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Spray Painting Guide

Spray Paint


This guide is intended to teach beginners the fundamentals of spray painting.

It provides all of the information you need to attempt your first project.


Starting at the beginning, we will show you the inner workings of a can so you know the very basics of what you're dealing with. Knowing how a can functions can increase its longevity and ultimately save you money. The most important thing to remember before using a can is to realise that it contains a host of different ingredients that will separate while rested. Shaking the can with vigour for at least a minute or two is an essential step that remixes the contents making it suitable for use again. Skipping this step can and will end up in poor results, from blotchy finishes, waste paint and propellant, unwanted splatter and generally undesirable outcomes.


Before you approach a new project, it is important to consider what type of surface you are going to be applying the paint to. Spray paint comes in a variety of types including numerous basecoat options called primers, each suited to a specific application. For the most part, primers are usually only required for porous surfaces such as concrete, wood, and also plastics if a drastic colour change is required (black to white etc.) The role of a primer is simply to create a basecoat that fills in small, usually unnoticeable dimples and crevasses in a surface. This drastically improves finished results, especially with wood as several layers of paint can be necessary to completely obscure the wood grain and ensure even colour without primer. Also, if wood is exposed to moisture, a thin layer of paint will still be water permeable resulting in warped parts, mildew, and dry rot. Primer adds to the waterproofing effect of the paint and is available in a spray range from Montana for plastics, Styrofoam, metal, and general surfaces. Typically a can of 400 ml paint will cover 8 -10 sq. ft. of a non-porous surface if used correctly.


Here at Fat Buddha we stock a full range of Montana spray paint including the Black, Gold, White and Chalk series. Each range has its own benefits and advantages while all giving long lasting professional results. For example, the Black series of spray paint has a high pressure output which results in paint being ejected from the nozzle much quicker than the Gold range. The BLACK SERIES comes in 170 colours and is favoured by painters and crafters for its flat, matt finish, Plus, if you are confident at working at a rapid pace, this is ideal for covering large areas at once but not recommended for small, home D.I.Y projects like painting picture frames or vases.


Another important aspect to think about when using spray paint is the cap that comes with each can. Each cap produces different results including widths and softness. We currently stock a full collection of Montana caps ranging from ultra-skinny level 1s that produce lines between 0.16" to 0.8", to level 6 ultra-fat caps that unleash an average spray width of 2" to a huge 9.8", best suited to huge areas. Each range comes with a standard cap that produces an average spray width of around .4” – 1” depending on distance from your project. 

When using fatter caps, especially with a high pressure can, it is important to remember that the rate at which the paint leaves the can is very high and will therefore last considerably less than a skinnier cap.

Pro Tip:

It is usually a good idea to create a sample patch before you begin your project to give you a better idea of the finished result. This also gives a first time user a better understanding about how the can operates.

Caps & Nozzles

This short guide to caps and nozzles has been developed by the experts here at Fat Buddha Store to demonstrate the various ways you can use Montana spray paints. From creating ultra-thin lines and intricate details, to covering large areas with a single stroke, each cap comes with its own unique properties.

 Please note, the thickness of a line emitted from any of the caps below will vary depending on your distance from the target surface. This is due to the cone shape of the can head, and means that the closer you are stood, the finer your line will be, and vice versa.

The following list covers the entire range of Montana caps, starting from skinniest and progressing through to the thickest.

level 1 cap

The level 1 cap is Montana's skinniest producing an average spray width of 0.4 -1.5cm (0.15" to 0.6"). It is usually used for thin and clean details when it comes to graffiti but is also very effective for hard to reach areas in craft projects.

level 2 cap

The level 2 cap produces an average spray width of 0.6 - 2.5cm (0.25" to 1") depending on distance from subject. Great for details and painting smaller craft objects likes mugs or jars.

level 3 cap

The level 3 cap emits an average spray width of 1 - 4cm (0.4" to 1.6") but with a softer edge so not recommended for fine details.

level 4 cap

The level 4 cap produces a soft fat line with an average spray width of 3 -10cm (1.2" to 4"). The cap is suited to filling in medium to large areas or painting entire objects like bike frames or large vases for example.

level 5 cap

The level 5 cap is wide and fat and produces an average spray width of 4 -15cm (1.6" to 6"). Again, this is mostly used for large murals and fills due to its wide coverage.

level 6 cap

The Level 6 Cap is an ultra-wide fat cap producing an ultra-wide average spray width of 5 - 25cm (2.0" to 10"). Suited to filling in massive areas or covering large objects.

needle cap

The Needle Cap is an effect cap with an average spray width of 0.4 - 1.2 cm (0.2" to 0.5"). It is similar to the Standard Cap in the way that it produces fine but dirty lines.

