There are a number of Mitreplans available to help you with painting. Spray
painting is popular, but we’ve had a few viewer questions that indicate people
that have trouble with this, so we thought we’d answer a few.
Many viewers have paint problems that can be traced back to the primer used (or
not used – which is usually what happens).
You really should use a primer, because they’re specially made to bind to the
substrate (the surface you’re spraying) and to the paint. This helps prevent
There are a variety of primers available for different surfaces and purposes, so
check the Mitreplan for advice about the right one. When you’ve selected your
topcoat, read the can to find out what primer is recommended before you drive
home from the store.
Shake the can up and down and round and round for about a minute after the
mixing ball rattles freely. Do this every so often while you paint to make sure
the paint remains consistent.
Hold the can upright, and about 30cm from the surface you’re spraying. Move the
can back and forth with long, even strokes. Spray slightly past the edge of the
object you’re painting, and you can “button off” momentarily to minimise waste
and over spray.
Common faults include:
- Spraying too thinly, so there isn’t an even coverage. Wait until dry then
spray on another coat.
- Spraying too thickly, producing runs (or curtains) or orange peel. Wait until
dry and use a scraper and fine sandpaper to flatten the paint surface, and then
Practice on some scrap boards to get a feel for spray painting. You never know,
you might accidentally produce a masterpiece of spray art.
This can be difficult or impossible to remove from some surfaces, so it’s best
to avoid creating over spray damage in the first place. Protect surfaces by
using drop sheets and masking
Use spray paint outdoors, or nearly outdoors, if possible. In the garage with
the door wide open is good, and use a fan to blow fumes outside.
If fumes affect you, or you just don’t want to inhale any, use a respirator
fitted with filters that are suitable for fumes. Dust masks are not suitable for
You can buy stencils or make them yourself from cardboard, plastic, MDF or
Stencils are a great way to decorate, add interest, or to secure items. By
spraying two colours (say black first, then white second), with the second
slightly offset from the first, you can create a “drop shadow” effect.
If the nozzle blocks or starts “sputtering”, wipe it clean with a rag.
If that doesn’t work, turn the can upside down and spray until the nozzle
clears. If that still doesn’t work, take the nozzle off and place it on a can of
RP7 (a penetrating oil). Spray the RP7 through the paint nozzle to clear it.
Do this as the last step in your paint project so the nozzle is clear for next
time you need to paint.
The Mitreplan has stacks of project ideas, including BBQs, garden pots,
ornaments and knick-knacks. Pick one up at your local Mitre 10.