Guide to Spray Paint Caps
Our help for artists section includes a spray paint caps guide that will help you find the right caps from terminology to the caps professionals use.
Spray paint caps come in many shapes, sizes & colours and not all are made to be interchangeable between paint manufacturers. So when ordering always remember to check! European and American models are normally different as well so you won’t be able to use your European caps on an American can and vice versa, so if you’re ordering from abroad also keep this in mind.
Before you start you it also helps to understand some of the terminology such as for a cap that will produce a thin line they will often be referred to as a ‘skinny’ cap. Similarly a cap that will produce a wide line is often called a ‘fat’ cap.
|European style caps will work on most cans and are easier on the finger than the traditional US caps||American style caps in traditional NY style|
Very Thin / Skinny Caps
These caps will produce a very fine line so are great for details, thin lines, light shading, highlights and small areas. Before using these caps remember to shake your can well before use, only use within recommended temperatures as they can clog quickly.
Medium / Outline Caps
These caps are general purpose caps that can be used with different techniques to achieve almost anything.
Soft / Fade Caps
These caps will produce a very hazy finish with really soft edges.
|Grey Round||Grey Triangular||White Round|
|Soft fading cap that can be used to create very smooth shading, fits most cans.||Soft fading cap with a high output and can be very dusty, fits most cans.||Softest fade cap and less dusty, fits most cans.|
These caps are great for filling in and produce a wide spray.
|New York Fat||Orange Dot||Rusto Fat|
|Pretty soft fat cap that fits most cans.||Nice fat cap with fairly hard lines and fits most cans.||Hard lines fat cap that fits some cans (Mtn Hardcore etc).|
Super Fat Caps
Designed for filling very large areas very quickly these caps will also help annihilate your cans just as quickly!
Specialty caps because they’re, well, special.
Before selecting the cap remember to check your cans & the temperature you’re going to be working in. Most low pressure cans will not react kindly to cold climates and with a thin / skinny cap your can will become clogged very quickly. When spraying in colder weather you’ve also got to remember that the paint will take longer to dry, sometimes a lot longer meaning that you should be careful of over spraying & drips. When it’s cold try painting using thin layers that will allow the paint to dry before the next coat is applied, one thick coat will take much, much longer to dry. It’s also a good idea to stick with cans that have a higher pressure than cans like Mtn94’s (at the very least stay away from skinny caps), try some Molotow cans they have more pressure (check out my best spray paints guide here).
Cap Reaction Time
When you’re working on a new piece the last thing you want is unintentional over spraying or mistakes and some caps will react quicker than others. Bear in mind reaction time and know the cap you’re using, it’s known that a skinny gold cap will continue to expel paint after your finger has been lifted or sometimes if your cap is near clogging you can get the same problem.
Identifying a mystery cap before use
Probably the easiest way to find out what mystery cap you’re holding is to blow some air through the stem, if it seems like a lot it’ll probably be a fat cap. If that sounds a little too unscientific (!) try turning the cap over and examine the size of the slit or notch at the end of the stem. A large slit is going to allow more paint through and will typically signify a fat cap, similarly a smaller slit or none whatsoever will let less paint through so you can bet it’ll be a skinny cap.