Can you spray paint wood?

When it comes to conventional methods of painting surfaces, spray paints and aerosol cans are the most common, convenient, cheap, and accessible options out there.

And if you have piles and fines of worn-out wooden furniture or planning to build your new woodwork masterpiece, then spray-painting wood is probably all you need.

But why do you need it? To give those boring pieces of dull wood a completely new makeover.

spray painting wood items

In general, people refrain from dumping their old, worn-out wooden furniture into the bin as they are often of intense sentimental value. This might not be the most pleasing visual for your guests and visitors.

A proper spray paint job without mistakes can make that same wooden structure stand out from the very ordinary and make it extraordinary.

Materials required for the entire process of spray painting wood

  • Paint scraper
  • 180 grit sandpaper
  • Drop cloth
  • Electric random orbital sander
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Paint sprayer
  • Primer
  • Shop Vac with proper attachments such as brush attachment
  • Enamel paint

How to prepare the wood for spray painting?

Proper preparation of the wood surface is essential before spray painting. This will help you to ensure that the spray properly sticks to the surface, does not easily wear out, and gives an overall smooth and professional look after painting.

The step-by-step process of preparing the word is listed below. The process involves initial preparations, priming and finally painting the wood structure in a straightforward and problem-free manner.

We can assure you that if you follow each and every given step mentioned here thoroughly, a beautiful and durable piece of the wooden structure is what you will be awarded.

Pre-paint preparations

First things first, you need to decide on a suitable work site for carrying out all the operations of spray-painting and preparing the surface.

For priming and painting purposes, the outdoors will be a great option as it offers the best ventilation. However, that comes at the cost of the weather, insects, and dust. If you are looking forward to avoiding those, setting up your work site in your garage can be a good option too.

Before you start with anything else, you must ensure to keep the surroundings as dust free as possible. The floor and all other nearby objects need to be covered to ensure that the spray particles do not stick to them.

If your work site is an enclosed space, then having proper lighting is a must.

The steps for preparing the wood before painting

The first step towards producing the perfect pre-paint wooden surface involves a process commonly known as SVT. SVT stands for “sand vac and tack.


You need to start by sanding and scraping areas where the existing layers of the word are peeling off or flaking. This is done to pull out any loosely attached particles from the piece.

And now it is time to give the wooden surface some teeth for proper adhesion of the new primer. And for that, you need to scuff sand the entire surface of the wooden piece.



Now that you have sanded the entire piece there has been an accumulation of dust particles in huge amounts. For that, you need to vacuum up the dust by using a Shop Vac with a proper brush attachment.


We can finish off the SVT process by removing any residue of dust which has accumulated with the help of a dampened microfiber cloth.


Advantages and disadvantages of spray-painting wood

There are some major advantages and some disadvantages when it comes to spraying paint on wood. Therefore, before diving into the process, precautions are necessary. It has to be taken for getting that perfect spray paint job done on wooden surfaces.

Let’s have a quick look at the pros and cons of spray paint on wood. This can be a great way for you to decide whether you want to use regular paint or go for spray paint for your next woodworking project.



Spray painting on wood does not require an ample amount of time. Hence, if you have a really tight schedule this can be a really significant option for you.

Final finish

Undoubtedly, the smoothness and finish of the final paint job obtained using spray paint are incomparable to regular paint. This can be a good option if that is what you are looking for.

Zero brush marks

Spray painting does not involve the implementation of brush strokes. Thus, ensuring there is no brush mark on the final finished surface.



The gases present in aerosol spray paint cans are considered harmful to the environment and hence are not eco-friendly.

The price

The entire process of painting is much more expensive as compared to regular paints. If a limited budget plays a pivotal role in your project, then this can be a tough option to choose. The amount of paint you get in spray paint can is very less than what you can easily get in a regular paint bucket.

Is primer required for your project?

Beginners have been found to be confused when it comes to deciding the need for primers in their spray-painting process. The most common question which arises in their mind is, “do I have to primer the surface before spraying on it, or is it not really necessary? What is the need for a primer?”

So let us answer this question in the simplest way possible.

Wood may not need primer application before using spray paint on its surface. If the exposed area of the wood has been completely sealed with something similar to varnish, a primer coat is needed.

If none of these symptoms is applicable in your case, you are free to spray paint on the wooden surface without giving it a coat of primer.

However, if your budget allows it, it is a good practice to use primer in order to achieve optimum results. Because primer prepares the wooden surface for proper application of paint and ensures that the paint does not bubble or peel off in the near future.

