Spray Paint FAQs

By Kate Riley October 5, 2010

Some of you, no, a handful of you have been reading this site since the beginning when I started spray painting all sorts of things on the average of at least once a month and frequently mentioning my affection.  I jumped on the spray paint bandwagon several years ago, cracked the whip, and cried "Faster, faster, take us to a better place!"  I have an entire category dubbed "Spray Paint, My BFF" and I reckon I’ve done my part to keep RustOleum, Valspar, and Krylon in biz.

I’ve spray painted just about everything:  plastic, glass, wood, fiberglass, mirror, metal, ribbon, laminate, etcetera.  I’ll spray paint anything that stands still, mostly because it’s  cheap-n-easy, but also because my curiosity in this wonder product knows no end.  Most especially since I’ve witnessed first hand just how many gosh darn things seem to look better when dosed with Toluene and Xylene (the chemicals in spray paint which we never mention in the light of day, but secretly adore in the private solitude of our well ventilated garages).

Spray paint, when applied correctly, possesses the magical power to transform so many dated looks into a something fresh and modern, all in the course of an afternoon.  I think if I was stranded on a deserted island, a can of spray paint just might be on my wish list, not for the giant ‘SOS’ but to give my pathetic coconut mailbox attached to my hut that extra oomph it needed.

I’m sorry, where was I?  Oh yes. Take this sweet little French style solid wood nightstand I spied while gallivanting around the local thrift store last week.  Fab lines, lovely detail, but with yellowed spotty paint and chipped gold accents.  Facelift needed.

All’s well that ends well when you have a well shaken can of spray paint with which to solve the world’s problems.  The final paint is RustOleum’s ‘Canvas White’ found at True Value Hardware.


endtable before 2


cg endtable final after

‘Shipwrecked Pitcher’ from Anthropologie

I have used spray paint in so many ways I can’t even count them anymore.  Take a tour through my home and you won’t find a room with at least one spray painted thang.  Since I often get asked questions about spray paint, I reckon I’ll just put all those FAQs in one big post.  Bear with me.  I don’t know all the answers, but that’s where you come in at the end friends.

Away we go.    

1. What surfaces can I spray paint?

What can’t  you spray paint?   Well, perhaps that’s too inclusive.  Here’s the growing list.  Plastic, metal, fiberglass, mirror, glass, wood, wicker, masonry, plaster, concrete, canvas, ceramics, MDF, laminate and particle board.

valspar bathroom Image via Valspar


2. What are the pros and cons of spray paint vs. brush on paint?

I addressed this query last year, you can read all about in in this article about the pros and cons of spray paint.  Several other issues are addressed in the following questions, so read on!


3. How can I avoid drips?  Do you have a certain technique you use when applying spray paint?

*Cough*  Ahem.  Um, yes I do.  I even made a video.  Those new to spray painting can view my beginner tips and simple painting technique.  The rest of you pros have strict instructions to avert your eyes and ears.


4. To prime or not to prime, that is the question.

Mkay, where to begin.  My rule of thumb is this.  Prime these surfaces: 1) anything  meant to go outdoors that will be exposed to moisture because you risk rust (but see below), 2) glossy surfaces, or 3) wood.  Forget everything else.  But I break that rule of thumb all the time, so what good am I to this world, I don’t know.

Here’s my reasoning why I sometimes skip primer.  Spray paints are predominately oil based paints.  You can always tell when you read the ‘cleanup’ category on the back and it says to use paint thinner or mineral spirits to clean up your spray paint.  ‘Paint thinner’ and ‘mineral spirits’ = oil based paint.  It’s that simple.

Because spray paint is oil based, I find it has a much higher adhesion than your typical latex paints.  It clings baby, and it clings well.  Hence the reason I often skip primer when working with spray paint even when recommended *gasp* because I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m being sold a product I don’t need.  But don’t quote me on that.  Raw wood loves oil based paint, it soaks it up well, so for example when I refinished this chair, I skipped the primer and went straight to spray paint and have never had a problem since.

If you’re spray painting something for the outdoors, you may want to consider priming to protect against rust, Krylon recommends it.   However, I’ve spray painted several pieces of metal outdoor furniture without priming with only spray paint specifically designed for outdoor use, and they’ve never rusted, even after years of rain and sun exposure.

One thing I do like about spray primers is they dry with a flat finish, so if you like that super matte finish in white, gray, or black, just spray your object with primer and call it a day.   Black matte primers and spray paints can make a bowl or pitcher look pretty close to Basalt, just ask Eddie.


5. What are the dangers of skipping primer when using oil based spray paint?

I haven’t ever had a problem skipping the primer with glass, metal, fiberglass, terra cotta, or plastic because of the oil based nature of spray paints mentioned above.  My only real problems arise when I skip primer with glossy or wood surfaces.  With wood or laminate, you risk the paint not sticking over time or the dreaded bubbling and cracking that can occur in certain conditions when the surface repels the paint.  Which brings us to our next question.


6. My spray paint just bubbled and cracked, and I’m freaking out.  What did I do wrong?

crackling spray paint


I have seen this happen in three circumstances.   When the temperature outside was too low, when the wood surface wasn’t primed, and when the surface wasn’t perfectly clean and free from debris.  When you read the back of a can of spray paint, it cautions you to use the paint within a certain temperature range.  That’s key.  One time when I was spray painting the curtain rod in my office, it crackled on me because it was early in the morning in December and below 50 degrees.

This most recent crackling was due to debris I forgot to clean off my drawer front.  Both debris (and sometimes lack of primer) can lead to problems.  In my experience, it happens in patches, and not across an entire surface.  Basically part of your surface is repelling the paint like a toddler refusing his green vegetables.  "Me no likey, ppphhhhhbbt!"

Don’t panic.  This little wrinkle is easily solved with oil based primer.  I recommend you keep a quart of it handy, you’ll be amazed at its adhesion, stain blocking and bonding qualities.  Zinsser primer also comes in spray version, both the red and brown can are oil based, and they’re awesome.

zinsser spray primer


So here’s what I do with a crackled surface.  I wait wait wait until the crackled spray paint is completely dry.  You’ll find the bubbles and cracks reside a bit so that it looks like dehydrated clay.  Or my forehead up close when I don’t moisturize, heh heh.

Endtable & Spray Paint 112


After you’ve allowed the spray paint to dry a full 24 hours, sand it down with some medium to fine grade sandpaper so it’s smooth, then coat it with oil based primer.  Allow that to completely dry.  Lightly sand if necessary.  Apply second coat of spray paint over the top.  You should be fine.  Spray paint takes a chill pill when layered over oil based primer.

champagne detail 2


 RustOleum has a good surface preparation guide you can read here.


7. I‘ve noticed a splotchy finish on my flat furniture surfaces.  What the heck?

krylon matte finish Yes, I’ve seen this too.  To me, it’s not necessarily a problem with paint coverage, but a weird thing that happens with the finish.  This is why I had to brush paint my bookcases in my office because the sides kept getting that splotchy look from the spray.

And yet another reason why larger pieces of furniture with flat surfaces don’t necessarily look better when spray painted.  Just my experience.

But I have found a new solution that seems to work.  I tried the Krylon ‘Matte’ finish as a final coat, and that seemed to even out the splotchy look.  It also tones down glossy paint finishes.

Krylon also has an entire series of artist’s clear coatings which I’m excited to try in the near future. They may be the perfect protective coat for white paint, fingers crossed. 


8. What’s the deal with those new nozzles?

A certain company has introduced the ‘Comfort Tip’ designed to be more spray paint user friendly.  Peeps in the SPFC (Spray Paint Fan Club), you’ll have to tell me what you think, but here’s my opinion.  {Insert granny voice}  "Them thar new fangled contraptions ain’t as good as them old fashion nozzles! " 


Yes, you heard me right.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it is what I say.  I find the new flatter wider nozzles (on the right) clog and spit five times more than the old fashioned nozzles (on the left).  But it could be that the Comfort Tip gods are against me.

