Can You Spray Paint Wood?

by Charlie
Can You Spray Paint Wood

Hand painting can be a real chore. On the other hand, spray painting can be simpler and often quicker. The problem is that in many cases it is more difficult to achieve the same level of quality as hand painting. The question then is whether this is due to the medium, the surface, or some other factor.

When it comes to spray painting wood it is easy to assume that the material doesn’t take well to spray paint. It makes you wonder if you can spray paint wood.

Can you spray paint wood? You can spray paint wood! The quality of the final product is determined by the level of effort you put into it. The condition of the wood and the presence of other products will affect how good your spray paint job will do.

Does the Spray Paint Make a Difference?

All spray paint is not made equal. The type of spray paint you choose will make a difference. Some are designed for general purposes while others specify wood as a material the paint is designed for.

General-purpose spray paint will certainly still work on wood. If you are not concerned about the difference between good and great then general spray paint is the choice for you. However, if you want your paint job to look as good as possible you’ll want spray paint that is meant for wood.

Another aspect of the spray paint you need to consider is whether it doubles as a primer. You won’t need a primer in every instance of painting wood, but it can make a difference. The choice you’ll need to make is whether you want a separate primer, primer and paint in one, or no primer.

Lastly, you need to consider the color and finish. Of course, this doesn’t make an objective difference but is often the most important consideration. After all, if the paint job is objectively well done but in a color you hate it will be a waste of time and money.

Does the Wood Make a Difference?

The paint you use is only half of the equation. You must also consider the material you’re painting. The wood you’re painting will determine the level of required preparation and the necessary tools. 

If the wood you’re working with has old paint on it or has been sealed you will need to sand it and use a primer. If you don’t sand off the old paint or varnish the spray paint won’t bond to the wood as well. In this instance, the primer will go that extra step to ensure the smoothest surface.

Alternatively, if the wood you’re painting is raw you may not need to sand but you should use a primer. Raw wood will bond with spray paint very well. Almost too well. If you don’t use a primer, the wood can absorb a lot of paint requiring you to use extra layers.

Of course, if the wood is extremely rough you will also need to sand it. Depending on the condition of the wood you may even need to fill in some holes. This can be done with a variety of materials and methods.

Do You Need to Prepare the Wood?

If you don’t want to take the time to prepare the wood through sanding or priming you can skip these steps. However, you will be greatly lowering the final quality of the paint job. It is best to take your time in setting up the wood you’re painting.

The prep work that is sanding and priming can be tedious but will have a large impact on the end result. There is also the longevity of the paint job to consider. If you don’t sand off varnish or old paint your new paint won’t bond properly. 

Priming won’t impact the end result as much. That said it is still important as it ensures all of your coats have the best start possible. It can also save you money by reducing the number of coats required as mentioned above.

If you can’t spare the time for sanding and priming you can save yourself some time by purchasing a spray paint that is also a primer. This won’t save you time on sanding but will allow you to skip the priming stage. 

What Do You Need to Spray Paint Wood?

The materials you need aside from spray paint and a wooden object include:

  • Sandpaper (120 grit)
  • Spray paint primer
  • Spray paint sealant
  • Eye protection
  • Gloves
  • Painting respirator
  • Drop cloth
  • Painter’s tape (if necessary)

Be sure to work in a well-ventilated space. If there are objects nearby that you don’t want paint on you’ll want plenty of drop cloths. If the object you’re spraying has areas you don’t want to paint you’ll need painter’s tape and a cover.

How to Spray Paint Wood

Once you’ve gathered your supplies, put on your safety gear, and set up the space you’re ready to paint. Here’s the best way to spray paint wood:

  1. Start by sanding the wood. Be sure to even out any imperfections. Fill in any holes if necessary.
  2. Clean up the sanding mess. Make certain there is nothing that will disrupt the paint.
  3. Apply your primer. Whether you have spray-on or hand-applied primer make sure it is evenly distributed. Then let the primer dry completely.
  4. Time for spray painting! Try to avoid using too much paint in one area. An even application is the way to go. Once it dries you can apply additional coats.
  5. Lastly, apply sealant. When you’ve applied sufficient coats you can seal it with spray paint sealant.

The primer, spray paint, and sealant should all have instructions specific to the brand. Follow those instructions first as they know the products best. Drying times can change from product to product.

Final Thoughts

Spray paint can be a great way to liven up old and new wooden furniture. With the advantage of no brush strokes, you can achieve a professional-looking paint job. Just be sure to take your time and follow safety precautions!

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