People often ask what hobbies I have (especially since I turned my singing and performing hobby into a profession!!)
If you’ve been following my journey for very long you’ll know hands down my hobby is crafting and DIY projects!
I’ve always had a mind for repurposing, upgrading or refinishing things. Patterns and how things are made are things I can visualize very easily in my head.
Like most things, it’s been a learning process. I’ve definitely learned many tips and tricks along the way. (Sometimes by totally botching a project).
There are many different ways to paint furniture and I’m pretty sure I’ve tried them all. From a small foam roller brush to a good old fashioned paintbrush and paint can, there’s many ways to get the job done.
Personally, I’ve found that spray painting furniture has been the easiest, quickest and gives the smoothest coat.
If you’ve been following along in my Instagram stories, you’ve probably seen that I was recently painting a set of bunk beds for a family friend.
SO! I thought it would be a perfect project to share some painting tips with you all!
1. Prep Is Important
I’m going to be honest… this is my least favorite part. I just want to dive in and get to work!
But without the proper preparation, the project will probably end in disaster… or at least be sloppy!
Prep will look different for every project.
If you’re painting something that already has a coat of paint, you’ll need a good deglosser. (I like this one best.) This will easily take off the top layer of shiny paint so the new layer of paint can stick to it.
I would also wipe down the furniture with a wet paper towel or lint free rag after it’s been deglossed. You don’t want there to be any residue before painting.
If there are any bolts or hardware pieces that you don’t want painted, they’ll need to be removed. Grab some painter’s tape if it’s too hard to remove it.
Use painter’s tape to cover anything you don’t want to have paint on!
For the bunk beds I spray painted, there were some bolts and screws left in. I removed them and stuffed the holes with some paper towel just to make sure paint didn’t coat the inside.
2. Have the Right Tools
Over the years, I’ve learned that having the right tools really does make a difference to get the job done.
Of course, it depends on the size of the project as well as the material you’re painting but even small projects can require these tools!
Like I said above, painter’s tape is usually necessary.
Also, you’re going to need something to paint on! When I spray paint, I paint in the grass (where I know a lawn mower will remove any unwanted paint) and I use a tarp or vinyl tablecloth.
I’ve gone round and round about the best material to paint on. Over the years, I’ve painted on cardboard, poster board, brown paper, newspaper, plastic paint drop clothes.
After all that, the best I’ve found is the soft side of vinyl plastic tablecloths!
With cardboard or poster drop cloths, I’ve found that the paper rips off and sticks in chunks of the paint along the edges of the item being painted.
This also happens with plastic drop cloths. The paint sticks to the slick plastic and peels or stretches like a piece of balloon.
The vinyl tablecloths have a felt backing that is soft and works well to paint on. Just watch for fuzz in the paint. If fuzz does get in the paint, wait until it dries. Then use a lin free cloth or paper towel to wipe down/dust off the furniture pieces and paint another coat.
The top side of the tablecloth can work for painting as well if it’s something like a chair that sits on its feet to be painted.
That goes for cardboard, paper or plastic drop cloths as well. If the item being painted has a base or legs, (i.e. a lamp or a chair) then it will probably work pretty well on those other surfaces.
For a table, I would suggest removing the legs to paint separately then the table top. Which would require you to lay the items on something to be painted rather than set it like a chair.
Besides having the right material to paint the item on, I have found that I basically can’t spray paint without a spray paint can handle.
My hand gets so tired from using just my finger to hold down the sprayer. This is the handle I purchased years ago and haven’t had the need for another!
3.Have a Good Climate
This is very important for a good paint coat!
Just like your wood or furniture piece needs to be treated and prepped so the paint won’t do weird things while drying, the climate matters too!
If there’s too much humidity in the air, the paint will not stick right to the item being painted. If it’s too cold out, the paint will become “crackley” and almost shrivel in weird places.
I have found that a sunny day with low humidity that isn’t blazing hot is the best painting day.
Also, don’t put your item in direct sunlight on those hot days. If it’s hot but the humidity is low, put your painting tarps in the shade! You’ll be amazed how the warm air will help the paint dry very quickly!
When painting these bunk beds, there were so many pieces it took me several painting days to finish them all.
Two of the days were above 85* and very humid. The pieces were in direct sunlight and combined with the humidity, the paint felt sticky for hours almost.
I realized the sun was almost melting the paint in a way similar to soft plastic in a car melting.
The last day I painted, it was in the low 70s and the humidity was much lower. The paint dried within minutes! Even thick coats!
I was blown away at the difference the weather makes!
4. Know What Type of Paint
I like to use spray paint that is paint and primer. I find it gets the job done just as well as with primer.
Also, know what finish you want on your piece of furniture. Usually, a nice satin paint does well but high gloss or matte can also be just as beautiful depending on the piece!
Know which type of paint you’re purchasing!
This one I’ve learned the hard way over the years.
Even though you’ll have prepped your surface before painting as well as bought a paint with primer, there’s some tricks that help your paint stick even better.
For your first coat, just spray very lightly, barely covering the surface of the item. It should look like just a “dusting” of paint.
Let that dry and you’ll have a nice “rough”surface for the paint to stick to. The next layer or two can be a bit thicker. Never paint super thick coats as they won’t dry well and almost always be sticky.
In the right environment and climate, a light coat of spray paint can dry within 10-15 minutes. If it’s a stickier day that’s more humid, the paint will take a while to dry. Possibly even up to an hour or more.
Which leads me to my next point.
6.Let it Cure
Is the paint still wet or has it just not “cured” yet?
I have found that there is a difference between dry paint and cured paint. Yes, the paint may be dry to the touch, but it may not have totally cured yet.
This is important to know for how you store your newly painted item.
For one thing, the paint smell will take a while to air out. Allowing the paint to cure also helps with the paint fumes.
Even though the paint has dried, if it hasn’t cured it may still be “soft”. This means that it can ripple, dent or dimple, or even get marks set into the paint if it’s laid on something.
When painting the bunk bed pieces, I let them sit in on the tarps as long as I could.
Then we moved them inside once they were dry to the touch, we stored them in the garage with towels or padding on the places that the pieces touched the wall or the ground.
This way, they wouldn’t get scratched or marked up from leaning on things. After a few days in the garage, the paint had cured and the fumes had dissipated enough for the pieces to be brought inside!
Well folks! Those are my top pointers on how to best spray paint a piece of furniture! Now go find something to paint!