Expert advice from Bob Vila, the most trusted name in home improvement, home remodeling, home repair, and DIY.

Bob's Bloggers

A community of bloggers who live and die to DIY

paint, diy

Spray Painting FAQs

By Classy Clutter on Aug 08, 2012
spray+painting+faqs.jpg

Today I'm going to share with you what I've learned and found through trial and error with spray painting just about every surface you can think of. If you have a question you don't see here, feel free to email us or leave it in the comments and we'd love to answer it for you.


Q & A:

What brand of spray paint do you use?

90% of the time I use Krylon. I am so impressed with the color selection and the quality of the paint and the nozzle. The spray nozzle that comes standard on the can is amazing. It rotates to allow you to paint at virtually any angle. I have used Rustoleum as well and while I like it, Krylon is still my favorite. I like Rustoleum's 2x cover spray paint.


Do you use primer when you spray paint?

Yes. Usually, but not always. I always prime furniture and large items. I rarely prime small items, like frames, lamps, etc., unless I am covering a dark piece with a light color. I'm not sure it's 100% necessary but I promise you'll never regret priming! It's always helpful!

Do you have to sand furniture before spray painting?

Not always. Again, this is a total judgement call unless there is obvious damage or issues with the furniture. I always sand if there are things that need smoothed out or any old paint, varnish, or anything else removed. Sanding is a great way to get a fresh start on a piece. And again, you'll never regret sanding either! 

I spray painted a piece, and now it feels sticky/tacky. What did I do wrong?

Usually when this happens, you have sprayed it too thick too quick. If you spray several coats of primer and spray paint on a piece, you must make sure that each coat is completely dry before spraying any additional coats. When it's sticky, the top coat may seem dry but the other coats have not dried thoroughly. More often than not, time will fix it but it can take several days or even weeks for it to cure completely. Be sure not to use the furniture until the sticky/tacky feeling is gone.

Do I have to use a clear coat after spray painting?

No. Clear coat is simply for protection. I usually use it on large pieces that I plan to have or use for a long time. Also, if the piece will be getting a lot of wear and tear you should use a clear coat. I usually use polycrylic or polyurethane. You can use wax or a number of other things to finish or protect your piece. One thing you want to be careful with is using polyurethane on white or really light pieces as it can yellow over time.

How can I be sure not to get drips when I'm spray painting?

This can be tricky and you will get better with practice. I have found that you need to shake your can really well and do a few test sprays on a piece of cardboard to check your nozzle. Then, use the technique found in this video to spray your piece. This is my sure fire way to avoid drips. 

My spray paint is bubbling. What happened?

Your piece is basically rejecting your paint! Sometimes its due to conditions being cold or there is something unseen that will not allow the paint to adhere. I'm sure there's a more professional explanation but it happens all too often. I read on Centsational girl's blog that this can be solved by using an oil based primer on the cracked or bubbled area.

Do you use a spray paint nozzle attachment when you paint?

I don't. I don't really like using the attachment nozzles you can buy. I know that people do like to use them but it's just a personal preference... and yes, my hand gets tired of pushing the nozzle! :)

What surfaces can I spray paint?

Be sure to read the label on your spray paint can or research online but you can virtually paint anything! Wood, metal, plastic, fabric, etc.

Some more helpful tips:  

  • Wear gloves.
  • Work in a well ventilated area and wear a mask.
  • Cover nearby surfaces with a drop cloth or tarp to protect them from over spray.  Use Graffiti remover if you get overspray on concrete or nearby surfaces. Make sure to read the label to be sure its safe to use.

Here are a few of my favorite spray paint projects. Enjoy!


TiffDresserAFTER3.jpg
Tiffany Blue Dresser

Boys+Room_1.jpg
Navy Blue Twin Beds

bedroom_1.jpg
Krylon Ivory Headboard

afters+035.jpg
Navy Blue China Cabinet

masterdresser2.jpg
Black and Ivory Dresser

DSC_0033.JPG
Sassy Pink and Gold Dresser

DSC_0420.jpg
Ivory, glazed TV hutch

Sewing+Desk_1.jpg
Craft and Sewing Desk

Well, this could go on and on and on so I'll leave you with those few and let you click around and find more of our spray paint projects! :) Thanks for stopping by today friends!
Classy+Clutter+mallory.jpg

Visit Classy Clutter »

blog comments powered by Disqus