How To Thin Oil-Based Paint For Spray Gun – In 7 Easy Steps

You have probably attempted to paint your car, home, or piece of furniture using a spray gun but received unsatisfactory outcomes. You have wondered what exactly you did not get right. Probably, you even argued that it could be that you just did not have the appropriate training or expertise.

Well, chances are that you used the wrong kind of paint. The ordinary oil-based paint is too thick and viscous to use for painting surfaces. This is because the oil-based paints dry too fast and harden in such a manner as to be difficult to get rid of.

You have to thin it to make it easier to spread and convenient to apply by use of a brush. For this to happen, you have to employ the right tools for the job and make use of the best kinds of equipment.

How To Thin Oil-Based Paint For Spray Gun Properly

For a start, thinning is basically the process of making an oil-based paint less viscous or more fluid. It mostly entails the use of thinning substances such as lacquer thinner, turpentine, and mineral spirit to break the viscosity of the paints and make it easier to spread out.

In our conversations here below, we are going to discuss the items you require for the job as well as the step-by-step procedures you have to follow to make this process a reality.

Tools and Materials Required

painting toolsYou will first and foremost have to acquire the relevant tools-of-trade for the task. Below are some of the ‘must have’ items for this noble objective.

  • Apron
  • Overall
  • Face mask
  • Special containers
  • Bucket of warm water
  • Stick
  • Thinner e.g. mineral spirit, turpentine, or lacquer thinner

Step-by-step Procedures to Make Thinner

1. Put on the Right Protective Attire

Step by step guide how to mix paint for spray gunCommence the entire process by putting on the right protective gears. Oil-based paints are generally harmful. They exude some strong stench which may cause cancer when inhaled repeatedly for a prolonged duration of time. This is why you have to put on some gas mask.

Because the paint hardens on the skin and clothes, you want to shield these two portions of your body from them. To do so, you have to put on a pair of gloves and overall. The former will shield your hands from direct contacts with the paints whereas the latter will safeguard your clothes from the same dangers.

2. Pour the Paint in the Container

Next, proceed to pour the paint into the container. Before tackling this procedure, estimate the quantity of the paint you might need for the given task. Choose a container which is large enough to accommodate that much paint.

Pour out the paint slowly and meticulously into the container. Take note of the calibrations to see to it that you do not exceed the expectations.

3. Add the Thinner

Add-the-thinner-agent-to-the-paintNow add the thinner of choice to the paint you have already poured into the container above. The ratio largely depends on the recommendations of the manufacturer. For this reason, you have to read through the manufacturer’s manual to determine this figure.

Generally speaking though, a ratio of 1:3 is the one that forms the standard for mixing these substances. This entails mixing one part of the thinner to three parts of the paint. Yet again, you are advised to be slow and meticulous in this process. You do not want to cause unnecessary havoc or spill some thinners to the ground.

4. Stir Thoroughly

Immediately after pouring the thinner into the paint, mix the two thoroughly using a special kind of stick. Start slowly and increase the pace consistently as the paint becomes thinner. The logic here is that you want to take great care not to spill any of the paint on the floor or the ground.

5. Test the Outcomes

Mix-Paint-for-Spray-GunTest the thinning outcomes after stirring the paint. This is to determine whether the outcomes are in line with your expectations. You may have to add more of the thinner if the resultant solution is too viscous. The opposite is applicable if the paint is too thin. Add more of the paint slowly, one at a time, and stir gently with time.

6. Place in Warm Water

Lastly, place the thinned paint in a bucket of warm water. This is to maintain the viscosity in the desired form and prevent the paint from hardening. Seal the container to prevent any loss of moisture. Be sure to use the paint within the shortest realistic duration of time after thinning. You may have to redo the entire process from scratch if you hold on for too long.

7. Pour in the Spray Gun

When you are ready to use the paint, you have to pour it into the spray gun. Open the canister of the spray gun and then channel the paint slowly into it. Take great care not to gill the canister with paint as this might impede its closing when the time comes to use it. You are now good to go!


Thinning is a task that is so simple that anyone can really do. You only have to be meticulous to prevent any dangers or damages from arising in the process. As such, you do not need to bring in an expert to help you out in this. You only need to adhere to the procedures stipulated above and also take your precious time to do the job.

The kind of information we have furnished is so precious that you cannot gain from it alone. You have to spread it as far as wide as possible. Be sure to let your friends and compatriots know about it. Best of luck also in your next thinning undertaking!

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