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Experiment // Testing Spray Paint Brands



In the middle of the pandemic I painted a huge 60m x 5m wall with a load of students at a school in Brisbane. The most difficult part of the project was sourcing spray paint. Manufacturers in China and Germany had shut down production. Ships were not bringing in products. There were no spray paint manufacturers in Australia. Getting my hands on the cans I needed was becoming impossible, until! A shipment from one brand arrived and I grab boxes of stock to finish the wall. The problem was, I hadn't tested this brand. I didn't know how quickly it faded. Within 6 months, the orange had faded and turned white. The blue and purples had also faded. I have now been back to that school multiple times to fix the faded paint. This will not happen again.


I have purchased one red spray can from every brand I have used. Why red? Red reflects red light but absorbs harmful, energy-rich, short-wavelength light such as blue and violet. A colours fading also has to do with the pigments that make up the paint product. Cheaper, low quality pigment paints will fade faster. I also threw in a couple of strips of neon pink paint as I know this fades very quickly under UV light.


So lets test spray paint products:

I sprayed all of the paints onto a number of different substances:

Undercoated and raw wood, undercoated and raw cement bricks and undercoated and raw iron (the outside of my shipping container studio).

I used Haymes Exterior Low Sheen White paint as an undercoat.

I left the tests out in the full sun and weather throughout a harsh Queensland summer.

The brands I am testing are:

Ironlak

Sugar

Loop

Liquitex

OneTake

MTN94

Montana Black

Montana Gold

MTN Hardcore

Molotow




September 2023

I sprayed a line of all of these brands of paint onto all the substrates and labeled each brand (see photos). Right from the start, the OneTake paint didn't even want to come out of the can. Hence why it looks like a bit of a mascre in the photo.




June 2024 (9 months later)

The iron wall, wood panel and bricks remained largely untouched over the 9 months. I photographed the paint again. The set up looking a little worse for wear compared to the previous photo.



I have included the comparison images below. A few take aways from this experiment:

  • Always undercoat! Look at that nasty, mouldy brick! Even on the iron, the paint has chipped off where there is no undercoat

  • Don't use painters tape to label important things. It wont last a week!

  • Neon spray paints fade very quickly (4 weeks)

  • The colours that I can see a change in are: Sugar, OneTake and Molotow. The Sugar and OneTake have both lost their vibrancy. The Molotow looks to have turned slightly translucent.



I'm impressed as to how well the paints have lasted. I will keep an eye on them and report back in another year. I am very surprised that OneTake didn't fade more, as this was the brand that I have had fade on multiple murals. I use MTN94 spray paints on murals and the only downside is their Anti Graffiti absorbance. I need to coat the wall 2-3 times for the clear coat to sit on top of the MTN94 spray paint.


Hope this experiment has helped you figure out which spray paint is right for you and your project.

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