I wrote this post some time ago, it was included with my Best Gold Spray Paint.
Ive decided to move it into its own post. That post is a beast and needs its own spot! ha ha. I had no idea when posting that it would be my most popular post! LOL. I guess gold is all the rage, eh?
Want to know how to spray paint and be a spray painting boss? I know you do!
Learn from my mistakes and experience with certain paints. Ive literally used 500+ cans of spray paint over the years.
This post contains affiliate links for Amazon and I make commission if you buy through my links in the next 24 hours. See how I roll.
Spray Painting Tips
- You should wear a mask and eye protection. Spray in a well ventilated areas.
- Always make sure what ever you paint is clean and dry. Specially free from oils.
- Any surface that is painted can chip & scratch, just the way it is.
- Dirt, oil, hair, and water are not your friend! Make sure the area you use is free from dust and water. The spray can blow stuff around.
- Most brands carry paint and primer in one now so no priming. Using a primer is going to depend on your surface, a little extra wont hurt a ‘beat up’ surface…
- Using a cardboard box makes a great paint booth.
- Use tacks under some items like frames to get all areas and let dry. Anything to prop your item up. Painting a mason jar or a small vase or the like. Cut a paper towel/toilet paper roll and use it as a spray stand.
- Humidity and temperatures can make drying times take longer.
- Don’t forget over spray from the breeze outside, painting in the garage, etc. You don’t want paint all over your stuff… Spray paint will ‘dust’ over everything.
- Light coats 10-12 inches distance is best. Doing lighter coats prevents any dripping. Up and down sweeps or side to side. Usually two- three coats of paint works if you use the better paints. Also surface depending, something ‘old and cruddy’ make take five coats.
- Shake your can well specially after the can has been sitting. If you don’t, it can have chunky or uneven paint spraying out. Always do a shake again between coats and long spraying time too.
- Krylons colors Really shake, I have the most issues with chunks using their colors,(the Color Masters in particular) even with shaking till my arms are tired! LOL. The metallic are good though.
- Valspar its more fool proof for dripping, perfect for a beginner with spray paint. The cans with no caps, the paint & primer in one and the Radiance colors like pictured below. It has a mist like spray, has a nicer smell too.
- Krylon has some good colors but, its hit or miss, you’ll go through more paint for some colors. It can be a bit runny and chunky.
The Color Master line is the weakest. I swear Ive needed 5-10 coats to get coverage with some Color Master formulas!
The Dual formula is pretty good and I do like the metallic and Looking Glass.
Related: Krylons Chalk Finish Paint
- Mattes and lighter colors seem to need a third or fourth coat no matter what the brand. Some items you paint will just need a few coats or more, partly depends on the surface.
- Gloss colors tend to take longer to dry over matte and satin finishes. Enamel gloss finishes take much longer to dry but offer a more ‘hard’ super high gloss finish.
Rust-Oleum has some good colors and formulas for durable high gloss in the white cans & metallic finishes.
- When you clear coat the shiny metal metallic finishes it dulls the finish, even with a high gloss top coat. With silver it totally ruins the finish, turns it into a gray muddy looking mess.
Silver seems to take longer to dry too.
- Golds, silver, and copper can tarnish just like jewelry. The metal like finishes. Oils from your hand will leave fingerprints and water can leave spots. Dry quickly if you wash them.
Copper and the gold spot more easily over silver.
Related: Rust-oleum Metallic Spray Paints
I recommend Rust-Oleum metallic in this style can pictured below for painting things like door knobs and handles. Things used daily or in the kitchen & bathroom where there is moisture.
Mercury-Mirror Finish Looking Glass Paint
- Looking Glass paint is a mirror like finish. Mercury glass look. Rust-Oleum also offers a mirror finish. It can be sprayed on the outside and inside of glass. Shake the can, shake till you cant shake no more! This paint needs constant shaking.
Ive read tutorials on Looking Glass, my methods… Ive used plain ole water or Windex to get the aged look. Worked just fine for me. This paint is ‘toxic’ and must be sprayed in a well ventilated area. Its much stronger than traditional spray paint, IT Stinks! LOL.
Definitely keep 12-15 inches away with light sweeping strokes in light coats, build this paint, its VERY thin runny paint and will drip super fast! It dries almost instantly.
It will be more mirror like spraying on a super smooth surface like glass. It works best on glass, its really what its meant for.
