How to thin enamel paint for spray gun

Here in this post, I will teach you the ways to thin enamel paint which you can use for spray guns. This guide will be a step-by-step process. So, it will be really helpful for the newbies to follow without creating any mess.

Follow this guide to know the process of thinning enamel paint for spray guns. I will share the experience which I have gained through my painting career so that you guys can fix the issues which you face during your projects.

Thin enamel paint

Paint is a challenging medium to work with, especially when the project runs across all designations of paint description.

That being said, it’s great that you’ve taken some time to explore our line of paints and are an enamel nut like us!

In case you haven’t yet run into this great life hack, take some time to get familiar with the importance of thinner when working with enamels as they are usually fat-style paints.

Which Best enamel thinners are available on the market?

Red Devil Enamel Thinner – The bottle says it’s for “heavy-duty applications,” so I decided to try it on some small items – like jewelry findings and watch parts.

I applied it with a small paintbrush and it worked great. It dried fast and left a nice patina. Also, the smell was not at all obnoxious.

There are many enamel thinners in the market today. You should look for the ones that have the least smell and are off-gas.

You can use Olfa enamel thinner, which is the best in the market. It does not have toxic fumes and does not smell. You can use it for soldering and for enameling.

Should you thin the enamel paint before using?

Yes, you should thin enamel paint, otherwise, it may not spray properly, or it will clog up your spray gun. You’ll have a nicer finish and you’ll save yourself time and money.

And it also depends on the brand of the enamel you are using. Different brands and different products have different instructions.

Some insist on using it at full strength, while others will recommend regular thinning. In general, always test before spraying a large surface. This is the easiest way to check if the paint is the right consistency.

Methods to thin enamel paint

Now I will explain the steps which you can follow to thin enamel paint for spray guns so that you can paint properly on the desired surface without creating any mess.

Process of thinning of enamel paint
Step by Step guide to painting enamel paint

How to thin enamel paint with mineral paints?

I’m used to a paint thinner called T-111 which you can get at Home Depot. It’s used to thin enamel but it’s also great for brushing on a coat before applying paint to traces.

It helps reduce brush marks and leaves a bit of a tacky surface to work with. It also dries fast and dries clear. Mineral spirits are the same It’s ultra-low odor, are non-flammable, and don’t break down as mineral spirits will.

If you have to do a large job, I would buy one of the quart-size ones. That way you can just pour it into a gallon which you can then take to the job.

If you do use T-111, using about 1 part thinner to 3 parts paint, you shouldn’t need to dilute it as much. You will just have to stir it up a bit to make sure there aren’t any lumps.

Thin enamel paint with Acetone

There are 2 quick ways to thin enamel paint with Acetone:  1. In a smaller container, cover the enamel paint with enough Acetone to completely submerge the paint.

Let the paint sit for 3-4 days. When you return, the paint will look like an oil slick and the enamel will be thinner.

Test to make sure it is thin enough by mixing a small amount of paint with the thinner.  2. Mix enamel paint with Acetone until desired consistency is reached.

Method to thin enamel paint with turpentine

It is possible to thin down enamel paint with turpentine. The type of turpentine you use will depend on the type of paint.

If you have high-quality enamel paint, you can use the best quality turpentine. For regular paint, you can use any type of turpentine or mineral spirits.

It will depend on your budget and the results you are looking for. The goal of using turpentine to thin enamel paint is to create a smoother coat and make the paint thinner so the paint will be translucent.

You will need a brush to use with the turpentine. Pour a small amount of turpentine into a smaller container. Dip your brush in the turpentine and then into the paint.

Try to make sure the paint is thinly spread. If you need to use more than one coat, you should wait for the first coat to dry. Once cured, it can then be sanded down and painted over again.

Thin enamel with Lacquer thinner

A great way to thin Enamel Paint with Lacquer Thinner is to start with a teaspoon full of lacquer thinner, then slowly add more solvent to the paint until the desired consistency is reached.

I would just add a little bit of lacquer thinner at a time and stir constantly. The thinner will thin the paint, but will not affect the paint’s covering ability.

Thin enamel paint

Method to thin enamel paint with water

If your project requires a glossy finish, then Enamel paint with lacquer is what you should be using. Water is used to thin Enamel paint with lacquer.

Use one-part water to three parts of Enamel paint with lacquer for a glossy finish. You can also add less water for a matte finish, which is generally the type of finish that you’ll want for furniture, doors, and cabinets.

Method to thin enamel paint with alcohol

To thin enamel, you can use lacquer alcohol. What you need to do is empty the enamel paint first into the clean plastic bucket so you can mix it with lacquer alcohol.

The mixing ratio is 10% lacquer alcohol to 90% enamel paint. If the paint is thick, then you need to add more alcohol; if the paint is thin, then you need to add less alcohol.

You also need to ensure that you have thoroughly stirred the alcohol into the paint before you start applying it to your furniture or other surfaces.

How to thin enamel paint for spray guns?

Now we will discuss the methods to thin enamel paint for spray guns. Newbies should follow each and every step described in this guide for the best results.

I will share most of the information based on my experience so it will be really helpful for you people.

Safety first

It is mandatory to put safety equipment before doing any project. You must wear safety goggles, a mask, and clothes. Paint should not contact your naked skin because it will cause irritation and infection due to the chemicals in paint.

