Spray Painting FAQs

Do you want to be an expert at spray painting? Check out these FAQs!

Also check out some of my other painting posts on the blog:

Spray Painting Q & A:

What brand of spray paint do you use?

We love to use Rustoleum and Krylon spray paints. I am so impressed with the Krylon color selection and the quality of the paint and the nozzle on the Rustoleum 2x Ultra Cover.  Both are great!

Do you use primer when you spray paint?

Yes. Usually, but not always. I always prime furniture and large items. However, I rarely prime small items, like frames, lamps, etc., unless I am covering a dark piece with a light color. If you’re in doubt, do it! I promise you’ll never regret priming! It’s always helpful! If it’s something that will be handled a lot, consider priming it!

Do you have to sand furniture before spray painting?

Not always. Again, this is a total judgement call unless there is obvious damage or issues with the furniture. I always sand if there are things that need smoothed out or any old paint, varnish, or anything else removed. Sanding is a great way to get a fresh start on a piece. And again, you’ll never regret sanding either!

I spray painted a piece, and now it feels sticky/tacky. What did I do wrong?

Usually when this happens, you have sprayed it too thick too quick. If you spray several coats of primer and spray paint on a piece, you must make sure that each coat is completely dry and cured before spraying any additional coats. When it’s sticky, the top coat may seem dry but the other coats have not dried thoroughly. More often than not, time will fix it but it can take several days or even weeks for it to cure completely. Be sure not to use the furniture until the sticky/tacky feeling is gone.

Do I have to use a clear coat after spray painting?

No. Clear coat is simply for protection. I usually use it on large pieces that I plan to have or use for a long time. Also, if the piece will be getting a lot of wear and tear you should use a clear coat. I usually use polycrylic or polyurethane. You can use wax or a number of other things to finish or protect your piece. One thing you want to be careful with is using polyurethane on white or really light pieces as it can yellow over time.

How can I be sure not to get drips when I’m spray painting?

This can be tricky and you will get better with practice. I have found that you need to shake your can really well and do a few test sprays on a piece of cardboard to check your nozzle.  Also, if the outside temps are too cold, it can cause drips during drying time because the paint is running before it has time to cure.

My spray paint is bubbling. What happened?

Your piece is basically rejecting your paint! Sometimes it’s due to conditions being cold or there is something unseen that will not allow the paint to adhere. I’m sure there’s a more professional explanation but it happens all too often. This can be solved by using an oil based primer on the cracked or bubbled area. Make sure to always prepare the surfaces you plan to paint so it doesn’t have any oils, debris, flaking paint, etc.

Do you use a spray paint nozzle attachment when you paint?

I don’t really like using the attachment nozzles you can buy. I know that people do like to use them but it’s just a personal preference… and yes, my hand gets tired of pushing the nozzle! 🙂

What surfaces can I spray paint?

Be sure to read the label on your spray paint can or research online but you can virtually paint anything! Wood, metal, plastic, fabric, etc.

Other Tips

  • Wear gloves.
  • Work in a well ventilated area and wear a mask.
  • Cover nearby surfaces with a drop cloth or tarp to protect them from over spray.  Use Graffiti remover if you get overspray on concrete or nearby surfaces. Make sure to read the label to be sure it’s safe to use.

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  • Reply
    Strawberries and Sweet Love
    August 8, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    OOOOhhh thanks for the tips!

  • Reply
    The Johnsons- Deep in the Heart of...Arkansas?!!
    August 8, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    I am a spray paint girl, too! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Those are some much-needed tips, for sure. I’m just beginning to learn the art of spray painting. I cannot get over all these pieces of furniture you’ve spray painted! Bautiful! I have a new spray gun with air compressor that I keep meaning to learn but in the meantime—these tips are just what I needed! Bless You!!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Good tips! I have a couple projects i am tackling soon 🙂 wish me luck!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Wow, those are cool!! LOVE love love!! And thanks for the tips…I am not too great as spraying yet!

  • Reply
    Britney Jean
    August 8, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Thanks for the tips! Love spray paint!

  • Reply
    Jasanna Czellar
    August 9, 2012 at 3:11 am

    Thanks for this! Your furniture looks fantastic! A couple questions. Do you use a mask? It’s so powerful-smelling, that it often gives me a headache. I also worry it’ll get in my eyes on a breezy day. Also, have you dealt with furniture that may have lead-based paint that you’re not supposed to sand off? I have an older furniture piece that I need to sand, but heard about the lead-based paint recently. I don’t want to do anything harmful…


  • Reply
    Creative 25 Hours A Day
    August 9, 2012 at 11:55 am

    I think you just saved my brick patio! I accidentally sprayed beyond my covered space and onto the brick and didn’t see it until the next morning. !!! Can I find that graffitti remover at Lowe’s?

    BTW LOVE your blog!

