Archive for September, 2015

Welcome to part two on Spray Painting Furniture! If you missed Part One click HERE to have a read and see what you need to buy to begin your spray painting journey. 
I chose this chest of drawers that found on the roadside to work on whilst chatting to you about spraying. It had a pretty significant hole in the side and a couple of the drawer bases were missing but both are easy fixes with a bit of patience and know how.

Spray Painting FurnitureSpray Painting can seem a little daunting at first and I’ll be honest, there can be a bit of patience required to begin with depending on which paint you choose to spray with.
As with any type of furniture painting good prep is the key to a well painted piece that will go the distance so make sure you give your piece a good sand down with some 180 grit sandpaper to give it a little bit of ‘tooth’ and wash it down with a mix of 1 part Methylated Spirits to 10 parts water to clean off all the dust and grime. One of the handiest gadgets you can have when using a compressor is a simple ‘air blower’. Yes I’m sure it has a proper name but that’s what I call it so that’s what it is! It looks like this and it just blasts air when you squeeze the trigger…fast and easy to get dust out of all the nooks and crannies (pop a face mask on first!) and are great for blowing the dust bunnies out your computer too but I digress! They cost about $12. You can see mine is attached to the compressor hose here.
Spray Painting FurnitureNext you need to prepare your paint and this is where a little bit of patience comes in and a bit of trial and error.
Some paints are MUCH thicker than others and require some thinning down. How much can be a bit of a guess at first but the end result you want is paint that is the consistency of cream (not thickened cream, pouring cream).
I always use a paint strainer when adding my paint to the paint pot, to catch any crusty bits from the paint can edge etc. The only exception to this is if I have opened a new can of paint. Paint strainers are available from the paint shops for around 50cents each and I am able to get three 0r four uses from each one if I rinse it and set to dry as soon as I’ve used it. You can also use old pantyhose but I find that messier.
Mix your paint well then pour it into the paint pot. It can be a worthwhile thing to grab yourself a spray gun stand when you purchase your spray gun or it can be a fine balancing act doing this bit). the exception is Fusion Mineral Paint pots which are light and easy to pour with one hand whilst holding the sprayer in the other.
Spray Painting FurnitureScrew the lid onto your paint pot and hold the trigger of your spray gun all the way in. Your gun is not yet attached to the compressor hose. The paint should dribble fairly freely from the nozzle. If it doesn’t even drip out slowly then your paint is too thick. Some spray units come with a special little measuring ‘dooverlackey’ that you can pop a bit of paint in and count how long it takes the paint to flow through so you know if it needs thinning but my patience doesn’t extend to that and I just want to get on with it! It may explain why it took me months to work out how much I needed to thin my paint and it’s still a bit trial and error on the day 😉 Like I said in part one…I’m no expert, but this is how I do it!
In my experience, the ONLY paint I have found so far that doesn’t need thinning at all for spray painting and can be used straight from the pot (hallelujah!) is Fusion Mineral Paint. Love it! And for this tutorial I am using exactly that, in the delectable lemony yellow colour ‘Buttermilk Cream’.
So far I have spray painted successfully with a variety of furniture paints including Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, Websters Chalk Paint Powder in a variety of paint brands and colours, Resene Lustacryl (semi-glosswater based enamel) and standard water based primers. In my experience ALL need thinning to be successfully sprayed as a fine furniture finish…some by up to 20-25%. I spent a lot of time and many hours of frustration trying to work out why my spray paint was coming out so painfully slowly. It was obvious to me that the paint was too thick but I had read in many paint blogs that thinning the paint more than 10-15% messes with the integrity of the paint.
In my frustration, I turned to seasoned furniture spray painter Paddy McCarthy from Furniture Transformations on the Gold Coast for help. He assured me that thinning the paint further was fine and that he often had to thin by up to 25%.
It would seem that thinning paint is not a bad thing to do as long as you use the correct product so as not to mess too much with the integrity of your paint. Water is not at all the best choice for thinning paint, rather my product of choice is Floetrol.
Spray Painting Furniture
Floetrol is white but won’t alter the colour of your paint. It also has the added advantage of making your paint go further. Win! Since using Floetrol to thin my paint my spray painting experience has changed for the better. My spray comes out more evenly and more quickly making the whole process smoother and less frustrating. You can use Floetrol when hand painting to thin your paint a bit too if it’s too thick.
I try to begin spraying with a minimum of 250mls of paint in my pot. A gravity fed gun always performs better when full (500mls for mine) as the weight of the paint aids in the flow of the paint, but for your first few times I suggest sticking with 250mls.
My recommendation (unless using Fusion)…especially for the first few times, would be to measure out 200mls of paint and add that to your paint pot…then add 50mls of Floetrol (which would be 20% of 250mls). Put the lid on and give it a good shake. Pull your trigger in all the way and the paint should dribble out nicely. If it doesn’t then I would still suggest having a go at spraying before adding the extra 12-15 mls that would make the total of your thinner 25%
I would not recommend adding more than 25% Floetrol. If your paint is still too thick after thinning by 25% I would suggest it’s not suitable for spraying.
Connect your spray gun to the compressor hose and the hose to the compressor and plug your compressor in to the power. See that little red button there? Pull that up to turn the compressor on. The best amount of pressure to spray paint furniture with is around 45psi. See the black knob above the pressure gauge on the left? You need to turn that anti clockwise until the needle on the gauge rests on 45psi. Your compressor may turn on to fill the tank when you do this….and will probably make you jump! Whilst we are talking compressors…the chamber below the pressure gauge is a water trap. It need to have the water release after each spraying session or water will eventually spit out of your gun with teh paint. Ask the sales person where you buy your compressor to show you how to drain the water trap. It comes out fairly violently so be warned 😉
Guess what? 

