Get creative: How to Use Spray Paint to Refresh Boring Household Items

Oseye Boyd
Written by Oseye Boyd
Updated March 4, 2014
spray paint on wine bottles
All it took was some chalkboard spray paint to transform these old wine bottles. (Photo by Oseye Boyd)

Looking to update your space on a budget? Learn how to use spray paint to refresh items in and around the home, such as furniture, vases and light fixtures.

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Looking for a fun, quick and easy way to update home décor or furniture, but don’t want to spend tons of cash? Spray paint is the answer!

You can spray paint just about anything. Change a light fixture from silver to gold, turn white mini-blinds purple or paint a brown vanity blue. Spray paint looks great on wood, plastic, glass, ceramics or metal, and comes in a variety of colors, textures and finishes. The possibilities are endless.

To get your creative juices flowing, here’s a short list of household items to start your spray-painting frenzy: light fixtures, wall switch plates, lamps, furniture, doorknobs, picture frames, curtain rods, sink fixtures, mirrors, bottles, vases, file cabinets, bikes, garbage cans, shutters and flowerpots.

If you’re a little nervous about using spray paint, follow these tips for optimal results:

1. Shake, shake, shake: Shake your paint can rigorously before you start spraying. You want the paint to flow freely for even coverage.

2. Cover up: Wear a mask to minimize inhaling toxic paint fumes. Wear goggles to protect your eyes and gloves to keep your hands clean.

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3. Check the weather: Spray paint doesn’t perform well in direct sunlight or hot, humid weather. It prefers temperatures between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity level below 85 percent.

4. Air out: If you’re not spray painting outside, make sure you’re in a well-ventilated room. Spray paint fumes can be overwhelming!

5. Keep it clean: Before you spray, make sure the surface of the item you’re painting is clean, dust-free and dry. Paint won’t stick to dirty or greasy surfaces.

8. Prime time: Primer maximizes the amount of coverage you get from spray paint, helps to smooth blemishes, boosts paint adhesion, improves corrosion resistance and enhances color.

9. Less is more: Use several thin coats instead of one thick coat. Thin coats will dry faster. Also, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s direction for drying time between coats.

10. Stroke it up: Use vertical or horizontal strokes, but never circular or haphazard ones. Use your arm, not your wrist when spray painting. Sorry, Mr. Miyagi, but “wax on, wax off” won’t work.

11. Rough it up: To aid in paint adhesion, use sandpaper to remove any wax coating or shiny finishes on metals, plastics or wood. For smooth surfaces such as glass, use sandpaper to make the surface rough so the spray paint will adhere.

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