A Look At Why Your Spray Paint Is Sticky!

The number of people using spray paint for everything from arts and crafts to home decor to vehicle paint jobs is steadily increasing with each year that passes. This steady increase in popularity in all use cases for spray paint has resulted in more and more questions being asked about getting the most out of your spray paint with each month that passes.

We have noticed more people specifically reaching out to ask why their spray paint is sticky so we have decided to publish this dedicated article going over the most common reasons and how to avoid them. Thankfully, the more common causes of spray being sticky tend to be easy to avoid once you actually know the causes meaning even beginners are able to prevent it with minimal time, effort, and cost needed on their part.

Due to seeing a number of similar questions as well as different reasons for sticky spray paint that commonly occur, we will be talking about a number of different sub topics. We have added our table of contents below so you are able to easily navigate the article without having to waste time skimming over parts that may not be relevant to you.

Why Is My Spray Paint Sticky?

The most common reasons that your spray paint will be sticky are the spray paint not having dried yet, you not using a primer on certain surfaces, using cheap spray paint, and using a water or oil based spray paint when you should be using the other. These are easy to fix for most people with some of them often being easy to avoid entirely depending on the situation.

Although some of our readers may be having issues with more than one of these reasons compounding the problems and making their spray paint even stickier, most people usually only have problems in one area. That said though, if you do read our explanations for each problem below and think that you have found you issue, it is still worth reading the rest of the article in case there is another problem that could also be effecting your spray paint.

There are some much rarer causes of sticky spray paint too that we doubt most of our readers will be having issues with though. These are usually more complex and difficult to diagnose making it harder to workout for many people unless they are there to see the spray paint and the conditions that it has been used in.

Is Your Spray Paint Dry?

The most common reason that your spray paint may be sticky is simply due to it not being dry yet. Depending on the specific spray paint formula that you are using as well as the surface that you have sprayed it on, the paint may look visibly dry but still be wet and sticky to touch.

This is very common and usually only needs you to wait longer for the spray paint to actually dry and then the stickyness will naturally fade from the paint. We have dedicated articles on if your spray paint dries faster in heat or cold and if your spray paint dries faster in the sun that may be helpful in getting your spray paint to dry quicker.

Depending on the weather, the temperature, and the surface you are spray painting, it may take more than double the listed time for the spray paint to dry. This is normal in some conditions and will usually keep your spray paint sticky throughout the drying process with there being little to nothing that you can do other than to help the paint dry quicker where possible.

Are You Using Cheap Spray Paint?

A common cause of sticky spray paint is using a cheap, low quality product that can then take much longer to dry than decent spray paint formulas keeping the paint sticky for longer. These lower quality spray paints usually use poor quality ingredients that will also tend to be used in ratios that can cause the paint to be sticky for longer too.

Thankfully, a decent spray paint product is usually only $5-$10 more than the cheaper spray paint sets so there is no need to break the bank to get better performance. On top of the better drying times and lower chance of the paint being sticky, the better spray paint formulas tend to have better color retention too, especially when in UV light.

Just because you go with a decent spray paint formula, does not mean that you will never get sticky spray paint again though, there are other issues that come into play and may cause your spray paint to be sticky. We will go over some of these below to try and explain the situations where even the best spray paint formulas may have issues with being sticky too.

Did You Take Advantage Of A Primer?

Depending on the surface that you are applying your spray paint to, you may need to use a priming agent on it prior to applying your spray paint. Different surfaces do usually have different side effects if a primer is not used on them but one of them is the spray paint being sticky.

Some surfaces will be totally fine without you using a primer on them though but some of them will need a decent paint primer to be applied first. As there are so many possible surfaces out there that you may be trying to apply your spray paint to, there is no way we could make a full list so a quick Google search with the type of surface you need to spray pint should be able to tell you if you need to use a paint primer.

When doing this research, try to be as specific as possible to rather than just searching for generic materials. For example, simply asking about “plastic” is not enough as there are seven different types of plastic with most not needing a primer prior to you spray painting them.

Are You Using Water Or Oil Based Spray Paint?

With water based spray paint becoming more and more popular, there is starting to be an increase of people using either water based or oil based spray paint in situations where they should be using the other one. For example, using an oil based spray paint in an environment with large amounts of water or moisture will keep the paint sticky and often never let it dry correctly.

At the time of writing, oil based spray paint still dominates the market by a huge amount but if the water based spray paint formulas keep growing at this rate we do suspect this will become more of an issue in the future. Although there are more complexities to it than this, try to always avoid using oil based spray paints in areas with large amounts of water or moisture.

This drastically increases the chances of the spray paint being sticky for longer and in some cases, where there are high amounts of water and moisture, the spray paint may be sticky for months. Thankfully, this situation is rare so should not be too much of an issue for most of our readers with the problems covered earlier in the article being the main problems when it comes to your spray paint being sticky.


That concludes our article going over why your spray paint maybe sticky. We hope that we have been able to help you and as you can see from our article above, there are a number of common reasons that your spray paint may end up going sticky rather than drying correctly. Thankfully, most of these problems are easy to avoid in most cases and shouldn’t cause you many problems once you know what to avoid.

Similar Posts