How to Use an Electric Paint Sprayer

Written by danny donahue
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Painting is an effective means of protecting your home from the elements while maintaining a fresh, new look. The fastest and easiest means of applying paint is with a sprayer. Sprayers will coat your project with an even coat of paint on a large area in a fraction of the time that using a brush and roller would take. Using a spray rig to paint takes a lot of practice and a bit of know-how.

Skill level:
Challenging

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Things you need

  • Paint spray gun
  • Project piece
  • Latex, interior paint
  • 1-gallon bucket
  • Nylon toothbrush
  • Clean, wet rags
  • Wooden stir stick
  • Dust sheets

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Unscrew the supply cup from the spray gun. Fill the supply cup 3/4 full with latex paint. Add water to fill the cup completely and combine the water with the paint with your stir stick. Wipe off the stir stick with a wet rag and set it aside for the next mix. Screw the supply cup back into place on the spray gun, point it toward the open paint bucket and spray a five-second burst to prime the spray gun. Wipe the exterior of the cup and gun with a wet rag.

  2. 2

    Place the project piece onto a dropcloth, point the sprayer at one end of the piece, and spray a light first coat onto the project piece. Start at one end of the piece and work your way to the other end. Spray a light first coat onto the piece using short, side-to-side bursts. Work from top to bottom, being careful not to apply too much paint in any one spot, creating a run. Allow the piece to dry for two hours.

  3. 3

    Flip the project piece over and spray a light first coat of paint onto the entire piece. Work your way from one side to the other and from top to bottom using short, side-to-side bursts from your spray gun. Do not to apply too much paint to any one spot, as this will create a run in the paint. Allow the paint to dry for two hours.

  4. 4

    Apply a thick second coat of paint to the project piece. Cover one side, allow it to dry for two hours, then paint the other side. Work from one side to the other and from top to bottom, being careful to avoid runs. Allow the second coat to dry for two hours.

  5. 5

    Remove the cup from the spray gun. Pour the excess paint back into the paint can that it came from. Fill the cup with water and screw it back onto the gun. Point the gun at your empty 1-gallon bucket and squeeze the trigger. Spray the entire cup of water through the gun and into the bucket, refill the cup with water, and repeat until the water coming out of the gun is clear. Disassemble the tip of the gun, dip each piece into clean water, scrub each clean with the toothbrush, and replace the piece onto the gun. Wipe the exterior of the gun clean with a wet rag.

Tips and warnings

  • Oil-based paints can also be used in paint sprayers. These can be thinned and cleaned up by using paint thinner instead of water. If you use oil-based paints and paint thinner, read and follow all of the manufacturer's recommendations before and during use of these potentially hazardous chemicals. Dispose of unused chemicals and contaminated rags in a legal and environmentally friendly manner.
  • Spray guns are electrical power tools that pose various hazards. Read and follow all of the manufacturer's recommendations before and during use of spray guns.
  • Always wear appropriate safety equipment, such as a respirator or dust mask, safety glasses, a disposable, protective jumpsuit, and leather work gloves, when using a spray gun.
  • An electric spray gun poses an injection hazard. Never point a spray gun at a person or animal. If you receive an accidental injection of paint from a spray gun, seek immediate medical attention.

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