Why Does Spray Paint Crackle? How to Avoid and Fix it

Spray paint is a fast way to spruce up an old piece of furniture, or just get creative with your life. But did you know that it can crack? This post will teach you some of the main reasons why spray paint cracks, and how to avoid them so you can have a successful project.

When you’ve finished spray painting something and then closely inspect it, you might discover crackling across part of the surface.

However, don’t worry, it’s simple to repair a cracked paint job, and there are a few techniques for preventing cracking in the future.

Why does spray paint crackle?

Temperature is the most common cause of spray paint cracking, whether it’s too hot or too cold, or if you apply too much at once. When you apply spray paint at temperatures that are too high, the solvent in the paint evaporates, causing the paint to dry up and crack.

The adhesion of the spray paint to the surface is also influenced by temperature. If you apply too much paint, the top layer dries before the underlying layer is completely dry, causing the surface to crack.

If you apply too little paint, the top layer requires more time to dry than the underlying layers. This causes a high degree of moisture in the surface and can lead to cracking as well. The surface temperature of the object you’re painting also plays a role in how much and how fast it dries.

Also read: What causes spray paint to wrinkle?

It’s better to use spray paint in moderate temperatures and only apply one light coat at a time to avoid cracking.

However, there are a few more things to consider when it comes to paint cracking, and understanding how to prepare the painted surface and repair crackle may be as important as spray painting the surface.

Spray paint might crackle because it has been exposed to temperatures outside the spray paint’s intended use range. Always use the spray paint at the optimum temperature range.

Crackling can also be caused by applying too much paint or adding a second coat before the previous one has dried properly. Because of these two mistakes, the spray paint on the top layer takes longer to dry than the underlying paint.

When paints don’t combine properly, mixing them may cause cracking, and when they dry and shift differently within the layer, this can happen.

Preparing the surface for spray painting is another aspect of the work that must be handled with care. Make sure to clean the surface of debris and dust, as well as apply a primer if necessary. Spray Paint cracking may also occur if you don’t perform either of these steps.

How to avoid Spray Paint Crackle?

The first step to avoid spray paint cracking is to prepare the surface correctly. If you are working with a large surface or if you are uncomfortable preparing the surface on your own, you may want to have a professional do the work for you.

Otherwise, you must clean it very carefully and apply a primer if necessary. A top coat over the primer will give more durability to the surface being painted.

As for the temperature, you must always work in moderate temperatures and apply one light coat at a time.

Why does spray paint crackle
Why does spray paint crackle?

When applying more than one coat at a time, make sure to give each of them enough time to dry before adding another layer.

Also remember that crackling can be caused by applying too much paint or, another frequent blunder that generates cracking, adding a second coat before the previous one has dried properly. So try to avoid these two mistakes.

If you suspect your spray paint may be at fault for your crackling problems, switch to another brand rather than continue using faulty spray paint.

When mixing spray paints, do your homework, this includes both researching whether anybody has had successful results mixing the two colors you want to combine, as well as spraying the two colors onto a piece of scrap paper and seeing if they adhere.

How to fix Spray Paint Crackle?

In most situations, spray-paint crackling is simple to fix. Yes, it’s more inconvenient and preferable to avoid, but don’t get panic if you see some crackling.

In order to repair your spray paint crackle, all you need is a very fine sandpaper.

The first thing you should do is to cover important items in the surrounding area. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to this step!

The most crucial step is to wait for the paint to cure. It’s best not to try to fix something that is still wet, it will just make things worse. It’s far easier to get the spray paint off once it has dried.

Related: How to fix blotchy spray paint

You may sand down the cracking and then lightly apply some primer. If the primer does not set evenly, it may be necessary to sand once more when dry.

Then, after it has dried once more, apply another coat of spray paint. If the crackling problem occurs again, you may want to consider increasing the number of coats you apply until the surface is smooth.

Spray Paint cracking on different surfaces and how to fix

One of the leading reasons for spray paint’s popularity is that it may be easily sprayed on a wide range of materials. You can spray paint on a variety of surfaces, including metals, plastics, wood, mirrors, glass, and ceramics.

However, each surface has its own set of guidelines that you can or cannot follow, depending on the situation. Some surfaces may be sprayed without priming while other surfaces may require it.

Spray paint cracking on metal

Spray painting is frequently done with metal. Because metals can get extremely cold, it’s not uncommon for the paint to fail to stick well.

This is why it is very important to warm up the metal surface with a heater. If the metal is not heated up, the paint will simply fail to stick.

Once you make sure that the metal surface is heated enough, you can proceed to spray paint it without a primer. If the metal is rusty, however, then a primer may be needed.

It’s critical to apply paint after the previous layer is completely dry while also ensuring that the surface is ready.

Preparing the surface for spray painting is just as essential as spraying it. You should do two things before you paint: make sure the surface is as smooth as possible, and use a primer if the metal is rusty.

Use a wet cloth to clean the stains, any loose paint should be removed, the surface should be sanded down.

Apply your spray paint, making sure that the previous layer is fully dry before applying another.

Spray Paint Cracking on Wood

If you have ever used spray paint on wood, or are considering doing so, it is important to note the increased likelihood of crackle. Here we will look at the reason why this happens and what you can do about it.

The most common reason why spray painting on wood will lead to cracking is that the surface is not smooth. For best results, ensure your surface is as smooth as possible before applying spray paint.

It is essential that the surface you are about to spray paint is dry. If there is any moisture on the surface, it can cause crackling when spray painting wood.

Crackle can also be the result of not using a primer before applying your paint. Always ensure that you use primer on the wooden surface before spray painting it.

If the temperature is not warm enough when you are spraying your paint, it may lead to crackle, especially if the surface of your wood is porous. To avoid this, make sure you are spray painting under normal conditions.

