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How to Paint with an Air Compressor

If a brush and roller turn every painting project into a tedious affair, this guide will make the process quicker and easier using simple pressurized air.


  • Step 1: Wear safety gear Wear safety gear such as a respirator or mask, safety glasses, and gloves before working with any paint, primer, or stain. Avoid serious injury.
  • Step 2: Connect spray gun Connect the spray gun attachment to your compressor using the appropriate high-pressure hose, connectors, and regulators.
  • TIP: Check your spray gun for the amount of air flow needed in cubic feet per minute and make sure your compressor can deliver at least that amount.
  • Step 3: Mix paint or primer Follow the directions on the package to mix the paint or primer with the solvent in the right ratios to get the correct consistency.
  • TIP: The ratio of solvent to paint will depend on the gun you are using, the tip size, and the type of paint or primer.
  • Step 4: Use a small tip Use the smallest tip you can to atomize the paint or primer for an even coating that will look great and last several years.
  • Step 5: Tune the gun Test the spray pattern on a piece of cardboard and tune the knob on the side to adjust the air and paint mixture to get the finest splatter pattern possible. Do this each time you paint.
  • Step 6: Paint away Paint with even, fluid movements back and forth at a consistent speed. Be sure to overlap each layer for an even coat. Wait for the first layer to dry before repeating if needed -- usually 12-24 hours -- and enjoy the results.
  • FACT: Liquids, unlike gases, cannot be compressed into a smaller volume under natural conditions. Water can be compressed, but it takes a tremendous amount of energy for a very small result.

You Will Need

  • Respirator or mask
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Spray gun attachment
  • Compressor
  • Hose
  • Paint or primer

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