Spray painting: 8 basic tips for painting with a spray gun

Coming up: your first project with your Magnum sprayer. You’ve painted with a roller and brush before, but painting with a spray gun? You have little or maybe no experience with that. This article goes over the basics of paint spraying so that you can start your project with confidence. And even though these tips focus on painting rooms, they apply to any paint job. 

1. Keep 30 cm distance

The right spray position starts with a small step backwards, about 30 centimetres approximately, as that is the ideal distance between your spray gun and the object to be sprayed.

To give you an idea, 30 centimetres is the distance between your elbow and wrist. Or to be completely precise: the long side of an A4 sheet is the standard paper size in any printer.

Tip: if necessary, put something on the floor to mark the distance. That way you can easily check during spraying whether you need to come a little closer or keep more distance. 

In short: keep your spray gun 30 centimetres from the object to be sprayed.

2. Keep your paint gun perpendicular

Step two of the ideal spray position: keep your spray gun perpendicular to the object you want to spray. 

That sounds simple. But the hard part is keeping that ideal position while you are spraying. The ideal spray position comes to the rescue:

  • Hold your gun in front of you, in line with your shoulder.
  • Keep your shoulder, arm and wrist steady.

Voilà. This is your starting and spraying position.

Your arm and wrist should move as little as possible when painting with a spray gun. Let the rest of your body do the work. Your upper body goes from left to right, your legs go up and down, and your feet redistribute your weight. Try to complete your movements as fluidly as possible.

In short: move your arm and wrist as little as possible. The rest of your body does the work.

3. Safety above all

You can compare your paint sprayer to a pressure washer but with paint instead of water. And with such a powerful jet, you have to work carefully.

So be careful not to accidentally spray on your hand while painting with a spray gun or while you are setting up your sprayer. 

Therefore, always put the safety on when your paint gun is not pointed at the object to be sprayed. And only take the safety off just before you start painting with your spray gun.


Next to that: put on your mouth mask, wear safety goggles and follow the pressure relief procedure when you are no longer spraying. 

This video shows you everything you need to know. 

In short: painting with a spray gun = safety off. All other operations = safety on.

4. Not too fast, not too slow

You now know how to hold your paint gun and how to move around. Now let’s talk about the speed.

Spraying paint too fast does not provide enough coverage. Like the first picture below. But if you spray too slowly, the paint will start dripping, as you can see in the second photo below.


Rule of thumb: for a one-metre strip, you need about 3 seconds. 

In short: for a one-metre strip, count to three while spraying paint.

5. The lower the pressure, the better

Our sprayers are made to spray at low pressure. Low pressure spraying:

  • works easier,
  • uses less paint,
  • and produces the best results

To enjoy all those advantages, you need to spray paint at the lowest possible pressure.

Compare it to driving a car: it's a matter of finding the right RPM. You may have the best engine, but if you drive on the motorway in fourth gear, that engine is not going to perform optimally. Not in terms of power and not in terms of consumption.

But how do you find the right RPM for your Magnum? How much bar is 'as low as possible'?

You will have to test it out. Because for your project, the right setting depends on your particular paint and spray tip.

Tip: some manufacturers put the ideal pressure on their paint buckets. Definitely check this before you start adjusting your sprayer.

The Magnum goes up to a maximum of 207 bar. To start, set the regulator to a quarter, which is about 40-50 bar.


This is your starting point for painting with a spray gun.

Now test that setting on a piece of cardboard.

Spray a horizontal strip of about half a metre. This is also the ideal time to put three of the previous tips into practice:

  • the right distance,
  • the right position
  • and the right speed.

Ready? Put the safety on and put your paint gun aside: time to inspect your work.

What you are looking for is a nice, uniform spray pattern. But what is 'uniform'? What is 'nice'?

Check if the paint is well distributed. And pay particular attention to the edges, the strip of about 5 centimetres at the top and bottom of the strip.

Did those turn out nicely?

Is the paint on them as thick as in the middle?  Then the settings are fine and you can move on to tip number 6.

Is the paint thinner? Are there stripes? Then increase the pressure gradually.

Turn off the safety of your paint gun and spray a new test strip. Still not OK? Then increase the pressure again.

In short: test out your settings. Start at 40 bar and, if necessary, incrementally increase by 20 bar until you get good coverage.

6. Move first, then spray

One last tip before you start painting with your spray gun. Always point your gun a little in front of the strip you want to spray. Start your movement and only then pull the trigger.

That way you avoid spraying your first piece too thick.

Compare it to a car with a manual gearbox. When you start off, you are always going to feel a little jolt as the car starts moving. Or if you shift up or down while driving, there is always a little jolt.

That 'jolt' is also going to be there if you immediately start spraying from standstill. So start your movement and only then pull the trigger. And finish your strip the same way: release the trigger and continue moving for a while.

7. Start in the corner

Ok, all set! Now what? Where in your room do you start painting with your spray gun? We recommend starting with the edges. Spray the corners and the strips between floor and wall and wall and ceiling.

Then finish wall by wall. And start on the ceiling last. That saves masking.



8. Overlap the previous strip by 50%

The last basic: overlap your previous strip by 50%.

Start from left to right. And then make the reverse movement. Aim the gun so that you overlap your previous strip by half. This way, you will get a nice uniform coverage from the first time.



Painting with a spray gun: the 8 tips in a row

We hope these basic tips put you on your way to starting that first project with confidence. Finally, we list the 8 tips again for you. Good luck!

  1. Keep your paint gun 30 centimetres away.
  2. Keep the gun perpendicular.
  3. Put the safety lock on when not spraying.
  4. Do not spray too fast, but also not too slow
  5. 5. Find the ideal pressure
  6. Finish your movements nicely
  7. Start in the corner
  8. Spray an overlap of 50%

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