Spray Paint Cracking on plastic

When you spray paint plastic, the paint has a high probability of cracking when it starts drying. This is mostly caused by the paint being applied from two different angles. To prevent this, make sure you wait long enough between two different angles that are likely to overlap. Always wait a bit longer before the next coat, and ensure that the first layer has dried completely.

You should always start by sanding the plastic and then degreasing it. If there is oil on the plastic, it will prevent paint adhesion. After degreasing and sanding, you need to prime the surface with the primer of your choice.

After the primer has dried, you can start painting with spray paint. Do not apply the spray paint in multiple layers, wait until the previous layer is completely dry before applying another layer. If you do this, the paint is unlikely to crack on the plastic.

Spray Paint Cracking on glass

There are many different types of glass that have been developed over the years. Some types of glass are more easily painted on with spray paint than others. The most difficult types of glass to paint are tempered, laminated, hydrophobic, or some other type that has been treated in some way.

The most common types of glass that are painted on will either be a simple sheet of regular glass or a piece of decorative glass, such as stained glass.

There are many different types of spray paint, so it’s important to understand what type of paint is being used. Always read the labels of the cans before buying more paint.

It’s not always necessary to use a primer when spray painting glass, but light, applications will ensure a smooth surface. When too much paint is used at once, the top layer dries before the layers below, as a result, we see spray paint crackle on glass. Spray painting glass is simple, considering that the surface is already smooth.

If you spray paint a vase or anything that is curved and requires difficult angles to spray paint, cracking may be caused by putting too much paint in one area. Again, ensure that the surface you wish to spray paint is totally dry before spraying.

Using the type of spray paint that is made for glass or applying several layers to ensure it lasts long can also prevent this from occurring.

Just be aware of what type of spray paint you are using and how to apply it correctly. If the piece is small, try not to add too much paint so that the surface dries faster. And also be sure to use the type of paint made for glass if you can afford it.

If you’ve been looking for some quick crafting ideas, painting on glass with spray paint is a great way to get started. But make sure to follow these steps to avoid cracking.

Why does spray paint crackle on the second coating?

Spray paint is often used for decoration purposes, or even to cover an area with a new color. However, if the paint is applied in layers the surface may crackle after the second layer is applied. Why does this happen?

If you do not allow your paint to dry, it is extremely simple to get cracking on the second coat or further coatings thereafter. This is because the previous coat is still moist and the layer above it dried faster than the previous layer.

Related: How long does spray paint take to dry?

This causes the paint to contract, and when it dries if there is a thicker section of paint above a thin section of paint the layer will be different sizes and this causes the cracking.

The paint beneath the surface is not subjected to the same cooling effects as the paint on top, which means it won’t cure properly.

However, the top layer of paint is drying nicely and should be completely dry soon. Over time, the wet paint below the top layer will shift as it cures and crackles the surface.

However, if you wait for your paint to dry between coats it is less likely you will experience this problem.

Thus after finishing your first coating of spray paint, wait for the paint to completely dry, then apply a second coating.

How to get the spray paint crackle effect on purpose?

It is a common mistake among artists to think that the crackle effect on spray paint is an accidental product of using it, but this is not the case. Actually, this effect is a result of using it in combination with other techniques and supplies.

If you want to get that white crackle effect on a spray paint, here is a simple way to do it:

1. First of all, you should create the art object that you want to add the crackle effect on top of. If you have a pre-existing work, apply two or three layers of spray paint. Don’t forget to protect your surroundings by adding some paper or cardboard underneath.

2. While the layers of the spray paint are still wet, use a toothpick to apply some thick and chunky white craft glue on top. This way, the surface of your work will become uneven.

3. When the glue is dry, spray some more layers of paint on top with a distance of 6-8 inches between the can and the work.

4. Wait for the layers of paint to dry and spray some more after 5-10 minutes.

5. After finishing with the last layer of spray paint, wait for an hour or two until the work is completely dry.

6. You may remove the excess glue using a knife but be careful not to hurt the top layer of paint.

7. The spray paint crackle effect should appear after a few days when the layers dry and shrink.

8. This process is invisible and time-consuming, but the result will be worth it, a shiny and glossy finished product with an amazing crackle effect.


The spray paint crackle appears as a result of painting multiple layers on top of each other. If you do not let your first layer of spray paint dry completely, the top layer will contract and crackle as it dries.

To avoid this problem, wait for your first layer to dry completely before applying a second coat. You can also use the spray paint crackle effect on purpose by following the steps mentioned above.

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Why does spray paint crackle
Why does spray paint crackle?

Why is my Rustoleum spray paint cracking?

It is very common for Rustoleum spray paints to crack. What you need to do in this case is use the same technique that we described above. Make sure the surface is prepared well and give enough time to dry the first layer before applying the second coating.

Why did my Rustoleum paint wrinkling?

The wrinkling effect is a result of using too much paint creating an uneven surface. Multiple layers of coating are always better than a thick layer. So, don’t spray too much in a single coating, this may form wrinkles in your paint.

Why is my paint cracking when it dries?

This is another common mistake. If this is happening, the paint was applied too thickly and the paint applied during the first layer is not dry enough. To prevent this, don’t apply the first layer too thickly and give it enough time to dry before applying another layer of paint.

Why did my paint crackle after clear coat?

You can get the paint to crackle even after you apply a clear coat. However, if this is happening it’s because there’s too much paint on the surface, giving it an uneven texture and creating that crackle effect.

Can I spray over cracked paint?

No, don’t try to spray on top of a cracked paint. If you do, you will ruin your work.

Hi, while painting our various DIY projects, we have spent many years researching the best spray paints. We realized that many people are searching for the same thing on different sites. We, therefore, have created this standard blog to provide effective solutions for the best spray paint.

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