Spray paint is a quick and easy way to give almost any surface a fresh look. Whether you’re repairing damage or transforming an old object with a new paint color, using the proper techniques to apply the paint ensures a smooth, durable finish. 

As the leading source for trusted auto painting in Tucson, Cutting Edge Collision Center technicians are experts in spray paint, and customers often ask us how to get the best results. One common query is, “What causes spray paint to wrinkle?”  Here, we explain the reasons for this common issue and how to avoid it. If you have more questions, reach out to us at (520) 339-6901.  

Why Spray Paint Wrinkles 

What does it mean when spray paint wrinkles? And what causes spray paint to wrinkle?

When we say “wrinkles” we’re referring to any time the surface looks raised or crackled. It results from a chemical reaction in which the solvents of one coat of paint break through the “skin” of the previous layer of paint, effectively damaging the smooth surface. 

The most common reason this occurs is that you didn’t allow a coat of paint enough time to dry before applying another. Even if the paint feels dry after a few minutes, the paint underneath that top skin may still be wet. If your application technique is too aggressive, the skin can break, causing wrinkles.

Other reasons spray paint wrinkles include:

Painting in the Wrong Weather Conditions 

The solvent content in spray paint helps it dry faster but humid and cold conditions can slow the drying time and increase the risk of wrinkles. Painting when it’s too hot can also cause wrinkles because the skin forms too quickly and causes the paint to contract.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the best time to apply the product.

Sanding Too Soon 

If you sand between coats, it’s best to wait at least 24 to 48 hours before doing so. Otherwise you risk removing the skin and exposing the solvents underneath, which can break through and cause wrinkling on the next coat. 

Poor Application Technique

Holding the paint sprayer too close to the surface can cause spray paint to wrinkle, but so can applying the paint too thick. Excess paint thickness slows drying time, increasing the likelihood of problems with subsequent coats. The best approach is to apply several thin coats rather than one thick one. 

Environmental Factors 

Dust and debris in the air can settle on paint while it dries, causing imperfections in the surface that cause issues with the next coat. While you might not be able to avoid all these environmental factors, proper surface preparation and taking precautions to avoid contaminants can help keep this from happening.

Trust the Professionals for a Flawless Finish  

If you want to repaint or apply paint to a blister on a car, get in touch with the experienced professionals of Cutting Edge Collision Center at (520) 339-6901. These Tucson, Arizona, professionals can answer all your questions about what causes spray paint to wrinkle, the best approach to dealing with imperfections in vehicle paint, and more.