What Materials Work Best with Spray Paints?

Many of us want to explore spray painting art after looking at unique and fantastic graffiti murals worldwide. Getting started with spray paints is not very difficult, but choosing the right tools and materials will make your journey smooth sailing.

Which art base is best for spray painting?

Poster boards are the best art base for spray painting if you want to create transportable art. The great thing about poster boards; if you choose the ones with glossy sides, spray paint will not get absorbed in the art base itself.

A Poster board lies somewhere between paper and cardboard. It is not as hard as cardboard nor as soft as paper. You can practice as much as you want on the glossy poster board and it still won’t go wasted.

Regular paper and cardboard absorb the first layer of paint, and the color never pops as much as it does on glossy poster board.

Best poster board for spray painting

The best poster boards for painting are those that have both or at least one glossy side. A heavy and dense poster board will make your art last longer.

There are many kinds of poster boards in the market. Find one that has the best qualities at a reasonable price. You can easily buy these poster boards from any art store like Michaels. They are also available in Walmart.

Another essential factor to consider before buying a poster board is the size. If you are a beginner, start with small poster boards because as the size of the poster board increases, so does its cost. Big poster boards are difficult to carry and move around.

Which material is best for creating texture using spray paint?

A glossy poster board is the best material for creating texture using spray paint. The shiny surface of this poster board prevents it from absorbing the paint. You can easily create texture using palette knives, newspapers, paintbrushes, or any other tool.

Many people use matte poster board, but a flat surface quickly absorbs the paint, and by the time you try to create some texture, there is no wet paint left for you to do so. Colors also pop up more on a glossy poster board as compared to a matte poster board.

What other materials can I use for spray painting

You can use pretty much any material for spray painting. You can spray paint on walls, paper, wood, metals, fabrics, and pretty much anything. The important thing is to prepare the surface before you paint on it.

Spray paints can work on pretty much any material, but the result will depend upon the kind of material that you used for the project. For beginners, it is better to start practicing on paper and poster board before they move onto any other surface.

Materials like wood and metals can be costly, and only experienced painters should paint on these surfaces. In some cities, painting murals is illegal. If you live in such a city, you must avoid using walls for spray painting.

Preparing any surface for spray painting

Proper preparation of any surface is essential for achieving the best possible results. If you use a poster board or a foam board, you can paint on them without any surface preparation. The surface preparation for spray painting is very similar to surface preparation for regular wall painting. 

Removing old paint(optional)

If the surface you want to use as an art base is already painted, you should remove the old paint using a good paint stripper. Lately, I have been using sunnyside graffiti remover because it works well for spray paints.

Cleaning surface

For surfaces like wood and metals, cleaning is necessary because it allows the primer to bond better with the art base.

Sanding surface

If the surface you want to use as an art base is uneven, sand it until it becomes smooth. A smooth surface will allow the paint to adhere well and last long. Buy sandpapers with different grits and use the one that works the best.

I always buy a pack of sandpapers with multiple grits from Amazon and use them according to the material I am working with.


Applying primer on wood, metals, plastics, and walls is essential because it ensures good adhesion. It also stops the paint from getting absorbed into the surface. Primer not only provides better adhesion but also smoothens out any texture.

Flat white primers work well for almost all surfaces, and the white color helps paint achieve its true colors. When it comes to spray paint primers, Rust-oleum white primer is hands down the best and the most used primer in the US.

After all these steps are complete, your art base is ready to be painted.

How to choose the best spray paint?

Artists prefer using flat spray paints, mainly to paint on poster boards. Glossy spray paints look best on metals and plastics. Spray paints come in various finishes, and you should choose the one that best fits your needs. 

Here is a list of the most commonly used spray paint finishes.

  • Flat or matte finish
  • Semi-gloss finish
  • Glossy finish
  • High-gloss finish
  • Metallic finish
  • Satin finish
  • Mirror finish

For creating murals or art, flat spray paints are the go-to choice of most artists. Shiny or glossy spray paints can lose their shine over time, and thus using flat paints makes the art piece more durable.

Other than choosing the finish of the spray paint, you should also look at the different kinds of spray paints available in the market. For indoor use, most artists prefer acrylic spray paints because they don’t release toxic fumes. 

Oil-based spray paints release fumes, and you must wear a chemical breather when using these paints. The good thing about oil-based spray paints is that they can adhere well without any primer, and they last longer than acrylic paints.

Bottom line

Spray painting is a fun and forgiving art. You can easily cover up any mistakes you make during spray painting. The most important thing is to choose the right tools and materials before starting your spray-painting journey. You can easily find economical and beginner-friendly spray-painting kits in your local art store to save time and money.