How to Mix Paint for Spray Gun

Whether you are a do-it-yourself (DIY) enthusiast or a professional at painting, you need a good paint mixing procedure. This should be made for effective spraying of color and to achieve a smooth finish.

The mixture should be enough to let it easily flow through the nozzle. It is essential that the dough is not too thick as it does not flow through the nose.

On the same hand, it should not be too thin as it could lead to a non-thorough coverage.

Mixing Paints

Take note of the following steps to learn how to mix paint for spray gun:

1. Get ready by preparing you tools

Prepare the following materials first hand, so your work does not get interrupted once you have begun: paint, water, paint sprayer, paint strainer, thinner, face mask, safety goggles, test board, and sprayer tips.

2. Choose the type of paint that you will be using.

 For starters, the paint you will use in the spray gun mostly affects the way of mixing it with other materials.

Various kind of colors requires a different type of liquids to mix it with. For example, if you are going to use latex paint, you should know that it blends easily even with water.

On the other hand, if you are going to use oil-based paints, water is not enough for dilution.

In this case, you will have to make use of mineral spirits.

Do you know that thinners are made with only mineral spirits?

red, green, and blue paint colors

Remember that not all paints can be thinned, though. Before trying to dilute the material to be used in spraying, check the label to see if dilution is possible. Otherwise, you will lose the quality of the paint.

3. Wear protective gears

Before you start spraying, make sure you protect yourself from possibly inhaling chemicals that are bad for you. Paints may release dangerous chemical fumes.

For example, oil-based paints can emit toxic fumes. Moreover, make use of a pair of safety goggles. This way you will be able to protect your eyes from the color. 

Also, take into consideration the environment where you are going to do your project. If you are working in a tight, enclosed space, using face mask may not be enough.

You may need a respirator to maintain proper airflow and be able to breathe correctly. 

Do not compromise your safety. Wear the proper attire before proceeding to your painting project. 

4. Strain the paint

Most paints settle at the bottom of the container. They form into lumps which may clog the paint sprayer if not removed right away.

To do this, pour the paint into the strainer and discard the pieces remaining on top of the filter. 

In doing this, you can work without interruption as lumps will inevitably clog your gun sprayer. Once you have strained the paint, you are now a step closer from mixing your color for the spray gun. 

5. Paint testing

To make sure you achieve the best result, test your paint before applying it to the target surface. Check the quality of the spray by using a test board.

Just put a little amount in the container of the sprayer. Next, spray it on the test board. 

 Check the quality of the application. If pure paint already has the right consistency and the color alone resulted ain excellent coverage, then you no longer have to mix it with a thinner.

Otherwise, you will lose the perfect texture and will make use of a material with an overly-diluted element instead. Whether you have to mix the paint or not depends on your judgment. 

6. Mixing the paint

Finally, once you have chosen the proper material, put on your safety gears, and have finished testing the paint, you are now ready to mix the color. 

The first step here is to get your bucket and pour in the desired amount of paint to use.

water color paint mixing

Start by adding a small amount of water, thinner, or chemical (depending on the type of paint you will be using) to dilute the color. 

Again, the amount of mixture will depend on your judgment. There is no specific consistency, and this will mainly depend on how thick or thin you think the paint should be. 

However, for mixing latex paints, a general rule of thumb is mixing 1/4 cup of water for every 1 gallon of paint.

If you are going to use oil-based paints, start by adding a small amount of thinner.

Do not put in too much in the beginner. Remember that thinner works more aggressively as compared to water. You will not want your material to be too small or over-diluted. Otherwise, it will no longer be active. 

7. Testing the mixture 

When you think you already achieved the ideal mixture or consistency of the paint and diluter, pour a small amount of the mixture into the sprayer. It is time to test it, this time the diluted version. 

Testing the mixture will save you from possibly ruining your project by spraying poorly-mixed materials. Spray the mixture into the test board.

If you think that the consistency is poor, you will need to add a small amount thinner or water. Remember not to add water or thinner in big batches.

Continue mixing paint and water or thinner until you reach the perfect combination. Once you finished this stage, you are now ready to take the next step.

8. Transferring the mixture into the spray gun

Slowly transfer the mixture into the spray gun. After which, you can now start working. Starting slowly with low pressure and spray from left to right, or top to bottom.

Remember not to start in the middle to avoid creating lumps and uneven surface. If this is your first time, research about the best ways to spray.

9. Cleaning the equipment

After using, of course, you will need to clean your materials. Unplug the sprayer and run it with water. Pour in water inside the sprayer and spray the water out.

This is to clean the nozzle and clear the passage of any lumps of clogs. 

Other Tips

paint mixed in plastic plate
Use a high-quality sprayer. Remember that no matter how well the mixture of materials is, if your spray gun is of low quality, you will not be guaranteed of the best results. 

Invest in a good sprayer especially if you are covering vast areas of the surface.

If you are not sure about which paint to use, consult with professionals initially. Remember that different surfaces may need different kinds of painting materials.


A proper mixture of paint for spray gun is as equally significant as the quality of paint sprayer. One cannot result in the best results without the other. Again, the most effective way to achieve your desired results in proper preparation.

Also, check out this video for more tips: