When I spraypaint there are a lot of things that I keep in mind.  

between every coat I lightly sand the surface then wipe it down with a tack cloth to get off any dust.  When I sand I'll first feel & inspect the surface.  If the surface is smooth then I'll use fine steel wool to rough up the surface.    I use size 000 steel wool.  This is not to be confused with an "SOS" pad.  This steel wool you get from a home center.    I like to use it to smooth out the little ridge that you get along the tape edge that you get between colors.   

shake, shake & shake some more.   Shake your spray can at least a full minute before painting (longer if you havent used the can in a while)  It's a real pain but there's nothign worse than your paint coming out chunky because it wasn't properly shaken.   KEEP THE CAP ON THE CAN WHEN YOU SHAKE IT!!!   I had the tip fail on a can once and as I shook and it splattered paint all over me and all over the piece I was painting.  Not a happy day.
A tip that I've heard that I've used a few times is to put your paint cans in a bucket of hot water prior to painting.   The idea is that you get better flow if you warm up the can & thus get a better finish.    To be honest the only time i've done this with primer paint where the can hadn't been used for a while (over a year).   I shook the can for a while, the sound of the ball just didn't sound right.  I was getting spray but I was worried about it dying or sputtering, so I warmed the can.   I'm honestly not sure if this helped or not.   All I can say is that it painted fine.

with sanding you can use a simple dust mask with rubber bands but with painting, especially spray painting you need a good quality mask.  The mask I have cost $30 and is best money I ever spent.  Your lungs will thank you.

When i'm painting the inside of drawers, I have to lean over and look down into the drawer.  The sides of the drawer will trap the spray paint overspray and create this "cloud" of paint.  I'm sure this has a name, I call it the "cloud zone".   Most of the time I don't like using goggles so I can better see what I'm doing but when I have to paint within the "cloud zone" I always wear goggles.  The kind which seal to the sides of your face and will keep that paint dust out of your eyes.   This is also where it's critical to wear a good quality respirator mask as opposed to a simple dust mask.  You don't want to be breathing the cloud.

I prefer to use a spray handle when painting.  I get much better control & my finger isn't killing me when I'm done.
Unless I'm painting vertical trim or vertical stripes, I always paint in horizontal pass's, releasing the trigger between each pass.   Krylon paints really work well for this because they have the adjustable nozzle which can be set for either horizontal or vertical painting.
Overlap each pass by about a quarter of the area.   This is where it's critical that your can has suffficient paint to completly cover the area that your painting without pausing.   With each pass the wet paint will blend together and the pass lines will vanish.   If you pause to exchange cans in the middle of a surface your previsou pass may set enough that they're will be a visible line where one can ended on the the next began (especially if you had to take a couple minutes to shake the new can).  If the coat that your putting down isn't the final coat that's not really a problem because the next coat will blend out the edge.
Be careful when you remove the spray handle because you can accidently spray...yourself in the face......yes.....I did that.  for the record.....spray paint does not taste good.  point the can away from yourself and away from your work when you pop off the handle.

do thin coats and build up the pain in layers.   move at a steady speed without pausing until the spray tip is past the edge.  Thin coats dry faster than thick coats so usually an hour is plently of time between coats.   don't worry if your first few coats don't completely cover. patience. just keep adding thin layers until you get a good coverage.
If you get runs, don't panic. let the coat dry thoroughly, sand out the runs and keep going  (re-prime if required)

Keeping the can approx 6 inches and perpendicular to surface, make steady horixzontal or vertical pass's.  start and stop the trigger outside of the piece.  if you start the trigger on the piece you'll get a glob of paint and runs.  release the trigger beween each pass.

When you paint, move your arm, not your wrist.  when you pivot your wrist it changes the distance the the spray can is away from the surface and the can is no longer perpindicular.  you wont get even coverage and this will often cause orange peel.

with each paint stroke the wet paint will blend into the previous stroke.   If you run out of paint in the middle of a face and you have to pause to get and shake another can, the previous stroke may dry so that the new stroke wont blend out and there will be a visible line.   If this is an early coat that's no big deal becuase subsequent coats will cover this but you don't want this on the final layers.

Save your low cans.  Use those for smaller areas.

Always paint in a well ventilated area and always always always use a high quality mask. 
I paint outside with the piece elevated on a table so that I'm not bending over.  I prefer to paint with the surface vertical.  If the horizontal surface is small (small table top), I'll go ahead and paint it horizontal.   If the horizontal surface is large I'll flip the piece on it's side so that the surface is vertical.

I paint outside in my back yard.  Because of this the sunlight is not hitting all sides evenly, so what I do is place a board on a small table and put the piece on that.  As I'm painting I will rotate the piece so that whatever surface I'm painting is in direct sunlight.   When your painting the same color as the previous coat and the surface is in shadow, it's very difficult to tell the wet edge between pass's so that you get an even color wash.

I absolutely love painter pyramids.   When I first heard of these I thought they were stupid, then my local hardware store put them on sale so I got some and now I swear by them.  There is nothing worse than getting a run on something and it puddling up where the piece sits on the table and dries like that.   With pyamids you don't have to worry about that.   One thing to be careful about with pyramids is that you don't bump the worksurface when your piece is proped up.   Your don't want your piece to go tumbling down and ruin your paint coat.  I learned that the hardway.   It that does happen, it's really no big deal.  just wait for the coat to dry completely, sand off any smudges and keep painting. 

How to deal with "orange peel"
Often with spray paint you'll get a sandy texture on the surface. This is caused by holding the spray can to far away from the surface. The spray paint will clump in the air and dry before leveling out, leaving a sandy texture on the surface. When this happen simply sand the area until it's smooth using a fine grain sandpaper. If it takes agressive sanding to get the texture off, re-prime the area before applying color.

you don't need to do this between every coat but when your done painting for the night, take each spray can and do a quick spray holding the can upside down until no paint comes out.   This will keep the nozel clear and prevent clogs and splatters.  
if you have a nozel that does clog, rather than tossing the whole can, grab a nozzle from another can to use.

As a general rule I always elevate what I'm working on so that I'm not bending over to paint.  I get more control and a more even finish.   Obviously with large pieces like dressers this isn't possible, but even those pieces I'll elevate a foot or so.