Bottom line, you still need that spray paint gun that you see (located in your paint department) or you’ll never be accepted into the SPFC.  I tell you the truth. ;-)


9. What’s the difference in sheen?  How do I know when to choose flat, matte, satin, gloss or lacquer?

Ah yes, the great debate.   Unfortunately, with spray paint, and unlike latex brush-on paints, the sheen is already chosen for you.  So if you’re searching for something beyond black or white, you don’t have many options other than what is already specified on the can.   The most common finishes are Satin and Gloss.  RustOleum, Krylon, and Valspar have developed their own lines of great colors, but again, you’re limited by what’s available.

That said, the sheens are what they are.  Matte is very similar to flat paint, satin is akin to an eggshell finish, and gloss is well, glossy.  Lacquer is the glossiest and shiniest of all.

bench rustoleum Image via RustOleum


10. Where’s the best place to buy spray paint?

It’s everywhere, but the retailer chooses what brands and colors to stock.  I found my most recent stash at True Value ~ I’ve been shopping there a lot lately.

I’ve also found spray paints at Home Depot, Lowes, OSH, ACE, Walmart and Michaels.  If you’re looking for a particular color or specialty paint, most of the big websites have a store locator tab so you can find what your looking for near your zip code.  Ask your retailer to order your specific paint for you if you can’t find it close by, or shop online.  If you’re really gung ho, I hear you can buy it by the case at a discount.   


11.  Why aren’t there prettier spray paint colors available?

Amen to that.  There is a limited amount of quality colors.  My most favorite to date is ‘London Gray’, a deep mushroom color used on these small dressers and RustOleum’s ‘Night Tide’ (a gorgeous deep teal) used on the lamp in my family room.   The colors I’ve used the most are RustOleum’s ‘Heirloom White’, ‘Gloss White’ and ‘Espresso’.  Both ‘Oil Rubbed Bronze’ and ‘Metallic Bronze’ are favorites too. 


blue rustoleum paints

If I won the lottery, I’d develop my own line of spray paints in the most amazing colors, but that’s a dream for another decade.  Till then, I’ll be waiting patiently by the phone for that assignment from the big producers.


12.  Tell me about specialty spray paints, the metallics, hammered and stone finishes, high heat, chalkboard and frosted species.

specialty paints


I’ve used the frosted version here and here, the chalkboard version here and here, and the plastic version here and here, all with great success.   I’ve used the high heat (brush on) here and here, but the spray version is the same formula.  Great for BBQs I understand.

Other readers feel free to chime in about your experiences with hammered or stone finishes, those I’ve never used before.

*** Reader comment update ***

"One small piece of advice to those out there looking to spray paint plastic: go Krylon Fusion.  I was at my local Lowe’s (where they don’t seem to carry Krylon) and bought Valspar plastic spray paint as an alternative. As it turns out, not all plastic spray paints are created equal… the Valspar stuff bubbled and warped, but I’ve had no problems with Krylon’s product."  ~ Sarah at Ugly Duckling House  (CG note: I’ve used Rustoleum’s version for plastic and been pleased with the results too.)

"I’ve used the textured finish on a tired metal patio set. The finish does look great but it takes an awful lot of paint to do just one chair. So now I’m mid-way through and realizing it probably would have been cheaper to buy a whole new set on clearance.  One chair takes almost 2 cans to get good coverage. Perhaps if I had primed it black first I could have used a lighter top coat.   At our old house I used the hammered finish on old radiators and they looked great, hid the bumps and unevenness really well."  ~ Sophie

"The hammered metal paints are fun to use. Temperature and moisture seem to affect how the hammered look turns out.  The stone paints look like fake stone paint, not real stone."  ~ Sarah


13.  Can I toss my empty spray paint can in the garbage?

Please don’t.  Spray paints are considered toxic waste, at least in my state, so I make it a habit to take them to the proper specialty disposal site, even if they’re technically empty, they still contain the residue.


A few unsolved mysteries:

Can you use spray paint on bathroom hardware in high moisture areas?   I’m not sure, but there are spray paints designed for outdoor use on metal, and when I hear ‘outdoor’ I hear ‘rain’ which equals moisture, so I suspect it just might work.  I haven’t seen any manufacturer advertise this, so are there any volunteers?   Whose got some shiny brass plated leftovers from the nineties?  Anyone?  Bueller?

*** Reader comment update***

A lady I worked with spray painted her old brass taps in her bathroom with Rustoleum’s hammered metal paint.. and they look fantastic!   Ass far as I know, she has never had a problem with the results.  I say – go for it!  Try it out and if it doesn’t work you are no worse off than when you started – with an ugly faucet that needs replacing."   ~ Kimberley

"We spray painted our kitchen hardware.. it was ugly brass and I wanted it to match our stainless appliances.. but didn’t want to drop the dough on new handles.  I did spray prime them.. then used some silver Rustoleum.  Worked like a charm! some of our oft used handles have had to be retouched, but its so easy to just unscrew – spray – and reattach! It’s been about 1.5 years — still going strong!  It was a cheap-o solution since we plan a major kitchen overhaul in the next few years. Why spend the $$ now?"  ~ Katie


Can spray paint cans be refilled?  Rumor has it, some hardware stores will do this for you in your paint of choice.  Can you imagine the possibilities?  I’ve never discovered a good source for this, so if any of you have, be sure to tell us where and how it can be done so we can all stampede the door.

*** Reader comment update***

"I just received my refillable spray paint can last week, but I haven’t used it yet, so I don’t know how well it works. You just fill it with thinned paint, pressurize with a bicycle pump, and spray away! It sounds too good to be true, but I do have my fingers crossed.  It’s the ‘Go Green Aluminum Rechargeable Spray Can’ available at Amazon."  ~ Leslie

"Lowe’s now offers custom mixed spray paint! That’s right, you pick the color, they mix it and some how magically put it in your standard aerosol spray can! I’m not sure the price but being able to get the perfect shade of yellow or blue is worth quite a bit in my book. I haven’t tried it yet but I’ll be sure to report back when I do! I still get goosebumps just thinking about it!   ~ Amanda


Want more answers?  Visit RustOleum’s FAQs and Valspar’s general tips for detailed information on working with spray paint.

Want to see my entire list of spray paint projects?  Check out these specific posts.

Now let the greater conversation begin.  Do you have a specific tip to share that hasn’t been mentioned?  Another question that hasn’t been raised?  I’ll try to answer follow up questions in the comments.

Have you worked with a particular spray paint product that you recommend?  Please link to your project in your own comment as well !


True Value Blog Squad legalese:  “I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as my writing about my experience.  I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project.   However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.”



  1. Don’t forget about spray paints that are intended for graffiti and are found at real art supply stores (not craft stores). They’ll run you around $10/can, but they do the job in a single coat, dry 3 times faster, don’t smell as bad and you can literally find them in any color you’re looking for!

    If you order them online, or order a whole case of assorted colors at once they’ll be cheaper. In our home we spray paint 99% of our salvaged finds and it’s VERY rarely that we’ll use “hardware store” spray paint — Unless it’s metal and then we love us some Krylon hammered paint. Awesome.


  2. This post was made for me!!! I have a few things that I am dying to spray but I am ever so hesitant b/c of fear…and a few of those other issues I have run into. Thank you…and now it is time to bookmark this post. :)


  3. Kate,

    Thank you! I love this insightful post on spray paint. Believe it or not, you introduced me to the wonderful world of blogs and spray paint. My life is forever better. I love spray paint because I can spray a coat, not clean up, and then run back inside to nurse a baby. This blog is so helpful.


  4. first let me say this is not meant tobe a negative comment and i am not an environmentalis. i do try my best to recycle and use low voc paints and primers, but i am curious as to weather you have looked into the environmental impact of using pray paint versus canned paint? liike i said, not trying to be a downer, but i haven’t done the research and wondered if you knew? i tend to stay away from soray paint and use it only when necessary because i am afraid that the aerosol cans are causing damage and it takes me several cans to get through a project that would take less than a quart of canned paint. any thoughts? thanks, cate! i love pretty much everything you do and really enjoy reading your blog!

  5. @MeganDVD …have no fear. Spray painting is so easy and the paint these days are just as good as a gallon of paint. I blogged about this just last week. In my previous home I spray painted my off-white fridge black. It turned out looking like a brand new fridge. So don’t be afraid. I spray paint and paint A LOT!