Checking of paint

You should check the paint before starting the project. Whether it is an oil-based or water-based or any other paint type. If it is water-based then do not thin and if it is oil-based then thinner is required.

In contrast in water-based paint, you can use thinner. These are some recommendations from me before spraying with enamel paint

Preparation of enamel paint

You should strain the solution through a strainer to avoid any type of lumps in the spray gun nozzle. You can use an empty bucket for this process. For better results, it is suggested by professionals also.

Check before using

You must check the spray gun and paint on cardboard or surface which is not in use or can be disposable. Look for the issues in the paint. Check if it is evenly sprayed or not on the surface.

Thinning the enamel paint for gun

It is suggested to thin with this ratio which is ½ and then test on a surface before starting the project. This ratio is suggested by me and some professionals.

Select spray pattern

After all these steps you should check the spray pattern and technique which you will use for painting the surface. Spend a few seconds testing the spray pattern to achieve the best results in painting.


It depends on the type of enamel paint you are using. Enamel paint is a water-based paint, hence, it can be thinned. But it depends on what you intend to use the enamel paint for. The most important thing is the viscosity of the thinned paint. If it is sufficiently thin, it will be too watery and will lose its original consistency and durability. This might not be desirable, especially when you wish to use the paint for your house exterior. However, certain enamel paint products can be diluted with water and can be used for washing brushes and other fine materials.

Enamel thinner is a solvent that is used to clean paint from spray gun nozzles. It is usually purchased along with enamel paint. It’s a clear liquid that evaporates quickly, so it doesn’t need to be cleaned up after usage. It can be used with different kinds of paint, but it’s most efficient when cleaning up enamel paint. When used with a 3%-6% mixture of thinner, the paint comes off easily and will not affect the paint job. It’s important to clean gun nozzles after each use of the spray gun, as paint infections and clogs can occur if left untreated. Enamel paint is one of the easiest paints to clean with thinner, but it’s a good idea to warm the paint and gun beforehand. This way the paint will flow out easier, and the gun will be cleaner afterwards.

You can make paint thinner at home. Here is the method:  Take a gallon of water and add to it 1 ½ cups of ammonia. Mix well and put the mixture in a spray bottle. Apply the mixture on a painting that has been painted with oil paint and let it dry. Now, you can use a towel to wipe off the thick layer of oil paint. And now you have made your paint thinner at home.

For spray painting with a gun, you need to take precautions. If you don’t take care, you will end up with a mess! First of all, you need to wear goggles, a respirator and close-toed shoes. The paint is full of solvents, so you’ll need a place to set the cans up, but out of the way of children or pets. It’s best to do this outside, in a well-ventilated area. Now you need to remove the lid from the can and shake the can for two minutes. (This helps to mix the contents.) Make sure that you are spraying on a surface that has been cleaned thoroughly and make sure that there is nothing else in the air. Also make sure that when you spray, you’re not spraying over your head! You need to hold the can 6 inches away from the surface. You should also do an initial spray in an area that’s not seen. This is called a “test spray” and it helps you determine if you’ve applied enough paint to the surface. Remember, the paint will dry slightly lighter than the color on the can.

Enamels can be very thick and any more than a small amount of water can cause them to run and make a mess. However, you don’t want to put too little water that it takes forever to dry and harden. So here is a good rule of thumb: For every 5oz of enamel paint that you have, add one fluid ounce of water. This is a good ratio to start with and will give you a nice consistency, not too runny and not too thick.

Well, oil-based paints are thick and can be hard to spread at times. In order to get the best paint job on a particular project, you need to know how to thin oil-based paints out so they can be easily spreadable. If you add too much thinner to the paint, it can make it too runny and end up ruining the paint job. So it is important to use the right amount of thinner. If you dilute the paint by one-third, you should be able to get the paint to the right consistency to use. It is best to read the instructions on the paint can before you do this to be sure. If you don’t, you could end up messing up your paint job!

Enamel paints are very common in this area. But most people end up with a very thick solution when they try to thin the paint for airbrush. The solution should be thin enough to atomize properly. Some people add water to the paint, but if you do that, the paint dries out quickly. Instead, you should add a bit of alcohol. It is really difficult to thin enamel paint, but if you use this method, it is just 2 parts thinner and 2 parts enamel paint. Mix these 2 together and it should be fine to use.

The procedure to thin Rustoleum is quite easy. Firstly, measure a teaspoonful of the paint and let it stand for a few minutes. Add the same quantity of water to the paint and stir it with a dropper. Stir the solution until it becomes smooth. Take a brush and apply the solution to a piece of cloth and let it dry. After it dries, check the touch and feel of the surface. If it is still rough, add two more teaspoons of paint thinner and repeat the process. If it is too smooth, add one more teaspoon of paint and repeat the process.


Here are peeps the complete guide to thin enamel paint for your spray guns. It will be a very helpful step-by-step guide for newbie people out there struggling with this issue and are confused about how to thin enamel paint without creating any mess.

The process of thinning enamel paint is quite simple. You need to follow the step-by-step guide to get a professional-looking finish. Read the label of your enamel paint before you begin the thinning process and the rest is explained in this post.

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