was going to have to paint (about 53ish degrees.. My paint looks like a crackled spider web mess! Should I just sand and wait for a a warm up to re-apply, or bring that monster in and brush paint :( BOO! Any tips on how I should proceed? how long to wait, etc? (I should note this was garage painting. Thanks so much!

    • says

      Hi Tina – I thought I responded to you, but don’t see it. If I did already, just ignore this email. :-) The temp is a huge factor when you spray paint. The perfect temp is around 75 degrees. Being cold is probably the main reason it cracked. The other reason is that you may have applied it too thick or recoated coat after 30 mins. Most brands tell you to respray every 3 – 7 mins for up to 30 mins. Once you past the 30 min mark. Let the paint cure at least for 24 hours or whatever the brand states on the can before adding another coat. Every formula is a bit different in this, but you have to wait for it to cure. Spraying after 30 mins could have caused the wrinkles. To remedy the situation wait until the paint is very dry and then sand it smooth with 100 grit sandpaper, followed by 220 grit. Then wait till it is a bit warmer to spray or coat with a brush. to lessen brush strokes use a hight quality brush. I used Purdy 1″ or 2″ angled brushes and rarely see a brush stroke. They are pricey but worth every cent, plus if you take care of them you will have them for years.

  14. Matthew Anderson says

    Hi Diane,
    I am spray painting some aluminum items.
    I used self etching primer, then flat black paint.
    My question is, should I let the paint fully cure before applying clear coat? Or should I clear coat when items are dry to the touch?
    Thank you, Matt

    • says

      Hi Matthew – When applying a sealer over spray paint, it is best to read what the brand of paint you are using says in it’s label about time between coats and then sealing. I have found you need to wait at least 24 hours or longer after the last coat of paint is dry or you can run the risk of the paint wrinkling.

  15. Tracy says

    Hi Dianne,

    I spray painted my melamine kitchen cabinet doors last weekend with Valspar paint/primer and they looked wonderful, except after rehanging I noticed some needed a second coat. At the time that I bought the spray paint, the associate at the home improvement store had recommended a different product, so I bought that too – it’s an acrylic – to do the drawer fronts. For various reasons, I decided to give the doors a coat of the acrylic product I’d used on the drawers, instead of a second coat of spray paint. Once they dried, most, if not all, developed some crackling. It was also raining buckets when I did the acrylic coat, so I’m not sure if the crackling was caused by the acrylic coat over the Valspar, the humidity, or both. In any event, can you suggest the best steps for fixing it? Also, should I wait a month or so to insure it’s completely cured before I do so? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I wish I’d just waited and added a second coat of Valspar when I had the time to do it right…they were looking SO good!! Thanks for your input. Tracy.

  16. Kristen says

    Hi Diane,

    Thank you for all of your helpful tips and tricks!

    I spray painted some metal dining chairs using a mat black paint and have left them to dry for 24 hours, however if I run my finger or cloth over the chairs it comes away with a faint black chalky sort of residue. It was rather warm when I painted them and since they are black the metal did heat up. Do you have any tip on how to fix this problem or does the paint just require more time to dry?


    • says

      Hi Kristen – Matte can have a chalky finish and this could be what you can wipe away with your finger, but I think that they just need to dry longer. It could take a few days to a week or longer for the paint to cure depending on the temp and humidity.

  17. says

    Hi, thank you for your help here; its so great to have you as a resource! I have a problem with the spray paint dripping from the seam at the top of the can toward the last 1/3 of the can. Then the drips fall on the bottom part of my project, gets all over my hands and the can, just a mess. Is the can at fault? Do I throw that can away? Can I fix it somehow?
    Please lend me your expertise!


  18. Eleanore says

    Hi – you mentioned in the faq occasionally the spray paint can dry before reaching and so the surface of the furniture ends up feeling like sandpaper, mine is also still leaving a chalky dust each time I touch the surfaces. Thinking I may need to start from scratch again. Would you recommend sanding it back completely, using the primer and then going with paint to get the softer glossy feel? Thanks so much for your time.

    • says

      Hi Eleanore – I would sand it to smooth it, then reapply the paint. What is the temperature in the space you are spraying? That could be causing the dust like surface.If it is too hot or dry. Shake the can well, often. Also, when spraying, try holding the nozzle a little closer to the surface as you spray. Add another coat by respraying within 5 mins of the last coat. If you are doing all of this and still getting the same result, it could just be the paint. I would sand to smooth, prime and then use brush on paint using a high quality brush. Apply the paint using very light coats. More light coats are better for adhesion than fewer thicker ones.

