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October 24, 2012

How To Fix a Spray Paint Disaster

Today I'm telling the story of my first spray paint disaster.
It all started with an innocent little thrift store desk.

Although I'm pretty sure it had it out for me from the start, as there were several spiders in the drawer just waiting to trap me up in a web and drain my blood. 
That's how far it went in my head.
Luckily Jesse is always willing to de-spider things for me. And then he offered to help me drill the new holes for the handle.

After my new holes were drilled, I took the desk outside in the driveway and applied a bunch of wood filler to all of the scratches and dents. This desk was one big giant dent. 

Every white splotch on the above drawer was a dent or hole. 
That step alone took a good hour to complete.

Next, I used this gray primer (affiliate link) to prime the desk since I had decided to spray paint it black. 
I actually love the way the gray primer looks by itself. I should have waxed it and quit there. 
Seriously though, who knew gray primer turned out so pretty. It makes me want to use it on something else. It's just that perfect shade of gray-blue. 

But, of course I didn't stop there, because I was set on having a glossy black desk.
And that's when my project turned into a bit of a disaster.
I've spray painted so many things in the past couple of years and I've never had this happen before. 

I used plain old high gloss black spray paint and for some reason it looked amazing everywhere except the top of the desk. The top of the desk was super streaky.

So, I let it dry for a few hours and then took it inside and sanded down just the top of the desk.

I could have sanded it all the way down, but life is short, so I just sanded it smooth.

Then, I primed the top of the desk with brush on primer, primed it, then painted it with some flat black paint I had on hand. Then put a coat of Polycrylic on top.

It wasn't the ideal situation I had planned, as my plan was to take 10 minutes to spray paint it and be done. But, sometimes things get messed up and you just have to figure out a way around it.

I debated not sharing my spray paint disaster, but I figured that I'm not the only one who's had a streaky spray paint problem and that maybe this would help someone else figure out what to do. I've since figured out that it didn't work because I spray painted a large flat surface (the top of the desk) with a low quality black lacquer spray paint. I've since spray painted this with a high quality glossy black spray paint and it turned out perfectly.
So, I've lived and learned.
But, all is well in the end, as it still turned out pretty cool for a little thrift store desk!

That's all for today!
'Til next time!

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  1. Looks so pretty! I have the absolute worst luck with spray so know what that streaky mess looked like! Looks perfect now! Love your blog btw:)

  2. Oh Virginia...I just did the same thing. I spray painted the top of my dining table and hate it. I always try spray paint first! Now I'm trying to formulate a plan 2!

    1. Thanks girl! I won't EVER do it again! I love spray paint, but I'm thinking in its can form it just cut it for tabletops!

  3. Hahahahaha...
    Way to show that desk who was BOSS :)

    It's a beauty and has prettier legs then the high end one!

  4. Gorgeous makeover Virginia! That new handle sure makes it look classy and not so old 70's look hey? Oh and please don't mention Bob Vila and boobies in one sentence again though - that's a baaaaadddd visual (eeeewwww)!

  5. The vanity looks awesome! Thanks for inspiring me. I will get my feet wet, soon... I hope.

    1. Thanks!!!!! And you should do usually doesn't take such an effort! :)

  6. And that, in a nutshell, is why I am terrified to take on painting a piece of furniture.... spray or brush!!

    Yours turned out beautifully! Way to grow a pair, Virginia! :)

  7. Virginia you are so funny! I can imagine what might have gone wrong with your spray painting. Maybe I'm the spray painting queen cuz I've actually spray painted 6 upright pianos! Yup! See hubby is a Registered Piano Technician so he bought them (all 1950's pianos with yucky light wood laminate...pooh!) then he rebuilds the innards so they play like new again! Me? Well, after we both fill in holes with wood filler, I go to town with the spray paint! We did find that for our purposes Krylon, the one for plastics, works best in satin finish. It takes about 6 cans to do a piano in black. 10 cans to do a white piano. Yes! I do know that for a fact. Hee hee! (Oh and I'm "quality control" when it comes times to play them. Yeah...I still use my music degree. Hee hee!)

    Either way, your thrift store desk to vanity is BEE-OOO-TEEE-FUL! I love that you paint things nicely. I'm still trying to figure out those who do all that prep and then do a lot of distressing. I know, it's a "look" but I like your streamlined, freshly painted look better. Love love love your newest find. Spiders be dammed! :-)

    1. Thanks as always, Connie! You are the sweetest! I don't mind the distressed look at all, as I've seen it beautifully done! It just doesn't fit with my house style! I'm loving that you paint the pianos! Fantastic! xo

  8. seriously?? You redid it? you have more patience then me. I would have just stuck a runner on top and pretended there was nothing wrong :). It looks fab! So does your house by the way!

  9. Oh man, I have been there! I shed more than a few tears over an end table and coffee table set last month. Damn that spray paint! But I discovered that the satin finish painters touch spray paints are awesome and have a perfect finish!! I highly recommend them!

  10. Ah-mazing! Love the final look. I'm hoping to get my feet wet one day soon. You are such an inspiration!

    1. Aww! Thank you so much! Definitely get your feet wet!!

  11. lol! Spray paint almost killed me too last winter when I decided to use it in my tiny little mechanical room because I couldn't wait until spring to use it outdoors! LOVE your paint job and that table.

    Super cute!!

    Cheers xox

  12. It is stunning! I think you already have a pair of both!!

    I would like to highlight this on my blog, if you do not mind.


  13. Very, very nicely done! I like your version even better than the C&B one because it looks classy but minimal all at the same time. My house would never stay as white as yours looks. Kudos on that too. :-) Beautiful!!

  14. funny and inspiring! Hoping to start mine this summer when it warms up here in Montana. looking forward to more!

  15. The vanity looks awesome! Thanks for inspiring me. I will get my feet wet, soon... I hope.

  16. What type of paint did you use?

  17. How much sanding did you do? I'm about to try the same thing on my 1980's china hutch. But I"m worried about how much sanding I will need to do. Thanks!

  18. It looks great! I will say however, I have had the same issue with spray paint. I am a spray paint junkie, but for large, flat surfaces, no matter what I do, the color is even but the finish is streaky. Even with a coating or two or polcrylic. Now I do basically what you did, spray paint the sides/detail areas, foam roller for the top.

    Great job though! I love you hardware choice.

  19. I am redoing my room and I have used your blog as guidance for everything. Seriously I can't thank you enough. I just got home from a thrift store and bought a side table that needs some love and your blog makes me excited to do all these awesome projects! I actually just got done painting the trim in my room white! Thanks a lot!!!

  20. Thanks so much for your blog--it has been really helpful because we have done a lot of home projects but not so much furniture. Quick questions for you about this desk: did you strip the wax off first or just prime right over it? Also, is do you prefer flat black paint to satin under the polycrylic? Thanks so much!!


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