Spray paints can be used for a lot of different projects regardless of whether they may be for simple home use or for artistic endeavors. But, have you noticed that the label always comes with the “shake well before using” instruction? That’s because you really always have to shake a spray paint can before you use it. But how long exactly should you shake spray paint before you can get to use it properly?
You should shake the can of spray paint for at least three minutes during the initial use to “wake” the paint up. However, after the first use, you can shake the can for only five or so seconds to mix the paint inside the can.
Shaking the can of spray paint is an important yet often overlooked part of using the spray paint itself. Others tend to forget how important it is to shake it as long as possible especially during the initial use but you really have to make sure you take as long as you need during the first time you are using the can of spray paint. Check out our article if you want to know why.
How long should you shake spray paint?
As easy as a can of spray paint is to use, there are some people who may end up making some of the more common mistakes when it comes to using it. We can go back to the possibility that most people aren’t painting properly or that the paint itself is too thin. Those are quite understandable especially if you know how spray paints are made even though today’s spray paint cans are now engineered to be more precise than they ever were.
However, the usual mistake the people actually make goes back to the first thing you have to do when you want to use a can of spray paint—to shake it properly.
Yes, that’s right. Even though the instructions clearly say that you need to shake the can of spray paint before you use it, there are some people who don’t really get this part of the instructions. They would just either use the spray paint immediately without even shaking it (a deadly mistake as we would discuss later on) or would just shake it a few times initially before using it.
How long do you need to shake unused spray paint?
Usually, when you check the label of the spray paint can, you might see that you need to shake it for one to two minutes before using it. That can be a bit vague especially if you are in a hurry to finish your project or if you are too tired to shake the entire can for two minutes. Well, for starters, you really have to spend minutes shaking the can of spray paint up especially if you are using it for the first time after you brought it home from the store.
If a can of spray paint is unused and it has been sitting in storage for a long time, the paint tends to “sleep” in the sense that it isn’t distributed well enough inside the can. That’s why, initially, you really do have to spend a few minutes of shaking to “wake” the paint up.
So, if you had just bought the can of spray paint and you are using it for the first time, try to spend as much time as necessary when shaking it. We recommend that you do so for three minutes at the maximum but one to two minutes may sometimes already be enough depending on how fast you are shaking the can of spray paint. You have to agitate the paint to make sure that it is properly mixed inside the can.
How long do you need to shake used spray paint?
After the initial use and you were unable to use up all of the paint inside the can of spray paint, you may end up storing it for a while before using it again. In some cases, you may end up taking short breaks in between each use. In those situations, you still have to shake the can of spray paint before using it again because the paint inside the can needs a bit of agitation to mix the paint again.
However, because you have already previously woken up the paint inside the can, you would only need about five seconds of vigorous shaking before you should use the spray paint again. This only applies if you have gone past the initial shaking period and you are now using the can of spray paint in between short intervals.
But, if you have left the can of spray paint unused for quite a long time (let’s say for a few months), there is a chance that the paint has already settled at the bottom. As such, you may want to shake the can for a minute or so to make sure that you wake the paint up once again.
The best way to shake spray paint
We have discussed how long you need to shake the spray paint can and why you need to shake them in the first place. But, does it really matter how you shake the spray paint can? Well, it actually does.
There is actually a good way of shaking spray paint cans to make sure that you are not merely wasting time and energy when shaking it.
- Shake the can of spray paint sideways instead of up and down. Doing so will make sure that the paint is properly dispersed inside the can.
- While shaking the can sideways, try doing short rotations with your hand so that the paint inside will also move from one spot to another while you are rotating your hand during the process of shaking.
- Make sure that you can clearly hear the ball inside the spray paint clicking and clunking against the inner walls of the can. The main purpose of the ball is to help mix the paint inside the can just like how a stirrer does when you are trying to mix liquids.
- Do not shake gently. Instead, do the shaking as vigorously as possible while keeping a tight grip on the can of spray paint. Doing so will make sure that you are actually mixing the paint as thoroughly as possible.
How to properly store spray paint
If you weren’t able to use up an entire can of spray paint in one sitting, here are some good ideas for storing the can of spray paint in your garage:
- After using the spray paint, turn the can upside-down and then gently press the button until you no longer see any paint released. The reason why you need to do this is to remove any excess paint on the nozzle area so that it won’t dry out and clog the nozzle.
- Make sure that you keep the lid on the spray paint on because this allows the paint inside the can to stay fresh. Also, the lid is there to prevent inadvertent spraying.
- Only store the spray paint in spots that are somewhere between 55 and 80 degrees F in temperature. If you store the can in a spot that is quite warm, the quality of the paint will begin to deteriorate. Never store the can of spray paint in extremely warm areas that are over 120 degrees F.
- Keep the spray paint in a spot that is dry and is away from anything flammable or easily combustible. That’s because the aerosol inside the can of spray paint is also quite flammable. In relation to that, never expose the can of spray paint to direct sunlight when storing it.
Why do you have to shake spray paint?
A can of spray paint is an aerosol device that uses pressurized gas to push the paint inside the can through the nozzle and onto the surface you want to paint on. However, during storage, the paint pigments would have separated inside the can and would have likely sunk at the bottom.
So, when you try to use the spray paint without shaking the can, you are most likely going to expel the propellant or the pressurized gas because you weren’t able to mix the paint pigments well.
If you want to get the most out of your can of spray paint and make sure that you are efficiently using it, there is a need for you to shake the entire can for as long as needed so that you would agitate the contents and spread the paint pigments evenly inside. This ensures that the pressurized gas you expel from the spray paint has enough paint pigments.
We have a whole article about why do you have to shake spray paint so you can check it out.