Spray paint is one of the easiest types of paint to apply, and it’s also super versatile since it can be applied on various types of surfaces. However, a common issue when it comes to using spray paint is the fact that it can easily crack, and the surface won’t look smooth or polished.
How to fix crackling spray paint? To fix crackling spray paint, you will need to sand down the crackled surface, prime it, and repaint it. This will help you achieve a smooth finish and prevent future crackling.
In this article, let’s dig into the reasons behind why spray paint leaves these hideous-looking finishes and how we can avoid them in the future – through preparation, application, and finishing techniques.
Why Is My Spray Paint Crackling?
Before we talk about how to fix cracked spray paint, let’s first take a look at the cause of these problems. Understanding these causes will help prevent them from happening in the future.
Moisture is the number one enemy of paint. We’re talking about moisture on the painted surface, as well as moisture in the air.
If the surface is wet, or if the working area is too humid, the paint won’t be able to stick well to the surface. The result? A cracked painted surface!
The temperature of the room can also be the cause of cracked spray paint. This is because the paint solvent evaporates when it gets too hot. This can cause the paint to dry up and eventually crack when it is applied.
If the room is too hot, it can cause your spray paint to crackle. If the room is too cold, the layers of paint may not be able to dry at all!
It’s important to use the product at the appropriate temperature range indicated by the manufacturer, and the temperature range is usually indicated on the label of the spray paint.
Thick Layering Of Paint
Another common cause of a cracking is the application of too much paint or applying a new layer of paint before the first layer dries completely.
If you apply too much paint, the paint may not dry evenly, causing the surface of the paint to crackle.
If you apply the second layer before the first layer is dry, you may also see crackling paint as the first layer dries underneath the second layer of paint. When the bottom layer dries up, the paint will shift around, resulting in a cracked surface on the top layer of the paint.
Painted Surface Is Not Prepped
The golden rule of painting anything with any type of paint is that the painted surface needs to be properly prepped before painting. That means any type of dust, dirt, or grease needs to be completely removed from the surface before the paint is applied.
Without this step, the paint may not be able to properly adhere to the surface, causing the paint to crack.
How To Fix Crackling Spray Paint
Although there are various reasons why spray paint can look cracked when it’s dry, this issue is not difficult to fix. You can easily do so with just a few simple steps, using the following materials:
- Medium grit sandpaper
- Latex Primer (spray or liquid)
- Paint Brush (if you are using liquid primer)
- Spray paint in the color of your choice
- Clean cloth
Here are the steps to fix your cracked spray paint surface:
Check if your spray paint is completely dry before carrying out these steps.
If the spray paint is dry, you can use medium-grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface of the crackling paint and remove any textures. It helps to use a small, circular motion to make sure the surface is completely smooth.
After sanding, you should use a clean cloth to wipe down the surface to get it ready for painting again.
Apply your latex primer using a brush or spray it on using thin layers. This step is very important because it will prepare the surface and help the spray paint adhere better and dry to a smooth surface, so you should apply the primer in very even layers.
Allow the primer to dry completely, which can take up to 12 hours, before moving to the next step.
Apply your spray paint again to the primed surface. In this step, you should hold the paint at least 10 inches away so that the paint can be applied in thin and even layers.
If you want to apply more than one layer, you should wait for the first layer of spray paint to dry, which can take 4 to 6 hours, before applying another layer of spray paint.
After the spray paint is completely dry, you’ll see that the cracked appearance is completely gone!
How To Prevent Crackling Spray Paint On Different Surfaces
One of the main reasons why people love to use spray paint is its ability to be easily applied on different types of surfaces. This includes various types of plastics, metals, glass, ceramics, and mirrors.
Although it’s very easy to apply spray paint on different types of surfaces, there are a few things you should consider to prevent crackling spray paint on different surfaces. Let’s take a look at each of them below.
Spray paint is a common option if you want to paint metal rods or pipes. However, when it comes to painting metal, there are a few particulars that you need to consider before applying spray paint.
The first is that metal can easily absorb or lose heat according to conditions around it. If the metal is heated or if it’s too cold, the paint may not be able to stick to it very well.
Before painting, it’s important to restore the metal to the ideal temperature so that the paint can adhere to the metal surface. For example, if the surface of the metal is too hot, you’ll need to cool it down before painting. If it’s too cold, you will need to heat it up before painting.
In addition, metal is also prone to rust. If there’s any rust on the surface, the paint won’t be able to stick well.
Before spray painting metal, you will need to sand the surface to remove any traces of rust and use a latex primer so that the spray paint can stick well and won’t crack when it’s dry.
Wood is a difficult surface to spray paint because it is porous, which means that there are open ‘pores’ on the surface of the wood that can absorb moisture in the air and on the surface of the wood.
