How to Use Primer Spray Paint – An Essential Guide to Perfect Spray Painting

In the wake of the pandemic that the entire global population is going through, people are captivated inside their houses with work-from-home schedules. You must be bored with the same old look of your room or furniture. A new room decor shall shake up things and give your room a refreshing look. When considering reshaping your old room or furniture, painting tops the list.

It does not matter if you are painting a wall, or an item of furniture, or a model you need to make sure that the coat of paint settles on a primer. This can be achieved with the help of a primer spray paint that will enhance the artwork and make a huge difference in the quality of the paint. Primer forms the base for any kind of paint and primer spray paint offers a great deal of convenience and a smooth finish.

Spray Paint

Moreover, the outdoor furniture might lose its visual appeal as it is continuously exposed to heat and moisture or you might just want to repaint the unit so that it better matches the house color and vibe. Spray painting can be the easiest method to give your house a dramatic makeover. Furthermore, it is essential to start the painting process with a primer.

A primer is the first coat of paint that is used to prepare the surface chosen for painting. Use a primer on uneven surfaces so that its adhesion quality gets the required boost. Moreover, a primer can be applied on any and every surfaces like metal, wood, plastic, and fiber. Although the primer is not mandatory, it is widely recommended for long-lasting paint. It also prevents the chipping or peeling of the applied paint.

You might wonder why is it necessary to have a spray paint primer if you can just do it with a good old brush. Well, that is a million-dollar question, the answer to which can be satisfactorily derived from the experience of using spray paints. Spray painting has been one of the most innovative discoveries in the world of painters and artisans. These modern marvels do not only save you time but also dries up faster in comparison to brush paint.

This article will cover all the information about primer spray paints, the benefits of such primer sprays, the preparation that you need to do before applying it, and the steps to follow while applying it. If you are a first-timer deciding to give your house or any other furniture a new look then go through this article, know about all the nooks and corners of primer spray paints and then start spraying your masterpiece.

Why is Primer Spray Paint necessary?

You might be skeptical about the whole primer application process let alone the use of a primer spray paint. It should be remembered here that often the use of a primer is not recommended in many cases. However, there are added benefits if you decide to use a primer for the painting process. These benefits are as follows.


The primary purpose behind the application of the primers is that it increases the adhesion property of the surface. This means that the paint applied on the coat of a primer will stick better. This is particularly effective in the case of a smooth surface, which finds difficulty in holding the paint. Therefore, the type of substrate on which the paint will be applied matters the most.

Hides Stains or the Base Color

The primer when applied on the wall surface or the substrate tends to overpower the base color or the material color on which it is provided. If you want the color of your chosen paint to reflect at its brightest then application of a primer would be ideal. The primer will also be able to hide the stains and let the applied coat of paint show through.

Long-Lasting Effect

The application of primer is also necessary to make the coat of paint last longer. This means that the primer provides protection and glues the paint to the substrate surface. This leads to a reduced risk of chipping, peeling, or cracking of the paint. You must know that primers are crucial for outdoor surfaces as they are constantly exposed to the elements and the application of a primer helps the paint to endure the heat and air.

Stable Base Surface

You should consider using a primer if the substrate surface is porous. A surface being porous will absorb much more paint and might take up multiple coats before achieving an even finish of a thick layer of paint. Application of a primer will save you the extra coats and give your wall a beautiful finish.

Benefits of Applying Primer with a Spray Paint

Initially, primers had a strong chemical base, which made them unpopular with many buyers as the chemical content of the product proved to be harmful to substrates. However, the new-age primers are certified eco-friendly products that are safe for interior use. Moreover, the application process of the primer also determines the extent to which they can be rendered useful for enhancing the quality of the surface.

Sprayers are a popular paint application technique. A paint spraying involves a nozzle mechanism in which the primer material is atomized while it is sprayed on the surface. This results in reduced fumes or sprays mist. Moreover, one can also save time and labor as the paint does not need to be applied with the rollers. However, understanding the benefits of applying primer with a spray paint can be listed as follows.

