When it comes to spray paint, I have a love-hate relationship with the stuff. Who doesn’t like the smooth, professional results that spray paint offers? It lets you conveniently create a new-car finish on many surfaces – wood, plastic and metal – and that’s one reason I have a cabinet full of spray paint cans in my shop.
On the downside, typical spray cans are small enough that they stop making sense when the surface you’re painting gets much bigger than, say, a bread box.
And if this wasn’t enough, keep spray painting long enough and your index finger will hurt a surprising amount from the pressure of repeatedly holding down and releasing the button.
All this is why a new, large-format spray paint lineup caught my eye earlier this year.
It’s called Rust-Oleum Ultimate Turbo and after using it on several projects I know it makes it practical to cover larger areas with spray paint and to do it well.
There are three things I like about Ultimate Turbo.
First, the can size is big – almost twice the size of a regular spray can.
Second, the spray button is large and easy on your finger. Most importantly, the spray pattern is not small and circular, like regular spray paint cans, but large, vertically fan shaped and about 10 inches wide.
This not only makes it easier to cover a lot of area quickly, but it also makes runs and drips less likely.
As a lifelong user of spray paint, I can tell you Ultimate Turbo makes it easier to succeed on large projects, but basic spray painting know-how is still required, beginning with the most important application tactic.
If I had to suggest just one trick for spray painting success it would be intermittent pressing of the nozzle button as part of the sweeping motion of the can from side to side. Begin on one side of the surface you’re coating, with the can about six inches past the edge. As you start to move the can towards and over the surface, press the nozzle button and hold it until you’ve cleared the other side of the surface by about six inches. Release the button, reverse direction of the spray can, then press the button again just before the nozzle travels over the surface on your way back. Why bother with this? Prevention of runs and wrinkles, that’s why.
If you keep the nozzle button of a spray paint can pressed down all the time it often deposits too much paint in the areas where your paint can changes direction. Too much paint is not only likely to form runs and drips on vertical surfaces, but even on horizontal surfaces not prone to runs, applying too much paint often causes the surface to dry wrinkly. This happens because the surface paint dries fast and shrinks, but the underlying paint stays wet longer. But even pressing and releasing the nozzle button periodically is not enough to ensure great results with every spray paint. For that you need to keep paint quantity in mind.
In the same way it’s easy to drive too fast on a highway if you’re behind the wheel of a smooth, powerful car, it’s easy to apply too much spray paint in one go. This is why you need to resist the temptation to create a deep, wet look on surfaces you’re spray painting. Instead, stop painting before you figure the surface is as wet as it should be, let the paint dry, then apply more thin coats.
Right now Ultimate Turbo only comes in black and white, but I expect other colours will be added in time. I also expect other brands to offer enhanced spray cans once the big size catches on. It’s amazing how much better the big can with a big spray pattern performs.
Steve Maxwell is a fan of sanding between coats of paint when he wants a really nice finish. Visit BaileyLineRoad.com and join 32,000 people from around the world who get Steve’s Saturday morning email newsletter each week.