Arts & Entertainment

Spray Paint Mechanics


Lesson time 13:16 min

Futura shows off a graffiti writer’s primary tool: the spray can. Learn how to use the four levels of spray-can fullness and nozzles to gain greater control of your spray.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Start by Shaking Your Paint · Know Your Spray Can Levels · Nozzles · Gathering Your Supplies


[MUSIC PLAYING] MAN: We're going to be talking about spray paint and why it is the main tool of graffiti writers and street artists. It's lightweight, easy to conceal, and the fast growing nature of the medium made it possible for us to continue to move on quickly and to do other work. - So, before we get started spraying anything, I would recommend you wear gloves. Sometime, I wear gloves, but I take off the right glove, because I'm right handed. And I feel sometimes this-- even this slight little bit of tension here, it's restrictive. So, it's up to you to decide how you would best approach it. But, nothing wrong with gloves. And obviously, because we're spray painting, I would recommend wearing a mask. We've got this guy here, but I happen to also like-- very much the N95 style. So, let's get this guy on. MAN: I would also recommend not just wearing a mask, but in addition, wherever your work environment is, trying to set up something with adequate ventilation, i.e., of course, a fan. And some levels of ventilation, you know, open windows, something like that. And anyone who is working with you in your environment should also be masked up. - Shake your paint. Shaking paint is like, probably the most important thing. MAN: The spray can is a pressurized container with a mixture of paint and propellant. Shaking the paint will mix the paint and the propellants so that your spray is a fine and even mist of color. - Love the sound of that marble can. I guess if you looked at the instructions, everything is on the can as well. Read the fine print. It's going to tell you to shake it for about a minute. I think once you hear the marbles moving around in there, you're good. I wanted to show you something I created. It's a bit DIY on my part. This is your basic thing I've done, and basically modified a skill saw. There's my blade, which I've attached. What looks to be like a water bottle cage from a bicycle, we actually 3D printed this cage ourselves. But, any type of contraption to get it to connect to this is possible. Now, mind you, we did this with a skill saw. I've seen people using drills, anything to just get the thing in motion. This tends to be quite effective just as a quick fix to shaking the can. Because, to be quite honest with you, shaking the can after a minute or more is a bit tedious. So. - I would say that can is sufficiently shaken. Not stirred. MAN: So, it's important to know the fullness levels of your spray cans. I tend to work with cans that have differing amounts of paint and propellant, so that I can vary the effects that I'm able to achieve with each can. - We're going to be using four cans as my example. And, we've got a full can. Let's call that 100%. We've got a can at three quarters filled, let's call that 75. We've got a can that's half empty, that's your 50. And then we just about have an empty can. So, each one of these cans is going to be quite helpful as ...

About the Instructor

A pioneering painter and street artist, Futura has exhibited at institutions like the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, collaborated with Louis Vuitton and Supreme, and created album art for The Clash. Now he’s teaching you his signature, kinetic approach to abstract art. Learn how to express yourself and paint with color, dimension, and detail. All you need to create art is an idea and a can of spray paint.

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Pioneering abstract graffiti artist, Futura teaches you how to create art with a can of spray paint and an idea.

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