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How to Use a Spray Can

A Safe, Effective and Easy Spray Can Technique

Difficulty: Easy


Spray Cans can be toxic, and the fumes that stay in the air can cause respiratory damage, so it is important to use the correct safety equipment.


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is vital to protect yourself. Ventilator masks are crucial for spray can use, as it stops you from breathing in the particles from the spray. You may also want to use goggles and gloves.


As well as PPE, you should be aware of your surroundings. You want to use spray cans in a well-ventilated area and always point the spray away from your face! It is also important to note that spray cans are pressurized, so if they get too hot they may explode.


The most significant thing to remember when working with a spray can is that if you start to feel light-headed, dizzy or nauseous you should take a break and come back later.



To prepare your surface, you need to clean it. If it is dirty or greasy, your product will not stick. You can do this with simply a car cleaner and a microfibre cloth. Additionally, you may want to lay down a tarp or some newspaper under your surface to keep your floor clean. If you want a clean line, you could use masking tape to box off your desired area.


Before you spray, you should shake the can well. This makes sure that your product lays down an even coat.


Using Your Spray Can

If you're using spray paint, it may be a good idea to use a primer (unsure of which primer to use for your paint? Click here for a tutorial).


Test your aerosol on a scrap piece of material. This can typically help you figure out how the spray should look and how far you need to hold the can from your surface. Usually, the can will tell you how far you should hold the can from the surface, but a good starting distance is about 20cm.


You are now ready to apply the first coat. Slowly spray the can from side to side all over your area. Make sure not to hold the spray over one area for too long, but apply the first layer thinly. If you apply it too thick the product may dry tacky. You can overlap the sprays at this stage to make sure there are no gaps. If your area looks splotchy, you should add a second layer.


After you allow your first layer time to dry, you can apply a second layer. This will help the cover the area evenly and will make sure the colour is bright (if you're using paint). You should then let this layer dry.


Finally, you could add a topcoat if desired. Topcoats help protect the product from weathering. Simply apply a thin layer as instructed on the product and allow to dry.


Products Used In This Tutorial


3M Maintenance Free Half Mask Respirator, FFAP3R D Filters



Sealey Safety Goggles with Direct Ventilation


Protective gloves

Colad Black Nitrile Gloves Large (Box of 60)


Microfibre Cloth

Farecla Finishing Cloth (Pack of 3)


3M Microfibre Detailing Cloth


Masking Tape

3M 6m Precision Masking Tape, Green