Using Spray Paint in Home Decor – A Complete Guide

Christine Steuber
May 25, 2022
Need to use spray paint in your next DIY project but don't know how? Read my guide to learn everything about this tool!

Home decor is exciting and can turn a dull interior into an enjoyable one! But considering how many tools exist to accomplish DIY home decor, it can be challenging to settle on one option. That’s why I decided to introduce a series of guides on different tools often used in home design, and we’ll start with spray paint.  

This guide will discuss many aspects of this product and answer FAQs. So, even if you are unaware of what spray paint is, this all-rounder guide will share everything you need to know about it. 

Let’s get to it!

What Is Spray Paint?

Spray paint is basically aerosol paint that comes in a pressurized, sealed container. As compared to brushed paints, this product leaves an even coat. When it comes to composition, the primary chemical compounds of this paint type are Xylene, Acetone, and Toluene. These compounds are excellent solvents.

Spray paint is quicker than brush painting. You can use it on nearly all surfaces, such as plastic, wood, resin, wicker, and metal. It tends to dry faster than brushed-on paint, which is also a positive thing about it. So, you can decorate your table, chairs, or even the entryway wall with some super-cool color.

Is spray paint oil-based? Many people wonder what spray paint actually consists of, just as whether these ingredients are harmful and safe to use. 

So I decided to research and bring you the answer to these questions.

Yes, most spray paints are oil-based and offer a long-lasting finish. The “cleanup” section at the back is the best way to tell whether your spray paint is oil-based or not. If it instructs you to use mineral spirits or paint thinner to clean the product, it is definitely oil-based.

Pros and cons of spray paint

It’s essential to be aware of the benefits and disadvantages of a product you consider using on your home surfaces. So, I have made a list of pros and cons with some extra information. 

Pros and Cons of Spray Paint - Firstforhers

Are there any weather conditions in which the usage of spray paint is not recommended?

Well, if you are not sure whether you can use spray paint at a certain time of the year, I definitely recommend that you first check the amount of humidity in your place.

So, if the humidity is below 30%, you can expect the spray paint to dry up increasingly quickly. 

Plus, it’s not wise to apply spray paint when the temperature is below 10°C. The reason is that the paint won’t cure properly and can react to unfavorable temperatures, excessive moisture, and humidity. 

Also, as I mentioned, you need to wear a respirator when working with spray paint. If you don’t, the short-term side effects you can experience are irritation, nausea, and headache. Keep your paint away from heat, and wear a mask. Besides, to minimize the side effects, wear gloves, goggles, and a face shield. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Spray Paint

People have many doubts and questions when it comes to using this product for the first time. Therefore, I will be answering the common queries you might have about spray paint. 

What surfaces can I use spray paint on?

You can apply spray paint to more surfaces than you can suspect. Below are the common surfaces users love to paint on:

  • Tin
  • Glass
  • Wood
  • Mirror
  • Ceramic
  • Styrofoam
  • Wicker 
  • Masonry
  • Laminate
  • Terracotta
  • Plastic
  • Canvas
  • Masonry
  • Particle board
  • MDF
  • Paper-mâchè
  • Fiberglass
  • Plaster
  • Ribbon

Just remember that you cannot spray paint on anything that is making contact with food and beverages. However, you can still paint a wine glass to give it a touch of unique decoration.

Are all spray paints oil-based?

Spray paint is predominantly oil-based, as almost all paints are composed of organic solvents, such as propane, butane, and hexane. These chemical compounds quickly evaporate and dry fast. 

However, there are differences between spray paint categories. You can find some brands that make water-based products. For instance, Montana and Lowes sell water-based spray paints.

On the other side, Rust-Oleum spray paint consists of oil-based rust-resistant material. This brand sells both types of formulas – water-based and oil-based. Its oil-based formula is highly adhesive and long-lasting. 

Another famous brand called Krylon makes oil-based formulas as well. People who are conscious about the environment and are allergic to oil-based formulas prefer using water-based spray paint, so keep this info in mind.

Do you need to use a primer before spray paint?

Every professional recommends using a single coat of primer prior to spray painting as it guarantees a smooth finish. It is a must to apply primer on wood, glossy surfaces, and a surface open to moisture.

In no particular order, the following primers are the best options for this job:

  1. Rust-Oleum Zinsser Bulls Eye Primer
  2. Krylon ColorMaster Primer
  3. Montana Spray Primer
  4. Tamiya Surface Primer
  5. Rust-Oleum American Accents White Primer

If the humidity is often high where you live, skipping the primer can cause peeling. Plus, it can become difficult to clean up. So the primer is a must-use thing!

What causes a splotchy finish after applying spray paint?

Many factors can result in a splotchy finish. For example, high application viscosity might lead to orange peel, and improper or insufficient surface cleaning or preparation can cause fish eyes and paint drips. 

Also, not maintaining the appropriate distance or spraying too long on a spot causes a splotchy finish. 

The best way to avoid this problem is to shake the can before use and not try to cover bumps or cracks with more paint. 

As for the solution to avoid a splotchy finish, just apply a few coats of paint, waiting for one layer to dry and then applying another. Alternatively, you can sand the blotchy surface.

Is it necessary to use a topcoat?

A topcoat is not that important, especially if you spray-painted on a small furniture item or decoration piece. A small part of the surface will not be very exposed to touch and potential environmental influences.

But if you want to prolong the durability of your furniture, a top coat will do no harm. If you have children, this step will help you more. The reason is that a topcoat is an additional protection from possible damage, and we all know that children love to explore the world around them with their little hands.

