Best Spray Paint For Upcycling Furniture

Best Spray Paint For Upcycling Furniture

Find out how to Choose the Best Brands and Formulas of Spray Paint for Upcycling Old Furniture

Best Spray Paint For Upcycling Furniture

Giving tired old furniture new life with a fresh coat of spray paint is a popular upcycling trend, but with so many brands and types of spray paint out there, how do you pick the best one for the job?

The key is choosing a spray paint formulated specifically for the material you are painting, whether it’s wood, metal, plastic, laminate or wicker. All-purpose multi-surface spray paints work well for furniture made of mixed materials. Other factors include the finish you want to achieve – high gloss, metallic, crackled or textured finishes give different creative effects. The spray paint also needs to provide good opaque coverage to hide flaws effortlessly.

This article will overview the leading spray paint brands and types for furniture upcycling, including Rust-Oleum, Krylon, PlastiKote, and Montana Cans. It will look at the factors to consider when selecting spray paint as well as step-by-step instructions for proper preparation, application and safety.

By the end you will know exactly how to choose and use the best spray paint to upcycle old furniture.

Types of Spray Paint for Furniture

When looking for the best spray paint for upcycling old furniture, there are a few main types to consider:

  • Multi-Surface Spray Paint – This all-purpose spray paint is a good choice when you are upcycling furniture made from mixed materials. It can be used on a wide range of surfaces including wood, metal, wicker, most plastics, laminate, and more. The versatile adhesion makes it ideal for furniture that combines different materials like wood and metal. It often comes in popular universal colors like black and white primer options too. Krylon Fusion All-In-One is a top-rated multi-surface spray paint.
  • Wood & Metal Spray Paint – As the name suggests, these spray paints are specially formulated for getting great results on wooden and metal furniture. The paints are designed to provide superior adhesion, coverage and protection on these specific materials. Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2x Ultra Cover is a leading choice for wooden furniture thanks to its fast dry time, while Rust-Oleum Metallic Finish works great for metal surfaces.
  • Chalk Paint Spray – Chalk paint has become a popular choice when upcycling furniture in a shabby chic vintage style. The matte finish and soft velvety look is perfect for distressing furniture to make it look timeworn and worn-in. Being water-based, chalk paint spray is low-odor and easier clean up than oil-based options. Annie Sloan and Rust-Oleum are top brands for chalk paint sprays suitable for furniture projects.
  • Metallic Spray Paint – For a sleek modern metallic finish, metallic spray paints are ideal for upcycling boring wooden or plastic furniture pieces. The shiny hammered metal effect brings furniture back to life and hides flaws. Rust-Oleum Metallic Finish offers gold, pewter, nickel, copper and more finishes. Testors Modern Masters Metallic paint is a top pick for chairs and tables.
  • Textured Spray Paint – Textured spray paints contain particles of sand, glass or other granules that create a rough pebbly coat with visual depth and dimension. This is great for hiding imperfections and distressing furniture with an artisan finish. The gritty texture also makes it easy to achieve a worn rustic look. Krylon Stone Texture and Rust-Oleum Pebbled finish are good textured spray paints for furniture.
  • Rust-Oleum Family Brands – Rust-Oleum is arguably the most recognized and trusted spray paint brand, known for its durability across a range of specialty paints. Their Painter’s Touch line offers all-purpose acrylic paints ideal for furniture. Other popular Rust-Oleum brands include Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover, Hammered Finish, Chalked Paint and American Accents.
  • Krylon – For an ultra-durable and professional paint job, Krylon is a top choice trusted by experts. Their color lacquer acrylic formula offers superior fade resistance, adhesion and protection ideal for furniture that gets heavy use. The easy-to-use any angle conical tip gives great control. They are known for colors that closely match the on-can sample.
  • PlastiKote – With over 100 colors, PlastiKote offers an extensive range of spray paint suitable for plastic, wood, metal and more. Their plastic specific paints are ideal when upcycling laminate furniture for flawless adhesion free of chips or peeling. They also offer specialty finishes like crackle, granite, metal speckle and more along with primers, clear coats and gloss finishes.
  • Montana Cans – This premium quality spray paint brand offers gorgeous bold, high gloss colors perfect for making a statement. While pricier than basic hardware store brands, the striking finishes are ideal for artists and experienced upcyclers. Many colors feature a unique “Mix System” where shaking the can combine two colors into one hue.
  • Crackle Spray Paint – Crackle or crackled finish spray paints are a hot trendy option for upcycled furniture. The crackling effect adds visual interest and an aged appearance. They work by spraying over a base coat color to form a cracked top layer as the paint dries. Top brands include Rust-Oleum Crackle Paint and Krylon Crackle Finish.

