The instructions on the can are valuable. Take a moment to read them. They’ll tell you how far to hold the spray can from the object, how long to shake the can before spraying, the proper temperature for application, how long the paint or coating needs to ‘cure’, and more.
Don’t look at a can of spray being the same as a camera. You want to avoid pointing and shooting. To get an even coat of paint, sweep the can horizontally and vertically past the object as you spray. For example, if you’re moving left to right, you begin spraying on the left of the object, to the centre of the object, and then to the right of the object.
There is no need to waste time taping together newspapers that might fall apart as you paint. Instead, it is much more effective to use a large plastic sheet or cloth that provides plenty of backdrop for you to move the spray can past the object. If you only have newspaper at your disposal, is will of course work as the next best thing.
Set up the item you plan to paint on sawhorses, a workbench, or other platform. Don’t set up on the floor. For one thing, you’ll be hunched over. For another, it doesn’t provide easy and consistent access for you to move the spray can past the painted object.
You will get far better results using a spray can handle than you will holding the aerosol can in your bare hand. Consider a Rust-Oleum Comfort Grip.
Whenever possible, place the object you are painting on a platform such as a piece of cardboard or a scrap piece of plywood. You’ll then be able to rotate the object as you paint, without touching it. If you have a lot of small parts, it pays to set up the part on a turntable. Shoot the object, then rotate the base to shoot it from different angles.
Spray a test shot onto a piece of plywood to see the spray pattern that the can produces. You can adjust your technique and hold the can closer or further from the target, depending on the spray pattern.
One technique that can be quite successful is to spray a light coat all over the object you’re painting, and before it has a chance to fully dry, move back and apply more paint so the object is fully wet with paint. Done right, this produces a smooth, flawless coating. Wet coating doesn’t work with all paints, though, so try your method on a test piece.
A sprayed coating is smooth and reflects light in a way that makes surface flaws obvious. So, before you paint your item, sand it smooth and go over it with primer. That may mean applying several primer coats, with each coat lightly sanded before proceeding.
Always wear an appropriate respirator, not merely a dust mask, when painting. Ensure the work area has appropriate ventilation.
Spray painting can be both safe and fun when done correctly.