Sexing your can.
The first thing needed for choosing the right cap for your can/job is find out the sex of your can. It's okay people you don't need to book a fancy restaurant or prepare an awkwardly worded question guaranteed to offend/amuse. Simply pull the cap from the can gently upwards (pulling sideways can lead to a damaged valve). A simple glance will tell you if the valve is male or female, if the valve protrudes into the cap you have a male valve which requires a female cap. More likely you will find that the bottom of the cap inserts into the valve meaning it is a female valve with male cap. The above picture demonstrates the conundrum of who to attach a male valve to a male cap, this situation does have a solution and it is called a cap adapter and can be purchased from here Graff city
. The opposite problem is a little trickier and the best solution I can think of would be to cut a small piece of plastic tubing to fit both valve and cap. Something I've not tried yet simply because female caps are actually a fairly rare to get hold off.
Above is a chart from the back of Montana Cans
mixed pack of caps. It shows their unique 'level' series of caps, each one of the caps is a distinct shade of green making it easier to select the right size cap for the job. As it also shows each cap sprays paint at a different width. This is achieved by utilizing different size widths of channel with the cap and also nozzle size. The wider the nozzle/channel the wider the mark left and conversely the narrower the nozzle/channel the narrower the mark. It is possible to easily adapt a skinny cap to a fat cap by inserting a pin into the nozzle and giving it a good wiggle. Turning a fat into a skinny is a little bit more difficult and there are many ways of doing it. Here google is your friend, however it is generally easier to simple purchase a variety of caps.
This cap comes fitted with a small attachment at the front of the nozzle with a elongated oval opening. This means that the paint is sent out in a wider ellipse as opposed to the usual circle. Much in the same way as a calligraphy pen brush produces it's thin/thick stroke the transversal cap can be used to create a varying paint width. Unlike those however the cap is adjustable with the attachment fully twistable to change the angle of 'slant' in the line produced.
I know graffiti artists/suppliers are truly original at naming their equipment. This cap has an extended nozzle which can produce an 'ultra thin' line if used correctly. This requires a fair bit a skill as the needle cap is best used with high pressure paint and not moving the can fast enough can produce a right mess of drips. It is also extremely useful for creating spurts of drips when held at an angle slightly away from the painting surface.
Now this one is a little difficult for me to write about as I've not had the opportunity to use one, I do however know the basics. This cap is for mixing paints within the cans itself to produce a new colour. The principle being that the can with the greater internal pressure (the one with the most contents) expels paint and propellant up, along and down the cap into the second can. The cap can be rotated at either end making it possible to transfer either paint or propellant. When the can is upright the paint is at the bottom of the can and is what comes out, upside down it is the propellant that is expelled. I have been informed by a long standing writer that a suitable piece of plastic tubing can serve the same purpose. The benefit of the mixing cap however is that it does help cut down on the mess.
For a more comprehensive list of spray caps available there is a fantastic list right here
. I would love to go more in depth with each individual cap however I've not had every model pass my hands, yet, and this would become more of a novella than an article.
Female capsThese are caps that fit on top of male valves. The majority of artists brands of spraypaint use male caps however there are lot of household and craft paints that use female. This caps are more for the hardcore collector as they are usually fitted onto aerosol products that aren't paint. Things like air freshener, deodorant, spray on cheese etc. with these it's a matter of try and test spray first!
Most important piece of care you can give your cap. Turn the can upside down and spray until paint is cleared from the cap after painting. Seriously it'll save 50% of your caps from clogging using this simple routine. There plenty of cap cleaning products out there on the market Montanna cans do one that is sprayed through the cap like sraypaint. I can tell you that turps/white spirit are a bad idea, in some caps the male valve attachment is a separate piece glued in. Which turps/white spirit always ends up removing as it eats the glue. Also try not to get them wet as the water can react with the paint and create clogging.
Now go out there and have safe fun with all those caps.