NYC Fat cap

The NYC fat cap is one of the most recognisable and historic caps in the Montana range, as it has been used since the 70s and produces a classic fat line with super clean edges and a very even circular spray pattern.

standard cap

The standard cap is a classic skinny cap with an average spray width of ca. 1.2cm (0.4"). Due to its hard and scruffy outcome the lines produce a nice "old school" look.

ultra liner cap

The Montana Ultra liner cap offers a new face for your ultra-wide needs. Able to reach those hard to reach places, when placed on a Montana Ultra-wide can, there is a potential spray height of 3-4m. The Ultra Liner cap has a round, rough, fire extinguisher-like output that varies from 5 to 10cms in width.

Maclaim Cap
average spray width .5"
Great for fine fadings! Great for cut-offs
Calligraphy Cap
average spray width .5"
Effect cap with calligraphy design for chromes
Great for filling in, but not clean
Skinny Cap Beige
average spray width .5"
Good for fine works, but slightly stronger in output
minimally grubby
Skinny Cap Aerosol Art
average spray width .5"
AEROSOL ART skinny: Best all round skinny on the market
Round shape guarantees soft spray touch
Fat Cap Orange
average spray width 3.2"
Nice, clean fat cap
Montana Standard Cap
average spray width .4"
Fat Cap Pink
average spray width 4.7"
Excellent for fill-ins, coarse fadings and big outlines
For chrome paints, similar to Fat Cap (Level Cap 5)
Standard GOLDline Cap
average spray width .25" - 1"
Skinny Cap Black/ Black
average spray width 4." - 6"
Excellent for chromes
Standard BLACKline Cap
average spray width 4.7"

Pro Tip:

As well as varying degrees of widths, each cap has a different spread that means the output can either be clean or soft. A clean cap will emit a close to solid line where as a soft cap will produce a fuzzier line.


This technique guide has been created to discuss the dos and don'ts of applying your spray paint.

So whether you're working with walls, furniture, or cars, it's important to remember that a good technique is essential for even results. Read Fat Buddha Store's top five tips below.


One of the most overlooked beginner's steps in spray painting is usually the very first thing people get wrong. A spray can isn't a camera. Don't point and shoot. To get an even coat of paint, sweep the can horizontally and vertically past the object as you spray. For example, if you're moving left to right, you begin spraying to the left of the object, onto the object, and then to the right of the object.


Thin lines are usually used for details such as highlights on a throw up or the nooks of a lamp or ornament. The closer the can is to the object, the thinner the line will be. For the finest of lines we recommend using the Montana outline cap, which uses a small, plastic straw for accuracy, while tilting the can roughly 45 degrees to achieve the least distance between you and your project. Very thin lines need to be applied fairly quickly to avoid unwanted dripping.


For filling in large areas, it is important to use an efficient technique that will prolong the life of a can and more importantly, deliver a professional finish by avoiding thick layers that can peel and flake when exposed to the elements. The diagram below shows us effective ways to paint fills.


Like all of the techniques shown, gradients require practice as slightly different variations will apply to different brands, cans, nozzles and types of paint. Generally, you want to point the can at your project so it is parallel then rotate depending on the width of the gradient you want to achieve. The more you rotate away from the surface the larger the coverage of the gradient is going to be. See the diagram below as a guide.


Small dots can also become a nuisance especially for beginners, but again, practice makes perfect. Hold the can upside down and spray as if you're blowing the cap clean. Stop spraying at the moment the paint stops flowing and only propellant is being expelled. With the can still upside down, press down on the cap to spray a perfect dot. Practice several times before using this technique. The trick is to stop the spray at exactly the right moment before spraying again to create a dot. Again, different nozzles will produce different results.

Pro Tip:

Rubber gloves will save your hands from paint, wear old clothing that you don't mind getting dirty and when you buy your paint cans, make sure they're all the same brand.


It is important to use spray paint safely and keep yourself protected when working on your project.


The first step is to ensure that your work area is properly ventilated. Ideally, working outside is the best way to ensure this, however if that's not an option, make sure you have adequate ventilation by using a fan or opening windows and doors when painting indoors.


A common dust mask has little to no effect on the prevention of inhaling toxic fumes, a professional respirator similar the one shown above can be picked up for less than $27 and can guarantee safety and protection, especially over long periods of time. An efficient mask should cover your nose and mouth. It should have at least two filters. The outside filter is called a "dust filter", and usually consists of a paper based filter in plastic casing. The outside filter stops you inhaling the dusty particles of paint mist. The inside filter is a "gas filter", and usually consists of a coal-based substance in a metal casing. This is the filter that stops the gas/fumes - which you may not notice as easily as the "paint dust" - yet this is the most hazardous aspect of using aerosols.


