How to Create a Beautiful Hand Painted Finish with Spray Paint…

Tips for creating a hand painted finish with spray paint {The Creativity Exchange}
Tips and Tricks for Revamping Furniture with Spray Paint {The Creativity Exchange}

 

How to Create a Hand Painted Finish with Spray Paint {The Creativity Exchange}

 

 

Tips for Creating a Beautiful Hand Painted Finish with Spray Paint {The Creativity Exchange}

 

I’m back from my vacation last week and it was so nice to have a little getaway. I really needed it!!  A big THANK YOU to my friends Jennifer, Amy and Denise for guest blogging for me while I was gone! I’m back with a project that has been in the works for a couple of months now and I’m excited to share it with you.

My friend Laci asked me if I would be interested in revamping an old dining room set for her.  I thought Laci’s project would be the perfect transformation to show you just how easy it is to create gorgeous hand painted looking finishes with spray paint.

While I still use regular paint for my revamps, my preferred and most often used method for revamps is now with spray paint, because it’s so much faster!  I can come really close to basically duplicating almost any type of paint finish with spray paint as long as I make sure to use a few tricks that I’m sharing today.

So on to the steps…

1) Temperature and Humidity for Spray Painting

The most important thing to know before spray painting furniture is that the temperature and humidity can make or break a revamp project! If it’s too cold or too hot, spray paint will not dry properly and will gum up.  If there is too much moisture in the air, the paint will also not dry properly.  If you are going to spray paint and it’s too cold, hot or it’s raining, bring your piece inside to dry after spraying. I believe most spray paints say that the temp should be a minimum of 55-60 degrees.  Unfortunately, I have had many spray paint projects fail because I chanced it and painted when it was too hot or too wet and my pieces did not dry properly.  Unfortunately, you cannot sand pieces that have not dried/cured completely.

2) Begin by Lightly Sanding

 

Tips & Tricks for Revamping Furniture with Spray Paint

 

No matter what I’m spray painting, I always begin by roughing up the surface lightly with fine grit sand paper.  If the piece is old and has a layer of polyurethane, I try and rough it up as much as possible. If I’m spray painting something that has already been painted, I just lightly rough it up. A hand sander with fine grit paper is good to use for pieces that have a heavy top coat of sealant {Poly, shellac, etc..}.  The fine grit (I like 220) is very important because you will see lines through the spray paint if you use too heavy grit.

After I sand, I wipe the piece down thoroughly with a lightly damp towel and wipe it dry.

3) Spray on the Primer

Tips for creating a beautiful hand painted finish with spray paint {The Creativity Exchange}

 

Another important thing to remember is it’s best to always use the same brand spray primer as the the top coat.  Paint companies develop primers and top coats to work together and not using the same products can work against you.  It’s one thing to spray a lamp or something like that with two different products but if the goal is to have a hand painted beautiful finish, it’s best to use the same products for extra measure.

Right now, I prefer to work with Rust-Oleum spray paints and for this project, I used Rust-Oleum Painters Touch 2x Ultra Cover Primer for my base coat:

 

Rust-Oleum Painters Touch 2 X Ultra Cover Spray Paint

 

I like to spray a thin coat of primer that covers completely but is not sprayed on too thick.  The thicker the primer is, the longer it will take to dry completely. Two thin coats will dry faster than one super thick coat.   If the furniture sucks up and absorbs a lot of the primer (mainly old pieces will do this), I do not recommend that you keep spraying until it’s saturated.  I allow the primer to dry completely, lightly sand and spray another thin layer. I personally like to wait a full 12 hours for the primer to fully dry.