  6. Great post Kate!! If I ever get people asking questions on this topic I will just send them to this post! I only had trouble with spray paint once, when I went to apply the protective finish, the paint began to lift up from the surface and shrink…it was horrifying! I do believe it had to do with the fact it was in the middle of winter and I was in the garage…with the door open for ventilation. Learned my lesson!

  7. This has to be one of my favorite posts! So much great information in one place. Now can you just run over to my house and paint a few things for me? It still freaks me out a little.

  8. and oops- i clearly got up way too early this morning and have not had coffee…. hello typos! and that is supposed to be whether, not weather. ok, now i am going to get my coffee.

  9. a lady i worked with spray painted her old brass taps in her bathroom with rustoleum’s hammered metal paint.. and they look fantastic! as far as i know she has never had a problem with the results. i say – go for it! try it out and if it doesn’t work you are no worse off than when you started – with an ugly faucet that needs replacing :)

    fantastic post – thanks centsational girl!

  10. Wow that was a lot of information, I feel like I need to go spray paint something! I also feel like the SPFC is an untouchable elite group that I want to be apart of… I think I’ve just added 10 more projects into my brain cue.

  11. THANK YOU!!!!! I have had the supplies for a halloween wreath for a few weeks but scared to spray paint the first step. now, today, it will get started! THANKS!!!!

  12. What an amazing and detailed post. You answered several of my questions and gave answers to questions I didn’t even have! Thank you so much for educating us on the wonders of spray paint. Seriously, I appreciate it.

  13. Great post! I recently ordered a mini-sample can of paint from My Perfect Color and they also had the color available in an aerosol spray, but kinda pricey @ 29.99 for just one can!

  14. I used to tease my mom that, while many kids grew up to the sound of clicking knitting needles, I heard the rattle-rattle of spray paint cans. I, too, have the chromosome for spray paint. Here are a few thoughts to add to yours: 1) Work with the wind. By keeping the wind at your back, starting at the “upwind” part of the piece, and turning your project as you go (to take advantage of the wind), you’ll end up with a much shinier piece. 2) Wear goggles. O.K., I’m 60, and I never thought I’d do The Safety Thing, but several trips to the eye doctor convinced me that I was being careless. 3) If you’re going to spray-paint hardware, make sure it’s perfectly clean. When I couldn’t afford to replace the 1970s hinges in my kitchen, I let them soak in a container of paint remover for a while. It got rid of all the goo and grime. I then painted them with paint from the automotive store.

    I have painted a couple of paper-type lampshades. For one, I used a hammered paint. I’ve also used the hammered paint for the hardware in one of our bathrooms, including the light fixture (taken off the wall to paint). This past weekend, I spray-painted a huge, pleated, paper-type shade with Kilz. It’s going to stay painted with Kilz, because it looks great.

    Re: hammered paint, I’ve painted two sets of kitchen cupboards with the roll-on variety. One set was solid wood, the other was cheap melamine. I took one of the drawers back to Home Depot to show the people in the paint department, and they were blown away. It looks exactly like the Closet Maid garage cabinets we bought. There are some real tricks to using the roll-on hammered paint, so expect a learning curve.

    Thanks for the post. Some of us believe that Xelene is the cornerstone of all great friendships!

  15. Not only was I thoroughly impressed, I was completely entertained! There was not one thing I disagreed with! I am a spray painter from waaay back and now work in the paint department at Lowe’s (good heavens some of those yummy new paints!). This article should have been in a magazine. Great stuff! I love your writing style……….you make us take in so much info without us even trying to learn anything. You made me want to grab a can and start spraying!

  16. Wow, great video! That spray gun thingy looks like it makes a huge difference! Is it a particular brand? I don’t have a True Value nearby, so wondering if I can find it somewhere else.

  17. I LOVE LOVE that dresser that you redid. It look like it came from some expensive retail shop. Great job! Thanks for all the tips on spray paint. I am actually thinking of getting a sprayer soon for my little side business.

  18. so I haven’t read the comments maybe this was already answered…
    but I had a ridiculously pink flowery dark brass hardware bathroom that I updated to a sunshine yellow and white bathroom. The light fixtures would have been very expensive to replace and involved a lot of wall patching. I opted for spray paint and new glass globes. So I used a nickle finish spray paint on the brass finish metal. It turned out great and looks so much better and only the cost of the spray paint.

    I can’t even remember if I primed it or not…I’m thinking not but I know I gave it 2 coats. But in the high moisture bathroom, after 2 yrs it still looks great.

  19. Oh, and I’ve used the textured finish on a tired metal patio set. The finish does look great but it takes an awful lot of paint to do just one chair. So now I’m mid-way through and realizing it probably would have been cheaper to buy a whole new set on clearance. One chair takes almost 2 cans to get good coverage. Perhaps if I had primed it black first I could have used a lighter top coat.

    At our old house I used the hammered finish on old radiators and they looked great, hid the bumps and unevenness really well.

  20. Cassie~ The use of CFC’s as propellants in aerosol cans has been outlawed in the US since 1989. Any can of anything that markets itself as “ozone friendly” is just a market ploy, as every can is ozone friendly. Spray paint until you drop, girl!

  21. I have dabbled and dribbled. But you have just opened up for me a wonderful creative world of opportunity. Oh, I hope winter is very late!

  22. I am pretty good at envisioning what a piece was going to look like when done, but I had to flip back to the before to see if you changed the hardware on that table! I think I would have not even given that hardware a second chance, and boy would I have been wrong.

  23. Oh spraypaint, how I love thee. I use the hammered finish spray paint all the time and I LOVE it. It works great on cabinet hardware and hides any drips super well. I highly recommend it!

  24. Thanks for the great article! I do have a question about painting ceramics. I tried to spray paint some ceramic candle pillars the other day. I used spray primer first followed by white spray paint. It did not stick and instead peeled off. I was reading on the internet that for ceramics you are supposed to use the spray paint for plastic. Have you found this in your experience when painting ceramics? Thank you!

  25. Great post! One small piece of advice to those out there looking to spray paint plastic: go Krylon Fusion, and nothing else. I was at my local Lowe’s (where they don’t seem to carry Krylon) and bought Valspar plastic spray paint as an alternative. As it turns out, not all plastic spray paints are created equal… the Valspar stuff bubbled and warped, but I’ve had no problems with Krylon’s product.

  26. I love your blog – and your guts! I am still working up the bravery to paint my bedroom furniture. I visit here often, taking cues from you. The new addition above is fabulous! Did you paint and scuff the knobs too? We are moving in December and the next house has a large double garage. Come Spring, I’ma painting!

  27. Question for Kate – On the dresser you just finished (5 Stars, btw!) did you also spray paint the hardware silver? Would love to know how you did the silver details on that. Thanks

  28. Great tips. My two cents… I’ve had it “crackle” before if I held the can of spray paint too close to the furniture too long, if that makes sense. I think numerous light coats are better than one heavy coat, which has caused that crackled look for me before.

    For gold, Rustoleum’s gold is very pretty. Krylon’s is awful and looks pink.

    I WILL buy into your custom spray paint line. And I still contend that we should purchase a professional sprayer together and share it:)

  29. You have DONE IT AGAIN! You have taken all the fear out of the project!
    Fabulous, fabulous post!
    THANK YOU!!!!!

  30. Montana spray paints are for artists and have a lot of colors, but I don’t know how pricey it is.

    The hammered metal paints are fun to use. Temperature and moisture seem to affect how the hammered look turns out. The stone paints look like fake stone paint, not real stone.

    I want to know why all the shiny silver spray paint doesn’t actually turn out chrome shiny like the cap?!

  31. Thank you for putting this together, what a great resource. Seriously though how hard would it be to develop your own line of spray paint? That sounds like I’m saying it’s easy, but what I mean to ask is, is it absolutely prohibitive unless your Martha Stewart? Or is there any chance it might happen? Because you would have a whole boat full of customers!

    PS I haven’t commented in a while, but I am still here everyday!

  32. I just bought a mirror for $3.99 yesterday and a can of spray paint today with plans to paint the frame….this post was just in time! Thank you!

