This is a tutorial for decanting spray cans. Decanting spray cans is the term used for extracting the contents of spray cans for use in an airbrush or hand painting; but for most cases, the use is for airbrushing. There are several reason for doing this. Many modelers like a particular color that is found in spray cans, or that certain products are only available in spray can format such as Mr Super Clear , etc. There are many sites with pictures and worded descriptions of the process. This will just add to that list. There is nothing overly groundbreaking, and I’m following the same method that most folks do to extract the paint.

Here are the steps:

  • Gather the necessary items: a straw, the spray can, large cup of hot water, and collecting jar
  • Cut the straw to a short length such that the contents of the spray can do not need to travel too far, and has less surface area to get attached.
  • Submerge the spray can into the hot water, which will warm the can up. This helps the extraction of the paint
  • Once the can is warmed up properly, place the straw over the spray can nozzle, and point the other end of the straw into the collecting jar and spray.
  • When the can becomes cold and the spray can starts to spray less paint, reheat the can by submerging it back into the hot water
  • Continue to fill the collecting jar, but stop when the bottle is half full.
  • Using a stainless steel stirring rod or bamboo stiring rod; place the rod into the jar. At this point you can stop and let the collected paint degas on it’s own with the rod sticking into the paint and leaving the jar open. Or you can facilitate the degassing process.
  • To facilitate the degassing process, carefully stir the paint using the rod. The liquid will bubble up as the gas escapes and the bottle will cool down considerably during this process. When the bottle cools, submerge it into the hot water to warm up the bottle.
  • Once the bottle is warmed up, stir carefully to continue the degassing process. This process will need to be cycled through a couple of times to help degas the liquid.
  • Once the liquid has been degases properly, it is ready for use in the airbrush. Thinning is usually not necessary. However,when filling the airbrush cup, only fill it half way, as there may still be gas in the liquid and the airbrushing process make turn the liquid volatile and you will have a nice little exploded mess of paint.

The following video shows the above process.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Enrique

    Just an additional warning…If you DONT heat the paint-can beforehand, then handling the bottle with your warm hands may cause the cold jar to react STRONGLY to your body temperature will cause the propellant to boil your paint. This will cause a splatter effect, so its recommended to leave the cap off for about an hour to overnight even (the paint will be ok) and you will be sure the propellant has “out-gassed” and there will no reaction to external temperatures anymore.

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