1. Smooth Finish

Primer spray paint enables you to get an even surface coat in less time and with less labor. This can be better understood when explained in comparison to a paintbrush. A spray paint coat for a specific surface area can be completed much quicker and with lesser effort in comparison to a brush coat for the same surface area.

Moreover, while using a brush there are chances of getting brush marks, uneven runs, and drop. By spraying your wall with the primer you can easily achieve a uniform surface. You should consider getting a spray paint primer when painting surfaces that has edge and corners that are hard to reach by hand. A spray paint unit can become useful in such a situation.

2. Quick Drying

A primer that has been spray-painted on the wall will dry much quicker in comparison to a primer that has been brushed on. This is because a spray unit applies the primer in thin coats. You might have to apply multiple coats before an even layer of prime has been achieved. Spray paint primer also facilitates the quicker application of multiple coats.

3. Ease of Use

The unique advantage that spray paint facilitates is that it is easier to use and does not need focus and care as in the case of a paintbrush. Moreover, if you are attempting to paint the house or the furniture for the first time, then it will be effortless with a spray paint primer rather than worrying about reaching perfection with the brush strokes. Furthermore, using a spray paint unit saves you the labor to clean the brush after use.

Do you need to Prime the Surface before Painting?

Some surfaces might not need the extra coat of primer and can be directly painted. For instance, if the walls are spotless and in good condition then they do not need to be coated with primer. Moreover, if your base color matches the color of your choice then there is no need to apply a primer to suit the new color.

Furthermore, self-priming paint applies a thick coat and does not need a primer coat. There can be numerous other situations that might not need priming. However, let us look into the conditions that need to be primed mandatory.×900.jpg

Porous Surface

A spray paint primer is a must for a highly porous surface. Drywall that has been recently installed can prove to be a porous material due to the facing paper that is put on the drywall or the dried-up compound for the joints. You should also know that wood can also be highly porous and has to be coated with a spray paint primer. Blocks and bricks used in construction also require primer.


Drywall might come in a skim coat coverage, which is used on the bare wall. A skim-coat along with wood or drywall paper can be a highly porous surface and will require at least one coat of spray paint primer before the paint is applied.

Glossy Base Coat

A spray paint primer is required in case of a glossy base coat as such a surface cannot make the paint stick. If you are considering painting a substrate with a glossy coat, then begin with a light amount of sanding. Next, apply a few coats of the primer spray paint. Moreover, even if you decide to let the glossy coat stay, applying a spray paint primer will make the new paint stick better. You should understand that painting plastic and other glossy substrates require a prime coating.

Changing Shades

If the base coat has a color that does not match with the color of your paint or the dark color of the base coat dulls the expensive light shade paint, then stop putting multiple coats to achieve the right brightness of the light-colored paint. Make use of one of the most popular primer brands, a Rust Oleum white primer over the dark base color to solve the problem and apply the topcoat paint over it properly.

One can also get the primer tinted according to the color of the wall finish. The paint retailers will get your primer tinted according to your choice and this will help you to reduce the number of primer coats as well as the color coats applied on the substrate surface.

Stained Surface

Spray painting the primer can help to hide the unwanted stains and spots on the surface of the wall. Multiple coats of the primer might be needed to be spray painted but it will certainly clean the surface completely and make it good as new for painting.

spray primer

Different types of Spray Paint Primer

There is a range of spray paint primers available in the market. You might search for the product that will protect your paint but you can only select the correct type when you know the distinctive feature of each of the spray paint primers. Go through the different types of primers as listed below. Don’t know which one to choose, read all about it on our guide about best auto primers in a spray can.

