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How To Thin Latex Paint For Spray Gun




How to thin latex paint for spray gun

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Do you want to avoid the scenario whereby your latex paint creates a mess behind the spray gun trigger and messes your painting tool? If your answer is yes, you have to thin your latex paint. One of the advantages of latex paint is its thickness which makes it last longer. However, this thickness is a downside when you want to paint with latex paint using a spray gun. Thin latex paint flows easily out of the spray gun nozzle. 

Despite having a high-quality spray gun for latex paint, you still have to thin down the latex paint. Below is a step-by-step procedure on how to thin latex paint for spray gun.

What you Need for the Procedure

For this procedure, you will need the following.

Spray gun

There are highly-developed spray guns that can directly pump the paint from its container. Most of these spray guns do not require thinning the latex paint before using the paint.

If you have this kind of spray gun, follow the instructions given by the manufacturer as well as the user manual to know how to test the thickness of the paint to ensure the paint’s thickness is ideal for your spray gun.

Related Read: 7 Best Gravity Feed Spray Guns in 2021


You can use stirring sticks in place of the mixer, to mix the paint and water.

Latex paint
Drop cloths to cover furnishings and floor
Measuring cup
Plastic funnel
A clean and empty bucket
Access to a reliable clean water source

Step By Step Instructions

Before you start, go to a place where you do not have to worry about the paint spills as you transfer and mix the paint with water. 

Step 1 : Stir the Paint

At times the paint may have already been stirred at the store by the paint mixing machine. Other times, you have to stir the paint. Therefore, before you start the thinning process, ensure the paint is already mixed by opening the container and checking if it was already stirred. If it was not mixed, use the stirring sticks mix the paint at the bottom of the container with the rest of the paint in the container. 

Pro tips:

▶ Manually stir the paint for 5 to 10 minutes. If you stir for a shorter period, the paint may not properly mix.

▶ Use an upward and downward spiral motion when mixing.

▶ You can use a paint mixer extension to stir the paint if you have a drill. This makes the stirring process faster and easier.

▶ The paint becomes smoother as you continue to stir.

Step 2 : Pour the Paint Into The Bucket

When pouring out the paint, ensure you pour out the amount of paint you are going to use because latex paint thickens when it sits for long. If you are uncertain about the exact amount of paint to pour into the bucket, do an estimate. With time, you will know the exact amount of paint to mix with water you use for spray painting.

Step 3 : Add Water

Slowly add water to the paint by adding at intervals of one-quarter of a cup. This small amount allows you to properly mix the paint with water without making the paint too thin. If you add more water and the paint becomes too thin, you will have to add more paint into the mixture. 

Pro tips:

▶You can thin latex paint by using a back and forth manner to pour the paint, using empty paint containers.

▶ If you are dealing with more than a gallon of custom coloured latex paint, you can pour the paint back and forth several times. 

Step 4: Check the Paint’s Thickness

Check the paint’s thickness by holding the funnel with the thin spout over the bucket containing the water and paint mixture and then check the way the paint flows through the spout. If it flows evenly, it is thinned and you can load the spray gun with the mixture. Spray some paint on a piece of cardboard to test the thinned paint. In case the paints do not swiftly move out of the spray gun, take it back to the bucket with the rest of the mixture add a bit of water and then mix. If it flows well, you are good to go.

General Pro Tips

Here are some more tips on thinning latex paint.

▶  Latex paint can become thick if the lid of the container is left uncovered; Thus, ensure you always tightly close the paint’s container once you are done using the paint. When the paint is left uncovered for long period, the paint’s moisture evaporates, thus resulting in the paint’s thickness.

▶ Avoid long period storage of the latex paint. If the latex paint is stored for a longer period, like several months, it also tends to thicken. This means that you will have a harder time trying to thin the paint when you want to spray paint. The paint’s consistency is affected when the latex paint is stored for months because the paint will form particles at the bottom of the can.

▶ You can use commercial products, like thinning additives, to thin latex paint. However, the above procedure may be ideal for you if are on a budget as commercial thinning additives can be costly.

▶ If you plan to use commercial thinning additives to thin your latex paint, buy one that is compatible with the paint. To ensure smooth texture and quality of the resulting mixture, add the right quantity of the additive.


Did you find this procedure satisfactory? This tutorial helps you get the perfect paint thickness for your spray gun so can have a smooth painting experience. Also, thinning your latex paint before spray painting helps you preserve your spray gun. You can ensure your latex paint is thinned appropriately for the spray gun by following this procedure. However, keep in mind that you will need to do 3 to 4 coats of paint once you thin it to achieve a perfect finish.

Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comment section and share this article with your loved ones.

About the author

One response to “How To Thin Latex Paint For Spray Gun”

  1. […] The 1.8mm nozzle can handle most of the paints and primers that you through its way. However, this gun might not be ideal for latex paint since it is too thick. The good news is that you can always thin the latex paint before spraying it with this gun. […]

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