Instructables
Picture of How to Paint with a Spraygun
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Here's how to use a spraygun to paint your projects and make them look great. A spraygun is a lot faster than a paintbrush. The result looks a lot better too. No brush marks!
Make everything around you look shipshape and professional. A wise lady once told me "A project isn't finished til there's a "finish" on it. Get it?"

Any object tends to look like crap after it's been outside for a while. Metal rusts. Paint flakes off. Wood discolors and starts to crack. And the project you spent so much time on is yet another eyesore to irk the normal people.

A spraygun is the magic wand that will solve your problem. It really is just like magic.
Paint a multicolored object all one color, and it suddenly looks like a real thing, not some crap stuck together. Paint it white, black, or grey to match the theme of your surroundings, and suddenly it vanishes. It's become a part of the surroundings. No one would think of making you get rid of it.

I just made this metal hand truck look like part of the solution.
A few minutes ago it definitely looked like part of the problem.

Stuff you'll need:

Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Rubber Gloves
Filter Mask with organic vapor (charcoal) cartridge
Spraygun
Air Hose
Pressure Regulator
Paint
Solvent
Angle Grinder with Cup Brush
Wire Brush
Sticks, rags, and something ugly, rusty, and dry to paint.

Here's the motion you'll be making with your spraygun:

 
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Step 1: Safety Gear

Picture of Safety Gear
The glasses keep paint droplets, flying dirt and wire bristles from hitting your eyes.
The mask keeps your lungs and brain from filling up with solvents and dirt.
The rubber gloves and long sleeves keep solvents from soaking in through your skin.
They also keep your hands skin-colored.
The jackhammer headphones preserve your hearing for future enjoyment. They also play mp3 lectures from the London School of Economics about how Instructables is awesome.
pbilling3 months ago

LOL! You should get extra points just for this line alone! "They also play mp3 lectures from the London School of Economics about how Instructables is awesome."

pfred23 years ago
One more thing. I guess you've noticed how acetone eats right through latex gloves by now huh? Neoprene stands up to solvents. You may want to step up there.
pfred23 years ago
I watched your video and when I spray I put vertical strips up and down where I am going to paint first, then I fill in with horizontal stripes. Also good spray guns are 2 stage, that means at half trigger the gun will still spray air but the paint will be shut off. So don't stop airing just stop painting at the ends of each stroke. It saves on spitting starting spraying again. It also blows your over spray away so it does not ruin your previously applied paint.

But I guess when spraying an old rusty dumpster every fleck that lands on target is a spot to the good. Still in all if you are going to teach you might as well teach right.

I also tell people it all isn't in the wrist, wrist always keeps the gun perpendicular to the work, move at the shoulder, or beyond. But you were moving so fast I couldn't really tell what you were doing. But I do tell folks that it is all in the follow through. When you stop paint but keep on airing you follow through a little on each stroke. Really if you were going like that on one of my cars I'd have to beat you with a clue stick.

Also you could learn a thing or three about how to properly clean a paint gun. Let me guess that is one of those $9.99 Harbor Fright specials?

Anyhow I have to admit your dumpster does look better for you having painted it! It'd have looked OK if you'd rolled it too and you might have saved some paint.
hawk78865 years ago
As a painter I must admit that everything here is horribly wrong, although it's not wrong enough for me to whine about it. It'll work fine for large, rusted-up trash bins and other items, although other objects would probably promptly fall apart and burst into flames. Since someone else already mentioned your arcing issue: That touch-up gun should be held with the top of your hand wrapped around it, finger resting lightly on the trigger. It seems like it would be awkward and uncomfortable, and it probably will be at first, but that gun is only meant to be used to blend single small panels. Also, always wear an approved paint respirator. Please. :( I would really like to see you do an instructable for a whole car. I keep picturing you as Red Green and I think the result would be awesome.
pfred2 hawk78863 years ago
I saw the touch up gun and thought it was cute. I have to agree with the poster though everything does look better with a good coat of paint on it!
Not_a_Clue4 years ago
This maybe a question to an obvious answer, but with the air hose, generator, paint gun, and paint, and mask.. Are the other things must haves and if so why? (example) wire brush stuff like that
rusty114 years ago