1. Oil-Based Primer

An oil-based spray primer is a well-known choice as it can be used over a variety of surfaces and is also compatible with latex as well as oil-based paints. The oil-based primer spray can be used upon wood, metal, plastic, and all indoor or outdoor surfaces that have already gone through a coat of color.

An oil-based spray paint primer is vastly preferred for priming wooden surfaces. This is because a wooden surface is highly porous and can result in the release of tannins into the topcoat paint. An oil-based primer spray paint can fill the porous surface and also seal the tannins. Moreover, the primer spray paint also helps in the prevention of chipping and peeling of the paint.

Oil-based primer spray paints are ideal for spraying outdoor surfaces and can cover up unwanted marks and stains. However, you should be careful not to use an oil-based spray paint primer with water-based paint as it will take much longer to dry and is harmful to health.

2. Latex Primer

A latex primer spray paint is a water-based primer and can be used for water-based as well as acrylic paints. This kind of primer spray paint can be used on a variety of surfaces like brick, drywall, and metals. A latex primer spray paint can have a range of benefits in comparison to an oil-based primer and is also safer to use as it has a water base.

Latex spray paint primers are flexible and will dry up more quickly. Moreover, they are less brittle leading to lesser chances of cracking or getting peeled off. Latex primer spray can also hide the stains. They can be cleaned easily as the primer is water-soluble.

3. Shellac Primer

Painting with a shellac primer spray paint can have a range of benefits and drawbacks. If the job or the project requires you to spray paint a surface that has been exposed to damage by water or smoke then a shellac primer spray paint job would be ideal for you. This primer spray paint can be used on almost surface materials and covers up the stains perfectly. This primer spray can be used with both oil-based and water-based paints.

Shellac primer sprays come with a higher quotient of adhesion that results in super-strong bonding and a quick-dry facility. However, a shellac primer spray has strong fumes and can prove to be harmful if inhaled in large quantities. This coat of primer is also difficult to remove.

4. Plaster Bases and Penetrating Primers

This plaster base primer spray paint is designed for decorative surfaces and comes with a unique grain size that facilitates better interlocking abilities of the primer. Nonetheless, the penetrating primers are used to compensate for the difference in absorbency rates. However, the penetrating primers can be harmful to health. It is always safer to go for the primer spray paint options that result in the least pollution as such paint will have no adverse effects on the health.

How to make use of Primer Spray Paint?

Now, that you know all about primer spray paint and why and when shall you use it, let us look into the most crucial part of the article that is how to make use of a primer spray. if you follow these steps properly then you will be able to nail the paint job without any difficulty. So read carefully through the essential tips and tricks to use the primer spray paint efficiently.

1. Gather all the Materials

There is a range of popular brands and color options in which the primer spray comes so before beginning spraying it is essential to decide upon the requirements of the project. Therefore, some of the essential supplies needed for the job would be spray paint primer tinted with the color of your choice, newspaper, plastic sheet to cover the ground, a drop cloth, tape, gloves, glasses for safety, and a mask for better ventilation purposes.

2. Preparing the area of work

You should always remember that spray painting emits a lot of fumes and mist, which might be harmful to extensive exposure. Therefore, it is always recommended to carry out the paint job in a well-ventilated area so that you do not inhale the toxic fumes, which might be harmful to the respiratory system.

Moreover, you should also be mindful of the fact that the surface would not be able to hold the spray paint if the weather is too cold or wet outside. Therefore, it is always recommended to begin the paint job on a sunny day with humidity below 65%. If the current weather is not suitable for a coat of spray paint then it is advised to wait for the right climate.

Before beginning painting, surface protective measures should be taken. Use the newspaper and the plastic sheet along with the drop cloth to cover all the surroundings so that they do not get painted with the primer spray mist. Keep the protective sheets in place by using weights at the corners like stones or other heavy-weight objects. Put tape on the areas that shall be excluded from painting and ensure that the tape edge sits on the surface firmly so that the paint does not get leaked.

