How to Use Spray Paint

Spray paint is a cheap and easy way to spruce up your home décor—but only if you use it right. Domestic CEO has 3 tips for spray success.

Amanda Thomas
4-minute read
Episode #23

I have some breaking news on the home front: Spray paint isn’t just for graffiti artists anymore!

The cans of paint that were traditionally wielded by street artists and gangstas are now a favorite of stay at home moms and domestic divas. Why are these mild mannered ladies taking to the spray? Because one can of this magic paint can completely transform furniture and other home décor from drab to fab in less than an hour. Plus, with a little practice, it’s totally easy to use.

If you’ve never used spray paint before, don’t be intimidated. With these 3 tips, you’ll be painting like a pro in no time. So get your cans, put on your painting jeans, and let’s get started!

Step #1: Prep for Painting


Let’s be honest, using spray paint can be messy. Even the most experienced spray painter will have overspray and occasional drips from the can. So before you begin your project, make sure you have a clear, open space. All spray painting should be done outdoors, in an area that is shielded from the wind. This way you can ensure that the paint goes where you are pointing, and not being blown all over your backyard. When you find your space, make sure to protect it with a drop cloth, fabric sheet, or giant piece of cardboard. Whatever you use doesn’t need to be very thick as the overspray paint won’t likely soak through, but it does need to be big enough to cover a decent amount of floor space. The last thing you want when you finish spray painting a bunch of picture frames pink, is to find that your patio floor now has a perfect pink outline of a corner. Also keep a couple of rags on hand to quickly wipe up any spots, and make sure you are wearing your painting clothes. You will likely get a little messy, so the better prepared you are, the less damage you will do.

Now that the area is protected from the overspray, it’s time to prep the item you are going to spray. Spray paint will seal in anything that is on the surface of the item, so take a few minutes to wash and sand the item. A simple soap and water mixture and rag will remove any dust or dirt that could create a rough texture from a seemingly smooth plastic or ceramic piece. A little sand paper will remove any nasty little splinters that are hiding on wood items.

If you are spray painting something made of metal, you may want to use a metal-etching primer to help create a rougher surface for the paint stick to. If you forget to pick up the primer, make sure to clean the metal with dish soap and water to remove any oily residue before you paint, and then test a few quick sprays of paint to see if it will stick. If not, you will need to trek back to the store for the primer.