Introduction: DIY Spray Paint

Picture of DIY Spray Paint

It’s easy to create your own spray cans. =)
Spray paint can be expensive and you might not be able to find the exact color you are looking for.
You can use any type of paint available acrylic, plastic, water based, food coloring, ink, permanent ink, etc.
(...with the only precaution that it won’t dissolve the plastic bottle itself )

Step 1: Materials + Tools

Picture of Materials + Tools

2-3 Bicycle inner tubes (used or old you only need the valve)
Coca Cola bottle (it’s made to withstand a lot of inner pressure)
Spray paint can ( EMPTY)
Plastic air tube (found at pet stores for aquariums)
simple plastic pen

pliers cutter
bike pump

Step 2: COMPLETELY Empty Spray Paint Can Before Cutting It!

Picture of COMPLETELY Empty Spray Paint Can Before Cutting It!

Very important!! COMPLETELY empty spray paint can before cutting it!
It should be empty of ANY air or paint residue.
…then pierce the can with the awl in an open & safe area, pressure might still exist in the can. You need to COMPLETELY remove the air before cutting the can this is important because the can might explode if any pressure still exists in it when you saw the top off.

Step 3: Remove As Mush Metal Around the Valve As Possible

Picture of Remove As Mush Metal Around the Valve As Possible

With the pliers cutter and pliers remove as much metal around the valve as possible and remove any pointy edges.  
You will end up with something looking like this.

Step 4: Cut the Valves Off the Bicycle Inner Tubes

Picture of Cut the Valves Off the Bicycle Inner Tubes

With scissors or exacto knife cut the valves off the bicycle inner tubes.

Step 5: Pierce the Coca Cola Bottle

Picture of Pierce the Coca Cola Bottle

Heat the awl with the lighter and pierce the Coca cola bottle.
The hole must be as big as the bicycle valve to fit tightly.

Step 6: Create 3-4 O-rings From the Bicycle Spare Tube.

Picture of Create 3-4 O-rings From the Bicycle Spare Tube.

Create 3 O-rings from the bicycle spare tube.
place one on the valve that will go on the bottle.

Step 7: Insert the Valve on the Bottle

Picture of Insert the Valve on the Bottle

Insert the valve on the bottle.
With the pliers tighten the small nut from the outside of the bottle so the O-rings adhere to the bootle from the inside.

The bottle part is ready. =)

Step 8: Pierce the Coca Cola Bottle Cap

Picture of Pierce the Coca Cola Bottle Cap

Heat the awl with the lighter and pierce the Coca cola bottle cap.
The hole must be as big as the bicycle valve.

Step 9: Create the Cap Valve

Picture of Create the Cap Valve

Cut the “valve part” from the valve.

Insert 2 O-rings one from the upper side & one from the inner side and secure tightly with 2 nuts.

Fit a piece of air tube on the inner side long enough to reach the bottom of the bottle.
(liquid will have to go through this tube to escape from the bottle)

Place another piece or air tube on the outer side of the bottle cap (as long as you want) and secure tightly with hot glue or zip ties this connection must be super secure. (you don’t want paint squirting everywhere!)

Step 10: Create the Can Valve Part

Picture of Create the Can Valve Part

Stretch the air tube as to securely fit the plastic part of the can valve.

Take a piece of the plastic pen and stretch the end in a V shape to be able to fit tightly around the valve and the air tube.

Then gently hit it to insert the plastic pen part around the valve securely you can use a zip tie to keep it secure.
(you don’t want paint squirting everywhere!)

Step 11: You Are Ready =)

Picture of You Are Ready =)

You are ready =)
Test the finished product with some water. Slowly increase the pressure inside and check for any leaks or moving parts…
If all is secure your spray painter is ready. A good indicator of how much pressure exists is when the label is stretched around the bottle.
Only fill half of the bottle with paint and leave the rest of the bottle for the compressed air to build up.
You are ready to use your spray painter!

*Tip for graffiti writers..
If you make the air tube on the upper part of the cap long enough, you can even make an undercover sleeve spray thingy ;)
just place the bottle part in your backpack and pass the air tube through your sleeve.

