How To Thin Paint For Spray Gun – The Ultimate Guide 2021

Painting with a spray gun is a really fun and creative way to get a smooth finish with a variety of textures.

However, you have to thin the paint so it will spray properly. If the paint is too thick, the gun will sputter and you will be left with a thick, uneven finish.

Here are some helpful tips for thinning your paint with a spray gun.

What is Paint Thinning?

Just like you would thin other ingredients like water or oil, you want to thin paint so it will get air and be able to flow more easily.

The main ingredient in paint thinner is acetone. Apply a light coating of the thinner to the end of a paint brush and carefully begin to run it through the length of the paint can to remove the paint. The thinner will react with the paint to give you a smooth finish.

How Do I Thicken My Paint?

You can buy premixed thinning paint or find the thinner formula in your paint tool kit, or buy premixed paint to use as paint thinning spray.

You can also buy a premixed thinning spray, which makes it easy to thin paint while you are painting. I have a separate bottle for thinning spray that I use for painting furniture.

What is a Paint Gun?


A spray gun is essentially a gun with a nozzle attached to the barrel of a paint can. It allows you to spray a large amount of paint onto a wall at once without having to measure the distance between each paint point.

The spray gun is made of metal with the face end of the gun usually having some sort of a bead or crosshatch pattern. This design allows you to spray water over a surface by using a small bead of paint. You only need to get the spray gun close to the surface you want to paint and once it gets in contact with the water, you can pull back the trigger and spray the paint into the air. You will get a consistent spray pattern from top to bottom.

You can then place a canvas or drop cloth over the surface of the wall. You can also put a tarp over the surface for extra protection.

ALSO READ: How To Fix Painting Mistakes On Walls

How to Thin Your Paint

To thin your paint, first let the paint dry thoroughly in a well-ventilated area.

If you have an ultrasonic paint gun, you can buy a thinning spray from the company. The thickness will be ‘adjustable’ depending on what gun you own.

The thinner the paint, the more the consistency of the paint can be altered, so you can thin it according to your mood.

Another way to thin your paint is by combining several thinners. You can use several different thinnerners like thinners that dry quickly, creamy thins, etc. This is another versatile tool that’s useful if you have different purposes in mind.

Here’s a quick list of three thinners you should have in your arsenal.

Disposable sponges – take them out of the packaging and turn them inside out. Rub with paint thinner.

How to Clean Your Gun

  • The only thing you need to clean your gun is a little soap and water.
  • However, the actual paint gun has an internal mechanism that seals off the paint. It is a simple matter to take apart the barrel, remove the paint, and then clean the plastic gun.
  • Clean the inside of your gun using soap and warm water.
  • Then remove the paint and scrub the inside with a soft brush.
  • For a solid coat of paint, you need a spray bottle. It is best to use an old paint bottle to avoid any cracks.
  • Use water, soap, and a sponge.
  • Keep spraying until the brush is wet and the paint is no longer clear.
  • Soap will also clean your paint brush before painting.
  • Spray the gun and the brush together.
  • Mix the brushes up and let them dry.
  • Once dry, clean the brush and use it again.

Which Gun Should I Use?

The answer to this question is not one size fits all. In general, if you are new to spray painting, you can start with the 50-gauge. This is the gun that is most widely available in hardware stores. You can also find this gun online for less than $30, however, you may have to return your gun if you can’t find one to your liking.

If you are a more experienced spray painter, you can upgrade to a spray gun with at least 80-gauge. These guns are usually used in the automotive industry because of their longer length. The shorter ones are commonly found in paint stores for use with watercolor and airbrush painters. You can find these in both online and in-store shopping.

As you can see, these guns are quite pricey. You can either pay for the right gun, or make a homemade spray gun at home.

ALSO READ: How To Clean A Paint Sprayer

Tips for using a spray gun

Apply your first coat of paint just like you would with traditional painting. Smooth the coat in between with your finger or a brush. If you want to add another coat or you are concerned about thinning the paint, apply the second coat at the edges of the edge of the last coat.

Use a plastic tray and coat the tray with sandpaper. This will smooth out the application. If you are using sandpaper on your spray gun, take the tray out of the gun and apply the first coat of paint to the tray to knock down any bumps.

Always lay your brush on the tray and run a paint roller to spread the paint. This will prevent the brush from falling off of the tray and spilling on the floor.

Traditionally you would attach the brush to the gun and paint with the brush on top of the tray.

Painting Tips And Tricks

When thinning paint with a spray gun, you should thin the paint on the bolt first. This is a good idea because the bolt and drill bits will take in a lot of air when they are being forced into a metal rod.

The thinner paint will travel along the edges of the bolt instead of clogging the holes and sticking around inside the bolts. It’s best to thin the bolt paint on the bolt first before going on to the surfaces you want to cover.

Apply thinned paint in waves – leave a few strokes of thicker paint on the bolt, then thin to lighter paint on the plate. If you start with a lot of the same colour then it’s best to increase the painting as you go along, or do a touch-up.

Tips for using a spray gun

Be careful not to press too hard.

ALSO READ: Best Ways To Get Spray Paint off Hands

Getting A Smooth Finish

This is an area where I find people make mistakes, or at least do things differently than they should. Here are some of my favorites.

Don’t use a heavy stream of paint:

I have a light-colored wall in my office, and the first time I painted it (almost 7 years ago!), I used a spray gun like normal. I think I used a full inch of paint in less than a minute, and left what I thought was a smooth finish. Then, I realized that the paint didn’t dry smoothly, and was a really chalky, uneven surface. It was enough to even put a gray patina on.

You have to build up the paint slowly, so it doesn’t spray everywhere, or you’ll end up with a piece of paint that has a bunch of different patches. You don’t want to be painting your walls at the end of the day. That’s when you need a pro.

This article has been written by Bisma sheikh. She is an experience content writer with 4 years of experience. [email protected]

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