How To Thin Water Based Paint For Spray Gun?

Have you ever doubted your painting skills while working with paint sprayers? Well, it’s probably not you this time the chances are you have forgotten to bring it to the acceptable form.

The experts usually suggest thinning down the water-based paints before putting them into the sprayer gun because the paint, otherwise paint blocks the nozzle and gives uneven results.

There are several types of paints available in the market, and the paint thinning methods for each kind of paint is breathtakingly different.

In this brief post, we would be addressing water-based paints just so the readers know how can they perform the entire paint thinning process without ruining the paint.

So, without further ado, let’s see how can you bring the water-based paints to the right consistency.

How To Thin Water-Based Paint For A Spray Gun?

Frankly, thinning water-based paint for flawless results is not a hard nut to crack. It’s just as simple as breaking an egg and blending it with a spoon or fork.

How To Thin Water-Based Paint For A Spray Gun

To make the water-based paint appear better you may not even have to invest in some expensive supplies. To be able to thin down the thick-body water-based paint you will be needing to have;n

  • #1: Water
  • #2: Some paint stirring sticks( if you do not want the whole paint thinning process to be tiring you can get a paint mixing attachment for your drill but the paint stirring sticks are cheap)
  • #3: A funnel to run the paint in
  • #4: A bucket(prefer a five-gallon bucket for this process)

Now check the viscosity of the water with the help of a ford cup.

Once you have everything arranged, it’s time to bring the thick-body water-based paint into the right consistency. To bring the right consistency here’s what you have to do;


  • Step #1: First, take out the lid and pour out the amount of paint you have been planning to use. If you are planning to use a quarter of the paint bucket, make sure you pour in the right amount so that the paint doesn’t get wasted.
  • Step #2: The water-based paints are not that thick; they do not normally need a huge amount of water to give flawless results. For a gallon full of paint, you would need ½ cup of water to bring it to the right consistency. Do not add too much or too little water as in both cases you would get desirable results.
  • Step #3: Take out the fresh paint stirring stick and allow it to do its magic. Keep stirring until you are satisfied that the paint and the water are mixed well.
  • Step #4: For most thick-body water-based paints, half a cup of water per gallon of paint is enough. It is however recommended to check the consistency before painting the actual object or wall.
  • Step #5: To check the consistency, put the paint in the funnel and allow it to run through the fennel. If the paint runs freely in the funnel, congratulations! you have done a great job. If the paint does not run freely, you have to add ⅛ cup of water to the mixture and repeat the whole procedure again.
  • Step #6: You can now fill the sprayer up and start painting.

My Recommendation

The paint has a high viscosity, and the value of flow is about 5.5 seconds. Add 25% of water to the paint for best results. For example, If The amount of paint is 500 ml then add 125 ml of water.

Even after adding enough water, if the paint can remain thick, there are some solid chances that it can get too thin as well.

Yes, it can happen anytime as the paint available in the market hardly has the same consistency. So, you need to know how you can bring it back to a usable form.

If the paints get unbelievably thin with the above-mentioned water quantity, the first thing you need to know is that if you are working with thin-body paint, it may not require as much water as the thick-body paint needs.

If the paint is too thin, you may not get the desired results. In such cases, you have fixed the paint and brought it to usable form this way.

According To My Experience

1st, we add just 50ml of water to the 500ml of paint, it is approximately 10% of water.

This amount of water could have the same effect as adding 25% thinner. But it does not make good paint because the spray gun doesn’t let it pass. Here the flow of the mixture in the Ford cup was 2.9 sec.

  • Step #1: Add the same ½ cup of paint back to the mixture
  • Step #2: Take the same or fresh paint stir stick and start mixing the paint thoroughly
  • Step #3: If you have not accidentally added too much water, the mixture may not need more paint but if for some reason it’s still thin, you can add ⅛ cup of paint again and pass it through the fennel. After if it moves freely but not too freely, you have got it right.
  • Step #4: If you have got the desired consistency, you can move ahead with painting otherwise keep adding more paint until you achieve the right consistency.