4) Lightly Sand the Primer

 

Tips & Tricks for Revamping Furniture with Spray Paint

 

I always lightly sand between every layer of primer and top coat with fine grit paper or sanding sponge.  I prefer the sanding sponge because it’s so much faster, it can arch in little nooks easily and it holds up well:

 

How to Create a Hand Painted Finish with Spray Paint {The Creativity Exchange}

 

I really believe that allowing each layer of paint to completely dry and the light sanding in between each paint layer, makes all the difference when it comes to creating a beautiful finish with spray paint. If the layers do not dry completely, you cannot sand and control the finish because the paint will gum up when you try to sand.

When it comes to lightly sanding the primer, the goal is to just take the edge off of the primer coat.  You can feel that spray primer has a slight roughness to it and you just want to sand a second or too over that roughness until it feels smooth.

If you start sanding and the primer is not sanding well and is gummy, the primer is not dry yet. If it’s too hot or too cold outside (or wet), the piece will not dry completely and these pieces should be moved into the home to dry.

By the way, I always wear a mask when I sand primer or spray paint.

5) Ready for the Top Coat

 

museum cones-furniture 076
Once I have lightly sanded my base coat and wiped down the residue, I am ready move on to the top coat.

For slightly distressed, chalky looking finishes, I always use the satin finish.  I really only use gloss paints for when I want a high gloss/ lacquered modern finish.  Even if I want an in between finish that is not distressed, I still use a satin finish and do not sand the final coat so I can have a slight sheen.  If the store does not have the color that I want in a satin, I will use the gloss but I will sand the gloss off of the top coat.

Again, just like the base coat, I only spray a thin layer of paint at a time (just enough to cover) and I allow it to dry.  Because I usually use the same color primer as the top coat, I rarely need a second top coat.  For pieces that I want slightly or heavily distress, one coat is usually more than enough because the light variation adds to finish after light sanding.

For this project, Laci and I spray painted the buffet and table top with one coat of Rust-Oleum black satin. The reason we just did one coat was because we wanted to sand and distress down below the black to the white of the primer, which would soak up the brown in our wax.  Our goal was to have an ebony black/brown finish:

 

Tips & Tricks for Revamping Furniture with Spray Paint

 

6) Final Sanding with Fine Grit 

For the white pieces in this project, Laci wanted a  slightly distressed finish with areas where the wood peeked through, so we only did one top coat of the satin white {Rust-Oleum}.    We then strategically roughed up areas with 220 fine grit paper by hand.  I like to sand in a circle to get the paint off to the wood and I strategically go over the edges with the sanding sponge to the wood:

 

How to Create a Hand Painted Finish with Spray Paint {The Creativity Exchange}

 

7) Wax, Glaze or Nothing…

After I have finished lightly sanding my top coat, I will usually either do a wax, glaze or nothing at all.

For the white pieces, initially Laci and I had talked about using a gold metallic wax to add a touch of metallic to the distressed areas but Laci loved the finish so much at this point, we decided to just leave it as is.  We also did not seal it with a spray poly because Laci wants the pieces to naturally wear even more.

 

How to Create a Hand Painted Finish with Spray Paint- The Creativity Exchange

 

For the black pieces, we strategically sanded down in areas down to the white and we used a walnut Express Color stain by MinWax that we wiped on and off with a dish cloth:

express color by MinWax

 

This express color can also be buffed on and off but you need to buff a lot and add little by little.  If you get too much on, you can remove by wiping over it again with more product. I loved that I was able to get my brown wood grain swipes on the black in a very natural way with this product.  I also buffed a lot to get my butter finish:

 

Tips for Creating a Beautiful Hand Painted Finish with Spray Paint -The Creativity Exchange

If you look closely at this image, you can see areas where we sanded down to the white that picked up the brown in very subtle way that created a beautiful ebony finish with a lot of depth:

 

How to Create a Hand Painted Finish with Spray Paint {The Creativity Exchange}

 

You would not believe how smooth and sleek this table top feels!

