Messed-up spray paint may be a problem for you when you have just found out you have messed-up spray paints on your painted surface.

You may be uncertain as you don’t have any idea about how to fix them. Wondering how to fix messed-up spray paint? Then this article is for you.

Spray painting is one of the easiest ways of painting any surface. It also turns out great. But while you are doing a painting project, everything may not go smoothly and without any mistakes.

Actually, you may face any kind of problems like cracking, flaking and peeling, orange peel, and more, whether you are good at painting or you are a novice painter.

In this article, you will read about types of messed-up spray paints and how to fix them step by step.

How to fix messed up spray paints

Common types of messed-up spray paints

While doing a painting project, you may mess up the spray paints. In the following table, you will read the names of messed-up spray paints.

paint blobsruns and dripsblotchy spray paints
crackingShrinkinguneven or patchy coverage
flaking and peelingFisheyesspray paint lines
orange peelOverspraysmudged paint

Let`s first find out more about common types of messed-up spray paints.

Paint blobs

One of the most common mistakes one comes across when looking to fix messed-up spray paints is the blobs.

If you hold the can or sprayer too close, move too slowly, or apply too much paint while painting, you are likely to have paint blobs. They almost look like melting wax. They will completely ruin all the finish of any paint job. The poor technique of painting will cause paint blobs. So paying close attention to your technique while applying paint is the best way to avoid paint blobs.

Tip: “Keep the can about 10-12 inches from the painting surface. Shake the can before spraying and continue shaking it every few strokes. Avoid going too slowly as this can cause the paint to build up and causes paint blobs that you don’t really want.”


Cracking is a common problem that every homeowner face while doing a painting. Poor surface prep causes cracking that causes weak, ineffective adhesion. If you want to avoid cracking, you should be more detailed with your prep work. 

To fix messed up spray paint from cracking, do the following

Clean the surface thoroughly before applying paint. Any dirt, oil, or other contaminants can prevent the paint from adhering the way it should. This will cause cracking, so take your time before painting and do your prep work thoroughly.

Flaking and peeling

Flaking and peeling are caused by poor prep work like cracking. These are usually due to contaminants on the surface like oil from your fingers, dirt, or any dust. Any of them can cause the paint to flake and peel as it dries. So again, the best way to avoid this is to do prep work thoroughly. To avoid this problem, make sure your surface is clean and without any contaminants before spraying paint.

Orange peel

Orange peel is named so because it gets a load of little pockmarks as the paint dries. That causes the paint’s surface to resemble the peel of orange paint and this is the cause why it is called so.

Sometimes it is caused by over-applying the spray paint and applying paint too much on a single coat. 

Tip: To avoid orange peel, you should apply thinner coats. If you need more coverage, apply thin coats until you get a solid and even finish. Wait enough time to dry the paint between each coat not to face other problems. 

Runs and drips

Runs and dips are the most common paint issues. The mistakes with the types of your technique cause runs and drips. The reason might be applying too much paint to a single area. Moving too slowly, spraying too close, or trying to apply a thick coat may also cause runs and drips.

To avoid runs and drips, you should patiently apply thin coats of paint and let them dry fully before moving to the next coat of paint. If you apply too much paint at once, you will likely have runs and drips. Similarly, if you do your painting with a poor spraying technique, move at consistent speeds while spraying, and apply an uneven coat of paint, you will also have runs and drips.


Shrinking is one of the funniest mistakes but challenging to realize the cause when it happens. Shrinking usually happens if it is too cold or humid when you paint. As temperature rises or the level of humidity decreases, the paint will begin to dry out and shrink. Shrinking doesn’t happen under normal circumstances. This usually happens only if there is a significant change of temperature from cold to hot or a big shift in humidity from wet to dry.

Shrinking is quite easy to avoid. Make sure to paint when only the temperature permits.

Tip: “Check the weather forecast before starting the painting project. And choose a day that has no rain.


Fisheyes are little dots that usually appear in your paint as it dries. The surface imperfections and contaminants like dirt and oil cause fisheyes.

