You have just finished spraying the paint. Unfortunately, there are some drips on the surface of the object. How do you spray paint without drips?

  • The answer is simple. You should not spray paint too close, or too thick. It is also important to shake the can well and often, if you are painting with a canister. if you are using a spray gun, then the same applies. Mix the paint well.

In this post, you can look through different causes and solutions to the problem. And you can come up with a simple understanding step by step.

After reading a few simple techniques you can use spray paint without any drips and heavy lines. You will know how to get a smooth and flat surface every time.

How to spray paint without drips

What causes spray paint to drip?

There are a variety of factors of drippy spray paint. Before applying the paint you should know how to spray paint properly without drips.

The first and main cause of dripping spray paint is using too much paint. Some people prefer to paint only a single thick coating than several layers. It is the biggest mistake in painting. You should avoid applying thick coats. Instead, you can spray two or three thin coats to avoid drips.

Another cause of dripping spray paint is that poor qualitative spray paint. Quality is always appreciated. Pay attention to the quality of your spray paint when you are buying it in the market. If your spray paint is not so dependable some drips on your object might appear.

The next cause is the tools you are using to paint. Check all the necessary things and gear before painting. A clean nozzle and new aerosol can help you to spray paint properly and easily.

These are the main causes of dripping. There may be other several causes of spray paint dripping. Such as expired aerosol or spray paint that is trapped under the sunlight. Review all the causes at the beginning of your work. Below I will list them so, you can skim

  • Too thick
  • Low-quality paint
  • Expired aerosol
  • Sunlight

How to avoid drips when spraying paint?

To avoid drips when you use spray paint, apply one thin coat on the surface you are painting. Let it sit for about 30-45 minutes and then you can cover the second coat for complete texture. It will be better for your project to apply 3 thin coats than 2 thick ones. Thick coatings cause dripping. Thick coats are more likely to appear drips than thin ones.

Cleaning the surface from all the dirt and grime is essential to avoid drips while using spray paint. Use a damp rag to clean off the edge of the trim. Make sure everywhere you want to paint is clean and dry.

Once you flatten the drip fully with sandpaper you can start to apply another top coating.

Another biggest cause of dripping spray paint is the time between coatings. You should let the paint dry fully. Wait for enough as much as possible. You should sand in the direction of the drips which appear on the surface. In some cases, it is better to soak the sandpaper block in water over night.

Another mistake can be spraying the paint too close to the surface. Keep your distance. It should be 25.5-30.5 centimeters between the object and a can. You should move spray paint smoothly and fairly. Also instead of spraying in long lines, use spray paint in short bursts. Move the aerosol back and forth sides in a horizontal line.

Be patient in the process to avoid drips while using spray paint. It takes a longer time to achieve an ideal surface.

Shaking the can

Shaking thoroughly the can of spray paint at the beginning of your work is so vital. Because the liquid inside the can separates into layers. And you must mix well the layers with the propellant. Otherwise, you spray only propellant on the object which creates dripped surface. 

Shaking the can should last approximately 2-3 minutes. Even if you have already used the spray paint, reshake it between coats for about one minute. Be sure that the can is ready to paint.

Checking the nozzle

Sometimes no matter how many times you used the can spray paint spits out a bit more than you expect. Or the nozzle may get clogged after a time. In that case, you can not achieve a smooth texture. Because the nozzle could rust up over time and be blocked with old paint.

If the nozzle of the can is blocked with rust and old paint, sanding gently is a good idea to go. By sanding the texture you can erase the brush strokes without any damage.

If the method is unsuccessful change the nozzle completely with a new one.

Test spray paint on the cardboard

I advise you not to spray paint the object directly at the beginning of the work. It will be one of the greatest mistakes if you do like that.

It is not important whether the spray paint is directed to the wall, car, canvas, piece of paper, or concrete. Push down spray paint on the cardboard at first. Or you can spray it into the air or other unnecessary objects.

Spray away the paint in a straight line over the surface with constant pressure.

Using spray trigger

If you are spending a lot of spray paint while working, you should invest extra money to buy a new spray trigger. It helps you to save from using too much paint.