  33. Thank you for this primer (no pun intended) on spray paint. I’m about to embark on my very first DIY project (a chair to go with my daughter’s West Elm parsons desk). This post is perfect timing.

  34. Wow, Now I know everything and my doubt that spray paints are only for metals have been nicely cleared that it can’t haunt me ever. Thanks so much for putting this Q&A here. It’s gonna be big help almost for everyone into DIYing and paint and brush.


  35. We spray painted our kitchen hardware.. it was ugly brass and I wanted it to match our stainless appliances.. but didn’t want to drop the dough on new handles. I did spray prime them.. then used some silver rustoleum. worked like a charm! some of our oft used handles have had to be retouched, but its so easy to just unscrew – spray – and reattach! It’s been about 1.5 years — still going strong!

    It was a cheap-o solution since we plan a major kitch overhaul in the next few years. Why spend the $$ now?

  36. My hubby has a super-old farm table from his family… It has great lines, but it is really in need of a fresh finish (old finish got destroyed by hubby in a decopage accident – don’t ask).

    Anyway, he suggested that we “Send it to be dipped and re-finished, it’ll be easier…”, which he immediately recognized was a MAJOR tactical error on his part. :) He retreated, and said, “Unless you want it as a Project!?!?”. Smart man… Smart, smart man.

    I’m already planning how I’ll finish the piece, but I’m 8 mos PG and have to finish this project before I can realisitically start on a painting project. I figure that just gives me more time to plan the right attack… I’m off to look at strippers… Sheesh people, not that kind!

  37. I am cuh-razy about spray painting! Thanks for sharing your fabulous tips. I totally agree…the limitation on color is frustrating. So I have moved to using a power sprayer. That way the colors are limitless and it’s a pretty easy cleanup. Not as easy as a can of spray paint, but I’ve loved being able to use leftovers from room projects for spray painting. Thanks for the great post! Lisa~

  38. WOW! Super informative :) I have been waiting to spray paint a couple bookshelves. Thank you so much for the info!

  39. I’ve been with your for-evah and I love spray paint as much as you! I find that if I have paint left over from a project I scavenge the house looking for something else to paint that color. I just painted an old cherry side table black plum (Valspar I think) and had most of a can left so I painted a wreath today because I am really getting into purple as a Halloween color.

    But, for crafting purposes, I have to say this glitter spray I got at Hobby Lobby has really ROCKED my world.

  40. I really like Krylon because of their nozzles. allthingsthrifty.blogspot.com got me excited about spray paint, and she’s a big lover of Krylon.

  41. The Ben Moore store by my house sells empty cans that they will fill with your color of paint. The cans are refillable, but I don’t know if they are as spray-tastic as those prefilled ones…

  42. Ahh, this is great. I hope I get around to spray painting my bedside tables this weekend…. I’m itching to get started :)

  43. If that wasn’t the greatest post on spray paint, I don’t know what is! You just answered the priming question for me on a wicker coffee table I’m doing this weekend. I love the way your personality comes through when you write. You are a fun read!

  44. Do I have exciting news for you? Lowe’s now offers custom mixed spray paint! That’s right, you pick the color, they mix it and some how magically put it in your standard aerosol spray can! I’m not sure the price but being able to get the perfect shade of yellow or blue is worth quite a bit in my book. I haven’t tried it yet but I’ll be sure to report back when I do! I still get goosebumps just thinking about it!

  45. thank you so much for all this very valuable information. you answered most of my questions in your post.. I have a federal style 4 poster bed and I really want to paint it– have wanted to for 2 years now , but just cant muster up the courage to do it.
    I swear its like they dipped it in plasticote– thats how it looks and feels anyway..
    I thought about testing the rail on the far side of the bed in a small spot to see if it would take primer.. Do you think thats a good idea? or should I just got for it..
    sanding is out of the question as the posts are very deeply detailed…
    thanks in advance for anything you can suggest..

  46. question: my baseboards in the bathroom are so rusty and i’ve tried to remove it but with no success. can i spraypaint them or is there another solution to it? i just figure maybe paint and heat are not a good mix… thanks!

  47. I would love to know what paint you used to paint your hardware on that sidetable you shared with us. I love the sheen to it. I’m wondering if I can do the same look you’ve got going with that hardware but with black paint. I haven’t decided what color to paint the hardware on the dresser I’m working on… Please do share! :)

  48. Elizabeth ~ I have discovered a new trick and it is good. I spray painted the hardware the same color as the nightstand. When it was halfway dry, but still sticky, I took my favorite craft paint (‘Metallic Taupe’) which is gorgeous champagne color that floats between gold and silver, and hand painted the hardware. It dried along with the spray paint to a very hard finish, giving me the color I desired with a craft paint/spray paint combo.

    Otherwise known as “experiments I have conducted that actually work”.


  49. Sonny, I feel your pain. That’s the beauty of spray, it can go where sanding cannot go, and brushes leave drips and strokes. I would test the primer in an inconspicuous spot, say the back of the headboard? Let it dry. Add a layer of your spray paint color of choice. Try to scrape it off with your fingernails. Be mean. Then if you’re comfortable with the adhesion with the products you have used, then just go for it.

  50. J: When you say your baseboards are ‘rusty’ which occurs with various metals, I’m wondering what you mean. With moisture, I’m more concerned about mold. Most baseboards are made of wood or MDF, confused by your ‘metal baseboards’. Moisture that leads to rust can lead to mold as well, especially in a bathroom. In my opinion, spray paint in your circumstances is not recommended in a small bathroom space because you’re working in small quarters and the dust/residue will only land on your other interior surfaces. Spray paint is best used outdoors in well ventilated areas. Also, it’s probably a band aid where you need an operation for removal and replacement. If you’re unable to pry your baseboards yourself, you may wish to seek professional help in removal and replacement. Also, I’ve always primed and painted baseboards with a brush on formula. I hope this is answering your dilemma, but still perplexed by ‘metal’ baseboards.

  51. CG:

    I could just see you explaining to Gilligan on the island, “No, let’s not use the paint for SOS,we can do the cocoanut mailbox! Can’t you just go find some rocks and spell it yourself?? I’m busy!!” :0)

  52. love the nighstand! what a score! great post on paint, thanks! off topic, your backdrop design on your page header would be such abeautiful wall stencil!

  53. These are great tips, Kate! My mom finally jumped on the spray-paint bandwagon recently and turned a very tired old wicker hamper and wicker trashcan from faded/chipping white to a lovely moss green. I was so proud of her! :)

  54. Thanks so much Kate! I also wanted to share that some paint companies can take regular paint and put it in a spray can made by Seymour. I recently purchased a quart of oil based paint (Rockport Gray) from my local Ben Moore store and they made me up a can of spray using some of the paint from the quart that I purchased. This made getting a tough spots on my furniture piece a breeze. You can have any colour made in a spray paint this way!

  55. OK, seriously. What a great post on spraying tips! You even got a decorative painter to look up and out to spray paints, prairie dog style. (We usually spray with an HVLP sprayer.) I had a bad experience with a frosting spray (my home, front door, side glass panels, so so bad) and realized it was all about my prepwork. So kudos with the talk on priming and good preparation. Beautiful blog — so glad I found you via the Nate Show design blogger/Twitter lovefest. (I don’t believe we met that day…bummer). Have a wonderful week!

  56. Thanks for the great info! I only just discovered your blog a couple of weeks ago and I AM INSPIRED! In fact, I hit Lowe’s and Home Depot today and bought 4 cans of spray paint. I am planning to spray paint the “lovely” polished brass sconces, towel bars, and knobs found throughout my entire 1996-built home, either with antique brass or oil-rubbed bronze metallic. Did not know that these products were available or even that I had this option until I have the cash to replace all my fixtures! Thanks for the inspiration and information CG!! Love your blog.

  57. I’m so happy you wrote this post!! I just moved last week from an apartment to a house. We’re (read: my boyfriend and his dad) are renovating the basement and we have lots of other projects coming up! I thought of spray painting a few of the original things we found in the basement. Can’t wait to start my projects, but you better believe I’ll be checking your blog before I begin!! PS. I’m so excited to re-do our laundry room – you may or may not remember I posted yours a couple months ago! xoxo

  58. This is super! I do have one more question. What did you use to clean the brass on the fireplace before painting it. That project is on my To Do List for this fall. Thanks for sharing.