Have fun! =D


charmrus (author)2017-02-17

what about the paint, do you need to thin it to get it to pass thru the nozzle?


ujeuye4 (author)2016-08-05


Namirreh (author)2016-04-20

Actually it's easier than you'd think. Hold the can up-right, grab an ice-pick or some tool that's similar. Pierce the can on the side, close to the top (away from the paint) The internal air pressure will use the surface area of the paint, in the can, as a pressure point sorta, and as the paint pushes out , it's forcing the paint against the bottom of the can and by the time the pressure lowers to where you'd think it might come out, it won't. There's not enough pressure, it just ran out. If you'd feel safer, just hold a rag/cloth over the piercing tool. (Don't forget your Safety glasses)

point (sorta

Farmer Bean (author)2016-04-19

Cool trick! What size nuts?

barben (author)2016-04-19

Great idea for those of us whose spray can has stopped working. Once this was made we could use the paint still in the over half full cans. If I can figure out how to open them without sending paint all over. lol I would like to still use the paint in those cans.

steve000 (author)2013-10-10

I know this has other applications but its pretty obvious its a method to put peoples stupid name on other peoples property, A name which on one else cares about cept the tagger. Graffiti is a crime, I don't care if you call it art or whatever its a crime. If you get permission from the owner of the property to do it then you wouldn't need concealed spray cans and a hoodie.

Also cans cost $2 over here.
I do agree though, especially for little jobs this could have an application because it can be hard to find the right colour or its a waste to get a full can just for a little touch up. Good and bad article :)

kilo_me (author)steve0002013-10-10

I never indicated that I support vandalism or the use of graffiti for the defacement of private and state-owned property. The reason why I prefer to conceal my identity is completely irrelevant to this post, furthermore the wall I was “painting” was on my own property and the “paint” was simple and plain water so no harm. =)

Prices of spray cans may vary from region to region in UK it can get up too £6.95 per can.
thank you for your honest opinion.
have fun =)

Gadget93 (author)kilo_me2016-04-18

None the less, this is an ingenious idea.

Remag1234 (author)steve0002013-10-10

steve000, No one here needs a graffiti crime lesson and speculation. Did you ever think the author didn't want to show himself for whatever reason? If someone wants to deface property he is not going to got to the trouble of making this DIY gadget, it's easier to toss the spray can when finished.
IMO I think you owe the author an apology.

steve000 (author)Remag12342013-10-10

I didn't mean any offense

This is a good article, good details and innovative design.

As for graffiti, it costs taxpayers heaps to clean up and some of us have been personally affected by it with damage to their (my) own property. Just note though, in my opinion I didn't imply you were a lowlife tagger, sorry if you took it that way.

As for the hoodie, fair call to conceal your self, better filming might have been have been better option as the hoodie stereotypically goes with the crime but you make a good point so sorry for that.

steve000 (author)steve0002013-10-10

That being said..
*Tip for graffiti writers..
If you make the air tube on the upper part of the cap long enough, you can even make an undercover sleeve spray thingy ;)
just place the bottle part in your backpack and pass the air tube through your sleeve.

I read this as, you can conceal your paint, make the tag and move on without the cops noticing you.
I hope it fails and fills your favorite bag and jacket with paint.. have fun :)

Gadget93 (author)steve0002016-04-18

I agree. Vandals have no place in our society.

DeeRilee (author)steve0002013-10-17

And, as an artist in the studio, the longer air tube will also be a benefit....much easier to direct an air tube, than a cumbersome bottle.

DeeRilee (author)steve0002013-10-17

As an artist (on canvas, not walls or buildings), this is GREAT!!! Acrylic paints in spray cans are expensive! I can't wait to try it!

Mark 42 (author)DeeRilee2016-04-17

You can buy a dual action airbrush at Harbor Freight for $20
Much better for art.

MikB (author)2013-10-12

"It should be empty of ANY air or paint residue. You need to COMPLETELY remove the air before cutting the can"

One way to do this: When you think the can is empty, and no more gas/paint comes out, place the can in hot water to heat it up (hold it down, otherwise it will float). With the nozzle under water, press and see the bubbles come out. When that bubbling stops, let the can cool down, you'll find a partial vacuum inside when you press the nozzle -- it will suck instead!

Most cans don't have air inside, they have flammable butane/propane to keep up a (more) constant pressure over the life of the can.

Mark 42 (author)MikB2016-04-17

I just punch a hole with a large nail and some common sense.

Kinnishian (author)2016-04-17

Neat instructable!

One thing I missed in the instructions, though - what size nut is used on the valve stem? Are they normally part of the inner tube? I have never noticed on before on inner tubes I've taken apart.


NightFire (author)Kinnishian2016-04-17

That's a Presta valve, they come with the nut, they are found on higher quality bicycles. Schrader valves are the type you find on cars and the types of bikes you would find at WalMart.

Presta valves require a different air chuck than Schrader valves.

Kinnishian (author)NightFire2016-04-17

Ah! Thanks, I didn't catch that. Explains why it's bigger stem than seemed right. I'll lookup the values for the schraedner hopefully those are standard I have a bunch of them.

dv8ad4u2 (author)2016-04-17

Can I use a air brush to get other effects

gpracchia (author)2016-04-17

Amazing !!!!

JackG54 (author)2016-04-17

Amazing instructable! Don't know that I would build it but, there again, I can think of several projects around the house which would benefit from this. Would I have thought of it? Doubtful.