Why do we need to avoid using too much spray paint?

Firstly, it causes you to consume more paint than you expect so that goes back to the financial state. You may think that buying a new spray trigger is an idle action. But trust me you save more money by changing the nozzle.

Mainly, on the surface, some drips might appear because of the heavy coat. The more you use spray paint on one territory,  the more drips appear on the surface.

Spray triggers prevent you from these problems. You just need to use it properly.

There are several advantages of using a spray trigger below:

  • Handy and easy to use
  • Reusable
  • Child save
  • Not expensive
  • Recyclable
  • Comfortable design
  • Color matching for your options to work

One of the great things about spray triggers is that there are two essential clips of it. On/off clips slide left to right which helps to change the mode from working to non-working.

These clips are so convenient that you can change the mode to non-working status when you take a break. Non-working mode helps to prevent dryness of the paint over the nozzle which causes uneven spray.

As a reminder – uneven spray appears with drips and straight lines on the surface.

Small tips for spray paint without drips

  • Many industrial companies in America warn about protecting spray paints from sunlight. Sunlight has powerful toxic UV rays which can easily disintegrate the binders and pigments of spray paint. If your can is damaged by sunlight you may see drips on your surface.
  • Try the spray cans far away as possible from fire and heat. It damages the quality of the spray paint.
  • If you want to paint rough surfaces such as concrete and metal with spray paint you should sand them properly. That’s what you should do at first. This is also the most dependable method to spray paint without drips.

How to fix dried spray paint drips?

Sometimes no matter how careful or experienced you are. You may make mistakes while spraying paint. Above we mainly talked about how to avoid drips when you use spray paint. Now you can get information about how to end dried spray paint drips. It is very simple and handy. Just be patient and follow the guides in the article.

Drips of dried spray paint! The first thing you need to do is to remove drips. In this process, you need a few go-to tools.

  • Utility knife
  • Razor blade
  • Glass scraper
  • Sandpaper
  • A clean rag or tack cloth

Step 1

You can start the work by removing the dried drip on the surface with the help of a utility knife or razor blade. Don’t rush. Otherwise, you may damage the object or your body. Scrape off the spray paint drips slowly.

Step 2

Sand the area you have already scraped. Choose sandpaper according to the subject. There are some types of sandpaper that you can use to sand the paint.

1Stripping paintA coarse grit of 60
2Sanding paintA medium grit of 80
3Finishing paintA fine grit of 120
4Superfinishing paintAn extra-fine grit of 180 to 240

Wipe the area carefully to clean all the dirt. You can use a clean rag or a tack cloth to clear up the surface.

Step 3

Once you have cleaned the area, it is time to re-paint with spray paint without drips. You can apply two or three thin coats. Let it dry for a few minutes and you can see the surface without drips.

How to fix spray paint drips from the wet surface?

If you have painted the object with a brush eliminating drips will be easier when it is wet. You need just to brush the paint on the opposite side. But when your choice is spray paint loosening drips is a little bit confusing. It takes much more time.

Don’t rush to clean wet drips of spray paint. It is better to wait to dry drips on the surface. Let the drips dry to sand them properly. After drying you can easily remove the drips.

Some painters recommend using a dry lint-free cloth to remove wet spray paint drips. But I suggest you not put your work at risk. The result might not be as satisfactory as you want.

How to spray paint a car without drips?

The process of spraying a car without drips is like a chain. You need to follow all the rules to spray paint a car without drips. This means you need to fill and fix cracks, sand, and prime a car before painting. You can not just start painting a car without doing these steps. Any kind of paint adheres well if you do these guides. The better the spray paint fixed, the smaller the drips appear.

While painting makes sure that the primer is dried completely. Start painting from the top to the bottom. One of the most accessible ways of avoiding the drips on the car is covering a number of even thin coats of spray paint. You can apply at least three coats to the car.

Don’t forget about reading the instructions for the spray paint. Each manufacturer’s instruction differs from one another.