Spray Painting FurnitureYou’re ready to spray paint! But wait….there’s more!
SAFETY FIRST!…please pop a disposable face mask on before you start. You *should* be using paints to spray with that are low VOC (volatile organic compounds) but whether you are or not, nothing should be inhaled into your lungs that is not pure air, and atomised paint is not pure air. You only need to look at the state of my glasses once I have finished spraying to know how much you’d be breathing without a mask! As a side note…if spraying polyurethanes consider purchasing a proper respirator mask as even the water based ones are not good to be breathing in.
Find yourself a scrap piece of wood to do some practice runs on just to check your spray pattern. There are lots of Youtube videos that explain what each of the dials on your gun do but basically the dial on the side is your pattern dial. Wound all the way to the right it will give you a spot pattern (great for intricate areas). Turn it half a turn to the left and that’s my happy place. You’ll get a nice spray pattern around 4-6 inches high running North/South. You may need to play around a bit with your gun to work out where your ‘happy place’ is and yes you will waste a bit of paint when practicing.
The little dial on the very top at the back is the flow knob. Wind it in and less paint with flow into the nozzle …wind it out and more paint will flow in. When spraying very thin products like polyurethanes, I always have mine wound in a long way as it’s thin and comes out fast! Again practice before letting loose on your piece!  I also wind it in a long way when using the spot spray pattern (the side dial all the way to the right) as the paint flow is more concentrated in the spot pattern so comes out faster.
The correct method to spray paint is to begin and end each sweep off the object you are spraying. Get your movement happening then as you come to the surface you are spraying squeeze the trigger in. Don’t release it until you are off the edge at the other end. Spray painting technique is probably something that needs to be shown in a video….and one day I may get to it, but in the meantime just search on Youtube and you’ll quickly find one that explains exactly what I probably explained poorly!

Spray Painting FurnitureOnce you have your action down pat, start on your piece. Don’t go for full coverage in one coat or you’ll most likely get drips. Multiple thin coats are the best way to spray paint. To avoid stripes and get an even coverage, you should aim to overlap each run by at least 1/3rd.
Something to watch out for when spraying chalk style paints is build up at the nozzle. It tends to crust over and all of a sudden you’ll notice that you’re spray has slowed down or even stopped. Just flick the crusty bit off with your fingernail and you’ll be good to go once again!
Use the fan spray to do the large spans of your piece….then dial to the spot spray, wind in your flow knob and paint the smaller areas. If you do this correctly you shouldn’t have to mask your piece to prevent it from getting covered in over spray as your spray should be very controlled.
Spray Painting FurnitureSpray Painting FurnitureBetween coats, wrap the nozzle of your spray gun in glad wrap and when ready to begin again be sure to pick the crusty bit off the end of the nozzle. I have left my gun loaded with paint overnight without any detriment, but if I knew I wasn’t going to get back to my project for 48 hours I would empty my paint into a jar and wash my spray gun.
Wash it outdoors with a hose. Remove the paint pot and lid and rinse with the hose. Remove the nozzle from the front of the gun, the flow knob and spring (be careful not to lose the spring!), and the paint needle and clean thoroughly with water. The nozzle area can be a bit of a bear to get clean but just be patient and continue to squirt water through it from the place the pot screws on with your hose until it runs clear.
The finished piece. All spiffy and ready for a new home! The finish you’ll get when spraying with a HVLP gun as opposed to the electric variety you buy in the hardware store is testament unto it’s own. Run your hand across the finished paint job and it’s flat and smooth…no bumpy orange skin like the electric sprayers will give.
Spray Painting FurnitureSpray Painting gives you great coverage and using a gravity fed gun is very economical. When your paint pot is empty it can look like there’s a lot of paint clinging to the sides of the pot, but if you swish a paint brush around it you’d be lucky to fill a brush, so really no more waste than rinsing a brush. The time that spray painting takes as compared to hand painting makes a few little cons just so worth it. I love hand painting and find it very relaxing, but I also own a business which relies on moving furniture through quickly. So I tend to hand paint about one in every five pieces (usually small ones!)

