[DIY] Spray-Painting an Armoire

I love me a good DIY. And I get the itch to change things VERY often. Like when I chalkboard painted my fridge. It was both necessity but also I HAD TO DO IT! :) I love making things beautiful [the designer in me], but I also love taking a good bargain [FREE fridge?!] and making it useful. I wouldn’t have put that fridge in my house in its original form. Ick. But I don’t always have the time or opportunity to do a project. I wish… [hey Lowe’s, wanna pay me to do one DIY a month?? ;) ]

Anyway, we had been using an Ikea bookcase for our TV stand and while I liked the look, I wanted an armoire. They’re so pretty and I had an idea of what I wanted. Can you say bright colors?? Well, armoires don’t come cheap, so to Craigslist I went! I found a SMOKIN deal for a smaller size armoire for only $25!!! It pays to be patient and find a deal, friends. It seriously does. Oh and just so you all know, I didn’t get paid to say any of this…all me, all my personal experience.

spray-painting an armoirespray-painting an armoire

The doors didn’t close properly and it was pretty beat up. We lived with this armoire in its original beat up form for 5 months! I couldn’t decide exactly what to do to it and with two little ones, it was hard to find the time as well. So when a day off for my husband came and I had the DIY itch, I jumped on the opportunity!

Since I wanted something fast and easy, I decided to try spray painting the armoire. It seemed like the faster option, although now that I am done, I am not sure if I would choose to do that again. I do have some things I would do differently, so the verdict is still out on that one. I bought some spray paint, a clear protector, and a sanding sponge [BEST invention – this thing eliminates the awkward holding a piece of sandpaper and has corners to get into those little cracks].

spray-painting furniture

I took the armoire outside and took the doors and hinges off.

spray-painting an armoire

I started with sanding the entire piece. This was a little awkward because I didn’t know how much to sand it. So I just lightly sanded it…next time, I would sand it a bit more.

spray-painting furniture

Then, I just got to spraying! The guy at the hardware store said to spray in even strokes 8-10 inches away. The cans of spray paint also said to overlap the strokes. Let me tell you, this was NOT easy! It was breezy that day and my hand started to ache from pressing the button, but I just got into my own rhythm and got a base down before worrying about evenness.

spray-painting an armoire

So it sort of looks like graffiti, but as it started to dry, I got the hang of getting the paint to look even.

spray-painting furniture

It did start to drip in some areas because I got a little too eager with the paint and of course, dabbing at it didn’t help at all, so I think you’d probably want a sponge brush nearby.

spray-painting an armoire

I started to run out of paint, but luckily, I had painted all the important exposed surfaces. Behind the TV area is a large square of unpainted board and inside the cabinets aren’t painted fully either.

We left this outside to dry for a while [probably 4-5 hours]. It started to become evening and the sun was going down, so I had grumpily resolved that I would have to finish it some other time. BUT, after thinking a bit and a chat with my mom, it was decided that we would bring it inside overnight because the morning dew could create bubbles and mess the paint up.

Of course, having this large piece of furniture just sitting in my living room didn’t sit well with me. It continued to call to me… DIY…DIY…DIY…

spray-painting furniture

I knew I had to finish it. Since we had let it dry outdoors for such a long time, the paint was no longer tacky and I could move forward with painting the protector on. I didn’t need much of this, just one nice coat and it was finished. It dried overnight and I was able to put everything back on it the next day.

I am still having to finish the doors, so for now it sits open. I think I am only going to put the bottom cabinet doors back on and leave the top open. I have a feeling the top doors would stick and be a trouble, and I like the TV being open. This project was super inexpensive, and I am excited to tell you guys that it cost me a little over $50! $25 for the armoire and only $27 for supplies (and I have a LOT of protector left over for more projects) for a total of $52! :) I’ll need one more can of paint to finish the doors so it will probably total about $56. Good deal for a cute armoire!

Here are some tips and such that I have after spray painting my armoire:

  1. Do it outside. In your garage or [heaven forbid] in your house is NOT a good idea. Fumes aren’t something to play with, and the fumes were even overwhelming at times being outside. Use a mask!
  2. Buy one extra can than you think you’ll need. Keep the receipt, you can always return it, but nothing kills your creative mojo more than having to stop and go buy more supplies.
  3. Buy QUALITY. I was tempted to just buy the off brand paint that was cheaper. I decided to go with Valspar because I knew it was quality paint and would get the job done right the first time.
  4. Piggybacking off of #3, buy the primer + paint kind of spray paint. This will eliminate the need to prime. And it really works!
  5. Don’t skip the protector. I didn’t paint with protector the shelf that goes inside that I put the TV on, and the TV stuck and peeled the paint. Fail.
  6. Wash your hands and wear gloves if you can. The oils on your skin can make the paint bead.
  7. When sanding, sand until the surface is powdery and the color is faded. Don’t just lightly sand, but get the entire surface roughed up. Some pretreated woods and particle board have oils in them that causes the paint to bead up and not stick.
  8. Use a spray paint can gun [like this] if you are going to be using more than one can. My forearm and hand hurt for a couple days!
  9. Have a sponge brush nearby for drips. And DAB, don’t wipe!
  10. The color is going to look uneven until you get about 3 coats on. So don’t freak out!
  11. Give each coat at least 5-10 minutes to dry. If you rush, you’ll get drips like I did. And once you have several coats on, the drips don’t dab as easy.
  12. Leave it to dry for a few hours. I know you want to finish and you’re excited, but be patient. You don’t want to roll on the protector and have the paint mess up.
  13. I used a roller to put the protector on. It was the fastest option in my mind. And it was quick!
  14. Finish the entire project!! The doors are still sitting unfinished and its making my OCD brain twitch. Get enough to do the WHOLE thing!

I hope this helps you to paint your own furniture and make your home look fabulous! Tell me, have you ever spray-painted a piece of furniture? How did it turn out?


  1. says

    You did an excellent job in painting that furniture. And thanks for the detailed tips you included, it will help me in my future similar projects at home.