  19. Phyllis says

    Im painting a China cabinet with Annie s paint. Old white. It’s taking many coats. So far I’m just working on the top part. It’s a two piece unit. Seems like it’s bleeding through some. Should I just kilz the bottom section of the cabinet and then paint two coats of Anne s instead of four?

    Also want to paint some cane back wooden chairs to match the old white but I do not like the chalk paint. Any suggestions what to use that would match the old white. Also how much spray paint does it take to paint a chair?

    Love your site

    • says

      Hi Phyllis – If you plan to distress the chalk paint in areas with sandpaper, you will see the stark white of the Kilz against the warmer white of the Old White. It may not be noticeable, but you may see it. Kilz will work to get rid of the bleed through. Annie Sloan recommends using clear shellac so you won’t see a white primer layer when distressing to age the finish.

      If your chairs are from the same set, the wood tannins may bleed through. I would give them a quick going over with 100 grit sandpaper using a hand sanding block. Clean off the grit well and wipe down with a damp rag. When dry, use Kilz spray primer. One or two light coats will be plenty. Then use spray paint. Follow the directions on the can for the amount of time you need to wait for re-coating. One can of spray paint for one – three chairs depending on how big the chairs are and the amount of detail you have to cover.

  20. Romy says

    So to the point and exactly what I needed. I kept getting the crinkle when I added an extra layer to the paint, and I thought it might be because of the temperature ,but wasn’t sure. So glad you cleared that up for me, and with such detail. :-) Thanks!

  21. Brenda says

    I spray painted some mason jars a coral color and when they dried i added a clear coat to one but it made it white-ish when it was drying. what do i do?

  22. Caitlyn says

    Hello Diane,

    I applied my first coat of spray paint to a wooden surface yesterday, and was planning to complete the second coat the same day but had something come up. How long is “too long” to wait before I can apply the second coat without worrying about mismatched colors/uneven finishing? Thank you! :)

    • says

      Hi Caitlyn – Is it OK to wait for a while. You just don’t want to respray after the initial spraying, you need to wait for 24 hours at least. After this amount of time you should be fine to respray at any time. If it is going to be a very long time before you respray, just be sure the surface is free of dust and dirt before respraying. Clean it well and dry. If using high gloss make sure to spray when the temp is around 75 degrees. If it gets too hot, the paint may dry before hitting the surface and not look shiny.

  23. wendy says

    I’m wondering if I can spray paint into a container and then apply it with a brush? Thank you!

  24. Stephenie says

    I tried spray painting a clear matte spray paint over some chalk board art to make it perminant and it left a powder like dust all over it. When I tried to “dust” it off after it dried it pulled the chalk with it. Do you happen to know what I did wrong or what I could use so that this doesn’t happen?

    • says

      Hi Stephanie – What brand of sealer did you use? Was it Matte finish for spraying over paper art? That would have given it the powdery finish. The best thing to seal a chalkboard with is old fashioned hair spray or Bulls Eye clear spray shellac. It will hold your design on for as long time.

  25. David says


    I have the wrinkling problem in question #2. How does one go about remedying this?

    Thanks David

    • says

      Hi David – You will have to smooth out the wrinkles with sandpaper. Start with 100 grit on a hand sanding block and then 220 to smooth. Clean the surface well. Make sure there are no oils on the surface. Let dry.

      Make sure the temp in the space you are spraying is around 76 degrees. Shake the can very well. Spray one light coat, wait 3 – 5 mins. Shake can again and reapply another light coat. Repeat with light coats every 5 mins for no longer than 20 -30 mins. Let dry. You have to use very light coats, keep the can about 8-12 inches away from the surface while spraying. This should prevent wrinkling.

  26. Kaci says


    I spray painted 2 wooden tables last year. I put 2 coats of navy paint+primer spray paint and then a coat of clear paint. I let them dry outside and brought them my house. A few months later I bought lamps for the table and after being left on the table, they were stuck. I had to pry them of and it also took off the spray paint. Dust is also stuck on the tables. Is there any way I can fix this??

