DIY Friday – spray paint basics

Every time I start a spray paint project, I make a mental note to share some of my painting tips because even though I’m well used to spray painting, there was a time when I wasn’t. And I know there are others out there who are equally as intimidated as I was. And like I’ve said before, if I can do it, anyone can. So here are my spray painting tips and tricks …  

Before I begin with my tips and tricks, I’m going to be Captain Obvious and say you should always paint in a well ventilated area. This doesn’t necessarily mean outside, just somewhere that gets a good supply of air and isn’t windy. Wind + spray painting = sworn enemies.  

1. SPRAY TECHNIQUES / TIPS – First up, make sure the object you’re spray painting is clean and sanded {if needed}. Shake your spray paint can vigorously. For like, 2 minutes. Shake it so hard your neighbours hate you. Then do a little test spray on a piece of paper as the first spray is usually clear liquid. Hold the can about 2 feet away from your piece. If you hold your can too close, little ‘waves’ of paint will appear and we don’t want that. Start painting your piece from the bottom upwards – like you’re writing a letter from the bottom up. Sweep across and paint one line. Stop. Then sweep across a little higher and do another line. Stop. Continue this until you reach the top of your piece. Should you need to apply a second coat, let the first coat completely dry first. 

2. AREA COVER – Unless you’d like a permanent reminder of your project, you’re going to need something to cover the ground underneath whatever you’re painting. The easiest thing I’ve found is to use old bed sheets. Don’t have any? Then help out your local charity shop and pick out a couple of sheets there. I also use old pillow cases for smaller projects such as spray painting picture frames. Simply lay them under your project, and when you’re finished, fold them back up for next time. 

3. GLOVES – This isn’t mandatory, but I always make sure to wear gloves while spray painting, and on both hands. Sometimes the cap can be unruly and my spraying hand can get a bit of spray back / drippage {this all sounds like I’m using a urinal}, so it’s best to wear a pair of gloves. Where do I get mine? I save my disposable gloves after I dye my hair and reuse them for spray painting. I should really be on that Superscrimpers show. 

4. EYE PROTECTION – There isn’t really a risk of things hitting you in the face while spray painting, but I always wear my sunglasses or oh so trendy hipster glasses whenever I’m painting for some reason. I think it has something to do with my next point … 

5. MASK – In the beginning when I first started spray painting, I made the rookie mistake of not covering my face. Doesn’t sound like much of a deal, right? Wrong. For 2 days after spray painting without proper face cover {and without proper ventilation as it turns out}, every time I blew my nose, it was a rainbow of the colours I had been spray painting with. Yeah, not so good. You don’t realize it, but you can inhale a lot of speckles / fumes. If you don’t have proper gear {I’m hoping to get a proper mask that looks like a gas mask ’cause that would be cool}, your second best option is to grab a scarf and tie it around your face like so – 

… so you too can rock the hipster graffiti cowboy bandit look {and in pajamas; while we’re on the topic of my outfit}. Isn’t safety sexy? I think the answer you’re looking for is no. Yes, your face will get a bit sweaty but it’s better than inhaling fumes. 
So friends I hope this was a little bit of help to any of you who may be hesitant to pick up a can of spray paint. It’s very rewarding and if you’re nervous at first, practice on an object you don’t mind ruining.

Happy Friday, homies! xx A

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  1. April 25, 2014 / 12:35

    Safety is oh-so-sexy!
    I have been spray painting for years, and I got a new tip from you! Old bed sheets.
    for outdoor painting, I always use cardboard, but reusable bed sheets is brilliant.
    I have an entire box of rubber gloves (ooh, kinky) and yet always forget to use them when spray painting… inevitably I end up with an index finger that is decorated in a gentle spray of colour. Glamourous.
    Great post!

    • April 25, 2014 / 15:17

      On more than one occasion when I was holding an item and spray painting it, my hand was protected thanks to my gloves, but I didn't wear long sleeves, so I had a wrist-to-elbow gradient action going on. I'm so down with the young people these days and their tattooed arms.

  2. April 25, 2014 / 16:08

    Great tips
    ! What spray brands do you use? Some of them are so pricy

    • April 25, 2014 / 16:21

      I use Montana spray paint as I find their colours are amazing and quality of paint it very good. Their paint comes in two levels of quality – black (as seen above) and gold. I personally haven't noticed a difference between the two, but I haven't pitted them against each other just yet.

      Montana is fairly averagely priced. But sometimes I get a student discount (!!!). I must still look like one? I don't correct them …

  3. April 25, 2014 / 21:36

    I've got an Montana spray can in aqua I bought with quite some excitement over a year ago… but still haven't plucked up the courage to use! Maybe now that I am armed with these useful tips I can put it to work!

    And… spray back and drippage… hahahahaha lovely!!!

    Maria xx

  4. April 26, 2014 / 16:27

    Where do you get Montana spray paint? Don't think I've seen that in woodies/b&q. Tia!

    • April 28, 2014 / 09:33

      I've only ever found Montana spray paint in arts and crafts stores, so maybe check out your local one the next time you're out? I hope that helps!