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. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. wendy says

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.


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