Creative Ways to Use Spray Paint in Fine Art

Creative Ways to Use Spray Paint in Fine Art

OK – let’s talk about spray paint. I cannot explain how terrified I was of using this material when we got told we were going to play with it on our course.


However, this bad boy material has quickly become a staple in my process, so I wanted to share with you some of the things that I have learned about spray paint on my creative journey. Now – I am by no means a top graffer – but this is my personal experience of how amazingly versatile I have found this material can be. 


There are several types of spray paint, however I predominantly use water based spray paints and this is what this blog will cover. I use them because they are less toxic, eco friendly and there are loads of really cool things you can do with them while the paint is wet! It also means that I can paint over the paint in both acrylic and oil without it compromising the quality of the painting. (ie no future paint peeling!).


My all time fave brand is Montanna Waterbased spray paints. They have like 52 colours and more in the making. Bit spenny – but worth it for the cool effects you can get!


So without further ado/rambling – here are a few techniques that you may want to try out:


Spray painting with stencils


The easiest, and quickest thing to do if you are not experienced with this material. You can purchase stencils from EVERYWHERE. Because I am lazy and our craft shops are expensive, I tend to use amazon (sorry planet), but you can literally find them all over. If you are feeling really crafty you can even make your own! Just print a design, laminate, and then cut out! SIMPLES! 


You can also use painters tape to create cool shapes on your canvas, and spray over this! Or if you are feeling really wild you could use netting or other types of material to spray over and create patterns on your canvas. 

Spray paint on wet


Get that canvas nice and wet, either with water or acrylic based ink, and spray away. You can get some INCREDIBLE effects with this, as the paint will fall over the water in interesting patterns and create a marble effect if you do it right. You can also create cool dripping effects, and move the paint with a brush when you do this 


Use a brush or paper over the over the top to create texture


On a slightly damp canvas, spray your paint, I like to do it at a closer range to get a thicker coverage.  With either a wet or dry brush go immediately in and start to move the paint. With a wet brush you may find you get more drips and movement, with a dry brush you will get more texture. 

Try different Caps


So different caps will give you different streams of paint. Some will give a really wide, light stream of paint, some will give you more defined lines. Play around with cap size and lines. I also found that when I apply a different pressure with my fingers to the cap you can get some incredible effects. Using a soft pressure you will end up with almost a splatter type effect, and using a firm pressure will give you thick concentrated lines and drips. 

Play with transparents and opaques


Just like acrylic paint, spray paint also comes in transparent and opaque colours. This can give you some incredible effects when used wisely. For example you could paint an opaque pattern, then colour over it in a transparent colour, this will give a shadow like appearance to your patterning which is super cool! By mixing several colours you can create a beautiful ombre effect, and by using transparent colours, you can also play with layering over your acrylic painting. 




As with any other material – you need to have fun. Experiment, do the 100 painting challenge and just enjoy yourself. By hitting up that inner child of yours you will find some incredible new techniques that you didn’t know you could do!


Feel free to let me know how you get on in the comments section below!


OH – and clean your nozzles for god sake! The quickest way to do that is by flipping that can upside down and spraying until no more paint comes out.


Stay Sassy! 


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