At age 54, I'm as infected with the disease of consumerism as anyone can be. Our society has been gradually programmed to accept planned obsolescence as the new natural order.

This epitomizes the reason I subscribed to Instructables! The awesome creativity borne from necessity (or just plain ol' curiosity) is best displayed right here!

Great job!

ericCycles (author)2016-04-17

I've had thoughts about building something similar for spraying small fruit trees in my greenhouse.

F. ToddP1 (author)2016-03-06

Nice job, for this version of a spray can I would use new automotive valve stems. There like a buck for 2, but it would help with the sealing issue if used with silicone. The only tricky part would be fishing through the bottle. But, you could do the mason jar version and use the metal top to but both pieces through. Then you could easily change colors for the "street art" :-)

apathak17 made it! (author)2015-10-08

sealing is an issue everyone making this has to pay attention to. use glue once you are sure about the other stuff such as pipe length, leakage through v/v joints, etc!

kilo_me (author)apathak172015-11-01

Fantastic job! ^_^
Yes.. I guess you could
use any type of spray vale.

I personally haven’t tried it with such a valve but try and see what works for

SAGARP22 (author)apathak172015-10-08

Nice Job Man...!!

apathak17 (author)2015-10-08

i have made it. i used a woods valves. the v/v on top had a flange type thing so had to cut it with a hack saw. Just wanted to ask you one thing, IS IT OKAY TO USE A NOZZLE ASSEMBLY OF DEODORANT BOTTLE? PLZ RPLY ASAP!!

apathak17 (author)2015-10-05

i am gona make one. the idea saved me lot of money! thanks a lot for sharing this instructable.

shazni (author)2015-08-02

FANTASTIC IDEA! I like the fact that the items can be easily found :-)

SaabiqqA (author)2014-09-02

dAt was an Osm pRojct... Relly it was helpful..

SaabiqqA (author)2014-09-02

dAt was an Osm pRojct... Relly it was helpful..

SaabiqqA (author)2014-09-02

dAt was an Osm pRojct... Relly it was helpful..

ezhilabhi (author)2014-04-17

what can i use if i dont have an old spray paint can.

ezhilabhi (author)2014-04-05

great project

jsaxon (author)2014-03-17

I get every stage of this, but just cant work out how the compressed air is allowed to pass thru the valve which is fitted into the screwcap on the top of the coke bottle. Isnt it the case that to allow air the pass thru valves like these, you need to depress the needle pin on the inside of them? That being the case, how is that possible using this method? (Cant see anywhare that says anything about getting round that).

Please advise. Cheers

kilo_me (author)jsaxon2014-03-18

:) Step 9.(image)
You have to remove the Valve part from the valve so that the valve
is no longer a valve but a sturdy tube with threaded body that you can easily
feet the tube on it securely.

jsaxon (author)kilo_me2014-03-18

Ahhh.. guess I missed that. Now it makes sense.

Thanks for explaining it.

Fast211 (author)2013-10-11

For everyone asking the burst pressure of one of these bottles is around 120 - 130 psi so for safety you shouldn't put more than about half that pressure in. An explosion with air at that (120 psi) pressure is equivalent to a small low explosive bomb! It will cause you some very serious injuries if the bottle is in close proximity to you.

67spyder (author)Fast2112013-10-11

The cap is designed to fail before the bottle, that is why there are vertical cuts in the threads inside the cap. The design is to cause the cap to lose seal, allowing pressure to vent in a controlled way rather than having an explosive failure.

Mr. Smart Kid (author)67spyder2014-03-10

it's actually to vent off the bottle's pressure before its completely unscrewed so it does not fly off and hit you in the face or eye

ampersand2006 (author)67spyder2013-10-14

I always wondered why those slots were in the threads! That's pretty cool.

pbillings1 (author)2014-01-11

thanks gor this man. I have been trying to make something like this but all mine are hella bulky or too heavy.

sabu.dawdy (author)2013-11-11

i loved this idea

spylock (author)2013-11-06

Great job,it can be used for many liquids as you know.

wrsexton (author)2013-10-29

Excellent inexpensive alternative to store-bought bulk sprayers! You could also use it to spray bulk WD-40, which is far cheaper than spray cans. and if you're back pack toting, or just using near a machine, a two liter bottle would spray for a long time.

sfreeman10 (author)2013-10-21

I've recently have tried to redesign my laptop by spray painting it but couldn't find the right color. This video lets me get the right color and the spray paint design. Sweet instructable.

Santiago22 (author)2013-10-17

awesome idea I am thinking to make one of these

topper2 (author)2013-10-15

this is great now I can store the unused paint without the fear of it drying out on me and no more cleaning messy spay guns and guilt of disposing expensive spray cans. now its metal only that is sold as scrap.

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