How to clean spray paint nozzles?

To clean the spray paint nozzles, discard the spray head first. Now, get a brush or a rag to clean the inner part of the nozzle. Lastly, use a tiny amount of solvent to clean the outer part of the nozzle.

This YouTube tutorial from Handyman Magazine is perfect for a visual step-by-step guide, so make sure to check it out:

So, you just have to remove the nozzle and place it in a glass jar. The next step is to cover it with turpentine and allow it to sit overnight. The next morning, just pour the turps through a funnel to catch the nozzle. And that’s it. Now you can wipe it, and it’s ready for the next usage.

What is an ideal temperature for applying spray paint?

Generally, oil-based spray paint should be applied at temperatures varying from 10° to 32°C. This is unlike the latex paint, for which the ideal temperature is 50° to 85°F. 

Furthermore, it is best to avoid spray painting in direct humidity and sunlight. If you ignore these temperature parameters, the finish will be rough.

Top 5 Best Spray Paint Brands

Now I am going to present to you the best spray paint brands that you can find in the market today. The coverage, availability, price point, and colors vary with each, so check it out.

1. Rust-Oleum

In the world of spray paint, Rust-Oleum is perhaps the best manufacturer. There are tons of colors to choose from, not to mention that it’s darn easy to use. Read the review of one satisfied customer who used it to paint her chair:

Rust-Oleum spray paint positive review from Amazon
Review taken from Rust-Oleum Amazon page on May 25, 2022

The best thing about Rust-Oleum products is that you can use them for outdoor and indoor furniture. One of my friends decorated part of her backsplash with it. She made a perfect ombre look!

2. Krylon

Krylon has many attributes under its belt, as they have so much to offer in the color range and packaging. There is nothing that you can’t do with their inventory, and this feedback confirms my words:

Krylon spray paint positive review from Amazon
Review taken from Krylon Amazon page on May 25, 2022

Users can apply coats quickly through specially designed nozzles, and the finish is remarkable as well.

3. Plutonium

Plutonium produces eco-friendly and thick spray paints that not only create a great coverage but also smell nice! Below you can read the review of one happy customer who gave it an interesting name – “my go-to spray paint”:

Plutonium spray paint positive review from Amazon
Review taken from PLUTONIUM Amazon page on May 25, 2022

This brand is among the bestselling spray paint manufacturers in Canada and America. Users can spray paint from any possible angle due to the unique “Anti Gravity valve” technology.

4. Kobra

The next product I’ll show you is as powerful as the sound of its name! The valves on the Kobra spray paint cans are soft and feel pleasant to the touch, so the final result is more than perfect.

Kobra spray paint positive review from Amazon
Review taken from KOBRA Amazon page, on May 25, 2022

As the satisfied reviewer said, its matte paint has the ability to dry pretty fast. This mid-level designer spray paint boasts a middle-range pressure system, and it’s super-easy to use.

5. Selsil

Finally, the last promising brand in our category is Selsil spray. It is suitable for garden furniture, kitchen, fence, outdoor furniture, and it can also be used for bathrooms.

Below you can read the review of one customer:

Selsil spray paint positive review from Amazon
Review taken from Selsil Amazon page, on May 25, 2022

You can find both matte and gloss finishes on the webshop. Also, their cans have a low-pressure smooth valve system.

5 Basic Oil-Based Spray-Painting Tips

By now, you have learned almost everything that should be known about the use of spray paint. And now I’ve prepared some general tips to do your own magic with spray paint. 

Let’s check them out together!

Tip #1: Don’t spray on vertical surfaces

The most common problem beginners face is drips that occur during spray painting. But there’s an easy fix to avoid this – just don’t spray vertically. 

One more thing – don’t spray at one spot too much, and make sure that the surface you are painting on is upward. In this position, the product will smoothen itself even with over-spraying.

Tip #2: Avoid creating thin layers

Here’s a trick to spray paint without thinning it. First, stand at a distance of 6 to 8 meters. Then, apply thin layers quickly, first in the horizontal direction, then vertical. One professional guy advised me to apply the pain in two thin layers rather than one thick layer.

Another thing to remember is to wait for one layer to dry completely before spraying another.

Tip #3: Always apply spray paint inside

It is very important to use spray paint inside the house, and not directly in the sun. So, provide a safe space where high temperatures will not harm the composition of the product. 

Keep in mind that you can literally do everything in your home with spray paint, and I would like to take this opportunity to share one of my projects with you. I created an amazing shiplap wall in my bedroom using spray paint and a little brush for drawing the lines!

Oh, and I almost forgot! There’s one thing you have to check out before this project – ventilation. It is a must-have thing for achieving desired results with spray painting inside.

Tip #4: Make sure to shake the can before every application

It is a very basic rule to shake the can properly. This step will ensure that you have an even color. Shake for 30 seconds to avoid streaks of different shades.

Tip #5: Buy a spray trigger

If you plan to spray paint on a big surface, you can experience finger fatigue. It is not so easy to consistently press down the tiny spray button.

Therefore, to avoid the exhaustion that comes with the task, it is a wise idea to invest in a spray trigger. It is cheap and will make the process swift.

Wrapping Up

So, this was my detailed guide on oil-based spray paint. I hope you found it to be informative and valuable. To sum up, below are the essential tips for spray painting like a pro:

  1. To avoid drips, never spray paint on vertical surfaces.
  2. Invest in a spray trigger to minimize exhaustion.
  3. Shake the can properly before each session to get an even color.
  4. Apply the paint inside. 

To read more interesting content on home improvement, make sure to read my previous articles. Happy painting!

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