For my worksurface I have an old wooden card table on which i've set a 4x4 piece of plywood.    I like the plywood because I'll occasionally need to screw something to it in order to hold it steady for painting.    Usually for the pieces I'm doing this one surface is enough.   Because I'm doing 3 projects at once I wish I had a much bigger surface because i can't paint everything at once.  I have to paint a couple parts, let them dry, set them aside in order to paint the next part.  
<p>Wish I'd read your tips about spray-painting years ago! I've been holding the can too far away from the objects all along. Also the paint can handle is genius little tool that I don't know how I lived without all these years!</p>
THIS. IS. FABULOUS. I looked at every single page...I LOVE that 'ace &amp; chevron' cabinet, it's brilliant. Seriously, do you sell this stuff? Dunno about changing the knobs...I think the simplicity of the knobs works well with the rest of the piece...they don't detract. I don't have the time, patience or space to do what you do but you do it WELL! Cheers!
THANKS!!! <br>the chevron cabinet is actually my favorite piece. i've done nicer pieces but that one's my favorite because i had no idea what to do with it when I started. just went with the flow and let it evolve. <br>my latest project doesn't have all the bold colors but I'm really happy about it because of where it started and where it's ending up. still working on the doors but will be publishing when complete. <br>https://www.instructables.com/id/E5FFIJSH673CMG8/ <br>
I dearly love this instructable!
Thanks! <br>:) <br>
This is a rather belated comment, but that top-most piece, with the Spade-looking embellishments on the front......! I'm into magic, and that reminds me of a big magician's illusion!
You are a very creative person!!!
Not to rain on anyone's parade, but The US is experiencing a bedbug epidemic. A piece of furniture you find on the street and bring home could wind up being the costliest project you ever undertake. <br> <br>You're better off starting with something from a unpainted furniture retailer.
That's an excellent point and one of the main reasons that I avoid picking upholstered furniture from the trash. <br>I don't think I explained it well enough in my write up but when I get a piece, I clean it thoroughly inside and out before bringing it inside. this includes removing drawers and cleaning the inside of the case, the underside of the drawings, and flipping the piece over and cleaning around the base. <br>not only does this eliminate any threat of spiders, bugs, etc. it's also a great way to get a handle on the condition of the piece and what it will take to bring it back to life. I'll take notes as I go, including a list of any repairs and parts that will be needed.
That's the thing, the first few larval stages of bedbugs are incredibly small. All you'd have to do is miss a few and it could cause an infestation.
You've gotten me worried so I've been doing a lot of research on bed bugs ans other pests. from what i've read the method that i use for cleaning with bleach cleaner (Clorox Cleanup) should be effective at erraticating bed bugs as long as you clean all surfaces and get into every crack and joint. <br> <br>refinishing discarded furniture can be very rewarding hobby. not only are you saving money but your keeping stuff out of the landfills as well. With a little care, other peoples garbage can become your treasure. When I see furniture that others have painted the common criticism that i always have is people taking shortcuts and not taking the time to do all the necessary prepwork in order to insure a quality result. The threat of bed bugs and other pests really brings home the necessity to not rush the initial steps so that you not only have a beautiful piece but a safe one as well. <br> <br>
Amazing job on the furniture. As for going green, don't worry about a little spray paint. As far as I'm concerned you could empty every can you have and it won't have even a .0000000000000001% affect on the world's environment. Your immediate environment would be unpleasant for a while, but the planet won't care. Or maybe that's just the coal miner side of me talking :) <br><br>Yes, the number was made up, like the statistics for global warming :) I remember the ice age we were headed for in the 70's and the hole in the ozone layer that was going to kill us all in the early 90s. I am in favor of not impacting our local environments, and leaving them better than when we arrived when I go camping, but it's all a fad in my opinion. **said the coal miner helping supply a plant burning 20,000 tons of coal a day**
Truly an inspiring instructable! I rummaged through the garage for supplies, bought a few cans of spray paint and repainted my ugly old end table. Turned out alright &amp; was a fun learning experience. I can't wait to do it again. Thanks for posting this!
I love this design! So beautiful. You are really good at what you do! This is a very nice instructable. Thanks for sharing. <br>Sunshiine
Love your pieces. Great work! Good luck!
Wow really amazing. Voted
If you're gonna make the shelf glass, you could make the front door glass too, and maybe light the interior with LEDs under the top, It'll look great at night.
I really like the idea of LED's. that would be cool. <br>thanks <br>
These are nice and really look nice but bring to mind a friend who did the same thing with furniture he picked up on the curb and ended up redoing a sideboard that he found out was worth $10,000.00 if he HAD NOT refinished it.. So people, make sure you do not have a fantastic antique or collectors piece of furniture before you start to strip and redo it. It will pay you to check it out--- literally.
that is an excellent point zipknitter. If a piece has a manufacturers mark on it and is clearly well made then I'll research the piece before I do anything. I usually don't repaint pieces where the finish is nice. those pieces I'll restore and keep them as is. <br>It's my goal to add value to a piece, not take it away. <br>:) <br>
I want to thank you. I've been wanting to attempt a bold, colorful, contemporary project such as yours. There are so many shabby chic, distressed projects out there, but I longed for the crisp paint job you've (so competently) explained. I have some furniture in my garage just screaming for a paint job. Maybe now, at some point, I'll be able to get a car in there. I'll check out the voting.
thank you!! <br>I gotta warn you that once you get into this, new pieces seem to keep showing up and you never get any closer to getting your garage back. <br>I did 3 pieces for this instructable and in that time I got 4 more so now i'm worse off than when I started. <br>:) <br>
Oh, so true. Yesterday I found a free recliner on someone's sidewalk and by the time I got the truck to go get it, it was gone. Good thing, cuz I would have had to move the car out of the garage to make room for it along with all the bike parts, etc in my collection. :)
wow!!! this is impressive &amp; I am particularly grateful for your exact instructions. I voted for you &amp; I do hope you win...you deserve it!!<br>Thank you for all the trouble you went to. I have become one of your followers.<br><br>One of these days, when I have completed something that I think is worthy of putting in here, I will do that too....meanwhile, I am enjoying the eye candy.
Thanks Laura!!! <br> <br>I wrote this instructable as I went. When I started I didn't have any end design in mind. so my thoughts for you are to not worry about whether or not something is worthy. just have fun. you have complete freedom. Go for it. <br> <br>I've already got 4 more pieces to do....a large armoire (that one gonna be a lot of work), dresser, piano bench and a small magazine rack. these I'm going to do one at a time, not all at once. that was to much for my limited space and time. <br> <br>I'm thinking that my next instructable I'm going to do a &quot;as-you-go&quot; piece. I'll post it as I go and be able to get advice when i hit the inevetable road blocks. <br>gonna be taking a break before starting that. rushing these latest projects to meet the contest deadline has burnt me out.
Wow ! These are gorgeous! And you are a patient person. I love your write up, very detailed with lots of hints,suggestions and pictures . I've never heard of the rubbing compound so anxious to try it. Great instructable and I will vote for you.
Thanks!!! <br>the rubbing compound that i use I got at an autoparts store. it's used by car painters but the same tricks apply to anything painted. for me rubbing compounnd and really fine steel wool (size 00 &amp; 000) are the keys to getting a really smooth finish. i use steel wool to smooth out the little ridge that you get where you masked between 2 colors. rubbing compound will take out that &quot;sandy&quot; texture that you often get with spray paint. <br>gotta be patient so you don't harm the paint job. I just keep running my hand over the surface. whereever it feels rough I'll work on thoce area until its all smooth. steel wool will leave little metal shavings all over so you gotta dust the piece really well when your done. <br>I'm hoping on selling one of these pieces so I can get my next tool....a electric polisher <br> <br>:)
you got my vote its really through my attention span didnt last long enough for me to read it in one go but i got back to it i really enjoyed it dont stress out about me telling you i got distracted its just me (and my generation) like right now im thinking about snowboarding... at the end of july. im rambling hope you win
Thanks. <br>to be honest, I can't read it in one shot and I wrote it. <br>:) <br>
Be careful....Eddie Van Halen is the kind of guy who would sue you for using his guitar image without his permission. <br> <br>I'm not kidding.
I bumped into an interview with Eddie v H on dutch radio, a couple of weeks ago. He didn't seemed that bad... :) He's a painter these days, no less!
Brilliant instructable! Very comprehensive write up, and your work is superb. It's inspirational. I voted - hope you win!
Thats means a lot <br>THANK YOU! <br> <br>Im gonna post some updated photo's tommorrow <br> <br>:)
What fabulous finishing tips - I'm eager to try the polishing compound!
Nice work!
Thanks <br>(like your dog picture)
LOoOoOove it!
Those are gorgeous! Love the Moroccan flavored-one and the blue daisies! Adding this to my faves.
thanks <br>:)

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm an architect by day. I love doing projects by night, both on my own and with my kids
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