Anyone with a taste for DIY and a love for gadgets is bound to get a kick out of a paint sprayer. It doesn’t matter how old you are, setting up your first paint sprayer really is like playing with a massive toy! A toy that just so happens to hold the key to fast, safe and simple paint jobs around the home.
The thing is though, even the most outstanding paint sprayer in the world is pretty much redundant, if you don’t prepare the paint properly. One of the things far too many new paint sprayer owners fail to consider – the fact that they need to prep the paint for spraying.
If the paint is too thick, it isn’t going to pass through the sprayer properly and will cause you nothing but problems. If the paint is too thin, it’ll spray just fine but won’t adhere to the surface properly. As such, you need to nail the perfect balance, right down the middle.
Don’t be perturbed though – it’s not necessarily as difficult or complicated as it sounds. Once you’ve pulled it off a few times, it all becomes second nature.
So for the benefit of those who are new to paint spraying and would prefer not to waste their time and money, here’s how to mix paint for spraying like a pro:
Step 1 – Choose The Right Type Of Paint
First up, it’s worth bearing in mind that there are plenty of different types of paints that cannot be thinned. On the plus side, the overwhelming majority of such products will make this abundantly clear on the packaging. So it’s up to you to read it. If you are planning to paint your surfaces using latex paint, all you’ll need to thin them to the perfect consistency is a little water. By contrast, you’ll need to use mineral spirits – aka paint thinner – if looking to work with oil-based paints. Once again, the manufacturer will usually provide its own specific guidelines as to how to thin the paint you’re looking to use. If in doubt, ask the experts.
Step 2 – Health And Safety
Always remember that paints and thinning products have the potential to give off unpleasant and potentially dangerous fumes. Even if you’re sure things are relatively safe, it’s still a good idea to wear personal protective equipment, in order to minimize exposure to anything toxic. Use an approved mask, ensure there is plenty of ventilation in the area and stay as far away as possible from naked flames and sources of extreme heat.
Step 3 – Strain The Paint
The kinds of lumps that would normally be inconsequential really can ruin your day and wreck your sprayer. As such, it’s important to always strain the paint you intend to use thoroughly, before putting it anywhere near your gadget. A paint strainer of just about any specification will do – you’ll probably find one included with your sprayer. If not, you’ll have to buy one.
Step 4 – Test Run
Pop a little strained paint in the sprayer and see what happens when you attempt to spray it. If it comes out in a fine mist relatively consistently, you probably don’t need to thin it at all. If the flow is somewhat inconsistent and spluttery, this suggests that it is too thick and will need to be thinned. By contrast, if it comes out far too quickly and watery, the paint may already be too thin and is therefore useless to you.
Step 5 – Mixing/Thinning
Whichever thinning product you use, be sure to use just a small amount of it at a time, before testing the resulting mixture once again. Try to add your thinning product as gradually as possible as while you can always add more, you cannot take it out once it has been mixed in. Keep on testing things until you come up with the perfect consistency, recording the exact ratio as a point of reference for next time.
Step 6 – Keep It Clean
Last but not least, the importance of keeping your sprayer as clean as possible cannot be overstated. If you fail to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter, there’s a strong chance it will never work properly again. Whatever the guidelines dictate in terms of keeping your sprayer clean and in good condition, it’s advice you need to heed!