Let’s Play with Spray Painting!

Spray Painting, Techniques

Let’s play with spray painting…at least, my version of spray painting.  Using diluted watercolor paints and pump spray bottles, we’re going to tap into our creative side!


Supplies for this Activity

Supplies for this Activity

  • watercolor paper [I used a piece of 5×7 140lb cold press watercolor paper]
  • pump spray bottles, one for each color [you can buy them in craft stores, or recycle hair spray bottles or other products that use spray bottles…be sure to clean thoroughly before using ]
  • watercolor paint – different colors [I used an artist-quality brand called da vinci, but any water-based paint that comes in a tube or is liquid will do]
  • painter’s tape [blue or green]
  • something to cover the area where you’ll be working…paint will spray out and beyond the paper…it will get messy.

Make the Spray Paint:

For each color you have, make a solution of diluted paint.  Take off the pump top and squirt in  about 1/2 teaspoon of paint into the bottle.

Put pieces of tape on paper

Step 1: Put paint in bottle

Add about 1/2 to 1 inch of water to the bottle, depending on how thick or thin you want the paint.  With practice and playing you’ll figure out which you prefer.  It does need to be thin enough to spray effectively…if it’s too thick, it will clog in the pump…yuck!

Add water to the bottle

Step 2: Add water to the bottle

Put the top back on and then shake the bottle to blend the solution.

Shake the bottle

Step 3: Shake the bottle

Now for the Fun Part!

The steps I’m suggesting here are just to get you started and to show you how I created the final piece.

I highly encourage you to play around with this process…use more or less tape, use more or less paint, use more or less colors, see what happens when the paper is wet vs. dry….etc. etc. etc.

STEP 1:  Rip varying sizes of tape and randomly place them on the paper…or you can place them any way you like…you can make shapes and patterns with the tape.  For this example, I put them on randomly.

Put pieces of tape on the paper

Step 1: Put pieces of tape on the paper

STEP 2:  Pick up one of your spray paint bottles and start spraying.  Here I used yellow to start.  Because water-based paint is mostly transparent, it’s usually best to start painting with the lighter colors first and then add darker colors.

Spray some color on the paper

Step 2: Spray some color on the paper

STEP 3: Once the yellow paint is dry, add another color.  Here I added red.  This particular red (cadmium red – medium) is less translucent than the yellow.  It creates more droplets.

Add another color

Step 3: Add another color

STEP 4:  After the paint dries, take some of the tape off.  Some of the tape pieces I removed were underneath other pieces.  While in the previous photos, the yellow was difficult to see, with the tape removed you can definitely see the difference between the yellow and white areas.

Remove some tape

Step 4: Remove some tape

STEP 5:  Add more paint.  In this case I added blue.

Add more paint

Step 5: Add more paint

STEP 6:  After the blue dries, add more paint.  Here I add a translucent violet.  When the paper is dry, the paint will form droplets.  If the paper is wet, the paint will blend without any droplets showing.

Add more paint

Step 6: Add more paint

STEP 7:  After the paint dries, take off some more of the tape.  Now you can really see the contrast between where the paint is and where the tape was.

Take off some more tape

Step 7: Take off some more tape

STEP 8:  Add more paint.  Here I added a rose color, which on the white exposed areas turns it into a pink color.

Add more paint

Step 8: Add more paint

STEP 9:  Once dry, take off remaining tape.

Take off remaining tape

Step 9: Take off remaining tape

STEP 10:  Add more paint.  In this case, I added more yellow.  Remember how earlier I said to use lighter colors first?  Because some light areas still exist on the paper, I can add lighter colors and have it be noticeable.  Add the yellow overall gives the painting a warmer look and feel, but in the areas where it’s yellow only, the yellow stands out.

Add more paint

Step 10: Add more paint

STEP 11:  Here I added more paint…a light green which is barely noticeable in this photo.

Add final paint

Step 11: Add more paint

STEP 12:  Add final paint.  To make the yellow sections less flat looking, I added about two quick squirts of the rose paint.  It left drops in throughout as well as in the yellow areas…making it more interesting…at least in my humble opinion.

Add Final Paint

Step 12: Add Final Paint

So that’s my version of spray painting.  This activity has so many possibilities.  Besides tape or instead of tape, you can use any number of objects on the paper.  I have a pile of sea shells that would work nicely with this process.

Ok…ball’s in your court.  Have fun playing with spray painting!

Maureen, The Mandala Lady


3 thoughts on “Let’s Play with Spray Painting!

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