  59. Thanks so much Kate! I used ORB on my bathroom brass fixtures…I didn’t even remove them from the sink,bath tub and wall! Just left them in place taped around them and put up a cardboard shield and wala quick paint job!! Lol and they look lovely and no problems and they have been painted over 5 mths. now. I did remove the glass and bulbs from the light fixture. I would be happy to show pics.but I don’t know how to upload them for you.

  60. I think that “j” meant baseboard heaters. My husband is a contractor and we see them rusty all the time. If this is the case they can be removed, there is a face plate that slides off horizontally then you will see the exposed little metal fins. Most likely covered in dust debris etc. it’s hard to get the vacuum in that tight area. Then if you look with a flashlight you will see in the back of the heater unit screws or however else they were attached to the wall. You should be able to remove them by unscrewing the screws and then pulling the unit straight up flush with the wall. All that will be left is the actual heating fins/unit. The rest is just dressing. Sand , prime, spray paint! and re- install in reverse of how you removed them. :)

  61. i forgot to mention in my explanation above that there are end caps that come off. usually just slide to the left or right and then you can slide the face plate off horizontally. sorry i skipped that step

  62. Thank you for all of the information- this is superbly helpful! Here is a question that I can’t seem to find an answer for: Can you paint over an already spray painted item, and how would you do that? I found a lovely chandelier that had been previously painted (it is metal, and they put a gold finish over it). It seems to be chipping in areas, and I would really like to spray it a “Non-gold” color. However, do you suggest trying to strip the metal? priming and painting over it? Just spraying it and hope that it works out? Any suggestions would be very helpful!

  63. Lovin’ this. I’d really like to know how you got the finish on the hardware. Did you rub off some of the paint? It’s GORGE!!!

  64. I have discovered your website only a few days ago but am impressed already. Unable to decide what to read first. I saw your video Spray Paint 101 and was wondering where I could find the spray paint gun like the one you have attached to your spray paint can? I have looked at Home Depot and Rona but all of their Spray paint guns are separate units into which you add a paint. I would really appreciate your help.

  65. I just have to say, I would have NEVER purchased that table with the way it looked originally but I absolutely LOVE what you did to it! Now I’m inspired to go to the local thrift shop and find something super ugly to snaz up like you did! You’re inspiring! Thanks!

  66. Hey, need to get me one of those guns. Just painted 2 twin beds last weekend with that exact wide top spray, comfort tip non-sense — made no difference. I’m thinking though that you can still use the gun, just remove the wide top tip and replace with standard. I did notice it seemed to spit more than others. But the color was the one I needed!

    Also, question — anyone have experience painting doorknobs and hinges? Our house has a mess of finishes and these are yuck brass. But I’m afraid to either gum up the moving parts or have them all chipped in a year. Thoughts?

  67. Hi Life in Eden ~ the new guns (seen in the picture) actually fit over both tops so they can be used with the Old School and Comfort Tip nozzle designs. I’ve seen doorknobs and hinges spray painted before, but I know what you mean about gumming up the parts. Best way: remove them entirely, spray, and reinstall.

  68. CalaLily and Amanda, you just made my day. I am definitely trying out those ideas for refilllable spray cans, brilliant! AT LAST AT LAST !!!!

  69. Allison, yes you can spray paint over previously spray painted metal. Sand any areas that may be chipping off, then give it a dose of bonding primer like Zinsser. Spray paint with your color of choice.

  70. Kate, thanks for this great info! A couple questions for you (apologies if these are stupid questions, I am a newbie):

    1) you say in the video to clean the piece thoroughly – is there a specific product you use to clean with? or are we just talking about a damp rag?

    2) does using spray paint affect any distressing you would do afterward? I have seen you use the candle method, but I normally prefer sanding – does using sandpaper after spray paint work for distressing?

  71. Have you ever painted a ceramic pot/planter? If so, did you prime that? I have been hunting for some black pots for topiaries. I can’t find them, but have found several that I liked that were not black. I could end my eternal hunt, if I could only paint the beige ones.

  72. You are a spray paint goddess! I’m bookmarking your post so that I can refer to it during my next spray painting job (which may just be this weekend, should the weather hold).

  73. I have used the BM oil spray paint. They fill the cans with any color you want. It is expensive though. You have to buy a quart of your paint and then they charge per can which is alot compared to regular spray paint. I would not se the artist spray paints. They are for art and NOT tough. In fact you can paint/draw over many of them. Thanks for the info

  74. hubby spray painted the light fixture in the bathroom. I *believe* he used a white spray paint that was designated for appliances? (he used it on top of our old dryer also) and it is still perfect over a year later… no issues with moisture in the bathroom!

  75. I just wanted to share with you the result from taking your advice and jumping in there to spray paint! I purchased a coffee table at our local Goodwill for $22.99 and 2 cans of spray paint at OSH – of course, heirloom white. Hello Gorgeous! My husband and neighbors were so impressed and I love the way it turned out. You just can’t buy new solid wood furniture like this in the store for a decent price anymore. And the particle board stuff doesn’t hold up to real family use. This was a great solution for us and I’m excited to try more. Check out the pictures on our blog…if you want. Thanks again for your inspiration!

  76. This nightstand looks amazing! Quick question – in the video it looks like it has a shiny, varnished finish on the top. How do you deal with this? Did you sand it first? Can you spray paint over a varished surface? I have a wood desk that I’d love to paint, but it’s shiny/varnished surface makes me nervous.


  77. What a great post- thanks! I am on a spray paint kick myself…my kids are worried that if they stand still too long I’ll paint them too!! (so far, have sprayed a few frames, a chair, various Goodwill finds…what’s next?!!!)

  78. Hi Katie, I like to give anything wood or glossy a light sanding, I find it helps the primer and/or paint cling better, something about scuffing it up. Don’t forget to wipe away the residue!

  79. Visiting via Tip Junkie! Thank you so much for this post – amazing information! LOVE that blue clawfoot bathtub!

  80. At last! someone with whom I share a passion for paint!! My family and coworkers I know are wondering about me…but they do like what the finished products look like! ha. thanks for sharing with all of us! I took an 1930’s buffet and YES I painted it, black. I LOVE it! :-)

  81. Wow! Thanks so much for the info on spray painting! I will reference this many times for future projects! :)

    With regard to your section about spray painting bathroom hardware, I recently used Krylon celery spray paint on mine (http://31diy.blogspot.com/2010/09/bathroom-cabinets-from-drab-to-fab.html). It worked out very nicely in the end, but I do have to say it took a lot of spray paint to cover 7 cabinet pulls. I think I had to give them 3 or 4 coats, which used up about 3/4 of the bottle. After the first coat, the hardware sort of absorbed the spray paint and left an uneven finish. I was worried for sure. But with each additional coat, it started to even out and I was happy! This hardware is circa 1980 and made of some kind of metal, by the way. I wonder if I should have used a primer…?

    Again, thanks for writing this spray paint FAQ! Love the way your nightstand turned out!

  82. HOLY WOW there is a Spray Paint GOD, Thank you. I thought I was the queen of Spray Paint but you’ve got me beat and what a wonderful writer you are. Love this blog post. So glad that Tip Junkie had you featured so that I could bond with someone who obviously shares my love of Spray Painting anything, even if it is nailed down. yes!!!!
    Here’s to you O’Queen of the Spray Can!! (that was done in my best Budweisser man commercial voice)

  83. So glad I found this post! (Thanks, notmartha!)

    I do have a question. I inherited an old wood cupboard that turned out to be cheap wood with an original coat of lead paint. I’ve done numerous rounds of paint stripper for lead based paint, and still it is not all off or even all smooth. Should I just get rid of it or is there hope with some level of primer/paint combo? I’m not using it for any kind of food or even clothing, and there are no little kids in the house any more, but I’m still not sure about the safest choice. The guy at the hardware store couldn’t believe that the stripper didn’t take it all off. (Okay, that was a weird sentence.)

