Picture of DIY spray paint
Making your own custom spray paint is easy and produces some interesting results. Maybe they don't sell the exact colour you're looking for, or you just want to a use for all those old almost-empty cans of paint you have hidden in your garage. Time to put them to good use and make your own spray paint!

Using the spray mechanism found in standard spray cans and some common discarded items you can make your own spray paint. This project uses a bicycle pump to pressurize a small PET pop bottle, and by varying the amount of pressure you pumped into the 'can' and the types of paint added you can produce different effects. The style I got based on the paints I used and the pressure applied is reminiscent of a graffiti mop style.

Enough talk, let's make our own spray paint!

*Inspiration for this project was drawn from the short movie splay

Step 1: Tools + materials

Picture of tools + materials
  • hobby knife
  • drill and bits
  • hacksaw
  • bike pump
  • bicycle inner tube
  • Sugru (or other elastic binding agent/adhesive)
  • empty PET bottle
  • empty spray paint can
  • assorted paint
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Abagatan19 days ago

I am so amazed with this DIY spray paint and I want to know if this is applicable for car painting?

My nephew will love it!

Very nice. This reminds me of the 'Preval Sprayer', but I like that yours can be pumped up by hand.

In theory could one use the same concept, but instead of using a spray paint can top, use the top from "canned air" to make a refillable compressed air cleaner?
I hate buying canned air all the time!

mikeasaurus (author)  crazywelderguy3 months ago

Probably. Try it out and let us know your results!

JRazziBG4 months ago
Can i not put the thing that is removed by the bycicle inner tube?
RishiK15 months ago

wow very grate

turtleson6 months ago

Mine exploded :(

mikeasaurus (author)  turtleson6 months ago

Pictures, or it didn't happen!

does it shoot the paint very far? I have always found a serious deficencie in store bought water guns and am always been looking for better solutions.
I want to fill it with water and use it as a water gun incase you couldn't tell. ;)
I would highly doubt it, as the plastic bottle couldn't hold very much pressure at all. You could still modify the instructable, but use a stronger casing instead and maybe attempt to make the nozzle a bit wider or make your own, otherwise it'll just "spray" rather than fire a stream of water.
Actually, PET bottles can hold tremendous pressure. They have to in order to survive shipping. I carbonate my own beverages in 2 liter bottles with a cap that I put a chrome Schrader valve (rubber gives a nasty taste) into. My CO2 regulator maxes out at 60PSI. I've used all of that pressure experimenting, though now I only use about 30PSI. The more important thing is your glue joints. The PET bottle flexes. Your glue is not likely to flex at exactly the same rate. That means failure. I don't have to worry about that because I put my valve in the cap which does not flex.

I've managed to get upwards of 120psi into a 2L bottle before, goes with bang!

ya it was just an idea.
I just saw this & thought if you combine RichardBronosky's cap valve with a small bike pump secured to the bottle, you'd wind up with something like a supersoaker...
sabu.dawdy1 year ago
turbanator2 years ago
nice man
rimar20002 years ago
Very useful recycling idea.

Maybe you choose a wrong sprayer, and that is the cause of paint jets instead of spray. Or the paint is too thinned.
mikeasaurus (author)  rimar20002 years ago
The stream can vary with paint viscosity and pressure. The mixture I show I think was both too thin and under-pressured. I kind of like the effect, but with more experimentation you can produce something more consistent.
foobear2 years ago
wow wow wow, I had no idea this was possible. This is so amazing. Luv!
I'd use a 2 liter bottle because they're pressure tested.
what about replacing the plastic bottle with acrilic?
madmanmoe642 years ago
I'd been planning to make my own airbrush using an electric car tyre inflator and a 2l plastic bottle. Good to know it works in principle.
I'm gonna do this for a 2 liter and then see if i can find a way to do it with a hose.
That'd be awesome, keep us posted.
good idea
caarntedd2 years ago
Great work I'm trying this.
hurten2 years ago
I wounder if an aluminum beer bottle would make a good alternative to the pet bottle? Would you be able to get a better, higher pressure seal around the schrader valve? What about soldering the salvaged spraypaint tip to the cap?
aristide2022 years ago
Thanks for the cool and low cost instructable
I was in Berlin this summer and I met the most amazing heavy duty PET bottles I ever seen, very thick walled. Just 500 ml but I think it could be easy to connect two of them by a low diameter pipe, in this way the inlet valve would be more protected from paint . One bottle as air reservoir and may be a small scavenged or built pump also , the other for spray nozzle and paint. Unfortunately I only took home one as technology souvenir. Don't you live in Berlin do you ?
in kinda getting the idea that it comes out in a stream because of the running, i would probably go up to at least 30-35 maybe even 40 PSI for a more even and lighter spray pattern instead of the stream.
would not suggest over 35 PSI on plastic bottle. Unless it is hardened with ducktape - lots of it.
actually, thats not a bad idea... or you could use an aluminum bottle instead and pump it up to 50 if you figure out how to attach the spray cap to a metal lid or bolt that will fit inside the bottle to make it refillable
alluminium bottle are also used for gas stoves. They should be safe then :)
A tight-fit hole for the tube + epoxy/rubber cement would work. The force acting on the spray cap is proportional to the area exposed to the can contents, so a tight fit would only produce slight pressure, and the glue would hold.
I would say that is all the seals are well glued, this could easily take 60 PSI.

PET bottles are TOUGH.
derte842 years ago
RESPECT! I always wanted to do that
CaseBoy3 years ago
I really would not feel safe use a plastic bottle like that.I would recommend using nalgen like this one mainly because they are so strong.

mikeasaurus (author)  CaseBoy3 years ago
These type of water bottles are designed to accept pressurization, the Nalgene bottles are a different type of plastic and not designed to be pressurized and can shatter.
oh....well then i guess its safe then.
macboy983 years ago
instead of the spray can nozzle, can we use axe spray nozzle!!!!!! pls reply ASAP!!!! ur kindly me "lol"
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