Home DIY: Spray painting a bookcase

As Josh and I have gotten married and started putting our house together, we've been lucky enough to have been given lots of free furniture. I've also been able to pick up some nice, cheap pieces from places like Ikea and Target. In order to make everything match, and add a little bit of personal style to our home, I've been painting a lot of furniture the last six months. And along the way I've made a new best friend- spray paint. 

Six months ago, I would never have thought of spray paint as a good paint material for furniture, but now I rarely use anything else. I love if for a number of reasons-
1. Smooth finish- no worrying about hiding paintbrush lines.
2. Quick drying time- It's dry to the touch in 10 minutes, and fully dry in about 40 minutes.
3. Much faster than painting- I'd say it takes about half as long. 

Spray painting is fairly easy, however there are a few tricks that I've learned to help you come out with a great finished product. 

Selecting the spray paint: My favorite brand of spray paint is Rust-oleum. They have a really wide selection of colors, and it will work on just about any material. I get the kind that's a paint and primer in one; it saves time and provides fuller coverage. 

For my project, which was a black medium size bookcase, which I then painted white, I used 4 cans of spray paint. If you're going from light to dark, or painting a similar color to the original, you'd need less paint. For light to dark, I'd go with 3 cans, and for similar colors, 2 cans should do it. 

Spray painting can be messy, so I recommend painting outside in an open area, where you won't accidentally spray something nearby. Put a sheet down so that your grass or driveway or whatever you're painting on doesn't also end up the color you're painting. 

Lightly sand whatever you're painting. Sanding helps the spray paint to stick. Otherwise, the spray paint tends to pool in one spot and run off, kind of like what happens if you pour water on something. So make sure the whole surface is just lightly scuffed up, and the spray paint should grip on just fine. 

I like to do two coats of paint. For the first coat, you want to just lightly spray the surface, so that everything is covered. It's okay if it looks patchy, like mine does, you can even it out with the second coat. Hold the can about six inches away from the surface as you spray, and move the can back and forth in either the horizontal or vertical direction. 
Be especially careful with the corners and other tight spots. It's easy for spray paint to quickly build up in those spots and then it will start to drip, which you don't want. So don't linger in corners, you want to move the can pretty fast as you're painting. If you do end up with drips, wait for it to dry, and then sand off the excess paint.

After the first coat has dried, which should take 10-15 minutes, go back over with a second coat, evening everything out. You can spray on a little thicker in this coat, just make sure to keep moving the can quickly to avoid dripping. 

I let my bookcase sit outside to dry for about an hour before I brought it in. I added a little bit of copper paint (with regular paint and paintbrush) to match my other bookcases. 

And here is the completed bookcase. The whole process took me about three hours. And now we have some cute extra storage! 

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