While you’ve got a lot of options when it comes to painting your guitar, there’s something really cool about the option of spray paint. So, can you spray paint a guitar? You most certainly can, provided that you’ve sanded it down, cleaned and dried it, and disassembled or at least taped-up well the portions that you don’t want to paint on accident. You’ll want it to be warm outside, but not humid, and it shouldn’t be cold if you want your paint to dry!
In this article we’ll tell you a few things that you need to know about spray painting your axe. We’ll talk about using spray cans for painting, if acrylic paint is okay, and some other types of paints that you can use on your guitar.
Spray paint can certainly look amazing on your guitar – just be sure to do it right!
How do you paint a guitar with spray cans?
While I wouldn’t recommend spray painting your dad’s old Fender or anything, if you’ve got a nice, but inexpensive guitar you can certainly spray paint it with canned spray paints and get the equivalent of a factory finish or even better.
It’s mostly going to boil down to disassembly, sanding, priming, painting, and sealing. After you’ve removed the neck and covered up bits that you want to protect with the tape, you basically sand it down, prime it, and with each light coat you’ll want to sand it a little to ensure proper hold.
You want to avoid using too many coats, however, as this can affect the sound. The biggest problem is the patience involved to do it right, so you’ll want to make sure that you go through a lot of online videos to find a nice step-by-step that can walk you through the complete process, because if you ‘wing it’ then your guitar is not really going to look as professional as you are hoping for.
If you are just having fun or have more than one guitar, however, then this is a great way to learn how it’s done firsthand and you can build up useful experience over time in this way.
If it doesn’t have to be perfect (hey, it’s just gotta be rock and roll!) then just pace yourself and give it a shot, you might just love the results, but promise yourself that it’s okay if it’s not perfect the first time and you’ll be okay.
Can you use acrylic spray paint on guitars?
Yes, you can use acrylic paints on guitars. Early custom Fenders used nitrocellulose and acrylic lacquers, and you can tell which by looking at an old custom model. If you see a mention of ‘Lucite’, then this is acrylic lacquer as this was the name that DuPont originally used to market it.
‘Duco’, by contrast, is the name that you’ll see if it was painted with a nitrocellulose lacquer. Both are great options, but in general the acrylic lacquer is a bit more elastic and it’s going to be less likely to fade over time.
Regular acrylics may also be used, but you’ll want a layer of wood primer in place before you put on your acrylics and you’ll need to seal them up afterwards with a nice paint sealer like Krylon or another of your favorite brands.
Just be sure not to put too many coats, so that you don’t risk ‘dulling down’ your sound and you should be able to paint art on your guitar with no worries.
What other kind of paint do you use on a guitar?
If you have an enamel finish, then enamel paints — both oil and water based — will be okay. Water based paints are usually easier, as they will dry a whole lot faster than your oils, but you can use whichever you prefer. If your guitar has a lacquer finish, then you’ll want to go with a lacquer paint for your guitar.
Finally, if you don’t mind sanding it down to the bare finish, you can always start over and paint it however you like. In that case, you can use enamel, lacquer, acrylics, or even spray paint, it really boils down to sanding, priming, and painting with the medium of your choice. Just keep your coats as thin as possible so that you don’t run the risk of affecting the sound and you should be golden.
Some final words
In this article we’ve answered the question ‘can you spray paint a guitar?’ and the facts are in – you definitely can. Be sure to do it slowly after disassembling and taping up the portions that you want to protect and you should be good. Acrylic spray paint is also fine and you can use lacquer or enamel-based paints, depending on your finish.
For a little more info that can help with your project, be sure to check out this 3rd party link here and you can get some tips on refinishing. Until next time, I wish you the best of luck spray painting your guitar and I hope you really love it’s new look!