How to Hold a Spray Gun

How to use spray equipment to get the best possible coverage.


Whether spraying with a production gun or an aerosol can, these basics on how to hold your spray equipment will help you get professional results.

Spray with the gun held about 6-8 inches away from the workpiece and depress the trigger until it lays down a correct swath of finish (a "wet" look for nitrocellulose lacquer, a "half dry" look for waterbase lacquer).

Right Way
Wrong Way

Hold the gun perpendicular to the surface being sprayed and move it parallel to the surface, keeping the same distance from the work throughout the spray stroke.

Don't swing it in an arc, which will produce light coverage toward each side and heavy coverage in the center.

Each pass should overlap the previous one by about a third.

Moving the gun too slowly will cause the finish to puddle; moving too fast will leave the surface rough when it dries.

Read Spray Guns: Getting Started for more information on equipment use, care, and troubleshooting.

Work Smart!

Use chemicals in well ventilated areas and follow safety guidelines. Wear a NIOSH-approved mask to avoid vapors or spray. Practice on scrap!

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