How to Paint a Spray Clear Coat

Written by kimberly johnson
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How to Paint a Spray Clear Coat
Clear coats protect the underlying paint finish. (spray image by Dragana Petrovic from

A clear coat is a protective finish that is applied on top of a stained or painted surface to protect the underlying paint. A clear coat can be applied to almost any type of material including wood, plastic and metal. It is also a viable sealant for most indoor and outdoor furniture, although not as durable as shellac. When applied to outdoor objects, clear coats protect the colour from fading due to sun exposure. Just as with other types of paint, clear coat spray paints are available in a variety of finishes including flat, semi-gloss and gloss.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Plastic drop cloth
  • Bucket
  • Warm water
  • Dish soap
  • Scrub brush
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Clear acrylic spray paint

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  1. 1

    Move the object that you want to clear coat to an outdoor location, if possible. If moving the object is not possible, lay a plastic drop cloth underneath it. Lay additional drop cloths over any other items in the room because spray paint particles will drift in the air.

  2. 2

    Fill a bucket with warm water until it is three-quarters full. Add 2 to 3 tsp of dish soap to the water.

  3. 3

    Insert a scrub brush into the bucket and use it to wash the entire object to remove any dirt and dust that is attached to the surface.

  4. 4

    Rinse the object off with clean water to remove the soap residue.

  5. 5

    Use a lint-free cloth to dry the entire surface of the object. Use only a lint-free cloth, because any lint and fabric particles will show up in the final clear coat.

  6. 6

    Pick up the can of clear spray paint and shake it vigorously for approximately one to two minutes.

  7. 7

    Press down on the spray head of the clear spray paint to begin applying it to the item. Use short back and forth stokes, and release the spray at the end of each stroke. This technique will prevent runs from developing. Continue until the entire surface of the object has been covered.

  8. 8

    Wait one to two minutes and apply a second coat of clear paint to the object in the same manner as the first.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are applying the clear coat to a plastic item, wipe the surface of the item with a rag soaked in mineral spirits prior to painting.
  • For the best protective finish, apply four to six coats of clear paint to the object.

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