Don’t tell my husband, but I am in love.
Paint sprayer, where have you been all my life?
Where were you when I was painting this crib?
Or this chair?
Where were you when I was going mad painting slats and spindles. Oops, missed a spot. What was it Lady Macbeth said? “…damn spot!”
I always thought paint sprayers were out of my league, until I met the HomeRight Finish Max Fine Finish HVLP Paint Sprayer. Turns out, it’s just the right fit for my furniture-painting needs.
The folks at HomeRight generously gave me a Finish Max paint sprayer to review, and I decided to put it to the test with two different kinds of paint and on two projects that would have taken hours with a brush. Read on for my tips for using a paint sprayer with Chalk Paint and milk paint.
First up was a client’s desk and chair. I never would have agreed to paint all those slats without a sprayer. I’ve learned my lesson about slatty furniture.
Since I paint primarily with Chalk Paint and milk paint, I wanted to test both in the paint sprayer.
If you’ve ever painted with Chalk Paint or similar paints that require no sanding or priming, you know that they can be thick. I was a bit concerned that it would be too thick for the sprayer.
So, I used the handy viscosity cup that comes with the Finish Max to test how quickly the paint flowed. Following the recommendations from HomeRight, I decided to thin my Chalk Paint to a primer consistency by adding water. (If you’re using another type of paint, I don’t recommend using water as a thinner. But I’ve successfully thinned Chalk Paint with water before, so I knew it wouldn’t be a problem.)
With the thinned Chalk Paint loaded into my sprayer, I headed outside, plugged in and pulled the trigger. The paint flowed beautifully in a fine mist (imagine that!) and I was able to apply several coats to the desk and chair in no time.
Spindles and slats included.
When I am painting furniture, I really like a smooth finish. I usually sand lightly to smooth before applying wax or a topcoat. But the paint went on so smoothly with the Finish Max paint sprayer that I didn’t have to do that. Bonus time savings!
For my next project, I decided to see whether I could successfully paint a chair with milk paint using the HomeRight sprayer.
As you may be aware, milk paint comes in a powder and you mix it with water. Even after proper mixing, some sediment may remain. So, when I’m using milk paint, I like to stir frequently to make sure it stays mixed.
Part of the beauty of milk paint is that it is unpredictable and it may chip, giving you a truly authentic, aged, antique look. A little chippiness is good. A lot is bad.
Milk paint is mostly a no-prep paint, but if you’re painting on a nonporous surface, you do need to add a bonding agent to make it stick. I absolutely DO NOT recommend using paint mixed with bonding agent in the HomeRight Finish Max or any paint sprayer. Bonding agent is liquid glue, and I’m afraid it would clog the sprayer and make it impossible to clean.
Milk paint is much thinner than Chalk Paint. It took more coats to get good coverage, so you will probably notice more overspray than with other paints.
The Finish Max sprayer has a nozzle control that allows you to direct the paint horizontally, vertically or in a cone. I found this feature invaluable when spraying milk paint. Once I adjusted the nozzle to match the direction I needed to spray, I got better spray and better coverage.
As I mentioned earlier, milk paint is a powder mixed with water. Whenever I’m painting with a brush, I stir frequently. I found I needed to do the same thing with the sprayer to keep the paint mixed and the flow going. Because of the nature of milk paint, I also found it helpful to occasionally clear the nozzle with my fingernail or a damp paper towel to prevent paint or sediment buildup. This wasn’t the fault of the sprayer; it had more to do with the nature of milk paint.
Once I figured out how to technique for spraying milk paint, I was able to paint my spindle-back chair in just a few minutes and without having to contort myself into all kinds of weird angles. You know how it is when you’re painting spindles. You think you’re finished from one angle, then walk to the other side and realize you’ve missed a spot a mile wide.
I definitely recommend using the HomeRight Finish Max Paint Sprayer with Chalk Paint on any type of project. You will definitely save time. And if you’re like me, you will love the smooth finish.
As for milk paint, I would say to reserve the paint sprayer for jobs with lots of nooks and crannies or spindles and slats. And remember, DO NOT use bonding agent in your paint sprayer if you ever want to use your paint sprayer again.
I would also recommend thoroughly mixing your milk paint first, either with a blender or a submersible mixer, like the kind used to froth coffee. And even then, I would remember to shake the sprayer reservoir occasionally to keep the paint mixed and flowing evenly.
My biggest concern going into the paint sprayer experiment was that any time I saved painting would be spent in the cleanup phase.
But the Finish Max was a snap to clean up because it’s so compact and all the parts where paint could get stuck are removable. My blogging friend, Jenna at Rain on a Tin Roof has a great tutorial on cleaning the Finish Max paint sprayer, so I won’t reinvent the wheel. She’s right on when she says it takes just 10 minutes to clean up.
The HomeRight Finish Max Fine Finish HVLP Paint Sprayer and I are going to be a couple for a long, long time.
Disclosure: HomeRight provided me with a free paint sprayer and compensated me for my time, but I was not told what to write. Opinions are honest and they are my own. Read my full disclosure policy here.