Spray paint art is my new obsession. Despite being someone with little background in visual arts, newbies like me can make some really cool stuff right away. If you have the means and the slightest urge to pursue this art form, go for it! Here’s a list of supplies that will get you going!
A well-ventilated room or space
One of the fundamental challenges of spray paint art is that you’re going to need the right space for it. There are a lot of chemicals in spray paint that can be harmful if you’re exposed to it for too long. You’ll also want a space that’s large enough to house a table with your supplies, as well as an area where you can dry your works of art. My wife and I paint in our back yard, but you can paint indoors too in a well-ventilated room.
Even with the right space, you’re going to be spraying a lot of harmful chemicals around your face. Make sure to wear a mask to minimize your exposure!
You are going to get a lot of paint on your hands. Certain techniques, such as creating stars, actually requires you to spray a bit of paint on your fingers before flicking the paint on your art. On top of being able to protect your skin from the paint, it makes it easier to “clean up” by simply switching gloves instead of having to leave the area and wash your hands.
Clothes you’re okay with getting paint on
Spray paint art can get messy and the paint doesn’t wash off of clothing. Make sure you’re wearing clothes that you’re okay with getting paint on.
Unless you have a table that you’re okay with painting on, protect it with a drop cloth. You can get these cheap from the dollar store and they work just fine.
Glossy Bristol Board
I highly recommend using glossy Bristol boards as your go-to canvas. At a price of under $1 per board, it’s much cheaper than actual canvases. Furthermore, your paintings will look more vibrant and use less ink on glossy boards than on canvas. Just make sure to paint on the glossy side!
Bristol board sizes may vary, but the ones my wife and I buy from Walmart are large enough that we cut them in half first. Twice the amount of art while still having a large enough area to work with.
Black and White cans of glossy spray paint
Spray paint is not cheap. However, if you’re just starting out, you don’t really need a lot of colours to start. Bare minimum, you can create a lot of great work with just black and white spray paint. Start there and expand as you go!
Bowls or lids of different sizes
Bowls and lids are the primary stencils used for planets and other round objects. Keep in mind that you will get a lot of paint on them, so make sure these are items that you won’t need after the fact. Also, try to find round objects with really thin rims. The smaller the rim, the less paint it will pick up when you peel it off your page. Having at least two of varying sizes should give you enough variety to start, but feel free to add more!
Odds are, the lids and bowls you’ll be using as stencils won’t have handles on them. Simply create a handle with masking tape and you’re good to go!
Glossy scrap paper or plastic bags
You will create textures in your art by lightly placing a crumpled piece of paper or crumpled plastic bag along the surface and peeling off the excess. Be careful with leveraging flyers or other newspapers, as they can stick to the page and leave remnants on your art.
I know that’s a lot of supplies to scoop up. But if you’ve got the right space and a few bucks to spare, you just might fall in love with the hobby like I have! After you’ve finished your first session, here are a few more things to add to your repertoire!
As soon as I started painting, my mind went into a tizzy thinking about all of the colours I wanted to buy. We’ve picked up a few here-and-there, but my wife and I are trying to expand based on colours we would use the most or colours for specific projects. For example, my wife and I bought a regular shade of blue and a lighter shade of blue early on because we wanted to create gradients in our skies and water. Later on, we got red and purple because I wanted to do a Toronto Raptors inspired painting. Whatever colours you choose, make sure to get the most bang for your buck with each!
Crafting knife and cutting board
Once you’re “done” with planets and mountains, you’re probably going to want to create stencils for clouds and other shapes. Ideally, you’ll cut these stencils out of a glossy board with a crafting knife or box cutter. I used scissors for my first cloud stencil, but found that I couldn’t cut a smooth circle with them. Slicing with a crafting knife makes those curves a lot easier to manage.
Your custom stencils need to stay flush to your art as you work around them. Sometimes, you can get away with just placing a spray paint can on top. I like to use rocks of different sizes so that I can evenly weight down thicker and thinner areas of my stencil.
While I personally have no interest in manually drawing in details to my works, many artists use paint knives or paint brushes to get that desired look.
A number of artists we’ve watched on YouTube will use a torch to quickly dry their art. This could be particularly handy in instances where you’ll need a layer of paint to dry before applying the next one. Use fire responsibly!