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Factors When Choosing Spray Paint for Furniture

With all the different types and brands of spray paint for furniture available, here are the key factors to consider when selecting the best choice for your upcycling project:

  • Furniture Material – Choose a spray paint formulated for the specific material you are painting – wood, metal, plastic, laminate, wicker etc. For mixed materials, a multi-surface paint is a good option. Make sure to read labels for materials the paint bonds best to.
  • Finish Type – Consider if you want a gloss, satin, matte or textured finish. Certain spray paint types excel at providing certain finishes. For example, Krylon metallic paint gives high gloss while chalk paint delivers matte. Finish choice impacts durability and appearance.
  • Color Range – Look for spray paint brands offering an extensive selection of colors so you can find the perfect shade. Having test cans for accurate color matching is also useful. Or choose brands that closely match the on-can color like Krylon.
  • Adhesion – The spray paint needs to bond properly to the old furniture surface for a durable finish that won’t chip or peel. So check reviews and product details for adhesion capability specific to the furniture material you are painting.
  • Coverage – Opt for spray paint known for providing good opaque coverage with few coats. This helps hide surface flaws. Spray paints that offer a primer in one help build coverage too.
  • Drying Time – Factor in the drying time required between coats when choosing spray paint to avoid tacky results if you rush the job. Some fast-dry spray paints can be recoated in as little as 1 hour. Read labels for optimal timing.
  • Your Skill Level – Some specialty spray paints require more skill. All-purpose acrylic lacquer sprays from brands like Krylon and Rust-Oleum are very beginner friendly. Start with these if new to spray painting furniture.
  • Can Size – Spray paint comes in a range of can sizes from 6oz sample cans up to 20oz jumbo cans. Consider how much paint you will realistically need for your project. Small cans suffice for small items or touch-ups while big cans are ideal for large furniture pieces and allow maximum control.
  • Added Features – Look for useful extras that make the spray paint easier to apply – comfort spray tips that reduce finger fatigue, any angle spray ability, built in primers or clear top coats. These add convenience.
  • Price – There is quite a variance in spray paint prices. Cheaper generic brands can be good for quick upcycles and small projects. For best quality that lasts, invest a little more in brands known for high performance.

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How to Use Spray Paint on Furniture

Once you’ve selected the right type of spray paint for your upcycling furniture project, follow these key steps to get a flawless long-lasting finish:

  • Clean Surface – Remove any dirt, grease, wax and loose paint from the furniture using TSP substitute cleaner. This helps the spray paint properly adhere. Use a degreaser on kitchen cabinets and tables.
  • Sand Surface – Lightly sanding the surface with 120-150 grit sandpaper gives the spray paint something to grip. It also smooths any rough areas. Always sand with the wood grain.
  • Wipe Away Dust – Tack cloth the furniture after sanding to pick up any remaining dust particles that could affect the spray paint finish. A damp rag can work too.
  • Cover Surrounding Areas – Mask off any areas you don’t want painted with painter’s tape and drop cloths. Use wider tape for cleaner lines. Drape and seal furniture to avoid overspray.
  • Use Primer – For the most durable finish, apply a primer coat suited to the furniture material before the spray paint. Primers boost adhesion and help cover flaws.
  • Shake the Can – Thoroughly shake the spray paint can for at least 1 minute to fully mix the paint. Do short vigorous shakes. Repeat shaking periodically during use.
  • Hold Can 6 to 8 inches Away – Get the optimal distance away from the surface when spraying to prevent drips or runs and ensure an even coat.
  • Use Light Even Strokes – Gently sweep the spray paint across the surface using steady, even back-and-forth strokes about 8 to 10 inches long.
  • Apply Multiple Thin Coats – Slowly build up the coverage applying 2-3 thin coats for a smooth professional finish free of drips. Thick coats can become runny.
  • Follow Drying Times – Don’t rush! Allow the recommended drying time between coats for proper adhesion. This prevents peeling. Lightly sand between coats too.
  • Add Top Coat for Protection – For a super durable finish, apply a clear sealer topcoat suitable for the furniture material. This protects the paint and allows easy cleaning.

Safety Tips When Using Spray Paint

When spray painting furniture in a confined indoor space, be sure to take precautions against inhaling paint fumes:

  • Work in a Well-Ventilated Area – Open windows and doors and use fans in a cross breeze configuration to fully circulate and exhaust fumes.
  • Wear a Respirator Mask – Use a proper dual filter respirator mask, not just a basic dust mask, to avoid inhaling spray paint vapors. Read fitting instructions for full protection.
  • Read Manufacturer Safety Guidelines – Read and follow all safety instructions provided on the spray paint labels and cans. This is key to safely using the products.
  • Work Outside If Possible – Outdoors is always the healthiest option allowing fumes to fully dissipate. So take the furniture outside on nice days if you can.
  • Take Breaks for Fresh Air – Step outside regularly when spray painting indoors to breathe clean air free of paint particles. Also drink water to avoid dehydration.
  • Keep Children and Pets Away – Ensure kids and animals are not present in the area during the spray painting process for their health.


As you can now see, choosing the right spray paint is essential for successful DIY furniture makeovers through upcycling.

Match the paint to the furniture material and look for trusted top brands like Krylon and Rust-Oleum to ensure durable adhesion and coverage.

Krylon’s all-in-one and Rust-Oleum’s Painter’s Touchlines are great versatile options suitable for multiple furniture surfaces. For a smooth finish, Krylon’s color lacquer paint gives professional results. Rust-Oleum’s Chalked Paint works well for distressed vintage styles.

Following professional tips for proper surface prep, spray technique and safety precautions leads to beautiful, long-lasting results.

With the myriad of spray paint options available, you can revive old furniture and customize it to your style with trendy colors and finishes.

So grab some outdated furniture and spray cans to unlock your inner artist. With this guide, you can select the perfect spray paint like Krylon or Rust-Oleum to upcycle old items into eye-catching art for your home!