Tips for Spray Painting a Ceiling


Painting a ceiling is one of the most tedious and frustrating aspects of indoor painting. One good way to avoid aching arms and hours spent on ladders is to color your ceiling using spray paint. This method, however, brings its own set of challenges. Use the proper colors, types of spray and sound application techniques to make your spray painted ceiling look as good as any job applied in a traditional manner.

Different Colors

  • When painting a room where you plan to spray paint the ceiling with a different color or matte than the rest of the room, paint the ceiling before you start on the walls, which will allow you to correct any mistakes or slop over on the walls when you paint those. Accidentally getting small amounts of spray paint in places you don't want it is easy, especially when you're working close to the edges of the ceiling.

Cover the Floor

  • Coat the floor completely with painter's plastic before you begin spray painting the ceiling as it's almost inevitable that some paint will drip or drift down to the floor level. When applying strips of plastic, ensure they overlap by at least 5 inches, and tape the upper layers to the lower layers with a strip of tape over the entire length of the seam to ensure that no paint gets through. Secure the edges of the plastic to the walls using masking tape.

Directional Spray Paint

  • Most spray paint cans are designed to spray while being held upright and won't spray very well when held on their side for prolonged periods, and you will need some time when spray painting your ceiling. To compensate for this, look for spray paint cans designed for multi-directional use. You may end up spending a little extra for these types of cans, but you'll be grateful for the difference.


  • Try to arrange your painting schedule so that you can work during daylight hours, and take advantage of sunlight, provided your room has windows. Full, natural light is the best way to ensure thorough coverage since dim light and shadows can mask mistakes or inconsistencies in the spray painting. If using daylight isn't possible, use bright lights that you can direct to point at the ceiling; most normal ambient room lights leave ceilings shadowed.


  • When spraying, consult the spray paint manufacturer's instructions regarding the proper distance to hold the can away from the ceiling while spraying. Keep this distance as consistent as possible throughout the entire paint job to avoid inconsistent thickness of the paint you apply.

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  • "Black & Decker The Complete Photo Guide to Home Repair"; Editors of Creative Publishing; 2008
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