    TIA! Love your blog!

  84. You have truly inspired me with your spray painting. I have lots of fun with it. Have put quite a few girlfriends on to your site too. Keep up the good work x

  85. Perfect timing on your post. We’re currently upgrading our bathroom and will be adding a new espresso colored vanity from the “Palencia” series at Lowes (the vanity isn’t online, but here’s the mirror: http://www.lowes.com/pd_156131-66150-20H+VM3037_0__?productId=3257034&Ntt=palencia&pl=1&currentURL=/pl__0__s%3FNtt%3Dpalencia)

    I’m planning on spray painting an existing wood storage unit I have from Ikea, that is currently painted white (its the tall cabinet in the back corner at http://www.flickr.com/photos/47937624@N00/5096376277/)

    So here’s my question oh queen of spray painting: can you recommend the very best spray paint to achieve the same glossy espresso finish to match the Palencia vanity, which is really that dark brown/black color? The only gloss “Espresso” spray colors I’ve found are Rustoleum Universal Spray and Krylon Fusion for Plastic gloss espresso. Or would I be better off doing a Satin finish (i.e. Rustoleum Painter’s Choice Satin Spray in Espresso) + a clear gloss coat?

  86. Thanks so much for all the tips ! I am planning on spray painting a nice but very non-matching baker’s rack we were given by my parents and had no idea where to begin! Now I think I might not totally screw it up! YAY :)

  87. Right-on. Wish I’d seen this earlier in my DIY lifetime. :) Although these days I’m not really doing any furniture spray-painting, because it never worked out well for me. What I hated was how many cans I had to go through to cover one piece well. Didn’t really like having all that aerosol waste. Also, I can’t stand how much the paint spray drifts, causing you to have to dropcloth everything in a room. But maybe that’s just me!!!

  88. Thank you so much for such a great post. I’ve had limited spray paint experience but did spray a wicker set for our porch that we inherited with the house (pictured somewhere on my blog) and turned an iron owl a lovely teal blue. Your items are gorgeous and so is your home.

  89. Hi
    I have been following your blog for a while and felt inspired to redo some small tables I bought at – yes – walmart a few years ago. They were inexpensive but i like the shape and size. I do not like the colour of the wood. I sanded all surfaces and then wiped with a tack cloth. Then I sprayed 2 coats of Rustoleum multi surface primer in white, with a light sand and rewipe with tack cloth inbetween. After that completely dried I started to spray Rustoleum universal satin all surface paint (fast drying) in satin white. Immediately the drawer front did the crackle /wrinkle thing in 2 spots (looks exactly like your picture funnily) and one of the flat shelves did it also on a corner. I stopped after that and looked into your blog for advice. My husband thinks the primer is not compatible, I wonder if I got all the varnish or finish off the surface but wouldnt the 2 coats of primer have dealt with that? Now he suggests that I sand it down and wipe it with acetone then respray with the paint (not primer). You suggest oil based primer instead after sanding down. Could you just verify with me the next step? I did paint a larger table top that the drawer belongs to and it is fine (fingers crossed). The primer had dried for over 24 hours. Thank you for any advice you can pass on.

  90. I read this at about 3am after a teething night disaster with my 5 month old son. After reading this I was so excited I couldn’t sleep – or wait for Home Depot to open. The spray paint gun is A-MAZ-ZING! And I’m shocked at how little I knew about primer. After 5 projects were re-done (ahem, the right way) I am again hooked on spray paint – Thanks!

  91. Hi,
    I noticed your wish about winning the lottery and designing your own colors. Have you talked to Rust-Oleum about your wish and a negotiation? Love your work.

  92. Hey Kate–
    I saw that you spray painted some of your dresser hardware. I’m in the process of reviving an old piece right now, and I’m trying to figure out how to spray paint the floppy old handles. Any tips? I’m afraid the moveable part of the handle will stick after I spray it. Thanks!

  93. Just came across this post and I love it! I’m all about spray-painting — so much easier and faster than painting with a brush.

    For all you spray painters looking for purdy colors: look no more! Montana Spraypaint has an incredible selection of colors. My ex-boyfriend did graffiti art and he used to buy Montana cans all the time. I went with him one time when he was picking out colors and I was was drooling at the number of colors to choose from.

    Here’s the website, specifically the page showing the types of cans they have. Montana GOLD is probably the best line with the most selection:


    They’re all matte finish from what I understand, but they also have a gloss that you can spray over if you want a shiny finish. I believe they’re acrylics as well, so you’ll want to use a primer (which they also sell!).

    This website has a list of places that apparently sell it, but I’m not too sure how accurate it is. But you may as well try it out. There are also plenty of places to order it online, too. http://www.montana-spraypaint.com/home.53.0.html Go there, then go to the “Dealers” link, then click on your country at the left, then it will come up with a PDF link.

    Just thought I’d put my two cents in. :) Hope someone finds it helpful!

  94. I have been following your blog off and on. I am a DIY junkie, but I have a question for a spray paint queen such as yourself. I just took an old rocking chair, striped it (BTW I used Citristrip…it’s ok), and spray painted a granite gray as a base coat. I spray painted part of the chair with rustoleum’s metallic silver, but had to let that sit for 2 weeks as we have had really cold weather and I wanted to wait until the temp was closer to 70 to continue painting. So, after that 2 weeks, the paint still comes off when you touch it. I finished the initial coat of silver today, but am worried as to whether or not I just have a big mess on my hands or not. The color is gorgeous, but no one will be able to sit in the chair-they will look like the tin man when they stand back up. Have you ever had this happen? I have search a lot on the internet about it, but I haven’t found a good solution. Rat because the chair looks stunning. HELP!

  95. Stephanie: just saw a vinyl chair spray painted metallic and I believe the strategy was many, many (as in like, 20) very light coats. My other suggestion would be a final sealing spray, if you can get one in a matt finish as I’m sure you wouldn’t want a gloss one destroying your beautiful metallic luster. Good luck!

  96. Have spent hours on your blog, wow, the inspiration! Thanks for all the great info. Can you tell me what you did to the pulls and knobs on this little nightstand? I have some similarly colored ones on a piece I am going to redo and love the end look of yours Thanks

  97. i found this through a comment on re-nest.com and boy am i glad i found ya. you’ve got great advice and it’s great that you have fun with it too..you’re silly, not hardcore serious lol! thanks for this and i’m def bookmarking your site. hope to learn a lot more from ya. :]

  98. This is great! When I was a scenic painter at a professional theater we spray painted EVERYTHING. I was very proud of my larger-than-life spray paint cabinet. We would go full workdays doing nothing but spraypainting metal, paint, wood or plastic. Thanks for opening up the word to many newbies!

  99. I was getting ready to redo my twin boys’ room for their 6th birthday when I spotted you on the Nate show and found your blog. Up until about 2 weeks ago, I never spray painted anything in my life. I was going to buy cheap desks at Ikea – but your blog inspired me to find a Habitat for Humanity Restore and get some old desks (much sturdier than Ikea) to paint the boys’ favorite colors (red and blue). I JUST finished – and they look AWESOME. If I learned ONE thing from this experience – it’s to use ZINSSER Cover Stain Oil-based Primer!!! I thought I could cheat and use just any old oil based primer – (I tried Kilz brand) – but had lots of headaches with paint cracking, coagulating, etc. I went through about 3 cans of Kilz, several sheets of sandpaper, and almost lost by sanity before I decided to try the Zinsser – and viola! – my problems were solved. I should have just listened to you to begin with. Thanks for all of your tips… I can’t wait to start on my old ugly colonial bench – I’m going to paint it white and slap it on the porch – it should be a piece of cake after the desks!

  100. I love this site & have learned so much. I’m wanting to paint my 2 bar stools & can’t locate the Zinsser oil based spray primer anywhere in Houston. Trust me, I’ve called every place that sells paint products! Even the True Value’s don’t carry the spray. Huge bummer, so I’ve got to paint the stuff on. I’m excited about the project anyway. Thanks for the great tips – I’m not nearly as terrified to do those bar stools now.

  101. I have an old trunk that is covered with canvas… I’m wanting to do something with it…. either paint over the canvas or possibly remove the canvas and refinish the wood underneath. Any suggestions on spray painting canvas or on how to remove the canvas from the trunk?


