Repeat this process until you’ve achieved the right consistency.
Step 4: Test Your Paint
Before you start spraying your walls or cabinets with your newly thinned paint, try it on a test surface.
Layout a piece of cardboard or plywood. Then, load your sprayer with your paint and spray the test surface.
If the paint doesn’t clog or slow down the sprayer, you’re good to go. If you’re still having issues with clogging, you need to add more water to your paint and then retest.
How to Thin Oil Based Paint for a Sprayer
While latex paints are most common, there may come a time when you need to use oil-based paint.
Oil-based paints are a little more durable than latex and an excellent option for outdoor projects and cabinetry.
But because oil-based paints don’t have a water base, you can’t thin them with water. Instead, you have to use a paint-thinning product.
You should also check your paint sprayer to ensure it’s compatible with oil-based paints because some aren’t.
Since each paint is different, refer to the paint or primer to see how much thinning agent you need to add. Thinning oil-based paint usually consists of removing a small portion of paint and replacing it with a thinning agent.
Here are the supplies you’ll need:
Paint thinner (mineral spirits or turpentine)
Paint stirrer stick
Step 1: Add Paint and Thinner to Your Bucket
Pour your paint into your five-gallon bucket, and then add your paint thinner. For most oil-based paints, you add 1 part thinner to three parts paint.
However, since all paint has different viscosities, you need to refer to the paint package for specific instructions.
Use your paint stirrer stick to mix in the thinner.
Step 2: Do the Funnel Test
Now, put a little paint in your funnel. If paint freely flows through the bottom of the funnel, you’re good to go.
Step 3: Add More Thinner if Needed
If the paint doesn’t flow through your funnel, add a little more thinner and thoroughly stir.
Make sure to only add a little bit of thinning agent at a time so you don’t over dilute your paint. Overdiluting will lead to paint that’s too thin and can also alter the color.
Once you’ve mixed more thinner in, repeat the funnel test.
Step 4: Test Your Sprayer
Now load your sprayer with paint and spray a piece of cardboard or scrap wood. You’re good to go if your sprayer doesn’t get clogged or slow down.
If the paint clogs your sprayer, you need to add more thinner.
Thinning paint for a sprayer isn’t a complicated process, but it does require patience. You need to slowly add water to your paint, ½ cup at a time, and then test it to ensure it’s at the proper viscosity.
If it isn’t, add a little bit more water.
Your end result should be paint that’s thin enough to go through your sprayer without clogging it or slowing it down.