How to Spray Paint like a Pro

How to Spray Paint like a Pro

We better start off getting some facts straight here…I’m by no means a pro at spray painting! In fact, I’m pretty horrible at it and you wouldn’t want to trust me with a spray can. My husband, on the other hand, is fantastic at spray painting. It seems like at least once a week I’m finding out about another item he’s “upcycled.” To prove to you that it’s not just me thinking he’s good, I have a little story for you.

A few weeks ago we had to get some work body work done on our truck so we took it in to get a quote. The guy doing the assessment asked where the truck tail lights were from so he could get the replacement. He thought they were after-market lights that we purchased but they were just spray painted black by my husband! Hopefully, that gives him a bit more credibility than just what I say.

I know, enough about the background story, you want to get painting! I wanted to give you a step by step of the whole process so I figured I better have something decorative to paint. My piece is a very old vintage mirror so please excuse the cracks and any wear on it.

How to Spray Paint like a Pro

Cleaning Your Piece

Now don’t skip over this part thinking it’s not important. I’ve been instructed to tell you this part is absolutely crucial to your success. If you don’t take your time prior to painting you will likely end up with orange peel. This is basically when the paint doesn’t adhere properly because the surface wasn’t clean.

So you’re thinking, what’s involved with this prep work? In most cases, you can just use warm soapy water to clean any dust or dirt left off your piece. Make sure you thoroughly dry the piece as well or you’ll run into problems because the paint won’t stick to water.

How to Spray Paint like a Pro

Taping It Off

Part of preparation also involves making sure you tape any areas you don’t want to get painted. In this case, we obviously didn’t want the mirror to get paint on it so it needed to be covered. I went around the mirror with tape first, making sure I got it under the rim.

After I did my first round of tape I moved onto the hack job looking disaster in the picture above. I know it looks horrible but I didn’t feel like cutting the newspaper, so I just started ripping pieces until I had enough that fit. Yes, it may have been faster to cut an actual oval shape for it, but I was trying to do it while my 15-month-old son so kindly tried to help me!

The main thing you need to keep in mind is to tape or cover anything you don’t want to end up with paint on. There’s a lot of over-spray and paint seeping through so it’s crucial to be well prepared.

How to Spray Paint like a Pro

Painting Process

Alright, so the number one thing to do before you actual spray is to shake the can…very well! Not a quick shake and you’re done, but a good minute to get it well mixed. I know that seems like forever, I was bored…but he says it is necessary!

You need to hold the can about 6-8inches away from the piece you’re painting. Start by using a back and forth motion, releasing the trigger mid-way, before you go back across. A bit hard to describe in words.

Basically, instead of having your finger pressed down the entire length of the motion, you are going to release. So spray along, release the trigger, then spray back along what you just did.

That’s supposed to be done in one fluid motion…believe me, it takes practice! He’s tried numerous times to teach me, but it seems I’m a hopeless case. My goal is to help you and hope that you’re better at it than me. If you have some patience you likely will be!

How to Spray Paint like a Pro

Multiple Coats

This part is very important, you can’t spray the whole piece in one go. I know, it’s just so tempting, isn’t it?! This is one of my biggest problems, I try to get it all done in one shot and it doesn’t work. I’ve included the picture above so you have an idea what it’s going to look like after your first coat.

As you can see it’s definitely not fully covered, which is what you want! Be patient and apply multiple coats and you’ll be happy you did. You will avoid paint running and inconsistent coverage that way!

How to Spray Paint like a Pro

Well,that’s it, you’re finished! Look at that crisp, even paint finish. I know there’s some cracks in there which take away from it a bit but they add to the vintage charm so I figure it’s okay! Now go try it out yourself and start upcycling all the pieces you’re tired of looking at. Have a wonderful day everyone!

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