DIY Projects

Spray Paint the Right Way

Spray painting is one of the easiest ways to transform any object -- an accessory, a piece of furniture, even electronics -- in a matter of minutes. Now it's time to get started giving your furnishings a facelift.

How To Spray Paint Glass
Think: Mirrors, tabletops, vases, windowpanes.

1. Roughen it up. Work surfaces over with a chemical etcher or 80-grit sandpaper.

2. Remove dirt and dust. Douse a paper towel with some quick-drying glass cleaner and wipe the glass. Allow the surface to dry.

3. Prime the surface. (Optional) Glass naturally expands and contracts with temperature fluctuations; when applied to glass, spray-paint can creep (move around and create unsightly seams) or crack if it's not prepared correctly. Primer helps you end up with a smooth, unblemished finish.

4. Apply paint. Be sure you're 10 to 12 inches away from the surface. Air-dry according to manufacturer's recommendations. One more coat should be all you need at this point. You should be able to repaint within minutes, given proper conditions (check the label). Let dry. Repeat step four if necessary.

Think: Appliances, barbecue grills, bicycles, fences, file cabinets, fireplace screens, hardware, light fixtures, radiators, buckets and cans.

1. Remove flecks of rust. Use chemical rust remover, 120-grit sandpaper or a wire brush. If you're dealing with oily residue (found on newer lawn furniture, say), rub it off a damp rag and mild dish detergent. Use denatured alcohol for stubborn residue. Let dry completely.

2. Clean and dull. Sand down any glossiness, paying close attention to any chips and dings. Remove dust with a dry tack cloth.

3. Prime. It'll help seal and smooth uneven surfaces even further, hide any staining, help paint adhere, and ensure you get the right color. Let dry according to the can's recommended drying time, usually one to two hours.

4. Start spraying. Hold the can 10 to 12 inches from the surface and spray repeatedly in one direction -- back and forth.

Tip: Shop around for a good-quality metallic spray finish. It'll cost a little more, but because it contains real metal particles -- not dyed-metal ones -- you'll achieve a smoother coat and a higher-gloss, pro-grade finish.

Think: Acrylic, automotive parts, fiberglass, garbage cans, laminates, mini-blinds, outdoor furniture, shutters.

1. Make sure it's spotless. Ammonia-based cleaner works well on older plastic surfaces. Newer surfaces tend to be coated with a special protective film; try paint thinner.

2. Rough up surfaces with fine-grit sandpaper. Remove dust and debris with a tack cloth.

3. Prime. (Optional.)

4. Paint.

Porcelain and Ceramic 
Think: Brick, bathtubs, flowerpots, lamp bases, servingware, sinks, tchotchkes, tile.

1. Scuff up glaze. Use 80-grit sandpaper. It can be hard to tell if you've removed all traces of slickness, so create "X" shapes on the surface. Start on a diagonal, then cross the just-sanded area again, in the opposite direction. Wipe clean with a tack cloth. (If the object is unglazed -- i.e. terracotta -- go straight to step two.)

2. Apply primer.
3. Start painting. Coat surfaces twice with paint formulated for enamel surfaces.

Think: Cork, finished and unfinished pieces, MDF, wicker, wood composite.

1. Remove hardware. If it's not possible, secure and cover anything you're not working on with plastic, newspaper and/or some good painter's tape.

2. Sand and smooth. For smaller pieces, one sheet of medium-to-fine grain sandpaper should do the trick. Consider liquid sandpaper for larger jobs. Repeat as necessary, as you want the smoothest, most scratch-free surface as possible, so paint adheres and the finish dries evenly.

3. Dust, brush or vacuum off residual sawdust. Resist the urge to wipe down the piece with a wet rag; you'll have to wait until it dries.

4. Spray on the primer.

5. Get painting!
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Tags: Budget, Décor, Spray Paint, How To, DIY, Painting

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