Spray Painting Using Aerosol Cans

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I have been selected as the resident house painting expert for the site http://www.doityourself.com The site sends me articles, and I correct them. As I said in the beginning of this blog, most of the information about interior house painting is just plain wrong. It has been my quest on this site to correct some of the misinformation about interior house painting. doityourself was wise enough to realize that a lot of the articles on the site had bad information, and they were impressed with the accuracy of http://www.interiorhousepaintingblog.com and solicited me to correct their articles. One thing that keeps coming up is spray painting, both with professional equipment and also with aerosol cans. I have to keep repeating the proper technique in many articles, so I decided just to write an article for this blog with the basic information. Be sure to bookmark this page. Whether using professional equipment such as airless sprayers or compressor driven paint guns or aerosol cans, the basic technique is the same.

First of all, let me caution you on a health matter. When spray painting, the proper paint respirator is a must. They are not cheap, but if you want to fully protect your lungs and nervous system and yourself, you should wear a respirator. The fumes from spray paint can make you dizzy and sick, and even pass out. Also make sure that you do this spraying with adequate ventilation. If you have a metal cabinet or a piece of furniture or anything that you can move, the ideal solution is to wait for a warm, calm day and carry the piece outside. If this is not possible, make sure there is a LOT of ventilation. Protect your health.

The next caution when spray painting is to make sure that you cover anything that you do not want to get any paint on with drop cloths, either plastic or canvas, or newspaper. When spraying, there is a lot of overspray. It can travel very far and really make a mess of things. So, cover it up!

Now for the technique to spray paint. Let us say that you are painting a small metal cabinet or some outdoor furniture. You need to remember that the proper way to spray involves an on/off on/off motion. Lets say we are doing the cabinet. Hold the spray can to the left of the cabinet with your finger on the button and start to spray BEFORE you reach the cabinet. Hold the can about ten inches away from the surface to be painted. Then continue spraying beyond the right edge of the cabinet, then let off the button completely and repeat the process from right to left, and each time you pass beyond the cabinet let your finger off the button for a second and then start spraying again. And do not try to paint the piece all in one heavy coat. You should use several light coats, otherwise you will have sags, drips and runs. The first coat should be a very light coat. Painters call this a “tack” coat. Don’t worry about covering the piece with the first coat, think of it as just something for the following coats to stick to. You will usually need about three light coats.

When using aerosol cans, they first need to be shaken very hard for very long. There is a marble inside of the can, and after you have been shaking for a while, it will “break loose” and you will hear it rattling around inside of the can. Continue to shake for a very long time. You can do no harm by shaking too much. Also, make sure you read all of the instructions and cautions printed on the can.

Here is a good trick that you must know. If the aerosol can starts to clog up or spit or dribble, shake the can and turn it upside down and depress the button until nothing but air is coming out. This should brake up the clog. Another little tip: After the can is completely empty, turn it upside down and spray out any remaining air and save the spray button. Sometimes a button becomes hopelessly clogged, and sometimes they may pop off and be hard to find. Having that spare can be really sweet.

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