We did the exact same thing to the buffet:
How to Create a Hand Painted Finish with Spray Paint {The Creativity Exchange}
For the buffet, I went over the wood carving design with Testor’s Gold Enamel paint (sold in the model car section at craft stores):

 

How to paint on glass- Testor's

Our plan was to lightly sand the gold enamel once it cured (2 weeks), but we loved the boldness so much that we didn’t want to sand it (we still haven’t added the hardware in this image yet):

 

How to Create a Hand Painted Finish with Spray Paint (The Creativity Exchange)

I also like to work with glazes on my spray painted finishes and any kind of glaze will work. I like Valspar glazes the most.  I usually swipe on the glaze with a cloth and wipe off excess. With wax I rub in circles and with glaze, I swipe on and off with a long stroke with a cloth. I always use very little at a time (for more control) and keep adding little by little until I get my desired finish.

Here is a piece that I spray painted, heavily distressed, sanded and then glazed that I did a few years ago for the Studio 319 revamp:

 

Tips for Creating a Beautiful Hand Painted Finish with Spray Paint {The Creativity Exchange}

 

Tips for creating a beautiful hand painted finish with spray paint {The Creativity Exchange}

 

I know this seems like it’s labor intensive but it’s really not as time consuming as it sounds.  As long as each layer of paint is allowed to completely dry and each layer is lightly sanded, I have found that I can do the exact same finishing techniques on spray paint as I can on traditional paint or chalk paint.  You can play around with glazes and waxes and you will be amazed with what you can do.

How to Create a Hand painted Like Finish with Spray Paint {The Creativity Exchange}

Thanks for hanging out with me today and I will be back on Wednesday!

Cheers!

Cyndy

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TDC Before and After

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11 Responses to How to Create a Beautiful Hand Painted Finish with Spray Paint…

  1. Melindah says:

    I gotta tell you the zebra prints on those chairs are giving me European-meets-African classic. I kinda agree: it is task intensive, but seeing the finished products, it’s worth it.

  2. Little Bit says:

    thanks for the great tute… really good tips on the importance of sanding and allowing each thin coat to dry first! Little Bit

  3. Cyndy, thanks for the great post and wonderful step-by-step directions.
    Cindy Eikenberg recently posted..Football 101 for Newbie Fans – Part 2My Profile

  4. Megan says:

    It turned out absolutely gorgeous!!
    Megan recently posted..Ice Cream Party Dessert TableMy Profile

  5. louise says:

    I’m about to try this with our dinign room chairs and side board. So perfect timing! Thanks! These look great!
    louise recently posted..Another Christmas QuiltMy Profile

  6. Angela says:

    All your pieces are so pretty & this is such a thorough post.
    My struggle when thinking of painting wood is not knowing what color to choose. I’d love to bite the bullet & bring variety to our existing pieces. Any tips on choosing colors would be great.
    Angela recently posted..Today I’m Washing Shower CurtainsMy Profile

  7. Carrie says:

    Love how this turned out! Just picked up a beautiful antique dresser to use as a buffet and am so glad I found this tutorial. The buffet will be my first venture in redoing furniture and I’m pretty excited. When you use wax, which one do you prefer and where do you purchase it? Been in my local Lowe’s looking around and could only find min wax in clear. Really wanting to try a darker wax after I distress the buffet.

  8. Julie says:

    Love the finished look! How long do you wait before sanding off a gloss paint for a more chalky look?

  9. nancy says:

    thanks great tips about the waxes/glazes–i really had no idea what they were for and just had the ‘a-ha’ moment when i saw the top of the ebony table. NOW, i know exactly what it does and happy I know!

  10. Alice says:

    do you need to seal the table top to protect it against water stains?

  11. Jeanene says:

    Hi, Cindy! Thanks for posting this great tutorial. The table came out beautifully!

    I wonder if you can tell me…as far as temperature goes, I live in a very dry, hot climate…and working out in my garage is my only option. Am I likely to run into problems in 90 degree heat(probably not that high in the shade of my garage) that is very dry? How hot is too hot? Thanks!

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