How to Fix Spray Paint Drips? [4 Easy Steps]

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

Occasionally drips happen even when you are applying spray paint correctly, and they are probably the most common paint issue. A fix-up is possible and involves many techniques to remove them from your surface. Each technique, however, has its own set of pros and cons.

To correct drips caused by spray paint, carefully sand the paint to get a smooth finish as soon as you complete the painting. Before applying a new coat, let the last one dry thoroughly; repainting should now be safe.

Keep reading this article to discover practical steps to correct drips caused by spray paint that works in various situations!

What Causes Spray Paint to Drip?

It can be particularly frustrating when paint drips dry before you notice them. Drippy spray paint may be the result of a variety of factors. Caused mainly by applying too much paint to your surface in a single coat, typically by paint-overloading a spot.

How do these happen? If your spray gun settings are incorrect or too much paint gets applied on the surface when using a spray can. Gravity, in turn, causes the excess paint to run, and as it begins to dry, the paint congeals in visible drips. What you see next isn’t such a perfect finish.

Luckily spray paint drips are fixable even after the paint hardens, but a lot easier if you catch them immediately after they drip. Depending on the surface you’re spraying on and the time before it dries, you may want to experiment with various spraying techniques.

How to Fix Spray Paint Drips?

The most prominent fugitive for dripping spray paint is not waiting long enough between coats or spraying too close to the object. Frequently, these drips can be more immense than a latex paint drip.

Spray Paint Drips
Spray Paint Drips

There are a couple of ways to fix spray paint drips. They will be highlighted in detail so that your projects turn out with a perfect finish!

Step 1: Remove The Drip With A Rag Or Brush

If lucky enough to catch the drip while the paint is relatively wet, you can wipe it off. This can be done with either a clean cloth

or a brush. If using a brush, ensure a soft one is applied so as not to damage the surface of your object.

Dip the rag or brush into some paint thinner and then dab at the drip. If you can wipe it away, it will leave a blemish, which is completely fixable. If it doesn’t wipe off, it is best to wait until the drip is completely dry before attempting to scrape it off.

Step 2: Scrape or Sand the Drip

Once the drip is dry and hard, grab a paint scraper or razor blade and gently scrape down just enough to remove the drip. If you scrape up, you’re likely to scrape off more paint than you intended.

Smooth out the surface with 220-grit sandpaper in the direction the dry paint was. The opposite direction can ruin the surrounding paint. Use the tip of a small bristle brush, foam brush, or small roller to avoid brush strokes.

Step 3: Clean it Properly

Graze the spot with a clean cloth. If a spot is still wet, let alone wither off. Thoroughly clean the surface.

Step 4: Apply New Paint

When you’re confident that the drip has been flattened entirely, begin painting again – a thin coat would be sufficient. Apply primer first. Once the paint dries, the blemish should be barely noticeable.

What You’ll Need

When spray painting, you won’t need much more than the paint itself, a paint sprayer (assuming the paint you’re using doesn’t come in an aerosol can), and some masking materials.

If you want a comprehensive set of spray paint supplies capable of completing any job, the following is a list of the products you will need to have on hand.

1. Equipment / Tools

Spray cans

Because spray cans are just enlarged copies of airbrushes, they are well suited for spraying. Even though the paint is thicker and heavier, you may still produce specific effects comparable to those achieved with an airbrush, provided you can properly learn how to use the spray.

Spray Cans

Clean Scraper, Razor Blade, Or 5-In-1 Tool

It has an odd appearance at first glance. The average 5-in-1 painter’s tool includes a putty knife, gouger, clean scraper, and paint can opener. There are several uses for the stainless-steel blade. The blade will last a long time if you take excellent care of it.

Putty Knife

The blunt point of a putty knife makes it excellent for scraping paint without gouging the surface, even though it was intended to be used with wood filler or joint compound.

Putty Knife

Small Drywall Knife

When painting around moulding, ceilings, doors, and windows use a 12-inch broad knife and a 6 or 8-inch knife to paint small items. After each brush stroke, wipe the blade clean with a paper towel.

Small Drywall Knife

2. Materials Are

220-Grit Sandpaper

The high grain in the primer may be knocked down, and the surface smoothed off using extremely fine sandpaper (180-or 220-grit).

Glazing Putty

Glazing and spot putty may be used to prepare the surface of your automobile for painting. Defects will no longer be evident when your automobile is painted.

How to Prevent Spray Paint Drips?

Although spray painting is a simple procedure, many things may go wrong throughout the process. Dripping, sagging, and, of course, running are all examples of these issues. To avoid any problems, it’s essential to spray paint correctly.

Prevent Spray Paint Drips
Prevent Spray Paint Drips

The information in the following paragraphs should be sufficient to help you prevent runs and eradicate them when they arise.

Step 1- Correctly Spray Paint

Incorrect or too much application will often result in paint drips. Because it is difficult to remove paint once it has been applied if you overdo it, the best course of action is to err on caution and apply a little less than you think you need.

Spray paint should be held around 18 inches away from the surface you’re painting. It’s best to hold it in a vertical position, but if you can’t, get as near as possible. Avoid saturating a single area with paint.

To achieve complete coverage, spray a couple of inches to one side of your item and make even passes to cover the whole area. Allow the paint to dry completely before moving on to the next section.

Step 2 – Drips Should Be Sanded

Even if you’re an expert spray painter, it’s conceivable to wind up with a run. When this happens, there is no need to panic. Spray paint may be made to look new by removing streaks. You should prevent paint issues in the first place, as repairing them and repainting the affected areas is more time-consuming.

First, soak a sanding block overnight in water. Then, sand the parts to be repainted to remove any excess paint. Fine-grained sandpaper or a dry sanding block may polish the surface further.

Step 3: Touch Up the Painting

It’s quite probable that you’ll have to touch up your paintwork once you’ve completed sanding. If this is the case, spray paint over the areas that need to be repaired. Be sure to stop before the paint can dry and run again. It’s generally a good idea to apply many thin coats of paint.

Final Thoughts

When spray painting, you’re concerned about the outcome you’re hoping to achieve. Poor technique is mainly the top cause of many paint dripping. When you overload your spray can, it can result in paint dripping down the object. Once you get used to the motions and figure out the technique, spray painting isn’t difficult.

Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years of experience in the painting industry, Randy has become an expert in the field and is passionate about helping others learn more about painting. He has written numerous articles on the subject and is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information to his readers.

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