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Curious on how to thin AirWrap and other similar liquid wrap products?

What you’ll learn in this blog: 

  • What you need to know about thinning AirWrap liquid wrap for a spray gun
  • Supplies you’ll need for thinning AirWrap liquid wrap
  • Steps required to thin AirWrap for a spray gun

If you’re planning on using a spray gun anytime, you may worry about whether or not the paint will flow freely when you’re using it.  

The best thing to do is learn how to thin paint for a spray gun, that way you never need to worry about buying a different type of paint or damaging your HVLP spray gun.  

So, if you want to learn how to get the right consistency for your spray gun, keep reading to learn how to do it yourself!

What You Need to Know About Thinning Paint for a Spray Gun

Thinning paint for a paint sprayer is a tricky process.  We’ll go more in detail later, but obviously thinner and paint have very different properties.  

That means the more you mix it with paint, the thinner the paint will become.  

Additionally, brands are all different. There is no set amount of reducer/thinner I could tell you for every situation.    

What this means is, you’ll likely never use the same amount of thinner for every job. With that being said, understanding this process is of high importance. 

Thinning Paint: What You’ll Need

Always be mindful of what you’ll need in advance when preparing for a project. The good news is you won’t need too many supplies, so it won’t be too challenging. 

Things You’ll Need: 
  1. Spray gun 
  2. Paint
  3. Thinner/Reducer – the main agent when thinning is a reducer. Again, always be prepared with enough supplies ahead of time, so have plenty of thinner on hand. Additionally, have about a quarter of the volume of paint in the reducer. 
  4. Test surface (such as a scrap body panel) – you’ll use the test surface to ensure it sprays well. 

How To Reduce/Thin Various Layers of the Process

  1. Base coats usually don’t need reducer
  2. Solid colors sometime need a little reducer
  3. Pearls and Metallics require reducer
  4. Final coats should almost always use a reducer
  5. Always do a test panel
1 – Base coats usually don’t need reducer 

Light coats and initial coats usually don’t require any reducer as the material can flow on the factory surface without any assistance. 

If you are using old opened material, you may want to add about 5% reducer to prevent webbing or uneven spray. Add a reducer until you get the same viscosity as a new gallon of paint. 

2 – Solid colors sometime need a little reducer

Solid colors don’t normally need much reducer if any at all. It may help in reducing the dry time, flow and reducing orange peel with various temperatures and spray guns. Try adding about 5% to check for any improvements on spray.  

3 – Pearls and Metallics require a reducer

I suggest adding 15-20% reducer to my metallic or pearl coats. This allows me to be further back with the spray gun and not get a dry, rough spray while at the same time getting an even uniform coat with no striping.  

It’s important to not over-reduce/thin the paint or you could get a run/sag with a pearl leaving you needing to lay down your base color again or even worse a run/sag in the material itself resulting in needing to remove the coating.  

4 – Final Coats almost always need a reducer

Laying a final wet coat on a job is needed for producing the most exceptional finish. I prefer thinning my last coat with 25% reducer, however this may differ from your personal preference depending on gun type, tip size, temperature and size of the item you’re spraying. Large surface areas are ones I see the most benefit. Trim, grills badges almost never need to be thinned as the area is so small. Learning when to use a reducer/thinner is something that takes a little time.  

5 – Always do a test panel

Never practice with thinner on a project until you are familiar with how it works. Different temperatures, vertical and horizontal panels and equipment can drastically change your outcome. If you feel the paint is thinned properly, the next step is to test it out.  Load it into the sprayer and use it on your sample surface.  

What you’ll want to see is a spray that flows nicely and gives you the best finish. You should see an even and clear spread. If this is what you experience, move on and begin using it as normal. If you don’t, repeat the process and begin mixing the paint again. 

Wrapping Up: How to Thin Paint for a Spray Gun

As long as the job is completed without messy spots and without ruining your gun, you’ll be good to go. 

Always clean out your spray gun after each use. Following this guide will significantly improve your project and future jobs.