How to Mix Paint for Your Spray Gun: 5 Simple Steps

Last Updated on by David J

Mix Paint for Your Spray Gun

Mixing paint is a fine art. Not only that, but the quality of your eventual work, as well as the health of your spray system both depend on you being good at it.

Practice is going to be your best friend when it comes to learning how to mix paint for your spray gun, but there are also certainly ways to overcome the learning curve.

Incidentally, we are very familiar with these methods. Want to learn how to properly mix paint for your spray gun?

Read on for five tips that will have you mixing like a pro in no time.

First, Your Tool Bag:

Here is what you will need to get started. The good news is that if you are at the stage of your project where it is time to mix the paint, you will probably already have these things on hand:

  • Face mask
  • Paint
  • Paint bucket
  • Paint sprayer
  • Paint strainer
  • Safety goggles
  • Sprayer tips
  • Test boards
  • Water

1. Choose Your Paint Type

Your paint type is going to inform everything else that you do during this process. Different types of paint require different approaches to the thinning process.

Ordinarily, you can thin you most paints with various levels of water. However, oil paints (which in general can be tricky to work with) may need the help of a mineral based thinning agent.

The good news is that the manufacturer of your paint will usually include instructions specific to their product. To get the possible results, you will need to read up on the paint you are using and adhere to the recommendations of the company that produced it.

2. Safety First

Mixing paint is not inherently dangerous, but the fragrant fumes that are ingested in the process often can be. In order to keep your paint job as safe as it should be, come to the process correct.

It’s really pretty simple: safety goggles and a face mask are all you need to protect your eyes and lungs.

Of course, you will also want to wear old clothes. They won’t make you any safer, but you won’t be so upset in the event of the inevitable mess.

spray gun spitting

3. It’s Time to Strain the Paint

No matter you do, your paint gun will clog eventually. This irritating con crops up in even the best spray systems, with even the most professionally mixed paints.

However, properly straining your paint can go a long way towards mitigating this issue. When you strain your paint, it eliminates impurities such as clumps that would have otherwise quickly clogged up your gun.

To strain your paint, simply pour it through your paint strainer, and into a fresh container.

Technically, this step is not necessary, but it is certainly in line with best practices.

4. Test Drive

Before you start mixing the paint, you will want to see how your sprayer reacts to it naturally. In order to do this, simply put a small amount of paint in the spray gun, and try it out on a spray board.

If the paint comes out even and attractive, you may not need to do any mixing at all. More often than not though, you will probably find that the paint comes out thick and lumpy.

When that is the result that you see, it is time to start mixing!

5. Mix the Paint

This part of the process is all trial and error. As we mentioned in the first step, how you mix the paint will mostly be dictated by the instructions that came with your can.

For example, many latex paints will call for a fourth of a cup of water per gallon of paint.

Whatever the recipe, be sure to go slow, and test your solution frequently using the method listed in our last step. Once the spray looks good, it’s time to get to painting!