How to Spray Paint Furniture

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Spray paint can bring a splash of color and new life to an old piece of furniture. You don’t want to use it on an expensive antique, but a beat up garage sale find can take on a funky new look.

Step 1: Examine the Furniture

Take a close look at the piece. Identify any flaws in the original paint or damage to the wood. This will tell you the extent of the prep work the piece needs. You can even do this step right at the garage sale.

Step 2: Prepare the Surface

Protect the area where you’re working by laying down a drop cloth or newspaper. If there are scratches, gouges or nail holes in the wood, sand away any paint covering the area and fill the flaw with wood fill. When that dries, sand the entire surface of the stool, roughing it up a bit to accept the paint, and working the wood fill flush with the wood. If the original paint is chipping or pealing, use a paint scraper or wire brush to clear away any lose material. Where the old paint meets the bare wood, sand smooth the border to make an invisible transition. Clean the surface with a dry rag and then a tack-cloth to remove any dust from the sanding.

Step 3: Buy the Right Paint

Buy the spray paint appropriate for the material you’re working with. Consider if the piece will be kept indoors or outdoors, and if there is a potential for it to come into contact with water. Follow the directions on the spray paint can. Usually you have to shake it up for a minute before you spray.

Step 4: Spray Carefully

Hold the can upright about a foot and a half or two feet from the surface. Start spraying. Move the can back and forth. Never linger on one area or the paint will pool and drip. Paint at an even speed in an even pattern, overlapping each pass to create smooth coverage. Believe it or not, especially if you’re painting a large surface, your finger is going to get tired holding down the button on the can. Don’t change hands in mid pass. Paint an entire side or face of the piece at one time and do one coat of the whole stool in one session. Allow the first coat to dry and apply a second in the same way.

Two coats should be enough. When the second coat is dry, look for any thin spots or places you missed and apply a third coat if needed. Wait 24 hours before you put anything on the top of your new table. Although the paint feels dry before that, you don’t want it to mark up the bottom of your remote.