I hope I have helped to demystify spray painting for some of you and inspired you to have a go! If you want to keep it as simple as possible I suggest starting with Fusion Mineral Paint…it’s literally just open the pot, pour into the sprayer and go! The first time you spray paint chairs with spindles…you’ll be sold!
Feel free to comment below if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them! I’d love you to leave a comment anyway as I LOVE to hear from my readers! 🙂

Here are a few other pieces I have spray painted….Spray Painting FurnitureSpray Painting FurnitureSpray Painting FurnitureSpray Painting FurnitureSpray Painting FurnitureCoast & Country Vintage

Part One. Choosing the right equipment
I get a few emails each month from people asking about spray painting furniture with Chalk Paint so I decided to answer the most common questions in a blog post. It’s a big one so grab a coffee 🙂
May I just say, I’m NO expert! I can only share my own experience and like any other form of painting it’s a constant learning experience.

The most common question is almost always about the cost. Is it pricey  to set yourself up with the right equipment to spray paint? The short answer is yes…it is. So you need to weigh it all up with how much furniture you paint, whether you paint to sell, space limitations and how long it will take you to re-coup your investment. And yes it is an investment.
There’s a bit of reading here before I get to the nitty gritty & photos….but I think it’s valuable background information so do read on. 🙂

I first decided to try spray painting after hand painting a six seater dining table and chairs. Anyone who has hand painted a dining table and chairs will know exactly where I’m coming from already!
The six chairs had a ton of spindles (ugh!). They were your typical orange pine and after lightly sanding each chair I needed three coats of paint per chair for full opaque coverage, 45 minutes per coat per chair…..THEN I hand waxed each of them with two coats of wax. Let’s just say I never wanted to paint another chair again by the time I was done! (and boy was I DONE!)

