Tricks of the Trade

After all that intensive reading about what and how to do it, we can now dive into all the intricacies of the graffiti world that make it far more exceptional than any other creative field out there. We can guarantee that. There are so many tricks of the trade that many more experienced writers know, that everybody should know. These generally come from a ton of trial and error and the forceful hand of resourcefulness when you’re stuck at a spot far away from any sort of shop to purchase things, or even if you’re just broke as hell trying to make the most of what you got.

Can Stomp

To kick it off we’ll start with the can stomp. The can stomp is one of the most classic of all tricks in order to get that last little bit out of the can when you feel as if the can is completely rinsed, because in fact, it isn’t. There are a few ways of doing it, but generally you leave the can standing up as if it were just resting on the ground and you curb stomp that thing trying to turn it into a pancake.


  • Not unlike when you stomp on a can of beer to create more space in the recycle. Now another way of doing it that works really well, is similar to the classic style, but this time around you flip the can upside down so the valve of the can is the one that is laying on the ground instead of the bottom. Now this means you’ve got to have it balancing on the ground, so it’s always best to find a nice flat and hard surface.
  • You want to definitely make sure you don’t have it digging into any dirt, mud or other debris because then it’ll clog the valve. Now I know you’re asking yourself “Why the hell would I do it like that”? One might be inclined to say it’s because the bottom off the can has a very strong lip, meaning it’s all a lot harder to crush.
  • With it flipped upside down the top doesn’t have that hard lip on it and the top of the can is also protruding so it’s easier to squish it back into itself. Another way that some people like to get down with it is to have the can on its side and then stomp on it this way. It’s quite desirable to do that as the side of the can is the softest and makes for an easy crush.
  • This lends itself to danger due to the fact that part of the can is so soft, that it can easily break, or if there is anything sharp in the vicinity, it’ll puncture it and the can is ruined. So this way isn’t highly recommended.

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Bucket Fill

One of the other classic and extremely useful tricks is adding to the bucket fill. We also love to get a little bit tipsy while we’re out in the middle of the night and sometimes you’ve gotta do what you gotta do, and that means you’ve got to piss in the bucket to make the buff last as long as humanly possible. Now this doesn’t need as much depth as some of the others because it’s basically as straight forward as can be. If you’re out at a spot rocking a roller fill or trying to get that last it of colour in the background but you notice the bucket is almost empty.


  • You can fill it up with just about any liquid, preferably clear, to fill it up a little bit more. Unfortunately, we don’t actually have access to water when we’re on the go, so you’ve got to muster up the courage to start leaking into the bucket. Most of the time if you’ve had a few drinks before heading out to the spot, this shouldn’t be a problem but it is important to keep in mind to take your time when you’re applying the new layer of paint, because you don’t want that shit dropping all over your face.


Roller Extension

Relating to this one would be trying to get that little bit extra extension from your roll. This needs a little bit more finesse and is kind of dependent on your surroundings, but it’s ultimately worth it if you’re doing a big roller or a production out under a bridge and need to get that extra height.


  • If you do manage to see a tree branch, there’s your ticket to going from ground level to well above. Now generally having tape or some sort of connector to bring the handle and the branch/stick together.
  • You can also do a little shave job off the wood in order to shove in the handle of the cage. This may be a reason as to why you may keep a pocket knife with you, among others. This is useful as hell out there as walking around with big extension poles looks super bait, so if you think you’re headed out to a spot that may have some natural forestry, be aware that this can help you immensely.


Keeping Warm

Moving on to a very important tactic, and that’s keeping warm in the winter. If you’re not from a cold climate then there’s no point on reading this, however, it’ll always come in handy when you travel and rock with people that are from subzero temperatures.

One of the most difficult things to grasp about painting in the winter is that when spray paint cans release aerosol they come out several degrees colder than the outside or “room” temperature. Now on a scientific level they say it’s because it adiabatically expands. But in our case, all we need to know is that it comes out colder.

The degrees of which it comes out are somewhere in between the 5-10 degrees celsius from what we’ve been told. That is to say, if you’re spraying in -10 weather your hand will feel almost -20 degrees. Some people have said that you can put vaseline in your glove before going out, however, that’s not something that sounds particularly attractive, so maybe leave that one for a greasier writer.


  • Hockey tape has also been said to be a brilliant way to help the can contain the the temperature a little bit better. Hockey tape is the classic fabric type tape that comes in all different sizes and colours, but primarily you’ll find them in black and white. The colour of the tape shouldn’t really matter.
  • One of the most effective ways and simplest ways if you’ve got access to a hardware store is to purchase of the the heat packs. They’re called something like “hot hands” and they’re intention is for this exact purpose. The best thing is to take a pack out you shake it up to get that heat and then stuff it in your glove which will create a buffer between your hand and the can, keep your hand nice and toasty. You may go through a number of these packs during a mission, but it’s damn worth it.

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So there are a few secrets that will help you on your missions and make life a little bit easier on you. Many of you may already know these tricks, but it’s important to outline them for those that don’t. Though as they always say “Necessity is the mother of invention”, and that is undoubtedly true for graffiti artists, as we, unlike almost any other artistic field, have to make our own tools on the fly, or it’s our freedom on the line.