Although not an essential step, wearing protective gloves can save you time from washing paint off your hands and fingers. Spray paint is usually very viscous and can get under your nails if you aren't careful. Montana paint is especially stubborn to remove due to its highly pigmented formula.


Another important precaution you should take is wearing some form of safety goggles at all times but especially when painting indoors. Spray paint contains all kinds of harsh chemicals and prolonged exposure can sometimes lead to permanent eye issues, and in extreme cases, blindness.


An important tip to remember is the value of a large sheet or rag to help catch the excess paint particles that fly around when using a can. Spray paint has a tendency to get everywhere when being used, and 9 times out of 10 you will discover paint that has settled surprisingly far away from your project so make sure there is an old drop cloth there to collect it.


Setting your project up near waist or chest level can improve your accessibility resulting in a better finish, but more importantly, it can prevent posture and back issues that can arise from being constantly crouched over. For example, if you are painting a bike frame, use bungee cords to suspend it at a decent level.

Effects & Finishes

The MONTANA RANGE offers a variety of specialist paints, finishes and effects as well as their premium range of Black and Gold colour ranges. The effects range can provide an extra dimension of creativity to any project such as the marble or granite sprays. The Whiteout and Blackout sprays are ultra covering and ultra thick and are perfect for creating the blackest blacks and the whitest whites.

The technical range provides everything from varnish, adhesives, primers and much more. Below are a few options from each range.


The Marble Effect range comes in black, white, or silver and utilises a calligraphic cap that ejects the paint in extremely fine paint strands, which creates a convincing marble effect to any project. It can be used on a wide range of different surfaces such as paper, cardboard, primed canvas, wood, glass, metal, ceramics, porcelain, stone, acrylic and other paintable materials, and can be top-coated with various Montana lacquers once thoroughly dry.


Similar to the marble range, the Crackle Effect from Montana uses a special cap to give controlled but unpredictable coverage. It is advisable to start with a basecoat as the thicker the coating the stronger the effect will be. The basecoat requires at least 45 minutes of drying time for the effect to work properly. After extensively applying the effect to the primed area, the cracking process will begin to occur. The spray has a high coverage and can be top-coated when fully dry and cured after 24 hours using any acrylic based paint. The range also comes in a variety of 6 colours.


The Glitter Effect from Montana produces a glossy translucent paint with silver coloured glitter particles for a metallic effect. The spray can be used on a variety of surfaces such as paper, cardboard, primed canvas, wood, glass, metal, ceramics, porcelain, stone, acrylic, and other paintable materials. After being applied, a thin shiny lacquer coat will show with a fine distribution of glitter particles. Further coats will lead to a higher density of particles and will intensify the effect. We recommend finishing your project with a gloss or varnish to enhance the metallic effect. It is also worth considering that the colour and gloss level of the undercoat will significantly influence the final result.


The granite effect Montana Granit Effect is a water-based spray that consists of fine plastic particles for a deceptively realistic granite look. The spray can be used on many different surfaces such as paper, cardboard, primed canvas, wood, glass, metal, ceramics, porcelain, stone, polystyrene, and other paintable acrylic materials. For best results we recommend priming your surface when using light coloured Granit shades, particularly when painting on dark surfaces. We also suggest using a primer or texture spray, as either will enhance the effect even more. The paint can also be top-coated once properly dry and comes in a variety of 4 colours.


The Montana Nightglow Effect is a high-grade acrylic paint that contains luminescence-pigments, which stores light during the day and emits in darkness. This luminescence-effect is only visible in total darkness and the length of time depends on the intensity and thickness of the paint layer, we recommend you apply multiple layers of the effect on a primed surface for satisfying results. The highest possible degree of glow is immediately after loading the painted object with light before it begins to fade away. For the best possible glow, use in a completely dark environment without any light sources and use a strong source of light to load the effect paint. We recommend using a varnish to seal the paint and increase longevity.


The range of primers from Montana is essential for preparing porous surfaces such as certain types of plastics, metal and Styrofoam. It enables excellent adhesion and further coating of synthetic, nitro-combi, or acrylic spray paints and can even prime wood and leather. Once a primer has been applied to a surface, the finished result will last longer as well as your can of paint. With all of the primer range, they are easy to sand and recoat if necessary and come in a range of three suited to specific surfaces.


The range of varnishes from Montana comes in matt, gloss or semi-gloss finishes and is all acid free, quick drying, and made with an acrylic base. Like most of the Montana range the sprays can be used for both interior and exterior purposes and don't cause yellowing or desaturation like some varnishes do. The range is especially useful for protecting artworks from oxidation when painted on canvas, paper, charcoal drawing, bast fibre, wood, photos, and many others. It is also important to remember to clean surfaces that may be dusty, oily or rusted before applying the varnish.


