Is it possible to take spray paint, spray it in a cup, and use it to hand paint with? I have a bottle of it, but no other paint and I want this hue. Just wondering if I can use this temporarily.

3 Answers 3


Spray paint, by design is in a pressurized container, to belabor the obvious. When used, the material is converted to an aerosol by the pressure, which then travels some distance at a good speed.

If you are attempting to spray it in a cup, a good portion of that force will result in back-spray, pushing the paint out of the cup. This is undesirable.

A couple methods can be used to mitigate this problem. One is to use a large container, not a cup, something bucket sized and hold the nozzle near the edge of the bucket. Spray in a direction to cause rotation of the pressure as well as angled slightly downward, to keep the spray in the bucket. A portion of the spray will be wasted by coating the side of the bucket, making this a less than optimum method.

Another option is to find a nozzle from a product using "spray straws" that direct the substance. Common sources are compressed air cans, also known as computer dusters, lubricants such as WD-40 and others. If the nozzle and straw come from such products, be sure to clean the material thoroughly to avoid paint contamination.

A suitable receptacle for this method might be a tall soft drink can or even a wide mouth tallish jar. Position the spray straw in a manner similar to the bucket method, pointing slightly downward and in a rotational manner. You will get some back spray, as the pressure has to go somewhere. You can reduce that problem by spraying under a rag or similar open-weave cloth or through a hole in the fabric.

Spray paint is also more volatile, and you will likely have shorter working time with the paint that collects before it dries or becomes too thick to use.

  • Thank you! I will use all of this information, I am getting in real brush paint soon
    – user140052
    Commented Aug 19, 2017 at 23:42
  • You might also get some mileage out of pressing the spray button on the aerosol very gently so it just dribbles out, and dribble it straight onto the brush you'll paint with. Hopefully not a massive brush!
    – Caius Jard
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 5:55
  • If you don't want to use it as spray paint again (e.g. you want to add some details at the end of the job), you can often remove the nozzle and widen the hole to reduce the aerosol speed.
    – Chris H
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 8:14
  • Spray paint uses some powerful and usually pretty toxic solvents to make it workable as a spray. Might want to keep that in mind when handling it in any form.
    – rebusB
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 21:04

Here is a very simple method that I came across.
This may not work on all spraypaint nozzles because you need one that has a spray tip that can have a bendy straw or flexible tube slid snugly over the place where the spray comes out.

Basically you take the jar you want to decant the paint into and tape up the opening, enough to both stop the gas escaping and contain the pressure.

Then you make a small cut just big enough for the straw or flexible tube.

Slide the straw/tube over the nozzle spray tip (shake your can first) and feed it into the hole in the tape.

Place both upright on a table or flat surface and spray until you have decanted enough paint for your requirements.

Remove the tape, and put the lid on the jar immediately. Spray paint is highly volatile so you need to keep it airtight.

  • 1
    The down voters may want to reevaluate their votes as the answer has been updated.
    – Stephie
    Commented Jun 19, 2020 at 6:55

Yes, but be careful. As you probably know, spray paint dries very fast, so spraying it into a container could result in it drying. Also, a lot of paints can eat through plastic. Like Rustoleum enamel, it ate through a cup I sprayed it into. Using something like glass would be better. Also, there are some different caps you could try. I know that MTN Paints make a variety of caps, and other companies do to. You could try replacing the cap with a smaller one and see how that works.

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