- Don’t want a gloss but, its the perfect color? Use a matte or satin finish clear coat. Do it the other way around if you want a gloss finish on a matte paint. I like Valspar clear coats the best. (Update 2018, Valpasr now discontinued in most areas)
- I have found I can spray paint when its 35 degrees out with no issues as long as its not a windy. Ha ha. Ive pumped out 100’s of jars in 35 degree weather, I live in NY! LOL.
I spray outside on something portable so I can bring them inside to cure where its warmer. Ive even let them sit outside in the cold to dry with no issues either.
B U R R R R R R
Just don’t let the paint can get too cold, take breaks.
Some colors are a funky when its cold… as well… they say you shouldn’t when its that cold.. (below 50) but, Ive pushed the limits. LOL. I wouldn’t paint a dresser but small items yes.
Most are Krylon because the colors are more runny so they are very weird in the cold. Valspar is a Champ in the cold, its that mist spray they have.
- Baking in the oven at 150-200 degrees for about 30 minutes really smooths the paint finish. Gives it a better curing too. Paint takes at least two months to really cure. The longer the better.
If you oven cure you should put them in the oven while the paint is wet. I only do this for some high gloss finishes SOMEtimes… Its not needed at all though.
- If you painted a coat or two then let it sit for hours, a day or a week and need another coat or its time for top coat… Particularly with Krylon and Rust-Oleum, use light coat/s to finish the job.
If you coat heavier and its too ‘wet’ it can cause the paint you already applied to wrinkle and bubble. Acrylics and latex paint will do the same thing,
As seen in the picture above… a jar to add to the casualty pile! ha ha. I actually covered it in glitter to hide it!
- Cheap paint is just that, Cheap. You get what you pay for, you’ll have to do quadruple the coats to get any coverage. Spend the money on the better paint, its a night and day difference! Work smarter not harder! 😉 Many great colors for less than $4-7 a can.
- I top coat Everything even when the paint says you don’t have too, I find you Do have to! LOL. With the exceptions to, high gloss enamels like Rust-Oleum offers, it already has a great hard smooth finish, other glosses, and metallic colors. General colors I always top coat.
- Certain surfaces may need prep work or be more porous sucking up the paint so you need more coats. When Ive painted wood furniture Ive had to do some light sanding between coats like you do with stain and use 3-5 coats.
- You can paint just about anything on the planet with spray paint! lol You can paint glass of course. Any painted glass is best used as decor pieces, things not used regularly. It can chip and scratch more easily over most spray painted surfaces.
- You can do a light hand washing’s with spray painted glass/goods or a wipe down with a damp cloth, just no soaking and scrubbing. Ive washed many spray painted surfaces and plenty of jars over the years with no issues.
- Reality of painted surfaces… sometimes its going to need a touch up. Depends on the area, what its used for, etc.
Spray Paint Extras
Update 6/2018: Lowes now carries Krylon. Im so bummed no more Valspar…
In my area Lowes carries the
Valspar brand Krylon and Rust-Oleum but, the Rust-Oleum selection is lacking there for color, mostly neutral and primary. I found Home Depot has Lots of Rust-Oleum colors.
Buying at the craft stores is almost double the price over the hardware store for the same exact can of paint! Use a coupon! LOL
Don’t forget auto stores, they carry spray paints. More durable for bike parts and such. Also high heat paints and some cool colors you don’t find with traditional spray paints.
Spray paint is spray paint more or less if you know what I mean… You find a cool color at the auto store to paint your lamp, do it!
The craft stores do carry some other formulas I haven’t found at the hardware stores like the Looking Glass, stained glass formulas, and glitter sprays.
Update: 6/2018: Rustoleum has a line of glitter sprays and Im starting to see the chalk finish and others at the hardware stores.
Ive spray painted anything and everything over the past 25 years! Dang, I be gettin’ old! Ha ha. Spray paint has some a long way specially with color choices and paint+primer in one.
Heck, paint in general has come a long way!
Don’t hesitate to post and ask other questions. I keep revising this post to keep it full of good tips. 🙂 There is some Q&A in the comments when these tips were in the gold post if you want to check them out.
What paints have you tried and your favorite? I know there are other brands floating around.
Follow me around. 😉
Make something with one of my tutorials or something you were inspired by/learned here?