To avoid fisheyes, make sure your surface is adequately prepared before painting. Clean the surface thoroughly and fix the surface imperfections by sanding.


Overspray is the excess paint that falls on nearby items and causes a speckled appearance on everything in the vicinity. Spray paint gets everywhere while painting.

To avoid overspray, you should do lots of prep work on the area you`re painting when you spray paint. And you can use some types of materials that will help you.

They can be your best friends, which are helpful while spraying paint.

Masking tapePlastic

Put them everywhere you don’t want to get the paint on. 

If you do happen to spray paint on some items, you also have several options.

If the paint is still wet, you can wipe it off with water. If it`s dry, you can try some paint thinner or turpentine. You can scrape it simply off with your nail or a textured sponge.

Blotchy spray paint

If you are trying to paint a large area using spray paint, you will likely find a blotchy finish when you have done your painting. It is usually challenging to get truly even coverage with spray paint, especially with large surfaces, so it often turns out to be blotchy.

The best way to fix this is by gently sanding the finished paint coat with fine-greet sandpaper until it is all even. Then apply a layer of coat to finish it off.

Uneven or patchy coverage:

If your finish appears patchy or uneven, it results from the lack of applied paint coats. To get a nice and even finish, you should apply several coats. But be sure to apply light coats.

It might seem time-consuming, but applying several light coats of paint is better than just a few heavy coats.

Spray paint lines

Are you experiencing lines in your spray paint? If so, you are not alone. Generally, dirty and clogged tips cause this problem.

You can avoid spraying paint lines by cleaning your tip after each time you paint. Soak it in paint thinner to break up and remove paint. If it dries in the tip, you will likely experience those frustrating lines again.

If you are going to use spray paint, you will need to follow the same basic process mentioned above. 

Smudged paint

You will get smudged paint if you try to apply the next coat before the first one is dry. Smudged paint will ruin your project. Fortunately, it is the easiest mistake to avoid.

Be patient while doing painting projects. Read the instructions on the can of paint before doing a painting project and learn how long it will take to dry and cure for additional coats. Then wait for that amount of time before repainting. It should be completely dry to touch before you add another coat of paint.

Tip: “You can check with your finger whether the paint is dry or not. Be sure the paint isn’t tacky when you go to repaint.”

Things you will need to fix messed-up spray paint

If you happen to find any of those types of messed-up paint, it is better to fix them in time before it causes more damage. So, there is a list of things you will need to fix messed-up spray paint.

Sandpaperrubbing alcohol or turpentine – paint cleaner
white-cleaning clothPaint

These are the possible things that you might need to fix messed-up spray paint. You need to prepare beforehand the list of items.

How to fix messed-up spray paints

 Although there are many reasons causing spray painting mistakes, there is one sure way to fix messed-up spray paints all. They are sanding and repainting.  You should turn down the offending areas and recoating them.

It won`t be easy and quick, but we will show you the proper procedure that helps you fix messed-up spray paints.

Step 1: Let the paint cure

Before starting to fix messed-up spray paint mistakes, you have to let them dry all the way. Give the paint enough time to ensure it`s fully cured before moving on step two.

Step 2: Wet sand the mistakes

When the paint is completely dry, it’s time to wet the sand. This is where you will remove the mistakes and take the paint back down to a good starting point for a repaint.

To wet sand, you have two ways. You can dip your sandpaper into the water and then use it to sand while it is wet. Or you can use a spray bottle to wet the surface before sanding it. These two ways work well for wet sand, but be just sure you don’t use too much or less water. Your sandpaper should stay wet, but don’t flood the surface.

You have to sand all the mistakes down to a flat surface. This might require the bare surface again, or you should just take off the top layer of the paint.

Just try to sand the surface until it is smooth to the touch.

Step 3: Clean the surface

After wet sanding, you should wait until the surface is completely dry. And this is the time for prep work once again. As it is inevitable that poor prep work is the main cause of many types of messed-up paint, it is important to be thorough with your prep work.

 Make sure the surface is without any imperfections and completely clean. Any contaminants like oils or dirt can cause adhering that makes you repeat the whole process again.

