Beginner’s Guide to Spray Painting

beginners guide to spray painting

Whether you’re sprucing up old furniture or giving new life to something you found at a garage sale, spray painting is a quick and easy way to give any item a fresh coat of paint.

Don’t be intimidated by the process. With a little practice, anyone can become a pro at spray painting. And if you just want someone to teach you there are multiple companies offering spray painting training courses because people are wanting to set up their own business doing this in their area!

Now if you’re in to learn something new, follow this beginner’s guide and you’ll be confident in your skills in no time.

What is spray painting and what are its benefits over other forms of painting?

There are many ways to paint materials and transform how things look. But here are some quick options for choosing spray painting:

  • It’s a fast way to change the colour of an object.
  • It can provide a smooth, even finish.
  • It’s relatively inexpensive.
  • It can be used on a variety of surfaces.
  • Spray paint has a shelf life of two to three years, but one brand might differ from the next time.
  • The drying times for spray paint varies between 5 minutes and one hour, depending on the surface

The different types of spray paint available on the market

There are a variety of spray paints available on the market, each with its own unique properties. Some of the most popular types include:

  • Acrylic spray paint
  • Enamel spray paint
  • Latex spray paint
  • Metallic spray paint
  • Chalkboard spray paint

No matter what you wish to paint, be it exterior rendered walls or spray painting the windows & doors of your home, the variety of spray paint options should ensure spray painting is a valid choice.

What types of spray paint equipment is there?

In addition to spray cans, ideal for individuals, there are also more heavy-duty options. These are ideal for covering large areas or for professionals who spray paint a lot.

A spray gun is an upgrade over using spray paint cans.

Some of the reasons to use a spray gun include:

  • More even coverage
  • Less waste
  • Faster application
  • Better quality finish

These outcomes make a spray gun an excellent choice in many situations. And with less waste through paint particles being lost in the air, a spray gun can even save you money over traditional spray paint cans.

Mixing paint is an option with spray paints and a paint cup.

You can also use old paint in a spray gun. But consider using a paint thinner or a paint strainer to make the paint less thick.

Another benefit comes from being able to mix paint before adding to a spray gun. This allows you to create the perfect colour coat as opposed to choosing the aerosol spray colour when spray painting.

How do I prepare an area for paint spraying?

Before spray painting, make sure to cover any surfaces you don’t want to accidentally paint. Also, wear protective clothing, such as a mask and gloves. Safety gear is always worth investing in.

You may also want to lay down newspaper or a drop cloth in the area for easy clean up. We covered the methods used to prepare windows for painting earlier.

You should lightly sand the work surface at the start of the whole process, with steel wool a good choice of product before paint application.

Can I use spray paint on wood or bare metal?

Yes, both wood and metal surfaces can be spray painted. Make sure to choose the appropriate type of spray paint, such as enamel for metal or acrylic for wood. Kitchen cabinets and lamps are great surfaces to transform with spraying, even though other methods are available.

Can I use spray paint outdoors?

Many types of spray paint are designed for outdoor use and are weather resistant, but always check the label before using them in an outdoor area.

It’s best to spray paint in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling fumes. If you have a spray booth, this is the ideal place to work but obviously with large items, such as a whole car, you’ll likely be outdoors.

Do I need a primer?

It is advisable to use a primer when spraying. This makes the paint more likely to remain on the surface, and it boosts longevity. While a primer is optional, it is an extremely helpful one.

Is it possible to overspray?

While you want to avoid under-spraying, it is natural to ask if you can spray too much.

It depends on the colour and finish you want to achieve. And this is why you can overspray, so be careful to achieve the look you desire. It is common to use several coats on top of a base coat.

Can I use a brush alongside spray cans?

If you want more control over the finished look and texture, use what you can, including brushes or an air gun.

The most important issue is the finished appearance. Steps such as sanding the surface, using a primer or using a brush to touch up the work of your spray gun all enhance the final appearance.

How do I prevent clogging?

After each spray, turn the can upside down, and push down on the nozzle until clear mist comes out. This prevents your can and nozzle from clogging.

Can I remove spray paint?

If you have made a mistake in the painting process or you wish to make changes, lacquer thinner is adept at removing spray paint. If you are familiar with using mineral spirits on oil based paints, you’ll know the process.

Is there an optimal level of air pressure when spray painting?

With a spray gun or spray machines where you can set the level of air pressure, always check the manufacturer’s advice. You’ll commonly find a level of 25-40 PSI is a good starting range for spray guns.

Can I create a spray pattern?

Yes, great pieces of art can be created with spray paints. Start with a light coat to build confidence when paint spraying. If you need help, use templates or apply tape to cover areas you don’t want to paint. Changing the tip size can help you when spraying a specific shape or design.

How do I avoid the orange peel effect when spray painting?

You can avoid the orange paint look by thinning and straining the paint, waiting until previous layers are completely dry and maintaining your spray guns and cans in good condition.

Ready to try spray painting?

Whether you’ll spray paint for fun, commercial purposes or to change your surroundings, we hope that this spray-painting guide for beginners has both inspired and helped you!

Looking for more DIY projects? Try these!

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If you're new to spray painting, this guide is a big help for sure! Check it out as we have answers to your most common questions here!

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