The answer to that question is a complicated one. As with most paints, the best way to know the chemical composition of a spray-paint paints is by the color it paints on your skin, as shown on the side of the spray bottle.
“There are lots of different ways you could paint with a paint, and a bunch of them use paints with an interesting chemical makeup,” says Mark Schubert, director of public safety for the city of Phoenix, AZ. “But the way it’s done on the aerosol part of the paint is very similar to making it in the lab.”
Spray-paint artists and enthusiasts use either a gun or a squeegee to deposit liquid into a small, carefully controlled container – usually a soda bottle – and squeeze a few drops of the paint onto the surface to be coated. Some artists make their paints in-house as the technique is easy, cheap, and allows experimentation with a wide variety of paints.
“The more they know about chemicals in different paint colors, the more successful the technique is,” says Jim Farr, founder of the Chicago-based spray booth company Pissing Man, which has been using paint that comes in a variety of colors for 20 years.
When a paint can be identified as the “goodstuff” – that which is safe and reliable – many spray-painted items can be found outside the commercial supply chain – usually in a garage or storage unit in another state or country for the most part.
But the chemicals used in spray paint are not only very common; they are also well-known and have their own chemical names: paraffin, sodium carbonate, acrylic, and acrylic acid. These are not always clearly labeled, and as a result, there are also many misconceptions and rumors about chemicals used in art.
“There’s a lot of confusion because the colors used are so closely tied to the color of the water the paint is made from,” says Paul Molnar, principal of Pissing Man. “Paint can come out black, brown or green, but if you can’t tell the difference, then you have no idea what it is. A lot of people think they should try to find the actual color out and get the real deal.”
Spray Paint Painting Equipment
Before beginning your new venture into spray painting, make sure you know the proper equipment and how to use it. For the most part, spray paint artists use either a guns or a squeegee
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