How To Paint Furniture With a Paint Sprayer

Have you recently purchased one of our highly recommended paint sprayers to tackle a challenging paint job? If so, you’re probably looking for additional projects to use it on. Giving your furniture new life is a great way to put your paint sprayer to work. If you have dated kitchen cabinets or an old dresser, a quick spray can really give your furniture a face lift without breaking a sweat. But you need to know what you’re doing.

When it comes to spray painting furniture, I find that the best results are obtained using a lightweight, portable unit. HVLP paint sprayers are a DIYer favorite for this sort of project. They’re easy to use, not too expensive, have sufficient capacity and reduced overspray. They can handle most coatings, from water and oil based to latex paints. They can even handle sealants and primers, although sometimes you’ll need to thin them out.

Before you get to spraying, there are a few things you should consider first.

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Basic Repairs

You don’t want to spray good paint on a broken down piece of furniture! If the piece you’ve chosen has chips, cracks, holes or loose joints, you’ll need to fix them. Glue what needs gluing and use some type of wood filler or resin for any gaps and deep cracks. Make sure the piece of furniture is fully functional before you paint. Some of the pieces may need structural reinforcing, especially where preexisting holes were. Fill these holes along with deep gashes and cracks with wood putty prior to painting.

Prepping

Once the piece of furniture is structurally prepared, it’s time to prep the surfaces. I like to use an orbital sander, but sanding by hand works well if you don’t have one. Be careful not to over sand or sand too deep, as it can gouge out the wood.  You’ll want to sand down every surface, wood or resin filler down to a smooth surface. Be sure to clean off any dust from the sanding, though or your paint won’t stick. I like to use a tack cloth to leave the surface spotless for painting.

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Priming

Before actually painting anything, you need a primer. The primer helps the paint stick to the wood, and prevents stains from protruding. It also helps by preventing the wood from bleeding through. Many kinds of woods bleed right through paint, so applying a primer is crucial. You can apply the primer with your sprayer, if it’s compatible. I generally do this to keep a consistent smooth finish, but watch for drips. Read both the manual that comes with your sprayer and the instructions on your primer. If it’s too thick to spray in a proper mist, water it down slightly (unless it’s an oil based paint). Coat everything in primer, making sure it gets an even spread everywhere. Once it dries, sand it lightly with a ultra fine sanding sponge to remove dust particles and proceed to wipe the furniture down with tack cloth.

Painting

Now comes the fun part! Take your paint of choice and load it on your paint sprayer. Most kinds of paint work perfectly well on furniture, so pick whatever you’re comfortable with. Do avoid paints with vinyl binders, as they tend to be less durable on furniture. Practice on a piece of scrap wood before getting started on your furniture. Make sure you work in a room that’s also been prepped and masked off for painting. Move quickly, but carefully, in even passes that overlap by 50%. Be careful not to press the trigger too late or to release it too soon. And remember to sand lightly between coats. Once you have the look you’re going for, let it dry and apply a sealant. 

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And, voila! Your good-as-new furniture is ready to impress!

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