First and foremost before starting to paint your car.Always hav won'te some chain long enough to ground the vehicle to the ground so static dust cling to your painted vehicle while it's wet.

artiep24 years ago
well done
wonkette4 years ago
 You can also thin with mineral spirits; more volatile but can be scavenged more readily I believe.
Derin5 years ago
Here,the bug sprayers are like rectangle barrels with a pump and a hose comes from it.Some even have backpack-style straps.But I have an airgun.
gustex5 years ago
Your opinion on those hand-held airless sprayers is good to keep in mind... and funny.
Varsol was recommended on the label of one paint I used. But, it did dry kind of slowly, giving bugs plenty of time to get stuck in the paint. I got my viscosity cup from a Sears store in the US; dunno if they still carry them. Spray guns can be found at vintage auto parts swap meets... I got a vintage DeVilbiss gun for $1. Be aware that there were (are) some cheaper types of spray guns that were made to be used with very basic compressors; I think they were called "bleeder" types because air flowed through them continuously (even when not spraying). So, be careful, or just buy a nice clean new "imported" spray gun. ( I got a touch-up style gun made in Taiwan for about $25, and it works just as well as the DeVilbiss.) If you want a smooth shiny finish, sand between coats. Paint doesn't magically hide dents and scratches, it follows contours very faithfully. There's stuff called glazing or spot putty (in the auto body repair section) that can be used to fill small imperfections. One tiny drawback of spraying is how much work it is to clean up the spray gun afterwards.
static5 years ago
LOL, I had almost complety forgot about my dad spray painting items with a "bug spayer". 40 years or so ago dad painted a shed he built with junk yard paint he mixed to gether. Turned out to an acceptable flat yellow in color, and has clung to metal all these years now. By that time he had upgraded from the bug sprayer, to an air compressor, and an old devilbiss gun he picked up at an auction somewhere.Yes spray painting is the way to go, if one plans to be painting a lot of items, and is willing to make the investment. Good thing one's dollar today goes further in buying serviceable equipment than it did years ago.
There's a reason that the US Navy paints everything grey ! Thanks for explaining it, Tim. Remember, as they say in the Navy, if it doesn't move, paint it! Grey of course.
Stew25 years ago
Oh, I might have missed it, but another almost mandatory thing would be to strain your paint, particularly if you are working out of open cans. You can use old nylons or buy those little paper funnel cup strainers from hardware stores and paint stores. The tips on these guns are quite small and plug easily if they get any crud in them. Does make everything look new and shiny though! This is what I do for a living (plus abrasive blasting), though I mostly use catalyzed polyurethanes and epoxy based coatings. I used to do furniture too, and with practice and the right prep, varnish turns out beautiful! Oh, and Tim rocks!
TimAnderson (author)  Stew25 years ago
Good point. I looked for my strainer funnels but I must have put them somewhere safe. I've tried varnish before which is quicker than brushing, but didn't seem to get into the wood quite as well and sure ran easily. Also I screwed up some varnish with the wrong thinner which made it milky.
joel.riley15 years ago
Great Instructable, very thorough! just to add in, the way you spray cars is to start spraying with the gun pointed off the car, and finish after the end of the car- ie you never press the trigger with the gun pointed on the car. This is to stop too much paint build up in one place. Also in the vid your spraying motion is almost in an arc, it should always be completely parallel to the object your spraying. also black is MUCH easier to see dents and imperfections with than white (white is actually quite forgiving), and brown is best at hiding. Otherwise great info on a very expansive subject!
TimAnderson (author)  joel.riley15 years ago
Great suggestions! When I'm done spraying garbage cans I'll finally get to my ugly truckling.
Yea, I think he blew it on the white/dents thing. glossy black shows everything wrong with your bodywork.
kill-a-watt5 years ago
How many rattle cans worth of coverage do you get for one filling? That's a pretty small sprayer. I did the hood of my car and it took 2.5 cans.
Why does your instructables sound similar to a chuck palahniuk novel?
Those paint can openers have dual purpose, Opening bottles without the twist top.
StarBlades5 years ago
you should paint your car LOL