Process of spray-painting wooden structures

Here is a quick look at the fundamental steps of spray painting wooden structures

  • One of the most convenient and readily available options in the market is Aerosol spray cans. They are easy to use and provide an extensive selection of color combinations. If you are searching for a quick and low-cost option for spray painting, then this can yield good results.
  • After properly preparing your work area you need to spray the wooden piece with bonding primer. It is a good practice to start off by flipping the entire wooden structure and spraying the bottom first.
  • In order to achieve optimum results, press the nozzle at a distance of a few inches. Then gradually move towards peace. Then you can make continuous and long passes and stop a few inches after passing the piece. It is to be noted that if you stop spraying anywhere within the middle of the working surface it may lead to drips and lap marks.
  • SVT is to be only performed if the surface of the working piece is considerably rough and is to be done only after the primer has completely dried. If it is not required, you can start with the enameling process. One must ensure not to finish painting just after a single coat. Application of at least two or more quotes is required to ensure an even and rich finish.

you need to read can you paint pressure treated wood items in this post for better understanding of wood painting.

Use professional sprayers for that “pro” touch

If you are not satisfied with the results, an aerosol spray can have to offer that you might want to step this job of spray-painting a level further, then all you need is a truly professional-looking finish which can only be achieved by using professional sprayers.

Currently, two major types of professional sprayers are used in the industry. They are HVLP sprayers and Airless sprayers.

HVLP sprayers

HVLP or high volume low-pressure sprayers utilize a turbine mechanism in order to create air pressure. The way this works is that the paint travels to a cup gun which is situated at the top of the sprayer. Then the pressured air blows and picks up the paint, pushing it out of the nozzle.

While great results can be achieved by using these sprayers, HVLP sprayers take a considerable amount of time and experience for mastering. These sprayers are extremely delicate and one must handle them carefully.

hvlp_spray_gun for wood

Airless sprayers

Just like the name suggests Airless sprayers utilize no air for their spraying mechanism. This is another great option for professional spray painting.

These sprayers pressurize the paint and send it to the tip of the spraying module which has been specifically designed to atomize the overall paint coat. The capacity of applying paint coats is much larger as compared to HVLP sprayers. Because you can utilize any container of any size carrying paint in it for spray painting purposes.

By using these professional primers, you can get unbeatable quality paint finishes which unfortunately come at the cost of an initial amount of investment on this expensive equipment.

Choice of primers

Choosing an appropriate primer is very important. Why? As the paint may fall off or peel in a short period of time if the proper quality of primer is not applied beneath it.

You can apply primer using the readily available aerosol rattle cans or by using a sprayer. Canned primer gives a great finish. But you must ensure that the primer has good bonding properties so that it sticks or adheres firmly to the surface of the wood.

Scratch testing the primer is a very good practice often exercised by professionals. All you need to do is to apply primer to a considerably small area and allow it to completely dry.

Once it completely dries up try to scratch it out with your fingernail. A good primer with proper adhesive properties will never come off during this process. If the dried primer can be easily scratched out you need to find another alternative.

Choosing the best spray paint for your wood

Before starting off with the spray painting process you might wonder about the selection of a proper spray paint that will be ideal for your job. So naturally, the question arises which spray paint will be ideal for your purpose?

You can use Enamel paint whose properties exhibit hard drying paint and is ideal for painting cabinets and furniture. It might be not the best to look at visually. But its durable, more beautiful, and long-lasting ability than a regular satin finish latex paint. definitely outshines that.


We can conclude that spray painting on wood is a great option if you want a quick and professional finish for your woodworking projects. However, it comes at the cost of an expensive budget as compared to regular paint.

The process of spray-painting is no rocket science and can be easily carried out by following some simple steps which involve preparation of the surface by thoroughly sanding it, application of coats of primer followed by two or more layers of paint application for getting a rich and glossy finish of the entire wooden structure.

The cheapest options are aerosol cans available in the market. And for getting professional quality results one can use HVLP or Airless sprayers instead.

Checkout : is spray paint water proof for better durability and long lasting paint job.

man painting on wood panel with spray paint
image courtesy: Thiago; source:


Can you spray paint wood furniture?

Definitely yes! If you follow the proper steps and take the necessary precautions you can easily spray paint on wood furniture and give it an eye-catching appearance. checkout the spray painted stool right below

spray painted stool in blue color
image courtesy: The Grateful Mama

Can you spray paint wood without sanding?

Spray painting on wood can be done without sanding. However, if the surface is not proper then the paint may bubble up, peel off or show discoloration after drying.

Can wood be made to look like metal using spray paint?

Yes! Metallic spray paints are not very hard to find and can be purchased from the market or any e-commerce platform. It can be used on wood surfaces after giving them proper pre-paint treatment to obtain a metallic finish and make the wooden structure look like metal.

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