  102. I have a spray paint question for you! We have a large deck with a glass paneled railing all the way around. the panels are approx. 4′ high x 6′ wide. There are several panels. We have birds hit the glass all the time and I feel awful about it. I’m wondering if the Rustoleum frosted glass spray could be sprayed on the glass panels? This way the birds would fly above the glass and not into it. Thanks!

  103. Super handy and informational! Used this on my DIY project – painting a buffet! Thanks for the great tips!

  104. HI,

    Thanks for all your wonderful and generous DIY tips and tricks. :) I have one question regarding primer. I am refinishing an end table and have applied primer, but noticed after the primer dried that is was very grainy and needs to be sanded again before spraying on the paint color. I gave the table an initial quick sand down, that then wiped the surface clean before applying the primer. I was expecting a smooth finish after the primer so I could, after it dried, spray on the paint. Is it always necessary to sand smooth the primer before applying paint?

  105. This is great! Just wanted to share – I spray painted some old “floppy” dresser hardware the hammered black finish about 13 years ago, and it has held up well all these years (and, it has gotten lots if use)! Being a poor college student at the time, and not having blog resources to turn to, I didn’t use a primer. I disassembled what I could (taking the floppy part of the handle off the plate that attaches to the dresser), and just sprayed one side at a time. I think I only did 2 light coats! And I am still pleased with the results today.

  106. This is such a great post! Quick question: do you need to add a protectant or varnish to furniture that you’ve spray painted? I’d so, what type? Thanks again. I’m a huge fan!

  107. Thanks so much for your blog. I’m re-inventing my kitchen. Took down wallpaper & painted. Love it. I’d like to get rid of the 3 pendants over island & matching large pendant over table, but they’re not broken, just brass with clear glass shades that constantly need cleaning (from the grease). Didn’t realize I was such a greasy cook. I’ve considered painting them in a dark bronze (the brass) & then frosting the glass shade. That’d sure help to disguise the grease (when I don’t clean them often, they look frosted). Anyway, I’d really like to change the glass shade to a cylinder shade. I guess I’ll have to go to my lighting store & see if any shade will work. I’ve seen plenty of shades on line to purchase, just don’t know if they’ll work in my application. I hate replacing the lights (they’re not broken or even in bad shape). We live in a throw away country, & if I can just paint & replace the shade, I’d be totally satisfied. Then, I could paint the brass handles on my cabinets. I will definitely prime, then paint these. I certainly appreciate your blog. I look forward to reading it daily. Keep up the good work. You are an inspiration.

  108. I’m working on a post about the wonders that a simple coat of white paint can do! Linking to this page and borrowing the before and after photos if that’s ok! Everything I borrow will be credited to you of course!

  109. OMGOSH, I have the matching bed and dresser that go with this night stand! My grandfather bought it for me in 1977, my daughter use it now!I always wondered what it would look like painted white. If you ever want to get rid of it let me know!

  110. I found a lot of spray paint colors from Montana. They are meant for spray painting as art, but I used them for a wooden chest, and it worked well!

  111. I had that nightstand. And the whole set. 1975. 12 years old. It is now spray painted white in my 18 year old daughter’s room and she will not part with any of it!! (my mom insisted on calling the darn thing a “commode”. I was mortified. Needless to say we call it a nightstand! Love this blog. Just found it googling chalk paint. Trying to decide if I can give up my spray paint!!

  112. I have this set as well…Ethan Allen 1978. My mother also wouldn’t let me get rid of it and it is now in my 8 year old daughter’s room. I was actually going to sell this in a garage sale very soon until I came across your link on Pinterest. This will save me a ton of money and will tie in nicely to her decor…thanks!

  113. I have two of the same nightstands. I was wondering what you did to the hardware to update them.

    • Hi Ali, that’s ‘Pewter’ Rub N Buff as I recall – love that product for sprucing up hardware! I may have added a little champagne colored craft paint on top too…. been awhile!

  114. This is new;
    Places that sell paint for cars (not Pep-Boys) but paints by the pints and quarts, etc. They mix paint in big spray cans as touch ups for big areas on vehicles. There are litterally 1000’s and 1000’s of colors. Each color can mixed in 100’s of shades. When you find a place that mixes and sells car paint, all you have to do is look in their books for which chip you want. They’ll mix it and put it in a spray can for you for about $20. Once I started using car paint on my furniture rehaps, I couldn’t go back to regular spray paint. The color selections are endless. The quality and durability of the paint is superb to all other sprays.

  115. My husband and I are refinishing our bathroom vanity in Rustoleum Metallic oil-rubbed bronze spray paint. That probably sounds weird and I won’t go into the detailed reasons, but it’s a cheap vanity of I guess particle board covered with vinyl and we love the bronze look. My question–do we need some kind of protective varnish/lacquer/whatever as a top coat so we can clean spills and such? My husband thinks it should be matte, whatever we use. I am concerned about durability and being able to clean it. What would be best? Thanks!

    • Hi TGoody, spray paint is oil based so generally durable but in a bathroom, I’d put a coat of Polycrylic or Varathan on top in a satin sheen, just for added protection and it will make the cabinet easier to wipe down.

  116. You have inspired me beyond belief. I had a big job as DMM for 17 boutiques and had to resign dour to health. I finally have a fun “job” again, except I work for my home and my pocketbook is my boss. I’m redoing the whole house and made some oopsies on those new get a deal websites.
    Your help has made me enjoy the mistakes as I make them into beauties. Ok
    “I have an old repainted , chandelier. It’s needs to be repainted and cleaned. How to you detach those little nails from the chandelier to take off crystals and how do you remember exactly where they go? Thanks to you. You are a Goddess!

    I have two old pine side tables. The wood has not been conditioned over the last 20 years bc someone just thought it would do it itself (me)! Should I paint now ? They also have white rings. Buyt they are pretty antiques. I wish I knew how to attach photos thanks oh Goddess Kate!

  117. My local ACE hardware store will put any paint into a spray can for you. You can use one of their color chips to pick a paint or bring in your own paint for them to put into a spray can. It costs about $7 per spray can.

    • Hi Rachelle, I wouldn’t do it, but others have. Spray paint has a lot of chemicals in it, I’d look for a no VOC latex paint for a crib.

  118. Hi, newbie here and I’m wanting to spray paint my sons crib but don’t know if its safe. My son bites the side rails and I’m worried about the chemicals in the paint. There are plastic side rail protectors at toys r us, I was planning on getting anyways. Please let me know what you think! :-)

    • Hi Adelaida, I would not use traditional spray paints on a crib for that reason, but that’s just me. I’d choose a no VOC latex paint for a crib.

  119. A few years ago when I designed my craft room I wanted my peg board to be a nice color – other than the brown. My husband took me to a paint store where they took regular paint colors and turned them into spray paint. It was really cool. I think it is becoming more common now.

  120. My brother used Krylon spray paint on the carpet of a used car he purchased! He would spray lightly, let dry, then brush with a stiff brush. He did this several times and the finished result looked and felt like new carpet!

  121. What about spray painting a lamp, presumably fired ceramic with a glaze on it. Use a primer first? Any special type paint required? I’ve spray painted lots of stuff myself, and have been nodding affirmatively through all your comments.

    • Hi Jud, most spray paints are oil based so they adhere well, but with slippery ceramics, a coat of primer is best!

  122. Hi, CentsationalGirl,

    I don’t have a current project, but am an avid spray-painter, so I’ve really enjoyed reading through this site! Glad to know I’m not alone in my Spray Paint Obsession. :-)

    As an artist, I believe color to be critical to good mental health, and there’s no quicker, easier way to ‘redecorate’ than by grabbing a fresh can of paint and trying something unexpected.

    Thanks for the great read (and some really useful user’s comments, too)!

  123. I just purchased an end table (painted blue) to redo for a lake cabin. I either want it white or distressed with a little blue showing through. I’ve never done anything like this before and I’m not very handy, but I really want to learn. Where should I start?

    • Hi Patsy, you can use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White right over the top and then lightly sand it, that would give you the look you want!

