How to Mix Paint for Spray Guns? – A Complete Guide for Beginners in 2021

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A spray gun is a gun-like device that is used to spray liquid paint or pesticide. Spray guns use air pressure for applying or spreading paint on any surface. To be specific, this surface can be of any type of metal, wood, stone, ceramics, porcelain, plastic, glass, and even textile. 

Are you one of those people who doesn’t know about the paint mixing method of spray guns? Well, don’t worry. You are in the right place. In this article, you will get an insight into how to mix paint for spray guns. We have presented a step-by-step guide to the instructions becoming clear to you. 

How to Mix Paint for Spray Guns

How to Mix Paint for a Spray Gun?

You can achieve a perfect-looking paint job only when the paint that you use is perfect. For that, we often have to thin the paint or mix the paint properly. If not, the paint becomes so watery that it needs extra layers to look good.

For this, there are different mixing ratios for us to follow. Some of those are-

  • Four to one (4:1). Four parts primer and one part hardener. 
  • Two to one (2:1). It is two parts paint and one part hardener.
  • Three to one (3:1). 
  • Six to one (6:1). etc.

All of these mixing ratios depend on the painting brand.

Follow the instructions given below, and you will be able to know how to mix paint for spray guns.

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Preparing Tools

The purpose of any tool is to make work easy. Painting tools are no exception. Keeping that in mind, let’s look into the painting tool list before we move on to the answer to the question “how to mix paint for spray guns?”

The list of essentials is below:

  • Paint: The very first essential is paint because funnily enough if without it, painting is impossible.
  • Spray paint gun: If we compare a brush and roller, a spray paint gun makes the painting job much easier and faster. 
  • Instructions for paint guns: It is important to follow the instructions because every spray gun is different.
  • Paint strainer: Paint strainer’s job is to remove clumps, dirt, dust, etc, from the paint. These are usually disposable. 
  • Paint mixing bucket: It is important to have a clean paint mixing bucket for the right measurements.
  • Paint diluting agent: Paint diluting agent’s job is to make the paint thinner. Some of the paint thinners are –
    1. Mineral spirits or white spirits
    2. Water
    3. Acetone
    4. Turpentine
    5. Naphtha
    6. Toluene
    7. Methyl Ethyl Ketone is also known as MEK
    8. DMF or dimethylformamide
    9. Any glycol ethers
  • Interesting fact: Market shops have a thinner named multipurpose thinner. It draws a lot quicker, and the paint dries a lot quicker than acrylic thinners.
  • Personal Safety Equipments: A face mask, safety goggles, and gloves are a must for any painting work. This protective gear is to protect your eyes and hands from paints. Since you will be painting with spray guns, it is normal that paint might splash your skin.
  • Test boards: It is better to test the paint mixture on a test board before applying directly to the respective surface. Because sometimes, even after following instructions, paints require more thinning.
  • Clean cloth: Clean cloth is needed for wiping off paint strains
  • A transfer funnel: A funnel like this transfers the paint into the spray gun holding unit from the paint mixture bucket.

Step by Step Guide of How to Mix Paint for Spray Guns

  • Step 1: The very first step is to prepare all the painting tools. Preparing this equipment before starting the real painting work saves a lot of time and nuisance.
  • Step 2: Stirring the paint is an important step, although it may look like an unimportant one. It is because, at the bottom of the paint container, paint settles automatically. With most of the pigment sitting at the base part, giving the paint can a stir is a must. 

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Precautions & Safety:

You should never add thinner or other additives to the paint unless you have stirred it properly. Otherwise, the color and consistency of the paint will be different than usual.

  • Step 3:  Setting up the test board is the next thing to do. It can be drywall or a random cardboard piece. Testing is essential because it helps to calculate the thickness of the paint.
  • Step 4: After testing on a board, now you are all set to move to the thinning agent mixture part. For this, you will have to take a clean container and then pour paint into it. Thinning agents are different for different kinds of paints.
  • Step 5: Writing down your formula is the next thing you need to do. How much thinner you are adding to the paint and how much paint you put in the container; needs to be tracked down. This tracking down habit will help you in the long run. Because by doing this, you will grow a clear idea about paint mixing. And next time when you need to paint again, even if memory cheats, you can check the note. That should get you a pretty clear idea of how to mix paint for spray guns.
  • Step 6: Now, you have to test the final mixture. But for that to happen, you have to put the mixture into your sprayer. If the flow of the paint comes evenly, you are good to go. Whereas, if the paint comes out uneven, you need to add more thinner. Another scenario is the paint can run on the board when sprayed. This means it is too thin and needs more paint.
  • Step 7:  The time has come. You can now paint.

After reading this step-by-step guide, now you know better about how to mix paint for spray guns. It’s easy to dirt your microfiber towel. Want to clean it the easiest way? You can find it here.

Painting Tips With Spray Guns:

The spray paint gun itself makes the painting easy and fun for any painting project. But here are some painting tips for you so that you experience a smooth painting with spray guns. Tips are as follows:

While painting, make sure to maintain the same distance between the paint gun and the surface. Otherwise, there will be overlapping areas.

You should not rush to apply coats. Let the first coat dry and then proceed to the next coating. Follow this for a smoother-looking painting.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can you use any type of paint in a spray gun?

There are separate spray guns for acrylic paints. Because it seems to be thinner than other paints, but some spray guns take any type of paint and work smoothly. 

The main thing lies in the manufacturer’s instructions. If you want to find the answer to the question of whether your spray gun can use any paint or not, then you better read the manufacturer manual as each one can be different.

How can I mix acrylic paint for a spray gun without creating a mess?

When it comes to painting mixing, acrylic paint and latex paint have quite a few similarities. The only difference is in the paint thickness. Acrylic paint is thinner compared to latex paint. As a result, while mixing acrylic.

You have to use four parts of paint to one part mineral spirit. For latex paint, it is three parts paint to one part water. Another difference is, in acrylic paint, we use spirit instead of water, which is unlike latex paint. 

This should clear your answer to the question “How to mix paint for spray guns?”

What is the ratio of paint to thinner for a spray gun?

When it comes to the minimum ratio of paint that is required for a spray gun in order to be thinner enough; it is complicated. Because it is the gun that determines the thinning requirements. Once again, if you want to know the right ratio, it is better to check your device’s manual. 

Another thing that you have to consider while determining the ratio is the type of painting. Because acrylic, oil-based paints, or latex have different tinning ratios.

Four to one or three to one mixture is quite common for most of the spray paint guns that are available in the market.

How do you mix auto paint for a spray gun?

It is three parts paint and one-part thinner ratio for auto paint in any spray gun. Not so different from mixing any other paint, is it? It is better to perform a test spray before determining if the paint is truly ready or not. If you need any more adjustments with the thinner, then you can do so in auto paint. 

Final Thoughts

After reading all of the process and step-by-step instructions, we hope now you know how to mix paint for spray guns. If you find it hassle to do all this work by yourself, you can always call paint service.

In that case, our article will at least help you understand what your painter is doing, and you two will be able to have a better conversation with your painter. You will also be able to judge whether the painter is doing a good job or not. We wish you a happy painting with a spray paint gun.

Avatar for Jack R. Stephen

I am Jack R. Stephen from Dallas, TX, USA and Co-Founder of Handy Tool Tips. I am a tool expert with years of practical experience. Besides my professional work, I love writing to help others with knowing handy tools thoroughly. For recreational & enjoyment purposes, I love going to hike with my best friend, Cameron. He was mentioned in several News Portals for his outstanding skills and professionalism for making great stuff with his tools. If you would like to chat with me please feel free to reach out via facebook or twitter or email.

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