You are out one weekend browsing around stores to furnish your new home.
You have a general idea of what you want, it’s just a matter of finding it. (But the search is part of the fun of it, right?!)
After hours of looking around and bouncing from store to store, you find it — the perfect piece of furniture for that bedroom or living room.
Or so it would be, except for one thing — it’s the wrong color!
Years ago, the wrong colored furniture would be a deal breaker.
Fast forward to today, however, and things have changed. Do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvements have become more popular as places like Pinterest and other websites provide no shortage of ideas for furniture refurbishing, decorating and home remodeling.
In 2016, Americans spent approximately $361 billion on home maintenance, improvements, and repairs — an all-time high!
Some people don’t mind paying a professional for bigger projects, but other homeowners prefer to experiment with different DIY projects.
When it comes to furniture, you may want to paint it the old fashioned way — with a paint brush or roller — but using a paint sprayer is a fast and efficient way to help you turn that piece of old furniture (or that faded wall in your home) into what you want it to be.
Painting it yourself also allows you to make it uniquely your own.
Whether it’s painting a surface a solid color or using a stencil or decal to add a shape or design, you can make an ordinary piece of furniture one of a kind.
But how do you use a paint sprayer and what are some quick and easy tips on how to use one?
Paint Sprayer Options
How to use a paint sprayer depends on which type of tool you are using.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the most popular types:
A conventional paint sprayer uses highly compressed air to send paint through a hose and out of the handheld sprayer onto a surface, covering a broad area.
It’s popular with beginners and veterans, while also being easy to use.
However, since the paint comes out of the nozzle at a high pressure, some paint can be lost as you use it.
High Volume, Low Pressure
A high volume low pressure (HVLP) sprayer allows you to maintain more control over the paint coming through the tool’s nozzle.
An HVLP sprayer helps you apply paint to a wide range of surfaces — from smooth to ridged. The unique, low-pressure system is also helpful for painting smaller items and minimizing the amount of paint used in the process.
Airless sprayers are best for painting large surfaces. Just as their name implies, these tools do not have air pressure pushing the paint out onto the surface.
The nozzle on the sprayer allows you to adjust the amount of paint leaving the gun, making it more narrow or broad, depending on your preference.
For example, let’s say you want to paint a bedroom wall. Depending upon the size of the given room, this can be quite large. A more broad nozzle setting allows you to cover a larger surface but spreads the paint in such a manner that it may require multiple passes to get a full coating.
An airless sprayer will help you paint it in a matter of minutes and maximize the amount of paint that is applied through the tool onto the surface.
Quick & Easy Tips for Using a Paint Sprayer
Whether you are using a conventional, HVLP or airless sprayer, they are relatively easy to use.
But just like most other tools, there are tips and tricks to help you feel more comfortable as you use them.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways to make your life easier, as you tackle your next home improvement project with a paint sprayer:
Protect Yourself and Nearby Surfaces
You should avoid unnecessary exposure to paint — whether it is to the fumes, your body or nearby items or surfaces.
Wear an approved safety mask to protect your eyes, nose, and mouth. Protect your arms and hands with gloves or old clothes.
Remember to also cover up pieces of furniture or other surfaces that are nearby and that you don’t want to be covered in paint.
Mix Your Paint
One of the easiest ways to help make using a paint sprayer a smooth experience is to mix your paint well before you use it.
Stir paint well before pouring it into the container that attaches to your paint sprayer. This helps you prevent clogging — often the most common complaint by users.
Taking a few minutes to mix your paint before getting started can save you time and effort.
After all, who wants to stop what they are doing in the middle of a project to deal with a clog?!
Be proactive by mixing your paint!
Practice Makes (Almost) Perfect
Just like everything else in home improvement, getting more comfortable using a paint sprayer requires practice.
Don’t let that piece of furniture or your bedroom wall be the first time you are using your paint gun.
Find an old cardboard box or a large piece of construction paper and practice using your paint sprayer on it.
As you use your paint sprayer, you will become more sensitive to how widely paint is spread based on changes in the settings and how you handle the nozzle.
You want to avoid changing the settings while you are in the middle of spraying an object because this can result in an uneven coating.
When the paint dries, it can show different areas where it drips, taking away from the aesthetics your piece.
When you are practicing on a test item like a piece of cardboard, you are able to see what causes dripping and better able to gauge the point at which it may become a problem.
It’s better to get comfortable spray-painting something you can throw away rather than risk a trial run on an item you care about!
Adjust Your Settings & Technique
While you are practicing with your sprayer, adjust your settings based on what you will be painting.
Change your sprayer’s nozzle settings so that they are appropriate for the job. A narrow setting allows you to be more precise, while a wider one covers a larger surface area but can be harder to control.
Do not keep your sprayer stationary as you paint! Keep it moving from side to side as you spray paint. This way your sprayer is being moved in the same pattern as the paint that’s being applied.
Keep the tip of your sprayer six to 12 inches from the surface you are painting for the best results.
Be aware of your speed, keeping it consistent so that you can avoid dripping from the over-applying of paint.
Pay Attention to the Weather
Regardless of if you are painting a piece of furniture in your garage or painting a wall outside of your home (exterior painting), pay attention to the weather.
The temperature outside or in the room you are working can have a major impact on how your paint adheres to the surface where it is being sprayed.
The sweet spot for applying spray-paint most successfully is between 45 degrees and 75 degrees (Fahrenheit).
Also, be aware of wind and dirt or dust in the area where you are planning to paint, as being in an area like that can result in unwanted particles being painted into the surface of your furniture or wall and drying that way.
Once these particles end up in your paint and dry, you cannot remove them unless you scrape off that paint, which risks damaging the finish and drawing out your project.
Clean It Up
When you are finished using your paint sprayer, clean it well. (Seriously.)
Look at the cleaning instructions for your specific tool and follow those.
Cleaning your sprayer well is a must in order to avoid the headache of a sprayer that’s clogged with dry paint.
If your sprayer becomes clogged with dry paint it can put it out of commission and depending upon how bad it is, stop it from working altogether.
Think Outside the Box
One of the best parts about DIY projects is that you are free to try new things.
As you become more at ease with a paint sprayer in your hands, you can challenge yourself to do something different.
Perhaps you have tackled a bench in the foyer area of your home and have been considering changing the color of that old bedroom set.
Maybe you’ve purchased a new home and want to avoid paying someone thousands of dollars to paint the interior or exterior.
Whatever your goal is with a paint sprayer, don’t be afraid to take some creative chances.
After all, if you don’t like how it turns out, in the end, you can always change it!
Have you undertaken a DIY project with a paint sprayer?
If so, how did they turn out and what was your favorite one?
What are some helpful tips that you’ve picked up along the way?
Let’s share ideas and discuss below!