Spray painting makes it fast and easy to paint almost anything, but it can be tricky to apply if you don’t follow a few basic tips.
The two great things about using spray paint to paint just about anything is that the finish will be smooth and even with not a brush stroke in sight.
The other thing is that textured items, like wicker where there are a lot of nooks and crannies in the surface where paint needs to get into are much easier to paint with no paint build-up from trying to push a brush loaded with paint into.
Spray Paint FAQ’s Answered
The Most Important Spray Painting Tips Not to Overlook:
- Always spray outside or in a well-ventilated area like a garage with the door wide open. Wear a protective mask when you spray.
- Shake, shake, shake the can for a minute, then shake it again for another minute and also while you are spraying.
- For optimal paint adhesion and drying, try to spray when the temp is between 65 – 85 degrees. Cooler is better. 75 degrees and no humidity – perfect.
- Long, light fluid strokes are the way to spray – and don’t forget to shake the can a few times while you are spraying.
- You must get all the coats needed on the piece you are spraying within an hour. If you can’t get this done, wait 48 hours to apply a new coat. If you add a coat before this waiting period, you run the risk of the paint wrinkling.
Spray Painting Question #1
How long should I wait until I can re-coat my piece?
Re-coat within an hour as mentioned above. If the temps are optimal between 65- 85 degrees you can re-coat about every 5 minutes as long as you are applying light even coats. If the item is two sided, let the first side dry to the touch, then flip and paint. It should dry to touch in 30 minutes, to handle – 1- 2 hours, and be fully dry in 24 hours.
Spray Painting Question #2
Why did the paint finish crackle or wrinkle when I re-coated?
A few different factors can cause the finish to wrinkle or crack when applying another coat of paint. The most common – is applying the paint too thickly – which makes the surface of the paint dry too fast and not the underside. When you re-coat the solvents in the paint shrink and this causes the wrinkling.
The way to avoid it – spray only when the temperature is 65 – 85 degrees, apply only light even coats, and re-coat every few minutes. Also read the back of the can. Some brands say you should get all re-coating done in under 30 – 60 minutes. After that, do not re-coat at least for 24 – 48 hours or the paint may wrinkle. Again…read the label for specifics.
Another reason it may happen is if there is wax or residue on the item that is incompatible with the paint. Sand, clean well and dry your piece before painting. Use a primer and make sure the spray paint you are using is made for that specific surface. Read the label.
Spray Painting Question #3
How do you spray paint when it is too cold to go outside to do it?
Create a no-cost collapsible spray booth to store in your garage. This not only keeps the overspray from going everywhere, but it is also a place to spray paint when it is too cold to go outside. Just be sure to open the doors while you spray and then close them when you are done. Also remove your cars from the garage. Trust me… overspray happens.
How to Make a DIY Spray Painting Booth
- Get a box to accommodate the item to be sprayed. If you spray paint a lot, get a big box that will accommodate all sizes. Use Duct tape to tape a few together to use when spraying larger items.
- If you have an extra box or two – flatten them to make a large liner for the floor.
- Place your item on a piece of foam. If your object doesn’t have a flat bottom, use toothpicks, Popsicle sticks, whatever to raise it up so that you can easy move the piece your spraying without actually touching it. I used foam and a Popsicle stick to hold the clock top you see in the box up. This way you can move the piece easily by picking up the foam and not the actual object to turn it around so that you get all sides equally covered with spray paint.
- Pebble style foam that comes packed in boxes around TV’s and knock down furniture works the best as the spray paint doesn’t melt it. STYROFOAM style foam will melt if the spray paint is applied very close to the surface. Using light coats of paint will lessen any melting of the foam. I use my blocks a few times and then throw them out once they start melting away.
Small objects only need a small box.
I also like to use a box top to place items in. You can find these in the box stacks by the check out lines at Costco or when you buy cans of dog food in bulk. This allows you to carry the item inside to dry where the temps are better. Then you can collapse the spray booth right after using and pull the car back into the garage. No need to have to wait for it to dry before moving it.
To Store Your Instant Spray Booth: Simply open the bottom to make the box flat and store it vertically against a wall and out of the way until you need it again. When you need it – just fold up the bottom of the box by tucking every other flap under each other so the box becomes an opened top box again.
When Spraying Larger items:
- See this post for the tutorial on how to easily make a spray booth.
- With bigger spray paint projects I use a tent shelter.
Spray Painting Question #4
I just spray painted my chandelier – it came out nice, but some of the sections are not smooth – they feel like sandpaper. What am I doing wrong? Help!
This happens when you paint outdoors when it is hot or in the sun. The paint spray dries before reaching the surface and it cannot level because of too rapid evaporation. It can also be caused if you hold the can too far away. It is better to spray in the morning or evening during the summer and keep the can about 8-16” away from the item as you spray. If it is a chandelier or large piece that has to be sprayed in sections, block off other sections while you spray one section at a time with a piece of cardboard.
Spray Painting Question #5
The Pieces That I Spray Paint Always Have Raised Blotches, Do I Have to Sand It and Start All Over?
When spray painting, after shaking the can for a minute and then shaking it again for another minute – hold can upright 8” – 16” from surface. Press trigger and begin covering the surface lightly in a steady back and forth motion, slightly overlapping each stroke and shaking the can a few times as you paint. This will give you a nice even finish. You get blotches of paint when you hold the spray in one area for too long. If you get blotches and want to sand it to start over. Wait for the paint to completely dry. If you sand too soon you will create a gummy mess that will be hard to remove. If this happens, use paint remover to remove the paint, clean well and start over.
Spray Painting Question #6
How to Unclog a Spray Paint Can Nozzle?
This is a common problem with spray paint. What brand is it? and can you remove the nozzle? If it is the Rustoleum brand with the fancy spray tops – they can’t easily be fixed. If the can is new then I would take it back to the store to get your money back.
If using another brand with a spray paint nozzle that comes off, remove it and run very hot water over it to remove any paint. You can also soak it in nail polish remover for about a half hour. Then take the end of a pointy toothpick or straight pin and put tip into the holes on the nozzle to clean out the paint. Do both holes on the nozzle – the underside and the one on the side of the nozzle.
Place back on can, shake the can very well, really shake it so the paint is completely mixed and spray. If it doesn’t spray, hold the can upside down and try to spray.
Another Way To Unclog a Spray Paint Nozzle
If you have a few cans of spray paint in your paint supplies, try switching out the nozzles. This usually helps get the can spraying again. Before I throw out used cans of spray paint I save the nozzle. I place them in a baggie and store it so I have plenty when I need to change a clogged one.
Spray Painting Question #7
How to Remove Spray Paint Odor on Newly Painted Furniture
One way to reduce spray paint odor is by minimizing its curing time. Paint the furniture outdoors on a dry, moisture-free day, if possible. If you already painted the furniture, set it outdoors on a non-humid day. Sunny weather helps even more. Place it outside in the sun, bring in at night so it won’t get moisture on it. Do this for several days until the smell is gone and the paint cured. The air movement helps cure the paint and will cut down on the odor. If unable to keep the furniture outdoors, store it in a garage for a few days, or in a well-ventilated spare room of the home.
I ended up setting up a spray booth in my basement using a big box I got in the dumpster behind my local dollar store. (They always have nice clean boxes). I have been a little too cavalier in my spray painting ways –no more over-spray on surrounding objects – like cars. Back to good spray painting practices.
For more spray painting tips, see these posts: