How to Use Wagner FLEXiO 3500

Painting furniture with a paint sprayer is an effective and efficient way to get the job done quickly. However, if you don’t take the right steps, you can end up with a sloppy finish or clogged paint sprayers. In this post, we’re going over how to use Wagner FLEXiO 3500 paint sprayer and 8 tips that will help make sure your painting project turns out perfectly!

Learning how to use a paint sprayer on furniture, including filtering your paint, to spraying light coats of paint, and cleaning your sprayer in between uses, are essential for getting professional results when using a paint sprayer.

spraying paint with wagner flexio 3500 onto furniture with text overlay

Before going any further, if you’re familiar with any of the Wagner FLEXiO sprayers, this 3500 sprayer is very similar. It is only slightly different than using the FLEXiO 3000 sprayer that was its predecessor.

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The Wagner FLEXiO series even rivals high end professional sprayers that cost over $1000… how do I know? I have a pro grade sprayer that I don’t use any more because the FLEXiO is just as good!!

With that out of the way, here is how to use the Wagner FLEXiO 3500 sprayer for painting furniture.

Using the Wagner FLEXiO 3500

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supplies used:

Preparing Furniture Before Painting

Preparing furniture for paint requires attention to detail for the best results. Begin by removing any hardware, such as drawer pulls or door handles, and set them aside.

removing furniture hardware using electric screwdriver

If you want to change the hardware to new hardware, fill any holes left behind with wood filler, like KwikWood, and allow it to dry completely, then sand it flush with the wood around it.

Make repairs as needed, such as patching cracks or filling dents and holes from nails or screws, or fixing chipped wood. Here are our repairing old furniture posts to help you with repairing furniture.

Do I Need to Thin Paint for the FLEXiO Sprayer?

If you don’t thin the paint out, your paint sprayer will either just not spray, the paint will spit a lot, you’ll end up with orange peel texture all over and/or you’ll use more paint.

You’ll have a much better experience if you take a few minutes to thin the paint first.

Note: This paint sprayer can spray thick chalk paint but it is difficult. It will spit out the paint and stop spraying a few times. The finish will have bumps and an orange peel texture.

How to Thin Paint for the FLEXiO 3500 Paint Sprayer

Using the Wagner FLEXiO 3500 Paint Sprayer for furniture requires that you thin out your paint in order to create the best results. Whether you are using an oil-based or water-based paint, you must take steps to make sure that it is thinned appropriately before spraying.

thinning out paint before spraying with wagner flexio 3500

For oil-based paints, you should use mineral spirits as the thinning agent. For water-based paints, such as chalk, latex, or all-in-one paint, you can use plain water to thin them out. It is important to check for instructions on your paint container for the exact amount of thinning that is needed.

Generally speaking, most paints need to be diluted by about 10%. However, chalk paint tends to be thicker than other paints, so you will need to thin it out even more.

Here’s a more detailed post on how to thin paint for Wagner FLEXiO Sprayer.

Filter Paint into the Sprayer

Before you put the paint into the sprayer’s container, filter the paint. You can easily filter the paint while pouring the paint into the sprayer with a paint filter that sits on the opening on the container.

The filter will catch any debris, dried paint, or anything in the paint that can clog the sprayer. Trust me, even brand new paint has these things in the paint and any tiny little particle can clog the sprayer.

If you don’t want to deal with problems with your sprayer, take a minute to filter the paint before putting it into the sprayer.

You can use a mesh sifter or something similar to filter the paint if you’re in a pinch!

Spray Paint on Furniture

When painting furniture with the Wagner FLEXiO 3500 sprayer, use the Detail Finish Nozzle instead of the iSpray nozzle.

The Detail Finish nozzle is best for furniture because it sprays a smaller amount, and it sprays a finer finish, without and the bumps that you see from some sprayers. The iSpray nozzle is best for large projects like fences and walls.

Test the Sprayer First

To make sure that your spray paint turns out well, try spraying some paint on a poster board, cardboard, or any item that you don’t mind getting painted first. This way, you can check if your sprayer settings are correct.

testing the sprayer settings first using a cardboard

I’ve saved myself so much hassle by spraying the paint onto some cardboard before spraying my furniture because I find that my settings are off and I can adjust them before spraying onto my furniture and then having to fix my mistakes.

