Graffiti Paint: It wasn't always plain sailing for graffiti artists in the past. The development of aerosol cans specifically for graffiti and art use is a relatively new concept and previous to this a graffiti artist / writer would have to use a complicated mix of auto car body paint, radiator paint and a mix of nozzles from furniture polish and whatever worked !

Here we give you a rundown of the short but interesting history of graffiti paint from a writer's perspective.

Back in the day of Style Wars, Subway Art, Wildstyle and Beatstreet we all saw that the likes of Seen & Dondi and other NY writers were using Krylon & Rustolium , which lucky for those in the US was available in a pretty decent colour range.  Compared to their European counterparts, this was a luxury!


What did we have in the UK? (circa 86 - 96)


Made by international paints, this was definitely one of the favourites, Japlac was available in primary colours, but only available 99% of the time in Red & Black - A firm favourite and known for its high opacity and anti buff staining,  If you were throwing up dubs in the late 80’s early 90’s you no doubt had japlac stained clothing and hands. (and it really did stain you)

The stock nozzle/cap was pretty decent and allowed you to get a ¾” outline looking pretty neat.

A quick rifle through your mum’s household aerosols would often yield a compatible furniture polish nozzle which would be the equivalent of a NY fat cap.

Finnegans Radiator Paint / Hammerite

This was the default go-to-paint for white high-lights. At some point in the 90s they removed the xylon element and it lost its opacity value but if you could find an old hardware store that had the old finnegans branded radiator paint, you were in luck.


Russet brown, remember that one? a classic, Big 500ml yellow cans and smaller 250ml cans, you quickly learn to avoid the metallics, that said,  car-plan chrome for wheels was a firm favourite for trackside dubs :-)  In the classic Channel Four graffiti documentary 'Bombin’  you can see Goldie (Metalheadz Fame) using a decent collection of carplan paint in Wolverhampton.


Available in small black 250ml cans from all good motor factors. this stuff was ok and after a while you realised that there was a few colours that were way thicker than the rest. mostly the primary colours, that were also available in larger sizes.

Marabu Buntlack

Ridiculously expensive and aimed at fine art users & artists. very rarely available and only stocked in larger art stores.

one of the only pinks available in the late 80’s (without having to mix)

Halfords Cycle Paint, (circa 92 - 95)

The only other pink you could get your grubby hands on. Cerise, it also came in 2 tones of purple and was a definitely one for old skool graffiti writers toolbox.


The water based range opened up a whole new world of spray paint colours for the UK graffiti writer of the late 90's


decent coverage and nice color range of spray paint,the only problem was those tiny cans just ran out too quickly!

Underbody Seal (hammerite)

This was basically tar in a can, obscene coverage and stock fat-cap. The correct use of this is to prevent your classic car from rusting, However from a graffiti writer's perspective this was an amazing dub outline, tagging paint.

No#1 Rust Beater  (Hammerite)

A nice beige primer with good coverage, If you were into painting B-Boy Characters and need skin colour, this was your default choice.

The Breakthrough in Development…….
Montana Hardcore Spray Paint is the first and original spray paint made specifically for graffiti art use. This paint was originally developed back in the early 90s by graffiti artists for graffiti artists. MTN Hardcore is the brand which graffiti artists have been depending on. Hardcore is still one of the best spray paint lines available.