    • says

      Hi Kaci – It sounds like the paint never cured. Do you live in a very humid climate? If not the coats of paint may have been applied too heavy and it never cured, hence the tackiness and the dust getting embedded.

      To remedy the situation, you should go over the area with 100 grit sandpaper, but be gentle. If the paint smoothes out without getting tacky, then keep sanding until the area is smooth and there is no ridge between the problem area and the rest of the table. Sand all around the area and out past the problem area to create an even surface all around. Once it is pretty smooth, use 220 or super fine grit sandpaper over the area to smooth the surface even more. Clean the surface and let dry. Once dry, respray on a cool day and use very light coats every 5-7 minutes. Shake the can well every time you add another coat. Spray about 8-12″ away from the surface.(Read on the can what the brand suggests for spraying distance, they do vary) Let dry for a week in a room where it is dry and the temp around 78 degrees if possible. If the paint feels gummy after this, it could be the spray paint formula. You may want to try a different brand.

  27. Kat says

    I have been trying (with great difficulty) to find information on Valspar Paint+Primer (or really any paint+primer in one). I looked at some reviews and a lot of people commented that they were having problems with excessive drying times (more than 3 days).

    I am wanting to paint over a wooden head and baseboard I bought from a thrift store that is in excellent condition. It is older, clean, and is a bit shiny, but doesn’t seem to be sealed. I bought Valspar Paint+Primer hoping to skip sanding and priming. Do I need to buy Kilz primer, or are there steps I can take to obtain a smooth, hard finish without waiting days?

    Thanks! It is so great to have such informative people!

    • says

      Hi Antoinette – I am not sure it will work. It may not penetrate the fabric enough and just sit on top if the fabric is a tight weave. I have always used fabric medium and brush on paint so I could push the paint into the weave. If you want to try it, I would make sure the fabric is free of dust and spray many light coats until you get coverage.

  28. says

    Thank you so much for your reply.
    The thought that the paint would just sit on top of the fabric, was the reason I held off.
    I am so glad I did, now I will try the brush option, do you have a particular brand in mind?

  29. Lienna says

    These tips are ok but you’re not answering the questions. These questions are asking how to fix and problem and you’re answers explain how to avoid them.. Not helpful.

    • says

      Hi Lienna – I am answering the questions so readers can learn what happened and how to keep it from happening again. If you have a spray paint fail, the only way to fix it is to sand or strip it and start again.

  30. Ginger says

    so glad I found you! We started using spray paint to make “universes” on poster board and didn’t set up a contained area…yep, newbie problems! We have a fan sending the fumes to outside but there is dust over everything! especially on the linoleum floors – any suggestion on the best most effective way to clean it? We tried to sweep and it didn’t do much good. am afraid to use a mop next! HELP this poor newbie out. Thank you!!

    • says

      Hi Ginger – Don’t feel too bad, I got overspray on my husband’s car once. We removed it with Bug-OFf that you use to get rid of dead bugs on the hoods of cars. :-) It may work on your floor.

      I would first tackle it with hot sudsy water and a net style scouring pad. This type of pad won’t ruin the finish on the linoleum as it is not too abrasive, but abrasive enough to get the paint up. Let the water soak and then scrub over it. If this doesn’t get it all off, I would use Gunk-Off or a Citrus based cleaner that you buy to remove price stickers to remove the overspray. Rub it on the floor, let sit only for a few minutes and use a net style scouring pad to remove it. You may have to do this a few times to get all the overspray off. Don’t let the Citrus/Gunk Off cleaner sit on the floor as it could etch the floor if it sits on it too long.

  31. Damiane says

    I spray painted 2 baskets with chalk style spray paint 2 days ago and they still smell like spray paint. It is a very strong odor and I brought them inside and it reeks. Any advice?

    Also, I am spraying two old school chairs (the metal and plastic kind we had back in the 70’s and 80’s) and I am using Valspar paint + primer. I am afraid they are going to smell too.

    • says

      Hi Damiane – The smell will go away. If you can place the baskets in the coolest driest area of your home the smell should go away quickly. Some brands of spray paint have more odor – for me Krylon has the worst smell, but works great. It may take a little time, especially in the hot humid summer, but the smell will go away.

  32. Shalise says

    how do I fix crackle? Can I just sand and repaint? I think I just did it too thick but it only did it where I had done a coat and it had been over 24hrs between?!?!?


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