Can You Spray Paint with a Brush?


Last updated: March 31, 2023

Learn how and when you should use spray paint with a brush in this detailed expert guide.

Can you spray paint with a brush

Spray paint doesn’t always produce satisfactory results if you’re painting items with rough spots, such as curves, corners, or edges. These areas require more precision to paint, and in most cases, this can only be achieved by using a brush.

Besides painting areas with more detail, you may need a paintbrush to achieve a textured effect on the finished product. But it’s not always clear whether you can you spray paint with a brush.

This is exactly what we will address in this article.

Can you spray paint with a brush?

Yes, you can use spray paint with a brush. Simply spray the paint into a cup. Dip the brush inside and begin to paint as normal. If you’re painting a larger surface, you will need to decant more paint into a larger cup using a straw.

Why would you want to use a brush on spray paint?

There are several reasons why you might consider using a brush on spray paint. Some of them are highlighted below:

  • You want to touch up spray paint 

  • You want to reach tricky areas or corners

  • You want to achieve a finer finish by combining both methods

  • You want to achieve a textured look which isn’t possible with spray paint

  • You want to achieve great details which cannot be provided by spray paint 

  • You want better control over the project

  • You need a brush to finish the project 

What type of brush do you need for spray painting?

There’s a wide variety of brushes on the counter you can use for paint jobs. For spray painting, a soft-bristled brush is highly recommended. Ideally, it should be something made of nylon and polyester. This will guarantee you get a nice finish on different surfaces.

Soft-bristled brushes have soft-to-medium thickness, so they don’t significantly impact on the quality of your work. This is not usually the case with a thick brush, which can leave terrible marks on the paint finish. This is understandable since spray paint is commonly used on small surfaces.

How to use spray paint with a brush

What You Need:

  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Plastic straw
  • Spray paint
  • Latex gloves
  • Rubber hand
  • Container


Consider this first

If you’re working on a small project, simply spray some of the paint into the can cap or some other container that can accommodate the brush you want to use. However, for a larger project, you will need to decant more spray paint. Move on to the next step.

1. Cut the straw

Next, get a straw and cut a small notch into it. This is to ensure it fits over the spray nozzle. Then tape it to the paint can. 

2. Cover the container with latex gloves

Now, get one of the latex gloves. Cut it with the scissors, so it’s big enough to cover the opening of the container. Then place the latex over the opening and fasten it with a rubber band. Make sure it’s tight enough and doesn’t move.

Now, poke a tiny hole where you can fit the straw.  

3. Decant the spray paint

Next, fit the straw through the latex hole and spray the paint until nothing is left in the can. The paint will be “bubbly” for a while. Allow it to calm down, then apply the paint with the brush.  

Use any spray paint of your choice – ideally, acrylic paint or any other water based spray paints. You can also use an oil-based paint depending on the nature of your project.

Make sure there’s proper ventilation in your workspace. We recommend staying outside. 

4. Use the paint

You can now use the paint for your project. This should be after you’ve finished applying thin coats with the aerosol can.

If you’re used to working with regular paint, you may notice the decanted paint is a bit thinner. So, you need to pay extra attention while applying it with a brush. 

How do you prepare spray Paint for brush painting?

To prepare spray paint for brush painting, start by spraying the sections on the surface that don’t require a brush. In most cases, tight edges, corners, and other difficult-to-reach areas will be where you will need a brush as they are hard to cover with spray paint.

Once you’re done with the initial spray painting, spray some of the content in the aerosol can into a small disposable cup or container. Dip the brush into the paint and begin painting.

You will only need a small amount of paint at a time, so don’t spray too much. If you do, the paint will dry up before you exhaust it.

Depending on the size of your project, you may need to spray several times into the container.

Another thing you could do is to spray paint the object and then use a brush to create the look and texture you want.

Can I mix spray paint with regular paint?

You can mix spray paint with regular paint as long as they are of the same type. However, this may not always be the best idea since they don’t contain the same amount of pigment. Regular paint usually has more pigment than spray paint.

So, if you are going to mix both types of paint, then it must be done in the right proportion. Also, it’s best you mix them in small quantities.

Depending on the paint type and brand, you can mix the two paints in a ratio of four parts spray paint to one part regular paint in a container. Stir the mixture well and apply with a brush. Use thin layers to avoid drips, and let the paint dry completely between coats.

It’s also essential the two paints have the same composition. This means that if the spray paint is oil-based or latex paint, the regular paint should also be oil-based or latex.

Likewise, if you’re going to use water-based paint, the spray paint should also be water-based. Oil and water don’t mix.

Since most regular paints are water-based, while spray paint is predominantly oil-based, it’s uncommon to mix both products.