Spray Light Coats

When spraying your furniture, it’s way better to spray light coats than thicker coats. Heavy coats will leave you with drips, sags, and puddles that are unsightly, and then you have to sand them out or fix them.

So paint a lighter coat, and build on it.

spraying light coats of paint using wagner flexio 3500

Thinner coats also dry so much faster, so you’ll be ready to paint another coat in no time!

Spraying less paint also helps keep the overspray at bay and from getting everywhere. So it’s a win win situation to just spray lighter, thin coats.

Between Coats of Paint

If you need to paint again in the next few hours, it is okay to leave the paint in the sprayer.

When it’s time to paint again, you can just chip off the tiny bit of dried paint off of the tip of the sprayer, and start spraying again.

If you’re using water based paint, it is usually pretty easy to clean up with hot soapy water, so if it sits in the sprayer for a little bit, it will be fine.

Any paint that dries fast and hard should get cleaned out ASAP, and possibly even between coats to prevent issues in the future.

I personally have a rule that I never let my paint sit in my sprayer overnight to make sure that it works well in the future and that it is easy to keep clean.

Clean Paint Sprayer

When it’s time to clean the paint sprayer, it should only take about 5-10 minutes.

cleaning wagner flexio 3500 paint sprayer after every use

Especially if you haven’t left the paint in the sprayer for days on end.

Here’s how to clean the Wagner FLEXiO 3500 sprayer.

  1. Unplug the sprayer.
  2. Remove any remaining paint from the container.
  3. Rinse out the container and fill it with hot soapy water, for waterbased paints only. If using oil based paints, fill with mineral spirits instead.
  4. Then plug the sprayer back in and spray the cleaner through the sprayer until the spray is clear.
  5. Then spray clean water through the sprayer to rinse the insides.
  6. Unplug the sprayer.
  7. Disassemble the tip of the sprayer and clean the small pieces with a small brush.
  8. Let dry completely before putting it back together.

Get more info on how to clean a Wagner FLEXiO sprayer here.

Topcoat Paint with Poly

If you are sing chalk paint, mineral paint or acrylic paint, the only thing left to do is topcoat the paint.

If you are using an enamel paint or alkyd paint, DO NOT topcoat the paint.

You can spray a waterbased polyurethane topcoat onto the paint (that’s my favorite way!) Here is how to spray polyurethane.

Or you can brush the poly on.. here is how to apply polycrylic by hand. But why brush it when you have a paint sprayer?

When topcoating dark colors, it’s harder to get a perfect looking finish.

Here are some tricks to make polyurethane look amazing over dark chalk paint.

  • Stir. Stir. Stir and stir some more. (Yep, mixing the poly really well is super important to prevent fogginess in the finish.)
  • Add a little bit of your paint into the poly. This will tint it to the color of your paint, and which will help hide streaks and fogginess.

How to Prevent Overspray When Using a Paint Sprayer?

Taping off your furniture and creating a space to spray paint can seem hard. But it’s not that difficult. You can put plastic on the ground outside and set furniture up on buckets. You can also spray with drawers pushed in, then brush paint onto areas that were covered by the drawers.

brushing paint onto areas that were covered by the drawers

Check out this full guide on how to prevent overspray from getting on everything around and inside the furniture.

How to Prevent Clogging the Sprayer

A couple of really simple steps will prevent your sprayer from getting clogged.

  1. Thin your paint.
  2. Filter the paint before putting it into your sprayer.
  3. Clean the sprayer really well in between uses.

But if you still encounter any clogging issues, here’s how to unclog a paint sprayer.

For more tips on how to prevent problems and how to fix problems when using your FLEXiO sprayer, read our Wagner Paint Sprayer troubleshooting post.

Best of luck on your next painting adventure!!

How to Use a Wagner FLEXiO 3500

spraying paint with wagner flexio 3500 onto furniture with text overlay

Learn an effective and easy way of painting furniture with this step by step process on how to use a Wagner FLEXiO 3500 paint sprayer.


  1. Thin the paint using a thinning agent.
  2. Filter the paint into the sprayer with a paint filter or mesh sifter.
  3. Test the sprayer and settings on cardboard.
  4. Spray light coats on furniture to avoid dripping paint.
  5. Clean the paint sprayer after use.

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