View Full Version : NEED HELP - Distressing with spray bottles

Dr Spooktakular
05-29-2011, 11:42 AM
How do I keep my bottles from getting clogged up and not working. I can get about 20 squirts out of a bottle and then it becomes useless. I've tried bottles from home depot, lowes, wal mart, you name it, but they clog every time. I've tried different ratios, paint to water, 50/50, 60/40, doesn't make a difference. Please, any suggestions/help would be welcome.

X-Treme Torment
05-29-2011, 11:50 AM
well what we bought was the $1.50 spray bottle’s from home depot ( but we bought about 15 of the top pieces (the ones that screw onto the bottle)) and we started spraying the wall and when it got clogged we took it off and put it in a bucket of paint thinner for about 5 minutes and took one of the other nozzles and screwed it on the bottle. Ya it gets annoying but it works.

05-29-2011, 06:12 PM
I prefer spray guns, but if you use bottles, use the kind with this nozzle:

http://img21.imageshack.us/img21/2278/prosafespraybottlelssil.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/21/prosafespraybottlelssil.jpg/)

and not this cheaper type:

http://img233.imageshack.us/img233/4396/spraybottle.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/233/spraybottle.jpg/)

strain your thinned out paint with a mesh like pantyhose or a very fine kitchen strainer and keep it mixed in the bottle by swirling it often or put a marble in the bottle for an agitator. Keep the bottle & nozzle very clean when not using.

Mad Wax Sculptor
06-01-2011, 12:13 AM
garden sprayers work

damon wilde
06-01-2011, 02:06 PM
Pump sprayers are good because you don't have to keep squeezing the trigger. But definitally use a paint strainer. The littlest spec of dried paint will clog it. On the garden pump sprayers you can take the nozzle apart and wash it out if it does clog. 50/50 paint to water is about right.

06-01-2011, 04:48 PM
this is the reason i use a diff method, i use watered down paint with a brush and then i use pure water out of the squirt bottle to make it streak down and settle in, this method is also way more forgiving than spraying the paint out the bottle

06-02-2011, 11:36 AM
well if you watch our videos 'how to detail your haunted house part one or two' at www.hauntedhousesupplies.com (http://www.hauntedhousesupplies.com) you would see we use them a ton. The issue you are having is one of two things...

1) You are NOT using the industrial style squirt bottles which you can find at Home Depote.

2) You are using too much paint and not enough water. You don't need much paint to get the water to turn colors but if you use a lot of paint you make it really thick and it will clog up the nozzles. Additionally we don't use paint typically we use paint tints and again you dont' need much.

Keep playing around with it you'll get it...


Mad Wax Sculptor
06-03-2011, 11:39 PM
I use a small roller with heavily watered down black paint

Allen H
06-04-2011, 07:27 AM
Another option is to shorten your tubes. the thick stuff is at the bottom (even when well mixed) so having the tube stop in the middle you will catch less gunk.

Dr Spooktakular
06-06-2011, 09:16 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions! What I find strange is, is that the white paint bottle never gets clogged; the one with black and green paints clog after a few
Allen- I'll give your method of cutting the pipe a try first and see what happens.

Dr Spooktakular
06-06-2011, 09:40 PM
Here's a sneak peak of some work I did get done with spray bottle distressing.

06-07-2011, 07:11 AM
I guess I take a different route, I don't mix paint in my water at all. I water down paint in a bucket to the color I want and my spray bottle is clean water, I spray the wall where I want the runs first then brush the watered down paint where I want the drips and runs to come from and lightly spray it as i put it on and I get great effects with this and use the same bottles for years.

06-07-2011, 08:58 PM
Since white is a base color, and no tint is added to it so it usually will not clog if watered down. Try using paint dyes, only takes a tiny amount to get great results. You can probably get small amounts for free from your paint supplier.

06-08-2011, 09:10 PM
We liked it better when we put a little paint at the top of the wall and then just sprayed water on top of the paint to make the paint run. Not that the spray bottle thing is bad... but the really light streaky colors from the straight water were cool...

06-09-2011, 06:12 AM
I find it's a good mix of wet walls, watered down paint and a spray bottle. Just find a good mix of the 3 and you'll get great results. Here is something else that is kinda cool, i started using wood stain the same way. it doesn't real break down into a lighter color like paint does, but gives you a really cool look because the water breaks it into pieces kinda and you get what looks like rust flowing down the wall.


Mad Wax Sculptor
06-17-2011, 12:39 PM
Hey scott
I forgot to mention you might try using watered down acrylics in the spray bottle vs the latex. I know you got a really good price on latex paint but a few $1 bottles of acrylic should go very far . I would spray a clear urethane to seal it as well

Dr Spooktakular
06-17-2011, 10:56 PM
Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions and great ideas. I did find that cutting off 1/2" off the bottom of the stem and removing the filter off the stem kept the spray bottle from getting clogged up while I was using both latex based paints and acrylics. Once I cut the stem, I used 2 bottles, one black and one white and neither one clogged up the entire night of usage. Thanks again for all the suggestions.

Twin Locusts
06-18-2011, 08:05 AM
Any paint will eventually clog - it's doing what it was made to do - thus you'll have to keep cleaning early and often. Industrial trigger sprayers will delay the clog.

Depending on the surface, paint tints and aniline dye is the answer. If you're doing your color wash or treatment on wood, drywall, mud, any porous surface; these powder dyes are perfect.

They're expensive and one 4oz. jar will last you the rest of your life and you can still pass some along to your progeny. Key is to mix them with HOT water; a dot the size of a baby aspirin will thoroughly dye a gallon of water. They mix so you really only need the primary colors to make whatever hue you want, non toxic, lightfast, the gold standard for woodwork pros.


ignore the powder yield statement on the page, they are considering a very very deep uniform color on finished wood before lacquer. For washes and detail you will ten times that.

Haunted Prints (EOM)
06-18-2011, 04:47 PM
Here's a sneak peak of some work I did get done with spray bottle distressing.

Like the pic! Looks like you a doing a good job. Post some more.