You can use rubbing alcohol, turpentine, or any other cleaner to clean the surface completely. Try to use a rag, which doesn’t shed, as paper towels leave too many fibers behind them, which aren’t a great option.

After finishing cleaning and prepping the surface for paint, let it dry fully before moving to the next step.

Step 4: Apply primer if you apply paint to the bare surface

If you remove all the paint and get down to a bare surface during the wet sanding step, now you should apply a coat of primer to the bare surface to ensure the paint will stick and get even coverage.

But if you still have a layer of paint, you can skip this step and move to the fifth step.

While applying the primer with the can follow the instructions. Apply it like you are spraying paint, and hold the can about 12 inches from the surface being painted. Apply the primer with even strokes moving at a moderate speed from start to finish.  

Allow the primer to completely dry before jumping to the fifth step and applying paint.

Step 5: Apply paint

Now it is time to apply the paint again if you have finished the complete prep work and applied the primer to your bare surface. Before trying to reapply the paint, make sure your surface is completely dry.

Begin your repainting process by reading the instructions on the can of your paint. Follow them precisely. If you want to use a sprayer, ensure your paint is the right consistency for your machine.

Apply the paint board and even strokes. Hold the can or sprayer about 10-12 inches from the surface you are painting. Do not apply a too thick coat of paint. Instead, try to apply a thin coverage of the coat as possible as you can.

Step 6: Give the paint enough time to dry

After applying the paint, you don’t want to wait long. So you just hurry to apply another coat of paint. But this isn’t true.

You have to wait for the paint to dry fully before applying any other additional coats. You can find out the ample time you need to wait on the can of the paint. Then wait during the recommended hours before applying another coat.  

Tip: make sure to wait as long as they recommend and test the paint to see whether it is dry enough for the next additional coat.

Step 7: Apply additional coats

You can repeat step 5 with the proper technique to apply additional coats. Keep adding thin coats of paint until you have even coverage on the entire surface.

Keep in mind, that you should allow enough time for the paint to dry fully between each coat, so any other new problems like smudged paint won`t happen.

How to avoid messed-up spray paints happening

There are also a few ways you can try to prevent spray paint messed-up from happening.

You should follow them while you are painting not to make any mistakes.

1.    Always choose high-quality spray paints.

You should always choose high-quality spray paints. Because this will give you good results and prevent any possible messed-up spray paint types.

And pay attention to the weather. If you are painting outside it shouldn’t be windy outside or any sudden temperature changes.

2.    Hold the spray paint can 6-12 inches away

You should keep the spray paint can at least 6 inches away to prevent any messed-up spray paint.

Don’t forget to shake the can well before spraying. This makes the paint spray easy.

3.    Keep the spray paint can moving continuously

It is one of the things you should do. This will help you prevent drips and gives a more even coat of paint.

If you stop between the strokes, it will cause the paint to build up and dip down, so you have to move the spray paint can steadily back and forth.

4.    Apply several thin coats

Another way to prevent most types of messed-up spray paints is to apply several thin coats of spray paint instead of one thick coat. This will help layers underneath to dry up and prevent any excess wetness on the surface.

If you apply several thin coats, it will also help to shorten the drying time. So try to apply thin coats.

Try these ways, and you will be less likely to have any type of messed-up spray paint. But if you have already got any of them, you can use the methods above.

Final thought

Spray paint is really easy and quick to apply. But you must also know that it is also very easy to mess it up. If you have some messed-up spray paint, you can try the methods given in this article. With the given steps, your messed-up spray paint will become better. 

And if you follow the right steps and sand down your mistakes, you can easily fix messed-up spray paints and repaint them and still get a beautifully painted surface.

Only you have to do is be patient and you need practice, and then you will be able to fix messed-up spray paints.

Keep in mind to follow the steps to avoid any spray paint messed-up happening. 


How long does spray paint take to dry?

The drying time of spray paint can take 30 minutes to a few hours. Drying time mostly depends on the weather and the applied paint’s thickness.

How many coats of spray paint are needed?

When using spray paint for any surface, at least two light coats are needed to get full coverage. You may even need three coats to ensure you have covered all surfaces.