Using a Paint Sprayer: Trying Out My New Toy
A new toy! I picked up an inexpensive paint sprayer figuring that I could get a smoother finish on my painted furniture than I get with a brush. So I dug around in my stash of old stuff for something that I could redo relatively quickly. I came across an antique medicine cabinet that I bought so long ago that it has moved with me at least three times! When I look at it now, I can tell that I paid far too much for it. But what did I know when I was thirty? Besides my yuppie accounting job was paying me the big bucks. Money was no object. My. how times have changed!
When I look at the piece now. I can see a frame around the mirror that was very poorly repaired Wait until you see photos of the inside! I see all kinds of raised grain in the wood, although some of that probably happened in the millennium that this little piece was in my possession. (It hasn’t always been treated with love.) The mirror itself has signs of age, but I think that only adds to its character.
At any rate, I decided that this was the perfect little thing to try out my new paint sprayer on. So here is how it went down.
Here is what I used:
- TSP, ie, Trisodium Phosphate, an excellent cleaner that a friend of my with a home improvement business turned me on to years ago. Thanks Joe!
- The Sprayer
- A Compressor
- A Filter – for the compressor. This keeps the condensation and possible oil in the line from getting into the paint in the sprayer.
First step was to clean. You can’t paint over 20 years of dirt. Well I guess you can, but it won’t last very long. I dissolved some TSP into a bucket of warm water and scrubbed her up.
Then, because, I’m that kind of girl, I read the directions for the sprayer. This reading thing was a fortunate turn of events, because that is where I learned that I would likely need to thin my paint with a little water in order to avoid clogging the spray nozzle. I also learned the proper distance from the surface to hold the sprayer and to keep the sprayer parallel to the surface while painting.
I roughed up the surface with a little sand paper and sprayed on a coat of primer. Oh what fun, like spray paint, only a lot noisier! I was careful to set up boxes and boards around the cabinet, so that I didn’t spray the entire workshop. Brad was overseeing, to make sure I didn’t spray any of his important stuff 🙂
How it Went
Oh, boy that primer went on so sweetly. I loved this process. It was fast, looked good and so much easier to clean up than brushes. Oh how excited I was.
But, my excitement was a tad premature. When I was ready to apply the paint, I struggled to get the consistency of the paint right.
First, I didn’t add enough water, then I had too much water and created – horror of horrors – runs in my paint job. I also held the sprayer too close as you can see in the pictures, which didn’t help with the run issues. This is where the frustration set in. I obviously need to perfect my technique.
In a fit of impatience, which if you know me, is not entirely surprising, I sanded out the runs and put the second coat of paint on the old fashioned way – with a brush. A little ironic when you think about it. I wanted to spray to get a smoother finish, but my final coat was with a brush anyway.
When I put the cabinet back together, I realized that the mirror neede something behind it to hold it tight and a piece of quarter inch plywood was going to be too thick. So I covered a piece of cardboard with some wallpaper that I’ve had around even longer than the medicine cabinet. ( I had to but it, it was only $2 for the whole roll.)
I am not giving up on this sprayer, but I think I will perfect my technique on a piece of cardboard or something that I think runs will look really cool on. In the end I was very happy with my new medicine cabinet. Brad hung it in the powder room for me. Don’t be too alarmed by the photo. This is a room that we have not yet renovated, so the wallpaper and likely that sink will be going at some point!
I don’t really mind the sink, but Brad hates it! Now, I get to shop for cute little hand towels to hang on the towel rack at the bottom of the cabinet so that I don’t have to leave a dinner napkin there.