How to Mix Paint for a Spray Gun – In 4 Steps

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So you just got a paint sprayer and you want to make sure you are properly mixing your paint. While look no further, in this article we will break down how to mix your paint for your spray gun. This will ensure your work always ends up looking professional and the machine faces minimal clogging.

Learning how to mix paint for your sprayer is not hard, but it may take some time to get the hang of it so we suggest you take at least 30 mins to read this guide and maybe some additional articles to make sure you have the knowledge to do it properly.

To get started, you will need some materials, which we have listed below for you. Most things listed below should be included with the paint sprayer or paint you purchased, but if not, make sure to go get them before starting your project.

Required Painting Materials:

How to Mix Paint for your Spray Gun – 4 Steps

These 4 tips will have you painting with ease every time and will ensure your spray gun stays clog free for as long as possible. Check them out below: 

Step #1 – Choose your paint

The biggest part of this process is the paint. The type of paint you choose to go with will determine what type of thinning agent you will have to use and how you will go about mixing the paint.

If you chose to go with most paints including acrylic paint and latex paint, water should do the trick, but if you chosen to go with an oil based paint, you will need a different thinning liquid. This thinning agent is typically mineral based and helps reduce the viscosity of the oil.

Step #2 – Strain your paint

Before using any type of paint in your paint sprayer, it is a good idea to run it through a paint strainer. This ensures that any clumps that could potentially clog your paint sprayer get removed before entering the system. To strain your paint, you simply need to pass your paint through a paint strainer into a container.

Once this step is done, you can load your paint sprayer system with paint. We’d like to note that while this step may not be required, it does improve the process, and is a part of any professional quality finish.

Step #3 – Test the paint

You’re almost ready to mix your paint. Before you get started, you will want to run a small batch of paint through your paint sprayer to determine how it handles your paint without thinner. To do this, just spray some normal paint on to a spare piece of cardboard.

If the paint applies evenly, in thin enough layers, than you are in luck; you most likely will not need to thin your paint (still review the manufacturer’s instructions). But if your paint comes out blotchy or with clumps, than you will need to thin your paint with one of the suggested thinners. That’s where the next step comes in.

Step #4 – Mix the paint

So you did your test and you decided you needed to thin your paint. Don’t stress, this process is fairly straightforward. First, we suggest reviewing your can of paint to see if the manufacturer has suggested any thinning guidelines. If they have, follow those.

If there are no set guidelines, you will need to mix it yourself. This will require some experimentation so we suggest you take it slowly and test spray often. Once you have found a spray thickness that works, note the solutions for next time. Now you have paint ready for any paint spraying project you have ahead of you.


Ultimately, mixing paint for your spray gun is a relatively simple process. All it requires is some patience and a bit of trial and error. If you follow these steps, the odds of your success will increase, helping you achieve the professional paint finish you have been striving for.

If you found this guide helpful or if you have any questions, make sure to drop a comment below.



Ryan is a writer for He's been a hobbyist and painter for a long time, and now enjoys teaching others. His content primarly focuses on reviews and guides for painters and construction professionals.

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