How To Fix Uneven Spray Paint And Get A Smooth Finish

Learning how to fix uneven spray paint is easy, and our DIY home fix guide will help you fix your home spray paint project. Follow our instructions, and within a few hours, your spray paint project will be complete with clean, even lines.  

What You’ll Need - Tools, Supplies & Safety Gear 

To fix uneven spray paint, there are only a few supplies that are needed. You will need your spray gun or spray can, new paint (choose a high-quality brand), cardboard or painter’s tape, a drop cloth, and either sandpaper or a sanding block. Some people may choose to wear safety goggles to avoid getting paint in their eyes, but as long as you are confident in your ability to aim the spray gun or spray can, you do not have to use goggles.  

To fix the area, you will first need to prepare the surface. Surface preparation will require the sandpaper or sanding block, cardboard, and drop cloth. Then you will need to review the spray gun pressure and try a test sample outdoors. Now you're ready, and it's time to actually paint.  

How To Fix Uneven Spray Paint

Preparation For Different Surfaces 

The surface preparation for spray paint depends on the type of surface. Is it a metal, wood, or plastic surface? Each surface area has different preparation needs. A wood surface needs to be sanded smooth using sandpaper. We recommend using a rough grit sandpaper first. Thoroughly push the rough grit sandpaper against the wood.  

Then take a fine-grit sandpaper and continue to sand. For a plastic surface, a soft cloth can be used first to get rid of dirt. Then use rubbing alcohol to wipe down the surface (if oils are present). With a metal surface, it's recommended to take a soft cloth, wet it, and use it to wipe down the area.  

Then take a fine-grit sandpaper and run it along the area to eliminate loose paint. For all surfaces, use a drop cloth to cover the floor and protect it from paint splatter. We also recommend using cardboard or painter’s tape to secure the paint area if you want an exceptionally clean line. 


Step By Step Guide For Fixing Uneven Spray Paint

When fixing uneven spray paint, you want to begin by gathering your tools and preparing the surface. Then it’s time to paint. The key to fixing uneven spray paint is to slowly add layers of paint. Blotchy spray paint jobs show up because painters use too much paint at once. The excess paint drips and bubbles, which leaves behind patchy or blotchy paint areas.  

Painters also want to check the pressure setting when using a spray gun. Test this on a piece of cardboard to ensure that the setting will leave a smooth pattern. This is important whether you are spray painting a wall, piece of furniture, or car. As you paint, check to see what type of painting distance you should be using.  

This will be on the manufacturer’s instructions for the spray gun you are using. Most spray guns work best at an 8-10 inch or 10-12 inch angle. Make sure that you are at an angle and slowly move the spray gun along the surface. Aim for the side when spraying and allow your arm to move slowly along the outer edges. Do not stop.  

Once you have completed one layer, take a break and wait a minimum of three hours before adding an additional layer of paint. It's important to take extra time when the goal is to fix uneven spray paint. After the allotted three hours have passed, you can add another layer of paint. It should only take 1-3 layers before the splotchy patches have been filled in. And voila! You have clean, smooth lines with a beautiful finish.  

man holding a can of spray paint

What Causes Spray Paint To Be Uneven?

There are multiple reasons why spray paint can turn out uneven. The most common reason for uneven spray paint is that the spray paint coats are too thick and that they were applied too quickly. When you apply several coats at once with a thick coat each time, the paint can run.  

As the paint runs, the paint beneath the surface cannot dry, so the final product looks patchy. When you spray paint, it is best to simply spray one coat at a time and allow the paint to develop slowly. This will take longer but will result in a better-finished product.  

Another common reason for uneven spray paint is a poor spray painting job. If you spray paint from the wrong angle, you can create a paint spray that isn’t as full as it should be and shows up splotchy rather than clean. Another unfortunate reason is that the thinner used in the spray paint can evaporate too quickly. This can happen with old spray paint or with lower-quality paint.  

We recommend purchasing high-quality spray paint as well as reading manufacturers' instructions on when the paint expires. We also recommend using each spray paint bottle in full before moving on to another bottle.  

There is nothing wrong with an uneven paint spray job if you like the patchy look. Sometimes, this can even be a desired look depending on the aesthetic you are trying to create. However, most projects call for clean, even lines without patchy splotches of paint.  


How To Prevent Uneven Spray Paint?

If you prevent mistakes when spray painting, you can save both time and money.  

One of the best ways to prevent uneven spray paint is to purchase a high-quality spray paint product. Higher quality products will develop more slowly and create a thicker color base when painting.  

Another great way to prevent uneven spray paint is to paint one coat at a time and check the angle you are using. When spraying, you want to make sure that your spray gun is hitting the wall at a 90-degree angle. Too many users change this angle, and it creates uneven work.  

It is also essential to make sure that you sand down your wall or surface if you are using a sandable material. The smoother the existing surface, the better the spray paint will hold and the better the paint job will look.  

paint sprays on table

Frequently Asked Fixing Uneven Spray Paint Questions 

How much does it cost to fix the uneven spray paint? 

It typically costs $10—$15 to fix uneven spray paint because you need to purchase another can of spray paint. If you are using multiple colors and are out of more than one color, then it will be more expensive. If you have existing spray paint cans, you can use those first and then purchase additional cans if you need them. The best way to fix uneven spray paint is to add additional coats, which requires more paint.  


How long does it take to fix the uneven spray paint? 

It won’t take long to fix uneven spray paint. Try adding 1-3 additional coats of paint. Make sure that you no longer see uneven areas or patchy spots before you stop adding paint. Once you have applied each layer of paint, you need to wait for the paint to dry. Once the paint has dried, you can apply additional coats if you still see uneven areas. This should take anywhere from twenty minutes to a few hours.  


Can you simply paint over patchy paint? 

Yes! This is the best way to fix patchy spray paint areas. Simply take the correct color of spray paint and spray over the area that is uneven and patchy.  


Should you use primer to cover uneven paint? 

No, you do not need to use a primer to cover uneven paint. Primer is best used before paint is sprayed onto the surface. Primer isn't always necessary, depending on the project. The only reason to use primer once you have begun painting is if you want to “restart” and use another color. Then primer can be used, followed by the new colored spray paint.  


Conclusion

The best way to fix blotchy, patchy, and uneven spray paint is to add additional layers of spray paint. You want to go over your work slowly with another layer of paint to create an even and filled-in look. If you are using a wood surface or metal surface, you may need to sand the spot before adding the additional coats of paint.  


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