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How to Decant Spray Paint for Airbrush

I have had an airbrush for quite a few years and have found airbrush paint very expensive. But here's a way to decant spray paint for use with an airbrush for a more affordable paint option.


Anyone who uses an airbrush for painting knows how expensive airbrush paint can be. It can cost well over R90 for a small (60ml) bottle of airbrush paint. Since you can't really use normal acrylic craft paint in an airbrush, unless you are prepared to spend the time and effort trying to get the paint to the perfect viscosity, spray paint gives the ideal alternative and it comes in a huge variety of colours and finishes (matt, satin or gloss).

If you want to give it a try, I have included some easy steps below, as well as a video, that shows how you can easily decant spray paint for use in an airbrush.






Can of spray paint, unshaken and rested overnight

Sharp tool

Masking tape

Tin snips or multi-purpose scissors

Cardboard box

Gloves and goggles

Jars with airtight seal for storing the decanted spray paint







NOTE: It is important to do this project outdoors.



Before starting this project, DO NOT shake the can. Leave it unshaken and let it rest overnight. You want the paint and thinners to sit on the bottom of the can and the propellant to be at the top of the can.

1. Working outdoors, use a small, sharp pointed tool to pierce the can at the very top - as shown above. You are not going to make a big hole, only a tiny hole that will allow the propellant to be release.





2. Once the propellant starts to hiss out of the hole, place the can in the cardboard box with the pierced hole pointing towards the side of the box.

GOOD TO KNOW: You want to leave the can until there is no more propellant hissing out of the hole to be sure that it is all released.

3. Use the sharp tool to make the hole larger and release any remaining propellant.

4. Once you are sure that all the propellant has been release, cover the hole with a couple of strips of tape.

5. Enlarge the hole slightly with the sharp tool in order to be able to get in with tin snips or multi-purpose scissors to cut the top off the can and pour out the paint. You can now decant the paint into an airtight container.

GOOD TO KNOW: Place the lid on the airtight container but DO NOT tighten just yet. Store in a cool, dry place for about an hour to let the paint off-gas completely and then tighten the lid.

Watch the video below for full details on this procedure.




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