Can You Paint Over Spray Paint? (Easy Guide For All Types)

Accessible, affordable, and user-friendly, spray paint is the easiest way to spruce up any DIY project.  

However, mistakes happen. Any project risks drips and runs or uneven finishes. If you notice mishaps within your oil based spray paint job, you may consider fixing the eyesore. 

So, can you paint over spray paint? Read on for more information on the various paint types and which works best for you. 

In short, yes! Typically any paint can brush over spray paint (and still look aesthetically pleasing afterward).  

The benefits of painting over spray paint outweigh the negatives. Your project will go from haphazard or unsightly to polished and professional painter will use the appropriate materials and preparation. 

Paint generally adheres to spray paint well, but a few materials might give you trouble. Below are in-depth explorations of which paints cooperate with spray painting - and which ones you may want to skip. 

Can You Paint Over Spray Paint?

Can You Put Polyurethane Over Spray Paint? 

Yes, polyurethane goes over spray paint well if you apply it after curing. Most spray paints need about 24 - 72 hours to dry. After that point, you should be able to layer polyurethane without issue. 

Remember to wear long sleeves and a mask when putting polyurethane over paint, as it can be a dangerous chemical if it makes contact with skin. 

Can You Paint Acrylic Over Spray Paint?  

Acrylic paint glides over spray paint well under the right conditions, but acrylic paints may not work as efficiently as oil-based spray paints. If you want to use oil based paint acrylic paint and spray paint, you need a water-based spray paint formula.  

You may also need to apply more than one coat to paint acrylic paint after first coating, as acrylic paints not as thick as spray paint and will not cover everything the first time around. 

Can You Epoxy Over Spray Paint? 

Epoxy is a great way to liven up your oil based spray paint project! The result is glossy, polished, and smooth-looking. Another bonus of using epoxy is that it seals your work and protects it from humidity, cracks, and everyday damage. 

Note that you should use epoxy resin for the best results. Powder epoxy may not work as well against oil based spray paint. 

Can You Paint Latex Over Spray Paint?  

Latex is another type of water-based paint that you can use over spray paint. Latex paint will only work with water-based spray paints - but latex paint cooperates well with oil-based and water-based primers if you first sand and prime your item.  

One of the benefits of using latex paint is its capability to withstand any environment. Latex paint can endure harsh cold or hot temperatures, whether painting something for your interior or exterior. It is also less likely to fade, weather, chip, or crack over time.  

Can You Chalk Paint Over the Spray Paint? 

Chalk paint suits spray-painted surfaces well with proper priming and sanding. Before applying chalk paint, remove any rough edges or bumps from the surface to ensure a smooth application.  

If you have a glossy finish spray paint base, use a spray primer before applying the chalk paint for the desired matte effect. 

Can You Powder Coat Over Spray Paint? 

You can apply powder coats to spray paint, but it can be tricky. Before you administer a powder coat, ensure your base spray paint meets the following criteria:   

  • Its formula tolerates temperatures up to 400 degrees. 
  • The surface is rust-free. 
  • Spray paint should not be over 4 millimeters thick. 
  • The base should not have excessive chips or barren areas. 

If your project has the above qualities, you can use powder. Otherwise, you may want to consider other options. 

Can You Stain Over Spray Paint? 

Stains are perfectly safe to use over spray paint, but only if you want a particular result. Staining a spray-painted surface creates a rustic, lived-in look - ideal for modern farmhouse homes or updating old furniture. 

If you want your dresser from childhood to look shiny and new, staining may not be the best option. 

Can You Put A Clear Coat Over Spray Paint? 

If your project turned out too matte for your taste, a clear-coat application is the easiest way to create a shiny, glossy finish.  

Clear coats show up best on matte spray paints or natural finishes. Bases painted with semi-gloss or glossy paints do not usually need clear coats. 

Can You Use Water-Based Paint Over Spray Paint? 

You can only use water-based paint over a spray-painted base on a primed and sanded surface. Otherwise, water-based paints will not adhere to the spray paint and drip off.  

Can You Put Oil Paint Over Spray Paint? 

Oil paint works best with matte spray paint bases. Glossy finishes will not adhere to oil paints. You may need to sand the surface first if you encounter problems during the application, but most oil paint or oil based spray paint formulas cooperate with spraying paint well. 

How To Paint Over Spray Paint (DIY Guide) 

Applying your preferred paint is not as challenging as it sounds with the proper materials and preparation steps. Below is a step-by-step guide on painting your project for the best result possible. 

Materials Needed 

  • Acrylic paints 
  • Paint tray (optional) 
  • Painter's tape 
  • Paint primer or spray primer 
  • Drop sheet  or Drop cloth
  • Paintbrush 
  • Sandpaper 
  • 1
    Prep Your Item 
    Before you get started, it is essential to prep your item for painting. Prep maintenance usually includes cleaning, taking the object apart, sanding, and priming. If you plan to use a powder coat, fill in any bald spots with the spray paint to ensure an even application. 
  • 2
    Set Up The Space 
    Once you have prepared your item, cover your workspace. This step prevents spillage or splatter on your floor or walls. You may want to keep your kids and pets out of the area during painting.  
  • 3
    Do The Water Test 
    Before painting, double-check the type of spray paint on the base. You can check this by applying a few water droplets to the surface. If the water drops do not change color, it is water-based spray paint, but if it does, it is oil-based. 
  • 4
    De-Gloss Your Item 
    Usually, spray paints have a glossy top layer that makes them water-resistant. So, if you try to apply paint later, it may not adhere. You can prevent this issue by using sandpaper to remove most of the top layer and a palm sander to remove the gloss.  
  • 5
    Water based Primer & Paint Your Item  
    Apply two coats of water-based primer onto your item to strengthen the adhesion and smoothness. Once both layers dry, you can start applying acrylic paint! Ensure that you prime the entire area before implementing paint. 

Tips For Optimal Results When painting

When painting over spray paint, there are a couple of factors to consider for personal and overall safety. Since most paints are water-based, you do not need to worry about toxic fumes. However, working in a proper ventilation area is essential, even with safe substances such as acrylic. 

Another factor to consider is when you are applying the paint. Ensure you apply thin coats to the spray-painted surface. Thinner coats will dry faster, and you can administer new paint layers quicker.  

If you want your paint to last, try using a clear coat after applying your preferred paint over the base. Some DIY-ers have issues getting formulas to paint sticks to spray paint - if you have this problem, sand the surface and prime it before applying the new layer. 

Painting Over Spray Paint FAQs 

Can you paint latex and acrylic over rustoleum spray paint? 

Yes, you can use latex and acrylic paint over Rustoleum Spray Paint. Of course, since Rustoleum is water-based, water-based acrylic paint will work best. Do not use oil-based paint over Rustoleum.  

Can you paint over graffiti? 

Yes, instead of removing graffiti you can paint over it, but you have to prime it beforehand. After the primer dries, you can apply the fresh coat of paint. Since graffiti uses vibrant colors, you may have to apply several coats of paint to cover the underlying art. 


So, to review, can you paint over spray paint? Yes! Typically, water-based acrylic paint is best. Still, any acrylic paints formulation will adhere over the spray paint as long as you sand and prime your item first.

Whether you want to cover mistakes or revamp old furniture, painting over spray paint is fast and easy.