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Spray Painting Tips & Tricks

When someone visits my home, there is bound to be a conversation that goes something like this, “I like that, where did you get it?” and I say, “I bought it at goodwill and spray painted it.”  With the weather warming up, I have been busy spray painting things for the kids rooms, and figured now would be a good time to share my spray painting tips and tricks with you.

spraypaintingtipstricksBefore painting anything, check the weather first.  The recommended temperature for spray painting is 50 degrees and above.  I will admit to spray painting with snow on the ground, but only something small that I can carry inside to dry.  The temps and humidity will affect drying time, so if you are going to paint larger items, it is best to wait until it warms up to at least 50 degrees.  I also recommend wearing a mask when painting, if you spray paint as much as I do, you really need to wear one.

spraypaintingtipstricksNext is to pick your color!  There are some really amazing color choices now, just make sure to grab enough to cover your piece.  If you are painting something like a lamp or a frame, one can should be enough, but something like a chair or bigger, grab at least two.  As far as primer, they make paint and primer all in one now, and most of the time that is good enough as long as you are prepping your piece properly.  Here are some exceptions:

  • Painting metal.  I always use a metal primer first, then my color.  The final result is worth taking the extra time to prime first.
  • When painting something that already has a glossy finish.  Always use a primer first, then your color coat.
  • Sometimes I will use left over paint as my primer.  For example, I wasn’t sure if I had enough red to finish my mirror.  So I used some left over red from another project and used that as my primer.  This will work also if you are painting something black, maybe use some left over blue or purple for your primer.  Just be sure to scuff it again if it is glossy, because if your primer coat is glossy the final coat of paint won’t cover as well.
  • If you have a stained or stinky item, that no matter how much you clean or sand, it just won’t go away.  Prime it first.

spraypaintingtipstricksNow lets get to the fun stuff…..cleaning and sanding.  You want to scuff the surface so the paint has something to grab.  This is a mirror that I purchased at goodwill for the boy’s room.  While I was prepping it, I had to scrape off candle wax and bits of scotch tape, which would have looked really bad if I would have painted it without removing it first.

spraypaintingtipstricksThen, if needed, use painter’s tape to cover what you don’t want to paint.

spraypaintingtipstricksWhile prepping my pieces, I realized I had a few new tools that helped with the process and wanted to make sure to tell you about them.  If you cut a sanding block in half, it will be easier to sand in tight spaces.  Use a crusty old paint brush to remove your sanding dust, this works great for the spots that are really tiny.  I also used a new primer, called KILZ.  This is great if your item has a funky smell.  I had a plastic chair for my son that smelled weird, and once I sprayed it with this primer, no more stink!  I highly recommend it.

spraypaintingtipstricksNow that you have prepped your piece, it is time to paint.  I have a saw horse and an old desk that I used to put my pieces on and use bricks to prop and steady my pieces.  I always paint the back side of the item first.  I do this because:

  • Every once and a while, I will not shake the can enough and the first few sprays are uneven and weird, so if it is on the back, there is less of a chance of anyone seeing it.
  • When flipping over to paint the other side, if you scuff your new paint, again, no one will see it.
  • I like to make sure the bottom and sides have a good coat because at some point you will see it from another angle and think, “Why didn’t I paint that part?”

I guess what I am trying to say here is make sure you get all the nooks and crannies, and to do that you will have to move your piece around in-between coats, and when I start on the back side, I rarely have any mishaps to the good side. Make sense?

spraypaintingtipstricksIn the case that your piece is heavy and awkward to move, I recommend propping it up with some bricks or whatever you have on hand.  I did this with the mirror, and it helped me paint all of the sides and see it at different angles to make sure I covered everything.

spraypaintingtipstricksWhen using spray paint to makeover thrifted items, the possibilities are endless.  I found these letters at goodwill, they are from Home Interiors.

spraypaintingtipsandtricksHere they are with just a coat of white.  I plan to paint them either pink or gray to go on the girls bookshelves.  I might have paid $5.00 for the whole set and a can of paint is under $4.00.  So for under $10.00 I have something cute for my girls room that can be customized to their specific taste.

I hope this encourages you to grab a can and paint something.  It is an easy way to update things around your house without spending a fortune. For more inspiration read here, here, and here,



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