Step 1: Tools and Supplies
1 can each of base coat, main color and top coat.
My table was already black painted metal so for my main color I used cherry red gloss as my main color and Kona brown gloss for the top coat. If you want a lighter look, I recommend using a light base coat and top coat. This will also make the main color stand out a bit more.
1 roll, blue masking tape
320 grit, finer or smoother depending on desired effect, sand paper
1 can clear coat finish
You can choose matte, satin, or gloss depending on taste. I chose a matte finish.
Shop towels or any kind of clean cotton rag
Step 2: Prepare!!!
The most important step when working with spray paint is to prepare the surface you want to paint. If you're painting metal, take a cloth or sponge and some soapy water and wash the surface. If there is rust, you're going to want to sand it back to bare metal or it will destroy all of your hard work. Also, make sure the surface is completely dry before spraying.
If working with wood, a light sanding to ensure a smooth surface is recommended.
I also recommend wiping any sanded pieces down with tack cloth before painting.
I almost forgot, use the blue masking tape to cover any areas you don't want covered in spray paint. I forgot this step on my table and ended up spraying the suction cups that hold the glass table top in place.
Step 3: Spray
Start with the base coat. Be sure to follow all instructions on the can when spraying. If it says "shake for 2 minutes" shake it for 2 minutes. Do not rush this step. Use smooth, even strokes, 6-10 inches from the surface. Keep the same motion throughout the entire spraying process. If you started back and forth, don't switch to up and down to get a hard to reach spot. It uses more paint, but is worth the end result. Also, resist the temptation to complete each coat in one spraying. Use multiple light coats. This will prevent any unsightly drips from forming. If you can't help yourself and you do get drips, never fear, the sanding will get rid of most of them. Repeat the same process with your main coat and top coat. Make sure each layer has completely dried before moving on.
Step 4: Sand
Once the paint has completely dried, you're ready to start sanding. On metal, you're free to sand in any direction you choose. Just keep the same motion throughout. If sanding on wood, sand with the grain. Even using 320 grit sandpaper, it did not take a lot of pressure to sand all the way down to the base coat. I recommend sanding in a small, unnoticeable area to see how much pressure it takes to sand through each layer. Continue sanding until you get the desired effect you like. I recommend using gloss paint as it will help you see where you've already sanded, and wipe each sanded area with a clean cloth as you go to see if more sanding is required in certain areas.
Step 5: Clean
After you have sanded the table completely, take a clean damp rag and remove any extra dust that may still be sticking to the surface.
Step 6: Add Finish
Pick your favorite clear spray lacquer and apply in the same manner as you did the layers of paint. I recommend one that does not require sanding in between coats. Again, make sure you follow all instructions on the label. If it says to let dry for 24 hours before use, leave it alone for 24 hours. Most lacquers may take up to a week to fully cure but are safe to handle after 24 hours. If you can, don't rush it.
Step 7: Enjoy!!
Place your "new" table in your home, prop your feet up, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.