You don’t have to be a DIY champ to know that a coat of paint can completely transform a piece of furniture. But spray painting can be frustrating if you don’t do it right and this past weekend I learned a couple of tricks that I’m happy to pass along.
My biggest discovery is the existence of custom spray nozzles, which utterly transform the process of do it yourself spray painting. See the wonderfully smooth, slightly reflective top on the IKEA side table below right? There’s no way I could have gotten such a professional-looking result without the help of custom spray nozzles available for just 50¢ each at Curry’s Art Store.
My paint of choice is almost always Dover brand spray lacquer, a made-in-Canada product that gives a durable, high-quality result, especially on wood. But as good as it is, even Dover will spray splashes if the temperature or your spraying technique isn’t just right. The custom nozzles allow you to tailor the flow and make it more direct or more diffuse depending on your needs. The amazing jumbo fat nozzle sprays a cloud of paint that settles beautifully on a flat surface, giving smooth, even coverage that the cheap, little manufacturer’s nozzle could never achieve. The fatter the nozzle, the more paint you’ll go through but the results speak for themselves. Also note that this is not a job for the impatient; more passes with lighter coats will give you a much better result so take your time.
The Fornbro table, above, is one of IKEA’s most recognizable designs, so familiar it’s almost a cliché. Which might explain why Toronto Craigslist sellers were practically giving away a pair of them for just $10. I was pretty sure I could make something of these Alvar Alto-inspired tables so I grabbed them, along with a couple of cans of Dover, available at Goudey Manufacturing, a Toronto stain and paint specialist.
I had planned to just paint the tables black but they felt a bit one-dimensional so I sprayed the tops white. Hardly a revolutionary makeover but definitely a transformation. What’s more, the Fornbro is no longer made by IKEA so it will be less and less of a cliché as time marches on.
My second project of the weekend was the console table above. Another Craigslist purchase from a few years back, I wanted to dress it up and clear it out at my garage sale next week but the condition was too rough to sell (below). I tried stripping it with oven cleaner but that just made matters worse. Now that it’s painted black, I’m pretty sure someone will want to take it home. Goudey’s also makes a quality clear coat that will protect your paint job and put a shine on even matte finishes; I recommend it. I also recommend priming, preferably with a product by the same manufacturer as your top coats.
And finally, a word about health and safety. I happen to be particularly sensitive to VOC paint fumes and I could never tackle projects like this without my trusty, NIOSH-rated, 3M air mask. I bought mine a few years ago for $50 or $60, which seemed like a big investment but it was a good one. I reach for my mask whenever I’m stripping or staining or painting and it has saved me from countless headaches along the way. Good quality, neoprene gloves are another great investment.