  124. I am planning to spray paint an ornate (plastic I am guessing) mirror with lots of fanciful design and holes in the frame. Do you have any good tips on even coverage for inside the holes? I watched the beginner video and am anxious to start the project now that the weather has cooled to a reasonable temp (unlike the 110 degree too many days this summer).

    • Hi Kay, I spray painted an ornate mirror a few years back and I highly recommend several light coats. Sometimes where the paint can’t quite reach you have to fill in by hand, I spray a small amount of the paint into the plastic top so it’s still in liquid form, then use a small artist’s brush to apply it where necessary. Good luck!

  125. I have white wood blinds that have started to chip off. I thought I could lightly sand the loose paint off then spray paint them. I used the RustOleum White Satin Primer/Paint in the new trigger can. When I sprayed it on 11 blinds it instantly wrinkled. Do I need to sand all of the paint off the blinds or prime first? I appreciate your advice.

    • Hi Jodie, yes spray paint can be temperamental like that. Crackling means the spray paint encountered bad temperatures, debris, or improper surface preparation. Unfortunately, you do need to sand it down where it cracked and then prime over it.
      So sorry that happened!

  126. My husband has spray painted bathroom light fixtures–brass to brushed nickel–that turned out fantastic. He also spray painted in brushed nickel a wall-hung brass-plated lighted makeup mirror that I’d had for years. That was over 5 years ago and there have been absolutely no problems with it even though it’s on the wall right outside the shower! He even spray painted the body of a golf cart (disassembled first). But he’s an excellent painter (not professional) so I take all my spray painting chores to him! Lucky me!!!!

  127. Quick question about the splotch spray paint commentary. I just sanded and sprayed a tabletop with black enamel and have this problem. Did I read somewhere on your blog that the laquer layers will even that out, or am I going to need to sand and/or use that matte spray you mentioned above?

    Great website. Thanks so much for the info (and the help!!)!

  128. I have a question that has gone unanswered by every hardware store I’ve gone too!! I want to paint my stove!! I have been eye ballin the high heat spray paint for a month now, I just don’t know how smart or even how good of an idea this is!! Do you have any recommendations? Or even the advice that this is a horrible idea?

    • Hi Krissy, I haven’t seen appliances painted but I know the epoxy exists for some in white and a faux stainless steel color, but that is for dishwashers and fridges I presume. I have not heard of a stove painted and I’d hesitate to do it but you might find more information with a search online.
      Good luck,

  129. Can you spray paint interior walls? I want to do my little girls bedroom wall and don’t want to break out the rollers and trays and stuff. Would love to just throw a cover over the furniture and start spraying a wall. I’ve searched everywhere online and can’t find anyone that’s done this without an airless sprayer that professionals use. I just want to try a can of Rustoleum, have you ever tried this? Thanks!

    • Hi Keele, I don’t advise spray painting indoors due to airborne toxins, I have not done it, and the products advise to spray paint only in well ventilated areas. You can invest in a paint sprayer for indoor latex paint but they can be costly. I’d recommend a standard roller!

  130. I’ve just inherited this whole set from my sister in law and plan on using it in my teen daughter’s room. I’d like to paint it, but I’m concerned with how the laminate top will hold up. Any suggestions and paint tip before I get started on my project?

    • HI Kika, you can paint laminate as long as you use a good bonding adhesion primer, I like Zinsser’s ‘Cover Stain’ in the brown can.

  131. Hi, i stumbled onto your website and i just wanted you to know how much i am enjoying it. I have been a long time lover of painting furniture despite the comments from my husband (i drive him crazy with my hatred of most unpainted woods), but i have never had knowledge of the correct types of paint. Your tips are great (and funny). THANK YOU!

    PS. I am about to attempt spraypainting wicker. Wish me luck:)

  132. Just wanted to say I love your blog–the tips are great and I really appreciate your sense of humor!

  133. Hello, Love your site. I had just gotten a piece of furniture (buffet?) that I wanted to chalk paint. Did so, and it cracked/bubbled. Bought a hand sander, sanded it, spray primed it – and that bubbled too!! How do I fix this so it cooperates?! The problem area is the top; its laminate from what I can tell and has a second section that sits on top of it – could that be why the paint isn’t sticking right (chalk and primer)? Because of some weird chemistry between the two items? I didn’t want to use the top item because the laminated sides have cracks/peels in them and figured it wouldn’t last long after being painted…Any suggestions?

    • Hi Melissa, that’s unfortunate. With laminates it’s best to use a good bonding primer, I prefer Zinsser, it adheres very well. You can try that on top, or look into the Peel-Stop primers, also made by RustOleum.

  134. I have a brass lamp that I have taken apart. I want to spray it to have a silver mirror finish. What to you recommend?

    • Hi Barbara, the mercury glass spray paints are worth looking into for that.

  135. I have scoured the internet for an answer to my spray paint question and can’t find it. I don’t trust the guys at my Lowe’s…but you seem to be the queen of spray paint so I am hoping you can help.

    I want to spray paint my bathroom vanity lights. They get warm to the touch so I am concerned about safety. Should I opt for a high heat spray or would regular be OK? High heat has such limited colors :/


    • Hi Marcie, it’s fine to spray paint the metal, but not the glass.

  136. Your blog is filled with such great information; I am in awe of it. Your home is so stunning with your choice of paint colors. I can not imagine anything painted in the grey/silver tones but you nailed it in that bedroom. It turned out so elegant ! I’ve only spray painted a few things, not any furniture but you make it seem so simple. I really don’t need any more furniture but in one room; that’s our sun room. It is used for watching tv all day long, and we eat our meals there so we have a kitchen dinette set that came from our former home that is way too large for that room. DH sits in his Lazyboy recliner all day except for meals. The chairs that go with this kitchen table/dinette set are so comfortable and has arms on them. He refuses to start using the formal dining room because he can’t watch the tv from there. I’d like to get rid of that kitchen set and make that room look like a sun room, what is’s meant to look like. Rip up the carpet and put some tile floors, repaint the room. Only trouble is the sun is in that room all day long and we have to keep the mini blinds closed or all we get are the outside reflections on the TV. I hate being closed up. What’s my solution? The walls of the Living room and formal dining room are BM Hillsborough Beige with white woodwork. This color we love and it has held up so well for over 7 years without showing a need to repaint. What color would you suggest for the sun room which is next to the formal dining room. I’d love to go tropical in that sun room. It is now Kittery point green which is the second time we painted it. Went with a blue the first time and changed it within a few weeks as it reminded us of a boy’s bedroom color. I want the colors to flow from one room to another. In the living room, we have sheers on top of the mini blind and a pretty valance on top of the sheers that is a light green/aqua color so I was wondering if I should pull that color on to that sun room. Is that considered a tropical color. I have not chosen the tile I want for the sun room floor, replacing the light beige carpet that gets a lot of soil and wear and tear. Do I wait till I chose the tile and then decide on paint color?

    I’m going to be looking for a used credenza/buffet that I try painting a white or color for 32 in. flat screen tv to set on and so I can also set plants around on it. At least that is what I am picturing in my mind. I have a collection of bird houses on a white shelf over two large windows in tha sun room. Your eye for color and your creativity is amazing. Love you blog and can’t wait to view the next article/category or subject matter. Thanks for sharing with your fans.

  137. I sprayed some Rustoleum gold and I’m not sure what happened, but it bubbled. Weird because the temp is perfect, I primed the surface (though not with oil based primer) and since it was primed, it should have been pretty clean. Anyway, I’ll follow your instructions for fixing it. Thanks for the tips!

  138. I know this is an old post but I just wanted to add that I’ve found another source for paint blistering and that is the use of Liquid Sander. My old dining chairs had been previously coated with stain and varnish (no poly) and I thought liquid sander would make the job easier – NOPE! Even though I followed the instructions to the letter, when I applied the spray paint to the de-glossed and dried wood, it blistered like I had used paint stripper. I am now in the process of sanding and priming so I can paint all over again. Wasted time and money! Hope this helps someone else to avoid my mistake.

  139. Oh no so sorry you had that experience Lori! Despite the awful outcome, I really appreciate you sharing that so others are warned.


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