Can You Brush On Spray Paint? (+Why You Should Try It)

When spray painting a project, you want your piece to get a smooth, even coat. However, it can be hard to get into the nooks and crannies of certain surfaces. Can you brush on spray paint? Discover our tips and tricks below. 

Spray paint is an application style that uses a sealed pressurized can and a push nozzle to apply paint in a spray fashion. This creates a smooth, thin layer of paint and a convenient, lightweight way to transport paint. Spray paint is available in a wide range of colors, finishes, and formulas to suit any craft, graffiti, or art project.  

Can spray paint be applied with a brush? Yes, very easily with the right preparation. If you have a ramekin or disposable plastic cup, you can simply spray it into that until a pool of paint forms.

Once you have what you need, you can dip in your paintbrush and get painting. This is good for touch-ups and smaller detailing rather than a full paint job. This technique is great as it saves you buying a tub of something you only need for a few minutes. 

Can you paint over spray paint? Yes, you can. You most often see artists or homeowners painting over past artworks to make way for new pieces or a more uniform look. Depending on your needs, you may want to use tin paint and some primer for this type of job. 

man holding a can of spray paint

Why is it good to use spray paint with a brush? 

  • Helps to Apply Paint On Tricky Areas 
    Some projects have a lot of moving parts or nooks and crannies that simply spraying won’t cover. Fine brushes can get into these areas for more uniform coverage. 
  • Finer Results 
    Spray paint is wonderful for big sweeping layers but can make finer details difficult, especially for beginners. A paintbrush can make finer detail painting much easier. 
  • Can Save Time & Money 
    Using what you already have on hand to perform the above tasks saves you time and money in the short and long term. 
  • For Smooth & Even Coating 
    Spray paint provides a smooth and even coating as it dries, which can be hard to achieve with rollers and brushes. However, uneven surfaces or nooks will need a helping hand for that perfect final look. 

What Type Of Brushes Are Used With Spray Paint?

While there are plenty of paint brushes on the market in both individual and set packaging, not all brushes are made equal. For this type of project, we would recommend choosing smaller brushes with softer bristles, ideally nylon and polyester bristles for good finishing results.  

Cheap paint brushes tend to shed easily, leaving hairs in your painting that ruin the finish and can be tricky to remove – go for better quality brushes to save headaches later. The thickness of the brush you want will depend on what you are going for, but thin to medium most often works well here. 


How To Use Spray Paint and Brushes Together

Materials Needed: 

  • Spray paint/s 
  • Brush/es 
  • Painter’s tape 
  • Protective gear 
  • Drop cloths/newspapers/plastic sheeting 
  • Small disposable cups or ramekins 
  • Gloves 
  • Primer (optional) 
  • 100 grit sandpaper (optional) 
  • Vacuum (optional) 
  • Clean cloths (optional) 
  • Soapy water (optional) 
  • Kitchen roll (optional) 
  • Paint thinner (optional) 
  • 1
    Gather your materials and put on protective clothing, mask, and gloves.
  • 2
    Ventilate your space and put down drop cloths etc.
  • 3
    Sand, vacuum, and clean your item/s surface (optional).
  • 4
    Dust or wipe down your item/s (optional).
  • 5
    Apply primer to your surface and wait for it to dry completely.
  • 6
    Apply your spray paint and wait for it to dry.
  • 7
    To get into the nitty-gritty details, spray your color/s into the cups or ramekins until they form a pool of paint and get stuck in with your paint brushes.
  • 8
    Let everything dry for 24 hours. 

If you only want to touch up your piece instead of fully painting it, follow steps 1,2, 7, and 8 only. Always remember to wear protective gear, properly ventilate your painting area, and let every layer dry completely before moving on. 

spray paint cans

How To Clean A Brush After Using It With Spray Paint? 

When working with spray paint, you should clean your brushes as quickly as possible once your painting is complete. What you will need to use and do will depend on the type of paint you have used. For water-based paint, soap and water alongside a two-hour warm water soak should do the trick.  

Solvent-based paint will need to be cleaned with mineral spirits or paint thinner in a small jar or container. Do not dispose of your solvents down the sink; let the paint settle to the bottom of the jar and pour the solvent back into the jar for future use. Once clean, wipe your brushes dry with a clean cloth and store them either lying down in a box or drawer or brush upwards in a container. 

Using Spray Paint With A Brush FAQs 

Does brushing on spray paints dry faster? 

How long paint takes to dry depends on a variety of factors, including the humidity in the area, how warm it is, the ventilation level, the thickness of the paint, the type of paint, and more. Spray paint tends to dry quickly due to its application, so thin light strokes should dry faster than thick ones. 

Is it better to spray paint or brush for upcycling furniture? 

That depends on the look you are going for in your finished product. Spray paint gives a smooth and even finish, whereas hand painting with a brush tends to look more rustic and homier.  

Can Rustoleum spray paint be brushed on? 

Any brand of spray paint can be used with our above techniques, including Rustoleum. By forming a small pool of paint, you can easily brush on any touch-ups or more minor details with a thin- to medium-sized paintbrush. 


Once you know how to touch-up spray paint with a brush, you can easily take your art projects to the next level or touch up any marked or chipped pieces in your home. Be sure to follow proper safety procedures and properly clean your brushes once you are done painting.