How to Thin Enamel Paint for Spray Gun?

Looking for ways to thin enamel paint for spray gun? Congratulations, you are at the right place because in this article I will guide you through simple steps to thin your enamel paint before you can add it to your spray gun. I know, enamel paints can be nightmarishly thick for a spray gun, which means that without thinning it, it is absolutely impossible to make the spray come out of the gun.

The process may be simple but don’t get too excited just yet! There are some things you need to be mindful of before you can go ahead to thin your enamel paint such as the composition of the paint and the amount of thinner you must use.

How to Thin Enamel Paint for Spray Gun – Getting Started

how to thin enamel paint for spray gun
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A slight mistake will cost you a bucket of paint. With that being said, let’s jump right into the details to thin enamel paint for spray gun!

Process to Thin Enamel Paint for Spray Gun

Due to the extreme thickness of enamel paints, it is absolutely impossible to use them in the spray gun. The thick composition will inhibit the formation of minute droplets which may result in two possible outcomes.

Either nothing will come out of the spray gun or either it will form hideous paint blobs on the intended surface. So, for your spray gun to work properly, you will have to thin the paint before you can add it to the airless spray gun.

Thinning enamel paint is really just a simple task. However, you will have to be very conscious of the type of thinner you should use and the quantity you must use. There are two kinds of enamel paints, oil-based and water-based.

Oil-based enamel paints must be thinned using acetone or mineral spirits whereas for water-based enamel paints you should use plain water. Beware to take extra care of using the correct thinner otherwise, you may end up spoiling your paint forever.

Now, let’s move to the amount of thinner you must add to the paint. For this keep in mind that putting too much or too little thinner won’t help you at all. For three parts paint add two parts of thinner. Plus, don’t try to rush the process instead take your time and add small quantities of thinner to the paint while stirring the paint continuously.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I thin enamel paint?

Yes, you can definitely thin enamel paint based on its own constitution. For instance, if the enamel paint is water-based then thinning it should be much of a problem for you. Add small quantities of water to the paint in a ratio of 3:1 while continuously stirring it. Whereas, for oil-based enamel paints you must use mineral spirits as thinning agents.

Can I use enamel paint in my spray gun?

If you are a newbie painter, you may think that it is impossible to use enamel paint in a spray gun however, the truth is quite the opposite. You can effectively use enamel paint in your spray gun after thinning it. But for this purpose, you will need a High volume Low pressure (HVLP) spray gun.

How much thinner do you mix with enamel paint?

If you are wondering what amount of thinner you should mix with enamel paint, you must refer to the instructions on the paint can. Chances are that you will find the exact ratio on the paint can, however, in case the amounts aren’t mentioned on the can, then you need to stick to the prescribed ratios of 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of paint to thinner. While adding the thinner to enamel paint, make sure that you take your time and add small quantities in turn.

How can I make my enamel thinner?

Thinning an enamel paint is the easiest task, you just need to be careful with the quantities of the paint and the thinner you add, otherwise, you can ruin the whole mixture. As a universal practice, you must add thinner to the paint in the ratio of one part to three parts of enamel paint, i.e., 1:3 of thinner to paint. Apart from that, the thinner you must use for this purpose must be either acetone or mineral spirits. Lastly, don’t add the thinner at once, instead, add it to the paint ion parts while continuously stirring the paint.

Can you spray water-based enamel paint?

Yes, you can spray water-based enamel paint using a spray gun. However, you will have to reduce the thickness of the paint before you add it to the spray gun. For this purpose, you will have to thin the enamel paint. Now, there are different kinds of thinners for all kinds of enamel paints according to their composition, but water-based enamel paint is the easiest because you can use plain water as the best thinner.

Read a detailed guide on How to Thin Water Based Paint for Spray Gun

Can you put paint thinner in water-based paint?

Putting mineral thinners to water-based enamel paints is a bad idea. The reason being, mineral spirits are composed of petroleum compounds that do not mix well with water-based products. No matter how hard you try, the solution won’t mix. So, the best alternative for water-based paints is plain water. However, for oil-based paints, you can absolutely use mineral spirits as thinners.

Concluding Enamel Paint Thinning for Spray Gun Guide

I hope I was able to clarify any doubts you had in mind before coming across my article. I have tried my best to break things down and explain them in the simplest manner possible.

Just be careful with the type of thinner you choose and the quantities you add to the paint. And finally, I would like to remind you to be very patient with the process and add small quantities of the thinner to the paint otherwise, things may go bad, Trust me!


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