Simple Steps to Spray Painting Success: The Pros Give their Advice

I’ve painstakingly had many mishaps with spray painting.  So many projects gone wrong because of too little patience (yes, I admit that I have no little patience).

Either the paint runs, looks uneven, or results in being plain ole’ blotchy.  Even though, I enjoy do it yourself projects, spray painting is really not my thing, yet I want to know what I am doing wrong!

Solution?  Ask the experts.  Who are the experts?  My fellow DIY Bloggers!

I’ve connected with a few fabulous bloggers that I know will share their secrets and expert advice to make a project worthy of displaying using spray paint…

Spray Painting Tips from the Pros: DIY BLOGGERS share tricks for simple steps to spray painting success!

The fun and fabulous, Beckie of Infarrantly Creative, is always up for a revamp using spray paint and her Roadkill Rescues, soak it up!!  This amazing Light End Table was completely transformed using some love and of course, spray paint.

Beckie says:

My number one step to successful spray painting is to start with a great surface.  Don’t just start spraying.  Do the work necessary to ensure you have your surface prepped properly. Make sure you sand your piece down with a fine grit sandpaper.  After you spray prime it, sand it again.  This will ensure you start with a great surface.  Believe me, you will be way happier with the results if you take the time upfront to prep your surface for painting.

Another spray painting expert is Brittany from Pretty Handy Girl (the name says it all…she is VERY handy!)!  With her spray gun in hand, she made over this old chair into a true beauty!

Brittany recommends using:

Light coats of spray paint about 8-10 inches away from the surface.  The trick with spray paint is to use several light coats instead of trying to cover all at once. This will insure an even finish. You also don’t want to end or stop on the piece you are spraying. I use a smooth consistent sweep across the chair and then release the trigger after my spray has left the chair. If you stop on the chair, you will either get a shiny spot or drips where the extra paint has collected. Here is a graphic to show you how to spray your paint.

Between coats, Brittany VERY lightly sanded the chair to avoid any “rough spots”, then gently wiped it down with a damp cloth.  Once the project is complete, she recommends applying two coats of polyurethane to seal the finish.

Angie and Carrie over at 221 Vision are the best of friends, but work differently and have experience with different products, yet they both LOVE spray paint.  Let’s take a look at their techniques ~

Carrie says:

I will admit, I am intimidated by an electirc sprayer.  I stand in home depot reading about all the sprayers and walk away with can spray paint each and every time.  Personally, I love can spray paint.  I even use can KILZ for priner.  It is easy, convenient, and fast…just the way I like my projects.  Not all can spray paints are the same and I’ve made the mistae of buying cheaper spray paint only to make several trips back o the store because the can was empty before the project was finished.

My best advice is to buy quality spray paint that gives great coverage.  My personal favorite is Rusto-oleum Spray Paint.  It guarantees 2x the coverage and sprays even every time.  They also carry gorgeous colors to get your creative juices flowing. I’ve spray painted our bedroom headboard, a goodwill find/turned media cabinet, a fun frame for my daughter’s flowers, and even dresser handles.  My favorite color is Rust-oleum Heirloom White.  It is the perfect creamy white in a satin finish that is absolutely gorgeous.

While Carrie is a wee-bit apprehensive to use the spray gun, it’s Angie’s (2nd) best friend.  Here is what Angie has to say:

I discovered the Wagner Project Sprayer months ago and now use it for all my small projects like painting or staining furniture.  With most paint sprayers, it is necessary to fill the tank with quite a bit of paint so that the paint tube can reach and spray correctly.  With the Wagner Project Sprayer, less paint is required which is really helpful with small projects.  Another benefit is that it is light weight and easy to hold since it is about half the weight of a typical hand held sprayer.

Another tip (for any brand paint sprayer) is to run the sprayer filled with water after using to help clean the insides of the machine.

The truly sensational Kate of Centsational Girl is a pro at everything!  She has spray painted just about everything – plastic, glass, wood, fiberglass, mirror, metal, ribbon, laminate.

Kate has an entire list of Pros and Cons for Spray Painting, as well as FAQs for all your spray painting needs!  During the application process, these are the rules she follows:

  1. Shake shake shake.  Shake shake shake.  Shake your spray can.  Shake your spray can.
  2. Always spray 7 inches away from your piece, and move back and forth in a rapid motion.
  3. Two thin coats is better than one thick coat – you risk drips.
  4. Start your spray in an inconspicuous spot in case it spatters out of the can.
  5. Quality varies, so I mostly use Rustoleum brand spray paints.
  6. Always wear a mask, disposable or otherwise.  Have you seen the warning label on a can of spray paint?  Couldn’t be more toxic.
  7. Dispose of your cans properly at a toxic waste disposal sites.

Beth from The Stories of A to Z is a fabulous DIYer, but like me, says she lacks a bit patience at times…  I beg to differ though because these chalkboard and silver pinecone ornaments came out fabulous using spray paint!

Here is the result:

Beth says:

I’m actually pretty horrible at spray painting because I’m uber impatient!  To get a smooth finish you need to do tons of light coats by spraying across your surface and then releasing the trigger and letting it dry.  I tend to be a bit trigger happy and rarely release which causes drips.  I also recommend being nice to your lungs by investing in a good respirator!