This was our own dining setting and so a labour of love. Had I been selling it I would have been working for $1 an hour! (maybe less……)
So after resolving that there would be no more dining settings in my near future, one just happened my way…..a very short time later.
No way was I hand painting another one, so I marched myself to Bunnings and came home with a lovely bright yellow Wagner electric spray gun.
I decided to test it out on a small desk I had before embarking on the bigger table & chairs project (plus I was still having ‘spindle nightmares’ at that stage…too soon, too SOON!)
I don’t have any photos of that experiment…but within 24 hrs I had returned the gun to the store for a refund.
Did it spray paint? Yes. Did it spray paint well? Yes…..and no.
Firstly it used a TON of paint. I was unable to dial the flow down to a fine enough spray pattern to avoid wasting paint. I had to cover up the drawer recesses and cupboard interiors with tape and newspaper to stop them getting paint all over them (took me 45 mins) Secondly it resulted in a rough ‘orange skin’ finish. This is one area when using a spray gun and compressor set up makes all the difference and ultimately the beautiful smooth finish is one of the main reasons we decide to spray paint in the first place (as well as time saving of course).  I tried watering the paint down but by the time it was thin enough to come out in a finer spray it was too thin and I ended up with paint runs. And lastly, the gun unit somehow ended up with paint in recessed area near the motor (it fell over once or twice when resting on the ground)…and there was no allowance to open the area to clean it out making it dangerous. I may have just been unlucky of course. In my opinion, these guns are great for what most people would purchase them for….spray painting a fence or outdoor setting maybe. But for fine furniture refinishing where a smooth even finish is desirable, this one didn’t cut the mustard. I was a bit deflated.
My hubby had an old small compressor in the shed and suggested I buy a spray gun to try with that, so that was the next step. I purchased a spray gun & pot and connected it up to the compressor. I decided to jump straight in and paint the chairs (because it was do or die and I was NOT hand painting them!) I was painting with Annie Sloan ‘Florence’.
Within minutes I could see it was going to be a success! The paint did come out slower than I would have liked (which I later learned was because it was too thick) but within 20 minutes I had sprayed a good coverage coat of paint on the first chair (easily the equivalent of two coats coverage if I’d done it by hand). The coverage was nice and fine and dried completely smooth. I was impressed. You may be wondering why it took a whole 20 minutes at this point. Apart from my paint being too thick (more about that later) these little compressors are the entry level domestic ones you see in the lead up to Father’s Day for between $99 – $200  They look something like this.Compressor
They have a small tank capacity (anywhere from 8-21 litres), a small motor (750 watt-1500 watt) & a low pressure capacity. They are fine for using small air tools like brad nail guns and pumping up tyres but are made to a budget and not designed for constant heavy use.
Our little unit couldn’t keep up and I had to keep stopping to wait for the air tank to fill. The paint also started spitting a bit each time the pressure dropped as the tank emptied.  It meant that the compressor was pretty much constantly filling and therefore working very hard. I was thankful we live on a farm and we have no neighbours close by! Compressors are LOUD!
The compressor got very hot over the next 45 minutes and I had to give it an hours break to cool down. By the time I’d finished a coat on all six chairs it was dead as a doorknob (as in smoking dead). Bare in mind that this wasn’t a new compressor….but it served it’s purpose in convincing me that I needed a BIG compressor if I was seriously going to spray paint.
Around the same time, my daughter was looking into spray painting her car. (she’s working with her dad to restore her ’61 Morris Minor) so we made the decision to go halvies in a nice big compressor. After researching for a few days, we went shopping and came home with this baby……
Spray Painting with Chalk Paint It has a nice big 2.75 HP belt driven motor, a 55 litre tank capacity and a maximum air delivery of 100 psi (pounds per square inch). It’s very heavy at a whopping 78kg but with a long hose there is very little necessity to move it so it’s not an issue to me. Whilst a belt driven unit is not a necessity, it’s helpful for extended uses like spray painting.It set us back around $1K
Whilst we needed to buy the biggest compressor we could manage there are some cheaper options out there if you shop around…like the Stanley Belt Driven 2.5HP unit from Super Cheap Auto which can be picked upon sale for around $800.You *could* get by with a smaller, cheaper compressor, but bare in mind that the smaller the tank capacity, the more the engine is running, the quicker it will wear out and the more your neighbours will hate you! When painting a big piece, I find even my big compressor is running fairly constantly, but it’s powerful enough that I never need to stop spraying whilst it re-fills.Win!
Incidentally…here’s the first dining setting I spray painted that cemented the need for a sprayer to me. The white was dry brushed on by hand.
Spray Painting with Chalk PaintJust as an extra note…Most compressors these days come with a pressure gauge and a water trap (which needs to be emptied periodically during a big spraying day and when you are finished for the day). If your compressor doesn’t have a pressure gauge you’ll need to purchase one and it will go between your hose and your gun. These add more bulk and are awkward so it’s a good thing to consider when looking at compressors.
Here’s what one looks like when attached to your gun.
pressure gauge
You can see the pressure gauge on my compressor on the left there. The gauge on the right can essentially be ignored. Incidentally the best psi to spray paint at is around 45psi.
Spray Painting with Chalk PaintNext on your shopping list is the spray unit itself. I use a HVLP (high volume low pressure) spray gun unit. I started off with a cheap Black Ridge gun from Super Cheap Auto and it lasted me well over a year. Spray gun prices range from $50 – $200 but the cheaper ones are fine for someone just starting out. I think my Black Ridge was about $70-80. I have only recently upgraded to this gun here and although it is better, I was content with my Black Ridge for that first while too. Make sure you buy a gun with a tip size of 1.4 mm minimum. My new ‘Velocity’ gun is pictured here with a disposable paint strainer (which is also a necessity but more about that later).
Spray Painting with Chalk PaintSome spray guns have the paint pot under the gun and others like mine are gravity fed. It’s personal preference. I feel the gravity fed guns are more economical as you use every scrap of paint whereas the other guns operate on a suction system. I also feel the gravity fed guns are easy to hold  and negotiate around shelving etc but again it’s personal preference and one is not necessarily *better* than he other, just different.

