Graffiti tips & tricks

As a graffiti shop, people often ask us if we have any tips for using the spray cans and accessories. This gave us the idea to put together the most important ten tips that come to mind. Here are 10 graffiti tips to make the artist’s life a little easier.

Tip #1 – Use the aerosol upright

Not everyone realises that there is a straw in the aerosol can. Through this straw the spray paint is led out of the can. It is therefore important that the aerosol is used upright. If you do have to use the spray can horizontally from time to time, you will notice that at some point no more paint will come out. To make it work again, shake the can and spray vertically so that the straw can fill up again.

Tip #2 – The Stamp Trick

Now that we know the can contains a straw, we can play with this principle. If the aerosol can seems almost empty, you can often still get a good splash of paint out of it. To do this, remove the cap from the aerosol can and place the can upside down on the ground. Make sure you have sturdy shoes on, so you can give the bottom of the aerosol a stomp with your heel. Now the bottom is closer to the end of the can, allowing the last bit of paint to be absorbed by the can!

Tip #3 – Dent the can

A spray can consists partly of gas and partly of paint. You shake this together and then you spray the gas mixed with the paint out of the can. It can happen, however, that you use an aerosol, and the paint does not come out well, or not at all. This can be very annoying if you are in the middle of your work and cannot use an important colour. Often you try to get it to work again with a fat cap. Sometimes this helps, but often it doesn’t.
In the event that this does not help, there is a fallback solution. You want to increase the pressure in the aerosol can and this can be done simply by punching a dent in the side of the aerosol can. You reduce the volume, making the gas more effective.

Tip #4 – Purging Caps

It is always annoying when a cap is clogged. This, of course, happens after a while of use. There are a few tricks that can be used to make the caps last longer.
A good tip is to hold the cap upside down and spray it until no more paint comes out.
Another tip is to spray the cap with a cap cleaner. This will remove a lot of paint from the cap, so the cap will last longer.
You can also put the caps in a bowl of turpentine after use, this will also dissolve the paint remnants that have accumulated in the cap.

Tip #5 – Use in the cold

The spray cans generally work well in the cold, but it is a good idea to warm them up in warm water before using them in freezing temperatures. You will find that they work a lot better than when they are cold.

Tip #6 – Sore index finger

If you are going to spray large areas, you will find that after a while it can be very taxing on the index finger. For large surfaces we always use a pistol grip in combination with a (very fat) fat cap.

Tip #7 – Detail work

If for your purpose super skinny caps are not skinny enough, we recommend you to use a stencil cap. If you learn how to use them, you can get lines up to 2mm thin.
Stencil caps come in different shapes and sizes. You can make them yourself, for example with a cola bottle cap, or you can save yourself the trouble and buy the cheap ones.
If you work with such a cheap or DIY stencil cap, you will soon notice that the paint that is held back by the cap will start dripping along the spray can. To prevent this problem we have the TINYPINK stencil cap and the Krewline stencil caps. Both variants catch the paint in a reservoir, but our personal preference goes to the Krewline stencil caps, because they come in 3 line widths and the paint is caught in an empty dabber, so that you still have something to tag after spraying.

Tip #8 – Move in silence

If the aim is to be as inconspicuous as possible, you don’t want anyone to hear you when you’re shaking the spray cans.
The solution is the mute can silencer. This is a magnet for the bottom of the aerosol can that keeps the ball in place.
This silencer only works with metal balls. We have worked with Ironlak spray cans in the past and they have plastic balls (China…), which prevents the magnet from doing its job.

Tip #9 – Sprayer belt

When you’re working in difficult places, like high up on a ladder, you don’t want to have to run up and down to grab a different colour spray can. In this case, you can use a canbelt. With this, you have 6 colours within easy reach.

Tip #10 – Latex substrate

If the surface you are working on absorbs a lot of paint. Think of rough concrete, then it is a good idea to roll it with latex first. The latex primer ensures that the graffiti sprayed over it is not absorbed by the wall. This saves a lot of paint!
Another scenario where latex is a good tool is when the background of your work is a large colour area. Suppose you are working on a large surface and the background contains a lot of dark blue, then it can be useful to colour the background of the sketch with dark blue latex. Rolling is quicker than spraying and you can then work over this with other shades!

To conclude

These were our top 10 tips. Maybe more tips come to mind, or maybe you have some good tips. Let us know and we will add to this list!