3. Ease of Spraying

If you are painting a model or a small piece of furniture, that can be suspended, then you can consider using a sawhorse to hang the item in the air for the ease of spraying it properly. This means that suspending the object on a sawhorse will save you the labor of frequently bending down to spray the object evenly. Moreover, with suspension, you will be able to reach for those areas easily that might be hard when the model is placed on the ground.

4. Create a Paint Box

The idea to create a paintbox can come in handy when painting a small object. To make a paint box, you have to take a cardboard box and open it from one side so that it can be used as a protective wall around the three sides. This arrangement ensures that when you start spraying the item inside the box, the surfaces around it do not get painted from the mist. Moreover, you can also place the item inside a smaller cardboard box so that it is easier to turn it around for the ease of spray paint.

5. Proper Cleaning

This is one of the crucial tasks that you have to do before you start painting the wall surface or any other substrate. You should understand that paint will not be able to stick to a surface that has dust, dirt, or grease on it. Therefore, you must remove the unwanted layer of dirt or debris from the surface so that it can be spray painted with primer effectively.

You might as well use a damp cloth or a household cleaner to make the surface spotless. However, the cleaned surface must dry up effectively before you start primer spraying it. In case, there are some tough gunks of dirt or residue on the surface, use a sharp tool to scrape it off and then use the cleaner to clean the rest.

6. Safety First

Before you begin with the spray painting part, make sure that you have taken all the safety measures to protect yourself from the mist and fumes of the spray. Put on the ventilator mask that will keep out the harmful fumes from your respiratory tract. Next, put on the safety glasses so that your eyes remain protected from the back blows of the spray paint. Disposable gloves also save your skin from the chemical content of the primer.

You might be a professional painter or might have dealt with primer spray paint before, but it is always wiser to go for a respiratory mask that will cost you money between a range of $20 to $30 rather than spending much more on securing an appointment with a doctor for respiratory problems. If you start feeling dizzy while spray painting the surface, it is recommended that you stop immediately as you might have health concerns.

7. Start Spraying

Before beginning the spraying of the primer, it is essential that you shake the can well for around four minutes. After shaking the can, start the spraying process by moving the can back and forth while you spray the object or the substrate surface with the primer. Make sure that you apply an even coat of primer on the surface of the object from all sides.

Next, after you have sprayed the surface with the primer, wait for it to dry. You can also check the assumed wait time for the primer to dry on its can. A coat of primer will make the surface even and will enable a smooth finish when applied with paint.

8. Apply Paint

After applying a coat of primer, wait for it to dry. Once the spray-painted primer has dried up properly, you can start the process of spray paint on it. It is also crucial to shake the paint can well before you begin with the process of spray painting.

Shaking the can is an important step for both the primer and paint. While shaking the can of paint, know that there are no chances that you might overdo the task. Therefore, shake it well for around four minutes so that the paint mixes well. Moreover, shaking the can also ensure a consistent shade of color throughout the project.

9. Spot Test

This is another salient step of the primer spray painting process. The spot test will allow you to understand the exact color shade and texture when it is applied on the surface of the substrate. Moreover, it will also let you understand the amount of distance that you need to maintain between the nozzle and the surface to get the desired effect of paint.

For doing the spot test, spray a spare area or scrap newspaper and cardboard with the paint. Experiment with the distance and fix the gap at a distance that gives you the desired consistency of the color. It is best if you can spray it on the hidden part of the surface that is supposed to get painted to understand better. For instance, if you are painting the wooden chair then carry out the spot on the underneath portion of the chair.

10. First Coat of Paint

This is the most important part of the spray painting process that will determine the quality of the project. To begin with, slowly spray the surface of the object or the wall from left to right for getting a uniform coat. You should remember here that applying the spray paint unidirectionally will help the color to sit evenly on the surface, giving it a smooth finish. Do not keep on changing the direction of spraying for a better finish.

