Tips For Aerosol Spraying


Years ago, when I owned a woodworking and refinishing shop, we used professional spray equipment. Now that I’m working in my garage, it’s back to basics: brushes and rags. But sometimes I also enjoy the convenience of aerosol cans. Along the way I picked up several tips for using aerosol finishes, so if you’d like to add them to what you already know, just take a look here.

Tip #1 – Shaking Matters.

The contents of any aerosol can tend to settle toward the bottom, so shaking for a full 60 seconds is critical to insure that you will be getting the proper mixture of finish, sheen, solvent, and propellant when you first press the nozzle.

Tip #2 – Make Gravity Your Friend.

Whenever possible, position your project so that you are spraying a horizontal surface. Gravity is then pulling the wet finish down into the pores, rather than running down the side of a vertical surface.

Tip #3 – Thin is Better.

And we’re not talking diets here. Thin coats do not sag or run. Thin coats dry faster, are more flexible, and are less likely to develop cracks.

Tip #4 – Don’t Get Too Close.

To get the ideal spray pattern, keep the spray tip about 12 inches from the surface. Too close leaves too much finish; too far away and your finish actually starts to dry in the air, depositing specks of pebbly finish rather than a smooth, liquid coat.

Tip #5 – Keep Moving.

To avoid leaving a small puddle of finish, start spraying a few inches off to the side of the board, then slowly and steadily draw it across the surface, stopping only after you have gone past the opposite end. Repeat the process with continuous passes, each one over-lapping the previous one slightly.

Tip #6 – Clean the Nozzle.

Whenever you stop spraying, turn the can upside down and depress the plastic tip until nothing is coming out except clear propellant. The propellant forces any remaining finish out of the nozzle before it dries, keeping it clear for the next time.

And until our next time,

I hope this helps!


PS – Be sure to check out the Minwax® Facebook page for even more tips on wood staining and finishing.




4 comments on “Tips For Aerosol Spraying

  1. Sheryl O'Brien

    My husband has a can of the Spar Urethane – Indoor/outdoor use. Can we use that on a metal base birdhouse to protect it from rusting?

    1. Bruce Johnson Post author

      You could, Sheryl, but I would recommend applying it with a rag to avoid having a heavy, drippy coat. Another option would be the Helmsman Teak Oil as it is thinner than the Spar Urethane. Thanks for reading and good luck!

  2. David

    Shaking is really very necessary before spraying aerosol cans. Often this precaution is labelled at aerosol spray cans by the manufacturers because shaking activates the internal compounds or chemicals such as ethanol.

Comments are closed.