Can you paint over spray primer?

Yes, you can. Spraying primer before painting helps to create a textured layer and allows the new paint to stick over it. It also blocks out stains and ensures that the spray paint has an even finish.

Without primer, you may need to apply several coats of spray paint to achieve uniform coverage.

The spray primer you choose does matter, whether it’s oil or water based primer. Not every primer will work for the same paint.

Water-based primers are generally recommended because they will adhere to any type of paint. On the other hand, oil-based primers will repel any paint that is not oil-based.

So, make sure to use oil-based spray paint if the primer is oil-based. Interestingly, most spray primers and spray paint are oil-based.

In addition to the composition, ensure the primer you’re using is meant for the specific surface or material you’re painting. For instance, don’t use a wood primer on a metal surface except if the product is multipurpose.

Also, before painting over the spray primer, make sure the primer is completely dry before adding the coating. You can use more than one coat of primer, but a single coating is usually enough for most applications.

What can be used instead of paint brush?

If you don’t want to use a paintbrush, you could continue with spray paint; otherwise, you opt for a roller. But this really depends on what you’re painting.

There are people who also argue that they can manipulate paint with their fingers, but this is not recommended, especially if you’re working with spray paint. Due to the toxicity of spray paints, it is not advisable to get them on your skin.

Paint brushes are great for doing more detailed work and reaching more difficult areas like corners and small crevices. But when you can’t use a brush, you can opt for an airbrush, sponge, pad, or even spatula. It all depends on the nature of your project.

Rollers are better suited for large surfaces such as walls and ceilings; they are not ideal for applying spray paint.

Tips for Using Spray Paint With a Brush

To make your job easier, follow the tips below when applying spray paint with a brush:

  • To get a perfect finish, use the same product to touch up the spray paint with a brush. As earlier indicated, the spray paint should be decanted into a cup; then, you can apply it with a brush.

  • Depending on the size of your project, you may want to use a smaller brush. It will give you much more control than using a bigger brush.

  • Keep the brush free of excess paint by not gunking it up (i.e., dipping the entire brush into the paint). Use only the first inch or two. 

  • Buy more spray paints than you think you need. This will save you from running to the store and waiting another day when you run out of paint.

  • Just like spray painting, avoid brush painting in direct sunlight, as this could cause bumps on the surface. 

  • Before you start painting, wear proper safety gear to protect yourself. These include gloves and a respiratory mask. 

  • Finally, cover your surrounding to avoid getting paint on any item you don’t want to paint. 

FAQs – How to brush on spray paint

Can you spray paint in a cup and use a brush?

Yes, you can. This can be done when you want to apply spray paint with a brush. Simply spray into a disposable cup or any other container. Then dip a brush into it and begin painting as usual. You can also spray the surface directly and then use a brush on it.

Can you touch up spray paint with a brush?

Yes, you can! To do this, you need to decant or spray the paint into a cup. For craft projects, a brush-in-cap bottle would be more convenient. Alternatively, you can spray directly on the brush and use it to touch up.

What is back brushing after spraying?

Back brushing is the process of using a brush to work the finish into the surface. The idea is to force the paint to fill up cracks and crevices on the surface.

It’s usually done after the spray paint must have been applied and while it’s still wet. Back brushing helps you to obtain a consistent film over the entire surface.

Can you use spray paint in an air brush?

Yes, you can use spray paint in an airbrush. To do this, you have to decant the paint into the airbrush jar. You can also use an intermediate container, then transfer the content into the airbrush jar.

If the paint you’re using is thick or has large particles in it, you’ll need to thin it down. This will help prevent the clogging of the airbrush and ensure you get a smooth spray.

Can you paint primer over spray paint?

This is not recommended. Before you use primer over existing paint, you need to sand the surface to remove the old paint. After that, you can apply a primer and then finish up with your desired spray paint.

Is it better to spray paint or brush?

It depends on the nature of your project. Spray painting makes it easier to achieve a thinner coat, but it tends to use more paint than a brush.

Conversely, paintbrushes give you more control, but you have to worry about leaving brushstrokes. Sometimes, using both techniques for different aspects of your project might be better.

Conclusion: Can you brush paint over spray paint?

To conclude, you can brush paint over spray paint. There are many reasons why you may want to do this, whether it’s to correct a flaw or make up for a spray can that is not working properly. Using a brush gives you better control over the project, and you don’t have to worry about overspray.

But not every painting task requires using spray paint and brush. For those that do, it can be a great way to achieve the desired results. However, you must know how to use both correctly, which is what this write-up is about.

Let us know if you have any more questions about spray painting with a brush.

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