You should also make sure that the nozzle of the paint spray is not pointed at one spot only. This will help the surface to get an even coat of paint. When spraying the substrate in passes, ensure that when you overlap the passes there are no gaps between the areas. In case, there are gaps left between the areas you will have to return to the spots for a second coat.

It is recommended to hold the can of paint at a distance of 8 inches from the surface of the wall or the object. Next, move the can back and forth slowly at a rate of about a foot per second. When in doubt, always go for a thin coat.

This means that never spray a heavy coat of paint over the surface of the wall or the surface. This is because the paint might drip and take much longer to dry. Furthermore, this increases the chances of the paint getting smudged. Therefore. always go for thinner coats that can be applied multiple times before the previous coat dries up completely.

Multiple coats of paint are also effective as they result in a smooth finish and the surface can also hold the paint better. Do not judge the final outlook of the painted surface by the first coat. The first coat of paint, after drying, might look splotchy with the base primer or color showing up through it. However, with the second and third coats, you will be able to get the desired results.

11. Drying Up Process

After spraying the surface with the first coat of paint, let the paint sit on the surface and dry up effectively. Most of the paints will require around 24 hours to dry properly. Do not hustle with this process of drying up as it needs to be done properly for the second coat. You should wait patiently for a day and let the coat dry before applying the second layer of paint.

12. The Second Coat

Once the first coat of the spray paint has dried up, it is now time for the second coat. A second coat might not be needed for all surface types but it certainly ensures a smoother finish. Many professional painters do not go for a second coat as they can derive the desired results in the first coat itself.

However, if you are an amateur and trying spray painting for the first time, then it is better to go for a second coat of paint. This is because, with the second coat, you will be able to fill up all the gaps and splotches and give the wall or the object a beautiful finish with the brightest color.

The second coat too will dry within 24 hours. After it has dried up, you shall remove the tape from the surrounding areas that were covered for protection from getting painted. Moreover, the newspaper and plastic sheet should also be cleaned up and any extra amount of paint should be stored in a clean dry area.

13. Topcoat

It is recommended to treat the wall with a top coat for better and long-lasting effects. However, an item that shall not be handled frequently might not need a topcoat. Any item that has been spray-painted can have a topcoat coating. You have to get a clear spray paint topcoat and apply it with a light layer over the spray paint after letting it rest for 24 hours to dry completely.

Next, the topcoat will take another 24 hours to dry up completely and you can put another coat if desired. You should wait for the last topcoat to dry completely before touching the object or the surface as it might get smudged.

You should also remember here that the application of the topcoat is completely optional. If you are satisfied with the look or finish of your wall or the object then you can proceed without a topcoat. In case, you feel that the paint color has not come up the brightest, then you can think about applying a topcoat.


How many coats of primer spray paints are needed?

The average number of coats that are needed to cover the surface properly with primer spray paint would be two or three light coatings so that different angles and other areas of the surface that are hard to reach get covered.

How long will the primer take to dry?

The time taken by a primer to dry completely so that it can be painted over depends on the brand of the primer. In case, you have spray painted a thin coat of primer, it shall not take more than an hour to dry up. You should go through the spray paint label to understand better.

Is it necessary to shake the can before painting?

Yes, shake the can vigorously before you begin with the spray painting process as this will ensure the proper mixing of the paint and give a uniform consistency throughout.


These are all the tips and tricks for spray painting any surface with primer and then with the paint of your choice. You should understand that the key to a well-painted object or surface lies in understanding your primer and paint-base material. This means that oil-based paint will not stick to a water-based primer. Therefore, you should be careful about the compatibility while choosing your primer spray paint and the color paint. Moreover, no paint or primer shall hold onto a surface that is not thoroughly cleaned. Furthermore, while cleaning the surface and spray painting it, make sure that you are equipped with the safety gear as recommended in the article. With proper coatings of paint and a stipulated wait time for it to dry up, you will have your model or wall spray-painted beautifully.