If you are starting from zero and you want to learn spray paint art, don’t worry, it’s super fun!

Lets talk about the hard stuff so you can get it out of the way.

Getting set up takes some work. Here’s some guidance.

OK, here’s how to get set up!

First of all you need paint and paper. I recommend water based paints because they are the safest and healthiest alternative. My favorite is Montana Water Based 300 paints exclusively. I used other brands for many years but as I got older (I’ll be 50 soon!), it became clear that my body was giving me a strong message to be more caring and careful. I hope you will not have to wait that long to be careful with your health, especially with all the weird viruses running around, you can’t afford to take risks. These water based spray paints are actually cooler than many of the solvent based brands I have worked with. 

Where do I get mine?Where do I get mine? I use https://www.sprayplanet.com (I have no connection to them). 

The best way to get cans is to open a wholesale account with them and buy in bulk. You do have to get about $500 of cans. They used to do smaller whole sale orders but recently made it harder, which is a bummer, but if you can swing it, you can get the cans at under $5 per can there. 

Consider finding other spray painters and sharing an order if you want a smaller amount. There are spray paint art forums on facebook and probably elsewhere where you can put the word out.

OK, now for paper.

There are 2 reasons I’ve stopped using poster board as my main paper. One is that the water based paints get it wet and it curls a little, which is annoying. The other is that when I try to sell work on posterboard, people want to pay less for it than work on other, nicer art papers. It’s not as durable or pretty as other papers.

What are my new favorite papers? Yupo (get a roll for about $100 and it lasts a long long time) Mighty Board (Get it from Sherwin Williams, it’s expensive but beautiful) Prepared surfaces including canvas, wood, water color paper etc. You prepare stuff with gesso and acrylic gloss. Many of the lesson videos are on prepared papers and canvas so you can see how that looks. 

What else?

Apart from paint and paper, you need to get painting materials like brushes, palette knife, plates, newspaper and other fun things to play with. Please check out our materials list for more information on these tools.


The other issue you need to consider is ventilation, but it’s much easier when you use water based paints. The easiest way to take care of this is to paint out doors. If you want to paint indoors, check out this article on safety and ventilation to pick your method.


OK, getting set up is a lot of work! But once you are set up, sitting down and ready to have fun, what should you keep in mind as you start to learn spray paint art?

I think the first thing to remember is to take breaks! The better you are at taking a quick break, the better you are at focusing on whatever it is you are learning. Start with planets. Planets are very forgiving! Remember that mistakes often lead to unexpected and original techniques, so don’t throw them out! Sometimes what looks terrible one day, looks interesting after a break. You might come back the next day and see something you didn’t notice when you felt like you were struggling. 

The next thing is to make sure you are comfortable. If you need a pillow to sit on, use one! If you feel better painting on a table, get a low table and a stool. If you find that you are breathing paint, consider using fans to direct the air currents in a better way. 

Here’s one more tip before this blog post becomes way too long!

Don’t expect your path to be linear. You may be trying to learn one skill and it’s just not working out. If that’s all you focus on, you may miss the something cool that happened along the way!

Sometimes I get frustrated and I just decide to play with colors without thinking, usually after several hours of trying to do something specific. It’s in those moments where I turn off my mind and stop judging that I discover new things. 

I hope this is helpful. If you have any questions about how to learn spray paint art, feel free to email me at [email protected] and I’ll try to answer them! Much love, Alisa

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