If you need to start from scratch, fear not, as the remover spray from Montana is an effective paint stripper in a can that dissolves and removes lacquers quickly and thoroughly. The spray is effective on surfaces including walls, clay bricks, stone, concrete surfaces, marble, asphalt, glass, metal, and wooden surfaces as well as others. Depending on the quality and age of the paint you want to remove, waiting time can be shortened or extended up to 24 hours. The procedure can be carried out multiple times if necessary


The adhesive spray from the Montana tech range is highly useful for those who are into arts and crafts, especially the crafts aspect. The spray comes in both permanent and repositionable types and can work on surfaces including foam, jute, felt, textiles, insulating material, expanded polystyrene, plastics, foils, paper, cardboard, and wood. Before use, it is important to remember to only spray the adhesive on clean, dry and non-greasy surfaces for the best results and also to prime porous surfaces with a thin layer before applying.


The acetone spray is a multi-purpose thinner that can remove residues of paint, lacquer, silicone, wax, and tar and also de-grease areas. It can be used to prepare a surface before painting, as well as to clean up any residue and unwanted splatter that may appear when using spray paint. It is suitable for use on surfaces such as porcelain, glass, ceramics, blank metals and many others, and evaporates quickly without leaving any residue. Another benefit of the spray is the ability to clean caps simply by attaching them to the can and spraying in short bursts.

dust clean

The dust cleaner spray is perfect for cleaning surfaces without actually having to make physical contact with your project, which prevents unwanted smudges and blemishes. It is also useful for removing loose dirt and grime from hard to reach areas, which can be very helpful especially with craft projects that have lots of nooks and crevices.

UV-Effect transparent

This transparent effect paint can be sprayed onto almost any surface both indoor and outdoor. With colourless properties, Montana UV-Effect Transparent Varnish Spray is
only visible when exposed to UV light where it boasts a luminous purple-blue colour. Not only perfect for making art, but for Guerilla Marketing, night clubs, venue and property making.


Bring state of the art paint technology to traditional metallic effect colours with Montana Metallic Effect Sprays. Primarily used to create a realistic metallic effect, these sprays can also be used as a structure spray and can be top coated with varnish. Available in a range of colours including black, copper and ice blue and can be used on a number of surfaces such as paper, cardboard, wood, glass, porcelain and more.


The Montana Vintage spray filter allows you to create an amazing vintage effect on almost any surface. The spray adds an incredibly authentic aged yellowing effect which makes any object or piece of art look like it's been around for many years and is packed full of history. So whatever project you're working on, this effect filter enables you to bring instant character and retro appeal to your piece. The Montana Vintage spray is a solvent based acrylic which is easy to use. It can be applied in multiple layers to give varying levels of ageing to your work and looks superb on painted or printed surfaces, photographs, furniture and ceramics.


The high quality, ultra fine holographic glitter particles that are used to produce the Montana Hologram spray create an amazing effect and bring a completely new dimension to any project. The spray is suitable to be used on a wide range of surfaces including paper, canvas, metal, wood, ceramic or glass. The spray gives a semi-gloss lacquer finish and can be used in layers to build up an incredibly dynamic look to your project. Finishing with Montana Gloss Varnish enables you to take the look a step further, helping to increase the reflective properties of the glitter particles and protect the holographic layer.

Glass Paint

The range of Montana Glass Paints enable you to apply an attractive frosted finish to glass. From windows and doors to bottles and jars, there are a whole range of possibilities for using the Montana Glass Paint collection. Available in a range of colours, the paint is Nitro-Acrylic-Combi based and leaves a cool frosted matte effect on glass surfaces. From adding privacy and creating unique designs on windows while still enable light to pass through, to upcycling old pieces of glassware, there are many uses for these paints. The paint is tough and durable once dry, when applied to a clean surface, and can be applied in multiple coats for a bolder colour and less light transference.

Start Your Craft

For those who aren't familiar with the benefits of spray paint, this brief guide is here to inform you about the many advantages these little cans have.

Gone are the days when spray paint was solely used to decorate train carriages and public buildings, nowadays it is a favourite among artists, hobbyists, crafters, and up cyclists thanks to the immediate and long lasting results. Below are some examples of spray painted projects.

Starting at the basic end of the spectrum we have a few easy projects that are ideal for those who are just starting out spray painting. Whether this is your first time picking up a spray paint can, or if you're a seasoned professional, these projects should prove to be a cinch.


a lampshade
in minutes.


Add a bit
of flair
to any vase


Find new uses
for dated
biscuit tins

Pro tip:

Check out our advice about precautions before beginning a project to avoid
making a mess around your home.