Can you use chalk paint in a sprayer? Today I’m sharing how to use chalk paint in a paint sprayer with this mismatched nightstand makeover.
Get more furniture makeover ideas here!
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Chalk paint is a great way to paint furniture.
But an even easier way to paint furniture is to spray the chalk paint on with a paint sprayer.
You’ll save so much time compared to brushing the paint on!
That’s exactly what we did on this thrift store nightstand makeover.
Chalk Painted Nightstand Makeover
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- Wagner Flexio 3000 Paint Sprayer (the FLEXiO 590 is the same as the FLEXiO 3000)
- Chalk Paint – Country Chic Paint in a mix of Peacoat and Fireworks
- Measuring Cup
- Mesh Filters
- Stir Stick
How to Spray Chalk Paint
- Prep Furniture for Chalk Paint
- Thin Chalk Paint for Paint Sprayer
- Filter Chalk Paint into the Sprayer
- Spray Chalk Paint on Furniture
- Clean Paint Sprayer
- Topcoat the Chalk Paint
Step 1: Prep Furniture for Chalk Paint
Before painting, even with chalk paint, you’ll need to prepare your furniture for paint.
- removing hardware
- filling hardware holes if you want to change the hardware
- making repairs if needed
- scuff sanding
- and priming.
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Yep, even with chalk paint.
Trust me, for the best looking, most long lasting, and durable finish, you’ll want to do all of those steps.
Get all of the details on how to prep furniture before painting here.
Step 2: Thin Chalk Paint for Paint Sprayer
Then grab your paint sprayer, chalk paint, measuring cup and water.
Pour your chalk paint into the paint sprayer.
And make note of how much paint is in your measuring cup.
You’ll want to add 10-20% of water to the chalk paint.
With this Country Chic Paint, I ended up adding 20% water to the chalk paint.
(Since chalk paint is thicker than a lot of other paints, you’ll need to thin it out more than others.)
Then add the amount of water you need into the chalk paint, and stir to completely mix the water and chalk paint together.
How to Calculate How Much Water to Add
Multiply the amount of paint you have by the percentage of water you want to add.
So, if you have 2 cups of paint, and you want to thin it with 20% water, you’ll need .4 of a cup of water.
(2 cups x 20% = .4 cup)
You can use ounces, grams… whatever measurement you want. Just multiply it by 10 or 20 % to figure out how much water you need to add.
(If your paint sprayer comes with a viscosity cup, like the Wagner Double Duty paint sprayer, then you can use it to get your paint to the right consistency without any math!
Check out how to thin paint with a viscosity cup here.)
Why Do I Need to Thin the Paint for the Sprayer?
If you don’t thin the paint out, your paint sprayer will either just
- not spray
- the paint will spit a lot
- and/or you’ll end up with orange peel texture all over
- oh and you’ll use more paint.
Basically, you’ll have a much better experience with spraying if you take a minute to thin the paint first.
I should add… this paint sprayer is capable of spraying even thick chalk paint. BUT it has a hard time doing it. It spits a lot, stops spraying for a second here and there, and the finish has a lot of bumps or orange peel texture in it.
Step 3: Filter Chalk Paint into the Sprayer
After the chalk paint is thinned out, you can put it into your paint sprayer container.
But, save yourself a headache and filter it while you’re pouring it into the paint sprayer’s container.
Even if the paint you’re using is brand new.
The filter will prevent specks of debris and dried paint from getting into your paint sprayer and clogging it while you’re trying to spray.
Seriously, the smallest particles can clog up a paint sprayer.
So it’s just best to filter your paint before you pour it into the sprayer.
These disposable filters are really handy to have around! But you can use a mesh flour sifter or something similar to filter to paint in a pinch!
Step 4: Spray Chalk Paint on Furniture
Test the Sprayer First
Before you spray your furniture, spray the paint on a practice poster, cardboard, or something you don’t care about getting painted.
You can test out the sprayer to see if your settings are right.