Viv from The V Spot has a major love for spray paint – – she even has an entire category of spray painting projects…  One of her projects that I was blown away by were these tissue paper pom poms that she spray painted…Incredible!

And this chandelier makeover was also quite amazing!

Since Viv is so experienced with spray painting, she’s got some great advice:

My motto is that I will spray paint anything that will stand still long enough!

My best advice is that you shouldn’t let yourself be hamstrung by preconceived notions about what you can or cannot paint. Look at everything through the lens of  “what if I painted this?” and you will be able to see the hidden potential in almost everything. (Especially in items you already have and can then re-purpose).

I have painted flowers and berries (both real and fake), sticks and twigs, furniture, ceramics and fabric. It’s just paint… don’t be afraid… just try it.  What’s the worst that could happen?

Thanks so much to Beckie, Brittany, Carrie, Angie, Kate, Beth, and Viv for your expert advice on Spray Painting!

After all this amazing advice, I have no more excuses not to start spray painting.  I have a desk re-do that I need to tackle ASAP and I’m going to attempt to use spray paint.

Wish me luck.  Happy Spray Painting!

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  1. says

    Wow Jenna, what an amazing roundup of tips! Truly, this is the place to be for any novice spray painter! You included some very inspiring, talented, and experience bloggers, bravo girl! Thanks so much for including little ol me.

  2. says

    I love my ‘R’ spray paint and you have it pictured here! Awesome tips. Thanks for sharing. I am tweeting this out.

    • Jenna says

      Thanks so much Jenni!! So glad you stopped by SAS Interiors and found this post helpful …and thanks for retweeting ;) xo Jenna

  3. jane says

    love this post! i am thinking of investing in a spray paint gun!! i have some paint i used with rollers to paint our walls at home but the rollers were alot of work, im wondering what kind of spray paint gun i can buy that is 1) LIGHT, 2) cheap and will work with the paint i bought to paint walls….i can’t wait to become a spray painter!

    the other day, i saw a spray paint gun on TV and it looked so user friendly and light, you can just carry it like a purse! so neat :)

    • Jenna says

      HI Jane. Glad you found the spray paint post to be helpful. The contributors to the post are awesome experts on spray painting! When painting walls, I still use a roller. If you end up finding a spray paint gun that you like, let me know!

  4. says

    thank you so much for all the wonderful info! I went to Hobby Lobby and looked at their spray paints! Last time I was in the spray paint section they had a hundred different colors so that is where I wanted to by but alas, they only had about 20 colors. An employee (yes, actually one went by when I needed one) walked by me and I asked her where all their colors of spray paint went to. She said, too many customers were spray painting the merchandise, shelves, walls etc. so they are phasing the spray paint out. Oh my! So why doesn’t rustoleum put a plastic seal around their product so that the stores will keep selling them? Like so many grocery products are doing now.

    • Jenna says

      Thanks for sharing that story Michele. Crazy that people test out the spray paint colors like that!! But you are right, Rust-Oleum might be able to sell alot more spray paint in more stores if they just put a plastic seal in them.

    • Jenna says

      That’s awesome Linda – so glad you found some great tips to use. Spray paint can be tricky, but once you get used to the pressure you need, it’s awesome!

  5. KBeth says

    I have a love-hate relationship w/ spray paint, but did a great autumn project a few years ago. I needed heavy containers for centerpieces for a dinner event. I bought small pumpkins, 6-8″ diam., and the cheapest white spray paint at the big box hardware store. I sprayed all the pumpkins on my driveway. They looked like porcelain! I drilled holes in the top to insert the other parts of the arrangements. The weight of the porcelain pumpkins allowed the vertical pieces to be stable.

  6. Debbie says

    any tips for those of us who did NOT read this article before attemptng a project and have drips or areas that aren;t so nice looking (on lamps, first one looks badm second one i got the hang of it) Can i let them dry and then sand the 1st one and respray??

  7. Jeannierose says

    TY, TY, TY! Tried to spray paint a metal cabinet yesterday-lots of drips and sags. Ran out of paint as compression in 2nd can died long before the paint ran out, which is a good thing since I didn’t get the chance to totally ruin the cabinet before reading these tips. Will try sanding out the drips and sags, wipe things down, then run off to the paint store for another three cans of spray paint and do another LIGHT coat, let it dry and then another coat and see what the results are. Oh, and I think I’ll pick up a respirator too. A medical mask just doesn’t cut it. I felt like my nostrils were glued together after just one can.

  8. Sharon says

    Like Debbie, I also need help to fix a bad spray paint job. But mine is on laminate furniture that scratches very easily. I did it a few years back before the advent of Pinterest and I guess I didn’t do my research Googling first. Now I’d like to redo the paint job using the easiest way possible.

    • Jenna says

      No matter the surface, a good primer is a must! Whether you want to paint or spray paint, use a primer that is a stain blocker + gripper so it blocks the color from showing through & allows the new paint to adhere to the surface. Good Luck!

  9. Alice Crawford says

    Hi everyone,

    I’m going to take a look at a Bombay chest later today. I want to paint it silver but not that glary type of silver but a more subdued look. How do I achieve that look? I recently bought a small compressor but haven’t used it yet. Has anyone used a compressor to spray paint and can you elaborate on that? Do you need to thin the paint and will a thinned paint affect how it looks? Lots of questions as I move along with this craiglist chest.