How To Fix Spray Paint Drips For A Perfectly Smooth Finish

Whenever I move into a new home, I tend to pick some great colors to paint the walls in the bedrooms and living room with my husband.

Last time, we let our daughter pick a color for an accent wall in her bedroom. What color did she choose? Pink, of course!  

Yet, I often see problems related to spray paint drips. If you're wondering how to fix spray paint drips, you've come to the right place.

Below, I've developed a DIY guide for resolving drips and how to sand spray paint drips. Keep reading to learn just how to fix spray paint drips or avoid drips!  

Is your spray paint cracking? Is your spray paint too thick?

There are numerous common spray paint problems you may encounter while you are painting with spray gun or paint brush.

Let’s look at a few of the common mistakes that cause spray paint problems.  

How To Fix Spray Paint Drips & Other Mistakes


Drips happen when you spray too much paint in the same area. Maybe you’re moving between areas too slowly, are holding the nozzle too close while spraying, or are simply trying to apply the coat too thickly.

The light highlights the shadows and raised spots so you can spot the drip as soon as it happens. It also helps you to find dry drips, as well. 

Of course, it’s also possible to get a drip even if you’re doing everything correctly. 


Why is my spray paint cracking? Cracking or webbing often results from mistakes you make when applying a second coat of paint.

Cracking can occur if you apply the coat before the first coat of paint dries, if it’s too hot or too cold, if moisture gets between the layers, or if you try to apply so much paint that the underside can’t dry.  

Remember to just have a little patience when that first run occurs, and let the paint flash off, or skin over before you get started.

Paint Lines 

Paint lines are most likely to occur if you’re using an airless spray painter. You may notice paint lines or streaks if the pressure isn’t high enough, if the nozzle is worn, or if you have a clogged tip. You can clean a clogged tip by soaking it in paint thinner for a few minutes or overnight. 

Paint Blobs 

If the paint comes out as thick blobs instead of going on smoothly, it could be because you’re using old clotted paint or because you have a dirty spray nozzle. Mixing the paint or cleaning the nozzle may help. Another reason may be that the pressure in the can is too low.  

Flaking And Peeling 

If the primer, basecoat, or topcoat does not adhere correctly, it can result in the layers peeling and separating from each other or flaking. Sometimes, this happens because you didn’t clean or prepare your surface properly, or the surface isn’t compatible with the substrate or existing paint. Other reasons include applying to a too-hot, too-moist, or too-smooth surface.   


If you accidentally touch paint before it dries, you will cause a smudge. To avoid smudging, it’s necessary to plan your steps to avoid dragging your hand or arm through the paint is still wet. If paint is still wet, you can simply wash off the excess paint and clean the surface well. Always work from top to bottom. Additionally, you’ll want to spray left to right if right-handed and right to left if left-handed.   


Overspraying into areas and onto surfaces you don’t want to be painted is often a result of poor planning. You can use painter's tape to define the area you want to paint and avoid spraying into adjacent areas. Newspapers and lint free cloth or drop cloths are also helpful for protecting nearby surfaces while you work. 


Fisheyes occur when there’s oil, grease, wax, or silicone on the surface of the substrate. Even small traces of these substances don’t allow the paint to settle evenly. If you thoroughly remove these contaminants before spray painting, you shouldn’t have to worry about the possibility of fisheyes.  

Blotchy Spots 

It’s essential that you keep moving constantly to achieve a smooth surface without blotchy spots while painting. The spray painting process requires quick movements and a steady stream of paint if you want the results to look nice spray painting metal and other surface. Any time that you slow down or stop mid-painting, you risk causing imperfections in your paint job. 

spray paint cans

How To Fix Spray Paint Drips & More

Fixing drips in spray paint can take a while to complete, but you’ll see that it’s an easy process.  

Surrounding paint drips are one of the most common problems from painting, but all you’ll need to do is use wet or dry sandpaper or lint free cloth with a fine grit to remove the mistake. You can use that process on wooden surfaces or walls.  

You can use a spray bottle of water to wet the sandpaper or dip it into a bowl of water. Take off the top layer with sandpaper. With the help of rubbing alcohol, remove any contaminants from the surface to keep it clean. The last steps include applying a primer and then spraying the paint before letting it dry. You may want to add another thin coats of spray paint after drying. 

You will also need to take some precautions for your safety when spray painting, such as staying away from heat and avoiding flames. Keep your spray paint bottles away from heat as well. Avoid painting lightbulbs, damaged cords, or wiring, as these items may get too hot. 

Ventilating the area is important since the vapors from spray paint may cause harm. Wear gloves to keep the paint off your skin.  

Are you wondering how to fix uneven spray paint, how to get rid of spray paint lines, how to fix blotchy spray paint, or how to fix overspray spray paint?  

You’ll be glad to learn that fixing all of the most typical spray paint mistakes is incredibly similar to fixing surrounding paint drips from spraying. Essentially, you’ll need to follow the same steps that I have already covered above.  

Are you still wondering how to fix spray paint mistakes or how to fix spray paint drips? Use fine-grit sandpaper to remove spray paint mistakes and then buff them out with rubbing alcohol (rubbing compound). You can use a camel hair lightly brush to smooth out the issue of drips without brush strokes.  

Then, you can reapply the spray paint in a light coat or two. For removing fisheyes, use wet sand paper to get to the bare surface and clean the area before reapplying any spray paint.  

Paint blobs occur due to dirty, messy spray bottles and clotted paint. Clean the spray nozzles and mix the paint well before light sanding or lightly sand down the area and adding the paint. Store spray paint cans away from children and pets. 

How To Prevent Spray Paint From Dripping

Are you wondering how to prevent dripping paint? Do you want to know how to spray paint without drips? The first step is to shake the paint can a few times for as long as a full minute. First, spray the paint away from the item or wall, and then move the paint nozzle across the item carefully and smoothly.  

Spray the paint about 10 to 12 inches away from the wall or object you’re painting. The process will create a thin coat of paint and help you avoid making mistakes, including drips. After 45 minutes of paint dry, repeat the process for the second layer of paint.   

Wipe off the nozzle of the paint can regularly to avoid the paint from getting clogged up and messy. At the end of the day, you’ll generally need to practice spray painting regularly to ensure you no longer make these typical painting mistakes.  

person holding spray paint

Common Spray Paint Mistake FAQs 

Why does my spray paint keep dripping? 

Your spray paint may keep dripping because you are spraying too close to the surface of the item you’re painting. You may also move too slowly when you’re painting. Also, you may have added a coat of paint that’s too thick.  

How do you stop dripping graffiti? 

To stop dripping graffiti, you can stand about one foot away from the object you’re painting and move in a quick, smooth motion to apply a thin coat of paint. Wait for it to dry before applying more paint. Also, keep the paint can nozzle clean. 

How do you blend spray paint lines? 

To blend spray paint lines, use more shades of the same color when painting an object. You can use up to four or five shades.

Can you sand down paint drips? 

Yes, you can use wet or dry sandpaper to remove paint drips. Then, clean off the surface and repaint the area with a thin coat. Wait for it to dry before reapplying a second coat of paint.  


This guide givens you great tips to fix paint drips and other common spray painting mistakes. By following these steps, you can create a great piece of artwork, DIY project, or gorgeous painted walls in your home.