I’ve done several projects with spray paint on the blog. The other day, a friend asked me, “Have you written a post on how to spray paint? I’ve never used it before and I’m afraid I’ll coat the whole world in paint if I do.” I realized I had never talked about HOW to spray paint. So, here goes: here’s how to spray paint.
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To Spray or Not to Spray?
The first question to ask is whether what you want to paint will work with spray paint. Spray paint works well on metal, wood, and even paint canvases.
Spray paint is good for projects when you aren’t doing precise painting; when you are painting to cover a piece. Also, it is great when what you are painting has nooks and crannies – the spray gets the paint into those well.
I would not use spray paint on walls, unless you are doing graffiti, which I don’t encourage.
Choosing a Paint
The next step is finding a color and finish you like. Spray paint comes in a million colors – the sky’s the limit. As for finishes, you can find gloss, satin, or matte finishes.
I know that with Rust-Oleum spray paint, the color and sheen on the cap is the color and sheen that you will end up with after you paint.
When choosing a paint, you want to choose one that will cover well. Otherwise, you’ll end up buying two or three times more paint than you need.
I use Rust-Oleum spray paint and only that. I have used every brand of spray paint out there at some point. It just works better. Here’s a simple demonstration of why:
On the left, Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover 2X paint. The center one is Krylon. On the right is Valspar. Same color. Same finish. Same card with a black and white diamond design. Same number of passes of paint (pass = how many times I sprayed over the card).
You can see which covers the best. The proof is in the pudding…or the paint, in this case.
How to Spray Safely
Do not spray paint indoors. Go outdoors to an open area. You want your space to be well-ventilated. Put down a drop-cloth where you are painting to protect the ground or surface on which you are spraying.
I use a mask when spray painting. Something like this:
If you wear contact lenses, you might want to also wear safety glasses. I wear contacts and once or twice felt like I ended up with paint on them.
Latex (or non-latex but similar) gloves are helpful, too.
Lastly, wear clothes that you wouldn’t mind getting paint on. Just in case.
Do not spray paint if you are pregnant. The label on the can says this, too. Safety first.
Time to Spray
Shake the can for about a minute to start, and then periodically as you paint. Shake the can until you hear the marble inside and then shake for a minute from that point.
Stand 10-12 inches from what you are spraying. Start the spray OFF the project, like on the ground or dropcloth under what you’re painting; otherwise, you could end up with a splotch if the paint starts off with a blast or spurt.
Then, spray in consistent strokes across the piece. Use several light coats. Do not try to cover on the first coat – you will end up with drips and runs in the paint. The first coat should get color on the piece, but not cover it completely. Here’s an example:
It should take several light coats to cover. Spray paint dries rather quickly, so you can do the next coat soon after you finish the previous coat.
If you end up with drips, sand them with 220-grit sandpaper and re-spray.
Let dry, then admire your handiwork!
Please let me know if you have any questions! You can just comment below, or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or find me on social media.
Now that you know what to do, what are you going to paint?