Keep your distance while spraying. You shouldn’t be too far away or too close to the object. Otherwise, you can not achieve the proper coverage.

To avoid drips use long sweeps with spray paint. It is better to cover the length of the area which is masked off in a long stroke. Permit the long strokes to overlap. But try to spray in a single direction. When you are painting on a vertical object like doors or side parts of the car, always start painting from the highest edge. Be careful spray paint should be even and light while coating. This helps to avoid dripping on the surface.

How to spray paint with a spray gun without drips?

If you paint the object with a spray gun (not a can) make sure that the spray mix properly and fully. Mixing well the paint while spraying with a spray gun guarantees avoiding drips on the surface. Mixing the paint eliminates clogs that cause dripping. Also, check the filter so that it should be clean and dry.

How To Spray Paint Furniture Without Drips

To spray paint furniture without drips, you should of course make the preparation thorough. This means cleaning off the surface of the furniture from dust and all kinds of other debris and wiping it with a wet cloth. You can choose other means of dusting it, but the idea is to dust it and get it ready to sand. It is also important to fill in the holes with some spackle. If they are too big or are likely to cause trouble along the way.

Then, you should sand it with fine-grit sand. I use medium grit sandpaper because this seems to be the best one for furniture application.

Once, you are done with surface preparation. It is time to prime it. you should use the correct time of primer as well. For furniture or wooden surfaces, I recommend using bonding primer. Because, I don’t know the condition of your furniture, and the type of wood it is made of. for this reason, I believe boding works best because it just lets you paint with almost any type of paint and stick well onto the surface.

After the primer was applied. You should start spaying your first coat. as always, make sure the prime coat is dry and your first coat of paint is a light one. In fact, the first coat shouldn’t make the job perfect but make it ready for the perfect job. some people, however, don’t apply the third coat or choose to apply just one coat of paint after primer. This is also an accepted practice.

Make sure to keep your distance from the surface by about 8-12 inches. depending on the thickness of the coat you want to apply. Below I will just list the steps in order so that you could come back to it whenever necessary.

  1. Clean the surface with a wet cloth
  2. Fill the holes with spackle, wood paste, (wood filler), and putty all work okay
  3. Wait before you apply the Primer
  4. Spray your primer (boding primer recommended)
  5. Spray the paint after the primer is dry

How To Spray Paint Metal Without Drips

To spray paint metal without drips, you should follow these steps.

  1. Clean the surface well, by dusting it with a cloth soaked in vinegar or lemon water.
  2. Remove the rust, or flaking paint if any.
  3. Sand the surface with coarse or extra-coarse sandpaper. (336 to 425 )
  4. Apply the primer
  5. Spray paint the surface. as many times as you wish while waiting for each coat to dry.

Another important thing to keep in mind when spray painting is to overlap by at least about 50%. You should also start a bit far from the item and go into it spraying. This means start spraying a few inches away from one side of the area and spray a few inches longer to the other side f the area.

This technique lets you spray paint without drips and apply an even coat.

Final thoughts

Avoiding the mistake is easier than correcting it. So be careful while using spray paint to avoid drips. If you follow these practical tips in your working process, you don’t encounter trouble such as dripping.

However, if you have a problem with dripping, now you have got an accessible guide to solve it. These are easy rules to do. Just sand the dried spray paint drips and paint the object applying several thin coats. So, good luck with your painting process.


Is there a way to fix spray paint drips?

Yes, there is. If you have sprayed painted and it dripped, or you see some little bubbles here and there. don’t worry. Sand it off before you apply your next coat. use the recommended sandpaper, that will do the job well, and make sure to use it evenly on the surface.

How do I fix spray paint drips after drying?

you can easily fix spray paint drips by sanding the surface. using the recommended sandpaper, fix paint drips even after it is dry. Be careful as to not sand it off too much, because if you have already painted your last coat, and you sanded it down harshly, your paint may not look as new as it is. Plus, if you have applied glossier paint they may end up looking matte-like.

Can I sand off paint drips?

Yes, you can. In fact, this is the recommended practice by some of the pros in this industry.