So until then I'm covering the most important part…the sprayer. I've always been a little intimidated by sprayers. I've had a couple of them over the years and both were decent. They were just frustrating enough that I didn't use them a lot. Now that's all changed. I can't WAIT to use this thing on furniture and all kinds of stuff.
First up, here's what I used:
It's the Graco True Coat Plus II sprayer. And it rocks. (That is an affiliate link to Amazon and it's about $15 cheaper there than what I bought it for in the store.)
I had a Graco before and didn't LOVE it. Not like this one. The difference is simple -- you don't have to water down the paint in this sprayer. This is HUGE people. The problem with sprayers is the set up and clean up. Those are unavoidable, and those steps used to turn me off of using it more. But now that I've gotten the cleaning down to a few steps it's a lot easier.
Thing is, with other sprayers I've used you have to water down the paint to the perfect viscosity so the sprayer won't spit everywhere. If you don't have it spot on it won't spray smoothly. This used to take me a good 15 minutes at the start -- you have to run the paint through a cup and time it to make sure it's thin enough. If you use one a lot you probably know exactly how much water to add to the paint, but I hated that part. I was thrilled when I realized this one didn't need that step.
You put the paint in and go. It makes things SO much easier.
There are a few steps to follow to insure a nice smooth finish with this sprayer. First, make sure to clean it out one more time before painting. If the nozzle isn't completely cleaned out it will need water running through it to clear the gun. I do that before I start a session, even though I've mastered the clean up and don't really need to at this point. It just saves you headaches later.
Once the gun is cleaned out (just with water), you can add your paint and get going. You'll need to prime it, which is simply lifting a lever and letting it run for a few seconds. You'll hear it pulling the paint up into the gun. Then place the lever down, select the power you want to spray and test it out a few times on some scrap wood or a tarp.
After that you're ready to go. I had my husband take a video of me spraying but, seriously, I have too much self respect to share it. I concentrate hard when I do it so I make a horrible scowl that results in approximately three chins. If you search on YouTube there are a bunch of videos that show you how it sprays.
Here's a visual of how I sprayed each board:
1. I sprayed each direction along the part closest to me first, back and forth. Get the sides!
2. Move on to the middle, again back and forth. A smaller drawer like this I only did one swipe down the middle (both ways). A larger one you'll need to do the length of the door.
3. Move around the door and spray the side. You'll want to make sure you can walk completely around your set up. My only complaint about the gun is that it is heavy, you don't want to try to maneuver directly over the cabinets too much.
4. Again back and forth on the other side, standing directly in front. You need to be moving the whole time.
5. Finish up the last side.
6. Walk back from where you came (because you don't want to wind your power cord around each time) and this time I focused on the detailed spots on our cabinets. Those grooves were hard to get sometimes so I did one more pass from up above on the top (4) and then walked around and did another on the bottom (1).
I hope that helps to explain the process! One more tip -- I showed one of the guys who was here working on another project (I can't wait to show you that!) the sprayer because he's a paint guy. This one has very minimal spraying issues but it does happen occasionally. He gave me some great advice to help with any splatter. Because it usually happens at either the beginning or the end of a spray, he recommended starting to spray off to the side and then ending off to the side. Does that make sense? Instead of starting on the edge of the door, start a few inches off to the left. This lets any spatter go on your tarp, not on the cabinet. It really did help. Overall I had very little problems with that anyway -- FAR less than with any other sprayer I've used.
One other tip -- make sure to fill up your hopper (where the paint goes), no matter how much you think you're going to use. I mean, if you're spraying one cabinet you don't have to fill it up, but I would fill it half way thinking it would be enough. When it runs out it sputters a little bit and can cause issues. Just fill it up, you won't regret it.
Clean up is SO important. As soon as I'm done I empty the leftover paint, then fill the hopper with warm water a few times and spray to clear it out. I turn it up to full power spray (it has levels one through ten, I used level one to paint, level ten to clean it out) and shake it so it gets the paint off from inside too. Then I rinse the parts off, put it back together and spray water again. The final step is to take it apart again (there are two pieces I remove), rinse/clean/soak them and then let them dry out.
When you do this the first couple of times it will take a good 30 minutes. :) When you get the hang of it it takes ten. It's really not that bad. And it's so worth it! You can't get this kind of finish by hand!
Here's a shot of an island drawer front I've painted with a brush over the years:
Honestly it's never bothered me -- it's not awful or anything. But then you see the finish on a sprayed cabinet and you never want to go back. ;)
Here's one that's sprayed -- what a difference!:
Any imperfections are from dents in the door, not the paint. It truly looks like a factory finish! Keep in mind if you have a lot of grain on your doors you will still see that. If you prime well and sand and do a couple coats, it will minimize the grain, but it won't be this smooth.
Here's a better shot of the lower cabinet color (Peppercorn) with the granite. It's LOVELY:
It's all I imagined it would be!
I share a lot of kitchen progress shots there along the way on Facebook and Instagram so check in there if you want more updates! For now I'm off to paint…again. :) I'll have a long, full tutorial on painting your cabinets from start to finish as soon as possible! The sprayer is the most important so I wanted to give some more detail in a separate post.
If you have any questions about the sprayer or how to use it, please let me know. I've been incredibly pleased with it so far. Have you used this one?
**If you don't have a sprayer and want to paint your cabinets by hand, here's my tutorial on how to do so.