We’ve already established that too much moisture can cause the surface of the spray paint to crack, which is why you often see this effect when using spray paint on wood.
Wood surfaces also tend to be quite textured, which means the end result may not look smooth and polished.
This is why before painting wood, you will need to sand down the surface to ensure that the surface is as smooth as possible. You will also need to apply a layer of latex paint first before applying spray paint to prevent the wood from absorbing any moisture around it.
After the primer is completely dry, you can spray paint over it in thin layers, waiting for each layer to dry before applying the next one so that the painted surface will look completely smooth when dry.
Plastic has the opposite problem compared to wood since it is a non-porous material. Because plastic is non-porous, meaning the surface is completely smooth, the paint will slip and slide on the plastic surface, causing crackling.
If you are painting plastic, the first thing you need to do is lightly sand the surface of the plastic so that there’s something for the paint to grab onto, and then apply a layer of latex primer to prepare the surface for painting.
After the primer is completely dry, then you can spray on the paint, similar to the instructions above.
Glass is arguably simpler to spray paint, but there’s still a chance that the paint can still crack when it is dry.
There is a spray paint that works specifically for glass, so if you are not using the right type of spray paint, the paint may not adhere properly and crack and peel after it is dry.
If you are using the correct type of paint, then it’s not necessary to prime the surface of the glass before painting. You just have to apply the paint in thin, even layers, and your paint should dry perfectly smooth and even.
General Rules To Avoid Crackling Spray Paint
After learning about why spray paint crackles, you may already have an idea about how to prevent this issue from happening. Below are the best practices when it comes to applying spray paint so that you can always achieve the perfect result.
Work In Ideal Conditions
Too much moisture, too hot or too cold temperature can affect the final look of the spray paint. It will not dry properly, causing the spray paint to crack.
When working with spray paint, it’s important to work at a temperature of around 50-90°F. You should also use a dehumidifier if the room has a humidity of over 85%.
Prepare The Surface
Before you start working with spray paint, it’s important that you thoroughly prepare the surface. This means cleaning the surface to remove any dirt or grease and sanding down any textures and imperfections.
After cleaning your surface, it’s important that you let the material dries completely before going ahead with priming and painting. This is especially important if you are working with wood since wood can absorb any water that you use when cleaning the surface.
In this case, you will need to wait for at least 24 hours after cleaning the surface to allow the moisture to evaporate completely from the wood before priming.
If needed, you should also prime the surface with a latex primer to allow the paint to stick properly. Materials such as metal, wood, or plastic should all be primed before spray paint can be applied.
Apply Thin, Even Coats
When applying spray paint, it’s always better to go with thin and even coats. If the paint is laid on too thick, the layer underneath may not be able to dry properly, and it will shift and cause the top layer to crack.
Similarly, if you don’t wait for the first layer to dry completely before applying a new coat of paint, the first layer will still contract as it dries out, causing the top layer to move around and crack as it dries.
So the best practice for applying spray paint is to go in thin, even coats. The best way to do this is to hold the spray can at least 10 inches away from the surface and go in quick, broad motions.
Don’t stop in any one area for too long, as it can cause the paint to collect and drip. If you miss any spot, you can go over it again in another stroke rather than try to cover the entire area in just one stroke.
You should also wait for at least 4 hours for the first layer to dry before applying the next one to prevent cracking from happening.
How To Create Crackle Effect With Spray Paint
If you are an artist hoping to create the crackle effect on purpose, there’s also a way to intentionally create this effect as well.
The key to creating this texture relies on applying several layers of paint (and sometimes even glue) on top of one another before each layer is dry so that when the paint dries, the layers will shift and reveal a cracked texture.
Here’s how to do that:
Apply several layers of spray paint on top of your clean and prepped surface. You can go as thick as you like, but make sure that the spray paint doesn’t drip in this process.
The thicker you lay on the paint, the more textured that it will look since there are more layers of paint to shift around.
Step 2 (optional):
If you want to create more textures on the painted surface, you can use craft glue to ‘paint’ over the top of the spray paint while the paint is still wet.
This step adds a thick layer so that the painted surface will look more textured, and the cracks will look white rather than the paint color.
Allow the glue to dry for up to 12 hours.
Apply another thick layer of paint on top of the glue after the glue is completely dry. You will see some of the cracked effects already in this step.
Step 4 (optional):
If you want more textures, you can apply another thick layer of paint on top of the last layer while the last layer’s still wet.
Now, you just have to wait a few days for all the layers of paint and glue to dry. This process can take up to a week since there are quite a few layers there, and it can take a while to dry.
After all the layers are completely dry, you can see the amazing crackled effect on the paint.
You can experiment with this process to see how the pattern differs depending on how much paint you apply, how thick each layer is, etc. This is a fun way to create a unique pattern for an artwork or other painted surfaces in your home!