How to Spray Paint Metal Without Runs

How to Spray Paint Metal Without Runs – A tutorial on the best way to avoid runs when painting metal surfaces.

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Preparation is critical to a successful metal paint job. You must thoroughly clean the metal surface to remove any superficial rust, dirt, or oils that may be present. I recommend using a wire brush attachment on a power drill for this step. Once the surface is clean, use a lint-free cloth to apply a thin layer of automotive primer.

After the primer has had time to dry (follow the manufacturer’s instructions), use painters’ tape to mask off any areas you don’t want painted. I always recommend using fresh tape for this step, as old or reused tape may not stick properly and could cause paint bleed.

Once the surface is masked and the primer is dry, you’re ready to start painting!

Applying the Paint

Applying the paint is the most important part of the process. If you don’t do it right, you’ll end up with runs in your paint job. Here are some tips on how to apply the paint:

– Use light, even strokes.
– Work from top to bottom.
– Allow each coat of paint to dry completely before applying the next.

Drying and Curing

Drying and curing. This is the most important part of painting metal, and it’s often the step that people mess up the most. When paint is first applied to metal, it’s in a “wet” state. During this time, the paint is soft and vulnerable to damage. Once the paint dries, it becomes hard and more resistant to damage.

Cleaning Up

Now that you have completed all of the necessary prep work, you are ready to start painting. When spraying paint onto metal, it is important to hold the can 6 to 8 inches away from the surface. Begin by spraying a light coat over the entire surface. Once the first coat is dry, apply a second coat using slightly wider strokes. After the second coat is dry, apply a third coat if needed.

Tips and Tricks

Learning how to spray paint metal can be intimidating, but with a little practice, you can get great results. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get started.

-Start by sanding the metal surface with medium-grit sandpaper. This will create a smooth surface for the paint to cling to.
-Once the surface is sanded, clean it with mineral spirits or another type of degreaser. This will remove any residue that might interfere with the paint’s ability to adhere.
-Next, apply a primer designed for use on metal surfaces. This will help the paint to stick and will also prevent rusting.
-Once the primer is dry, you’re ready to start painting! Hold the can about 10 inches from the surface and apply even coats of paint, moving in one direction only.
-Let the paint dry completely before handling or storing the item.


-Can I use a paint sprayer to paint aluminum?
-How do I prevent runs when painting metal?
-What type of paint should I use for metal?
-How do I prep metal for painting?

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources that can help you get started with painting metal:

-Best Spray Paint for Metal: A Comprehensive Guide (

-How to Paint Metal (

-What Is the Best Type of Paint for Metal? (


-Degrease: to clean (a metal object) with a solvent in order to remove grease, oil, or another contaminant.
-Etching primer: a primer that helps paint adhere to metal by creating a surface the paint can “bite” into.
-Rust inhibitor: a coating that helps prevent rust on metal surfaces.
-Metal paint: a type of paint specifically formulated for use on metal surfaces.

About the Author

Krylon’s how-to guide on spraying paint on metal surfaces without runs

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