It is recommended that after the mixing of water with paint note the flow time by Ford Cup. It should be 40 seconds.

Be Aware! Do Not Use Paint Thinners And Mineral Spirits

Water-based paints should never be smothered out with paint thinners at all.

The paint thinners and mineral spirits are meant for the shellac or lacquer paints, adding them to get the desired consistency would not be the right thing to do.

So, whenever you have to work with a paint sprayer, consider water to thin down the paint with water only.

Now that the worth-sharing information is served, let’s quickly have a look at what my readers need to know;

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do You Have To Do To Thin The Paint While Working With A Paint Sprayer?

Painting with sprayers is different from brush painting. To get flawless results, the paint has to be thin enough to run through the fennel and come out smoothly without blocking the nozzle.

Remember! You can only paint with a sprayer and get flawless results when the paint is thin enough that it starts running through the fennel freely.

Why Do You Have To Do To Thin The Paint While Working With A Paint Sprayer?

Well, that’s a legitimate question because it’s important to achieve the right consistency especially when you are planning to work with a paint sprayer.

You can easily check the consistency by putting a small amount of paint in the funnel and allowing it to run through it. If the paint runs freely, congratulations it’s time to fill the sprayer and start painting.

What Is Added In The Water-based Paints For Paint Thinning?

Water-based paints are not that thick but still to paint with a paint sprayer you have to make it thin enough that it does not block the nozzle.

For water-based paint thinning, it is recommended to add water. Paint thinners and other such products just do not go well with water-based paints.

Does Paint Thinning Be Use For Water-based Paint Thinning?

No, paint thinners and mineral spirits can not be used for water-based paints. For such paints, water can be added to bring the paint to desired consistency.

Paint thinners, mineral spirits, and other such liquids can only be used for shellac or lacquer paints.

What Can I Use To Thin The Water-based Paint?

To thin the water-based paints use water. The paint thinners and mineral spirits are made for shellac or lacquer paints.  You can not add oil as well as the water and oil just do not go well.

What Do We Use Water-based Paints For?

Water-based paints are the easy-to-work-with paints ever made.

Due to their forgiving nature, high resistance to cracking, and chipping, quick-drying properties, low odor, and easy application, water-based paints are often used for painting interior and exterior wall surfaces.


Water-based paint is regarded as the most easy-to-work-with paint, these paints are admired for their exceptional resistance to cracking, chipping, and quick drying. Water-based paints are usually used to paint the walls using paint sprayers.

To get flawless results, water-based paints must be thin enough to run through the fennel. To thin the water-based paint add ½ cup of water to the gallon of paint and stir it well using a paint stirring stick.

If the paint still does not run through the fennel freely, it is suggested to add ⅛ cup of water and give it a good mix. For most water-based paints, ½ cup of water per gallon is usually enough.

Additional Questions

Is it possible to thin water-based paint?

Yes, you can definitely dilute water-based paint. Differentiating between types of paint is critical here. There are two main types: oil-based, also known as alkyds, and water-based. Oil-based paints are typically thinned and cleaned using petroleum or mineral-based products. On the other hand, the water-based latex paint is thinned and cleaned exclusively with water.

How can you thin water-based paint for a spray gun?

Thinning water-based paint for a spray gun is a relatively easy process. For optimal results, it’s important to maintain the correct consistency of the paint. To thin water-based paint, gradually add water to it while continuously stirring until the desired consistency is achieved. Remember, the right paint consistency is key when using a paint spray gun to ensure the paint adheres well and dries uniformly.

Can water-based paint be used with a spray gun?

Yes, you can use water-based paint with a spray gun. By thinning the paint properly, you can get a smooth, even finish. The process is quite simple: Add water gradually to the paint, continuously mixing until the desired consistency is met. Then, you can easily pour the thinned paint into your spray gun and get to work. This method is not just about getting the right paint consistency – it’s also an efficient approach for those large paint jobs.

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