I’ve saved myself so much hassle by spraying cardboard before spraying my furniture.
Honestly, there are so many times that my settings are off and I would have created a mess if I just started spraying my furniture.
Spray Light Coats
It’s way better to spray light coats than thicker coats.
Light coats won’t leave you with drips, sags or puddles in the paint. And chalk paint is super forgiving with light coats.
So paint a lighter coat, and build on it.
Thinner coats also dry so much faster. So you’ll be ready to paint another coat in no time!
Spraying less paint also helps you prevent overspray from getting everywhere.
So it’s a win win win situation to just spray lighter, thin coats.
Between Coats of Paint
If you’re coming back to paint another coat within a few hours, there is no harm in leaving the paint in the sprayer.
Then 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.
Chalk paint is water based and is pretty easy to clean up with hot soapy water, so if it sits in the sprayer for a little bit, it will be fine.
(Other types of paint that dry fast and hard should get cleaned out ASAP, and possibly even between coats!)
Step 5: Clean Paint Sprayer
When it’s time to clean the paint sprayer, it should only take about 5-10 minutes.
Especially if you haven’t left the paint in the sprayer for days on end.
No matter the exact brand and model of HVLP paint sprayer you have, cleaning the sprayer should basically be the same.
How to Clean an HVLP Paint Sprayer:
- Unplug the sprayer.
- Remove any remaining paint from the container.
- Rinse out the container and fill it with hot soapy water.
- Then plug the sprayer back in and spray the hot soapy water through the sprayer.
- Then spray clean water through the sprayer to rinse it again.
- Unplug the sprayer.
- Disassemble the tip of the sprayer and clean the small pieces with a small brush.
- Let dry.
Get more info on how to clean a paint sprayer here.
And click here to see the FLEXiO 3000’s owners manual and see all of the pieces to clean.
Step 6: Topcoat Chalk Paint with Poly
The only thing left to do is topcoat the chalk paint.
The Best Topcoats for Chalk Paint
You can spray a waterbased polyurethane topcoat onto the chalk paint (that’s my favorite way!)
Or you can brush the poly on.. but why brush it when you have a paint sprayer?
Or you can brush wax onto the chalk paint.
How to Prevent Streaks in Polyurethane Over Dark Colors
My favorite way to topcoat chalk paint is by spraying polyurethane onto it.
But honestly, dark colors can make it harder to get a perfectly perfect 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 chalk paint into the poly. This will tint it to the color of your chalk paint, and which will help hide streaks and fogginess.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Prevent Overspray When Using a Paint Sprayer?
Taping everything off, and creating a space where you can spray might seem like a challenge.
It’s not that hard though!
It can be something as simple as setting some plastic on the ground outside and propping your furniture up on buckets.
You can also spray with the drawers pushed all of the way into the drawers. And when it’s time to paint the tops and sides of the drawer fronts (or areas that were covered by the drawers) you can quickly brush paint onto those areas.
Check out this full guide on how to prevent overspray from getting on everything else.
How Much Should You Dilute Chalk Paint?
Dilute chalk paint with 10 – 20% water before putting it in your paint sprayer.
Can you Spray Chalk Paint with Other Sprayers?
I have another Wagner paint sprayer (the Control Spray Double Duty paint sprayer) that sprays chalk paint once it’s thinned out enough.
I also have an expensive professional grade paint sprayer that I spray chalk paint out of.
And even though it totally CAN spray chalk paint without thinning the chalk paint, I always always always thin the paint.
Thinned out paint just looks so much better than the orange peel, texture that you get from not thinning.
Plus it saves the day and prevents the sprayer from clogging all the time!
And you don’t use as much paint when you thin it out.
How to Prevent Clogging the Sprayer
A couple of really simple steps will prevent your sprayer from getting clogged.
- Thin your paint.
- Filter the paint before putting it into your sprayer.
- Clean the sprayer really well in between uses.
Best of luck on your next painting adventure!!