Next you’ll need a good length of hose. The smaller cheaper compressors come with a curly spring type hose that stretches to about 8 feet but the serious sized compressors don’t. I chose to buy a 50 metre hose, which sometimes I hate (like when I am coiling it up at the end of the day) and sometimes I am forever grateful for (like when I can take my gun and hose around the other side of the house without having to drag 78kg’s of compressor with me!) So think about where you’ll use your compressor and how far you may want your hose to reach. My 50 metre hose was about $55
You’ll also need to purchase connectors for each end of the hose. The one inset on the left attaches the hose to your spray gun and the one on the right to the compressor. They are only about $5-6 each from memory.Spray Painting with Chalk Paint

Once you have all the gear you are set to go!  Whilst spray painting is fairly straight forward….there are some tips and tricks that can be useful to know! But right now, the spring sun is shining and I’m off outside to spray paint whilst it’s nice!
Stay tuned for Part Two: Spray Painting Furniture

I’ve been meaning to share this one for some time now but there always seems to be something else more pressing to take my time away from the computer.

I’m very proud of this piece…I think it’s probably the ‘prettiest’ piece I’ve worked on so far. This beautiful French style Amoire that has become affectionately known as ‘Big Sister’.
She was so named as she is identical to a French Amoire I painted last year…who has now been dubbed….you guessed it…..’Little Sister’!
This was Big Sister before her makeover…..beautiful lines & great bones, but quite scratched and the damage was quite severe in places, especially inside the doors.
It’s exterior is a kind of veneer and yet has an artificial feel to it so not quite sure exactly what it is. It had bubbled and crack in places like veneer often does.

Fusion Mineral Paint AustraliaI filled all the damaged areas and painted the interior with a water based semi gloss in Antique White USA before transforming the outside with Fusion Mineral Paint in the colours ‘Sterling’ ( a light silver grey) and Champlain (a creamy vintage white) on the details. It looked very pristine & pretty but I wanted it to look authentically old.
One of the most wonderful things about Fusion is that you don’t *need* to seal it with anything. Leave it the full 30 days it requires to fully cure and it provides a truly durable surface. You can even use it on exterior furniture without a top coat!
However….I wanted mine to have a certain look, so I waxed it with a couple of coats of Miss Mustard Seed’s Clear Furniture Wax, followed by a decorative coat of Miss Mustard Seed’s Antiquing Wax which I rubbed all over with my Wax Brush then wiped off almost immediately. (the longer you leave the wax to dry the darker the effect will be as less as the wax dries and hangs on)
I am in love with the finished piece and I smile every time I see Big Sister 🙂
Fusion Mineral Paint AustraliaFusion Mineral Paint AustraliaFusion Mineral Paint AustraliaFusion Mineral Paint AustraliaBig Sister now has the important job of displaying all my Fusion Mineral Paint and Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint so if you’d like to have a closer look just pop into the Cowes Bazaar & Gallery at 158 Thompson Avenue, Cowes, Phillip Island. Make sure you have half a day though as the Bazaar is full of vintage treasures and boasts a coffee shop that makes an excellent brew!
Unfortunately being so big I had no option but to photograph this piece on site and the fluro lights and opposing bright yellow wall have added some very weird colour casts to my images. Rest assured there is no pink or green to be seen anywhere on this pretty piece 😉

Fusion Mineral Paint AustraliaFusion Mineral Paint AustraliaA rare photo! For just two weeks Big Sister & Little Sister  shared the limelight in my space at the Cowes Bazaar & Gallery before Little Sister went to her new home.Fusion Mineral Paint Australia

 Before & After 🙂 From a dark heavy Italian Style to French Provincial. <3
Fusion Mineral Paint AustraliaI’m just so in LOVE with Fusion Mineral Paint. It’s like painting with cream and the coverage is superb, especially from the more highly pigmented colours. If you’d like to give it a try, you can by sample pots for just $9 from my website. A sample pot is perfect for a few frames or a box or even a children’s chair…just to see how delightful it is before you buy a full pot! I also love that it’s sold in 500ml pots rather than one litre…because I get tired of using the same colour and want to try something new for each piece. I have a tonne of half used one litre tins of chalk paint in my cupboard which is very wasteful!
Big Sister is pretty huge and I used 2 pots of Sterling & 1/2 Pot of Champlain for full opaque coverage. Painting light colours over dark always requires more coats for opaque coverage. If changing from a dark colour to light, it’s a great money saver to do your first coat with Fusion’s Colour Blocker which is only $20 for a 500ml pot and will give you a good solid colour base so you’ll need less of your more expensive paint. I painted Big Sister before I had Colour Blocker on hand but it would probably have saved me a pot of Sterling. I’ve just realised that I don’t have my Colour Blocker even listed on my site! My bad and it will be there before I retire today 😉
Here’s a pic that shows the coverage you can expect from Fusion Mineral Paint. A Pint is 500mls 😉
Fusion Mineral Paint Australia

Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint Australia