  • Reply
    Gabbi @ Retro Ranch Reno
    August 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    What gorgeous pieces! Loved them all!

  • Reply
    Monaliza Legarto
    August 22, 2012 at 9:27 pm

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  • Reply
    Joey Medina
    August 24, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    I truly like to reading your post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a nice information.
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  • Reply
    Sarah @ Simply Sarah Style
    August 30, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    This was so helpful. I will have to keep an eye out for that brand. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    November 9, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    I made a wreath for Halloween and I guess we were overzealous with the spray paint and my project is *still* tacky after a month. Would keeping it in the garage over winter be better than trying to set it outside in the sun?

  • Reply
    November 9, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    I made a wreath for Halloween and I guess we were overzealous with the spray paint and my project is *still* tacky after a month. Would keeping it in the garage over winter be better than trying to set it outside in the sun?

  • Reply
    March 9, 2013 at 4:21 am

    Thanks for sharing….Nice Post

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  • Reply
    mariya disouza
    March 9, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    La baie d’açai a également un certain nombre d’antioxydants qui sont excellents pour le corps, car ils aident à restaurer d’autres antioxydants déjà dans le corps comme la vitamine C, la vitamine E et le glutathion. Les flavonoïdes dans la baie aussi aider à protéger le corps contre la maladie.
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  • Reply
    Teresa Donner
    May 28, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    I’m thinking about redoing a old dresser that belonged to my kids. I want to put it in the kitchen as a coffee station. If I was going to use a primer which one do you recommend?

  • Reply
    May 22, 2014 at 12:21 am

    Hi, I am completely new to painting pretty much anything but am in love with your ivory and black dresser makeover. I noticed it looks like on several of your pieces you have aged it and some places look worn which I really like. What technique did you use to achieve this look and would it be easy for a newbie such as myself to do? I have some furniture that was my mothers that I would just love to revive… thanks!!

    • Reply
      Mallory & Savannah
      May 22, 2014 at 10:53 am

      Hi Brandi!

      I just use a fine grit sandpaper and scuff the edges where I want it to look distressed! It’s super easy and you can’t really mess it up! Total newbie friendly! xoxo

  • Reply
    July 12, 2014 at 6:51 am

    I did a poor job spray painting a laminate entertainment center a few years back. It scratches easily, especially when pulling out shelves and looks blotchy in places. I want to repaint over it, but don’t know if I can–would a second coat adhere? How would you suggest I go about an attempt to repaint laminate furniture?

  • Reply
    August 6, 2014 at 12:40 am

    I’m new to following this FABULOUS blog! I was trying to watch the spray painting video, but it says that it’s private…. Any suggestions? Thx!

    • Reply
      June 28, 2015 at 6:51 am

      Same problem here, I’ll try asking this as a new ques as for some reason only one person got an answer to a ques here in the comments section (about distressing furniture with sandpaper) but no one else!

      • Reply
        Mallory & Savannah
        June 29, 2015 at 9:16 pm

        Hi Maddy!

        Due to extremely high volume of comments and questions, we are unable to answer every single one. Sorry! What was your question about distressing?


        • Reply
          June 29, 2015 at 9:30 pm

          Hello! 🙂 Me and the person I was replying to here both can’t watch the spray painting video with your ‘sure fire way to avoid drips’ as it says it’s private. I’d love to be able to see it, is there anything you can do to make it accessible?
          Cheers, Maddy

  • Reply
    MARY K
    August 6, 2014 at 12:32 pm


  • Reply
    December 23, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Thank you so much! I couldn’t figure out what I did wrong on the coasters I made–I put a clear coat on, but they are still sticky. Yours was the first article that told me what I did wrong. I’m so relieved that I can avoid the same issure in the future. Thanks again!

  • Reply
    February 10, 2015 at 1:53 am

    I am def no good with paint ect, but have alot of “projects ” I am fixing to start on!! Like my daughters dresser, just like the Tiffany Blue one showed here only with 2 extra smaller drawers at the top and my sons Minecraft room, so for bed frames, dressers ect would you all recommend spray paint or rolling and brushing?? I just wanna figure out which is easier, I am literally so dumb at this stuff I tried her dresser once before and just wanted white and thought it did not matter what type of paint, well it will take me WEEKS probably to sand it all off because I bought and USED barn and fence paint,,,lol so any help is appreciated!!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    What kind of polycrylic do you use? Brush on or spray on?

  • Reply
    Christine Clay
    March 27, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Okay, that’s it! I am officially chalk painting some ugly old wood furniture in my house! Thanks!

  • Reply
     Philip L. Floyd
    August 1, 2016 at 12:29 am

    What brand of spray paint do you use?
    70% of the time I use Krylon and 30 % i use Plutonium. Plutonium is a nice and thick, environmentally friendly, American-made spray paint

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