Before applying your colour coat remember that you must always paint in a well ventilated space and always use a suitable respirator.
If you have followed our preparation and priming guides then your project is now ready for painting. It has been sanded, smoothed and primed, then sanded again with fine grit paper.
It is essential that your work area is free from dust and grease before applying your colour coat. Clean your primed project again with solvent based panel wipe and remove any debris from your project with a tack rag. Make sure there is plenty of light around your project. Where possible, suspend your project securely so you can move all around it. If your project is a flat panel such as a picture frame or door then bear in mind that if it is hung vertically there is a far lesser chance of airborne particles landing in the wet paint than there is if the project is lay horizontally.
Remember to shake the aerosol can. The paint pigments have most likely separated during storage, so simply shaking the aerosol can until you hear the ball rattle is not enough. The pigments will require vigorous agitation to properly mix again. Shake the can for at least three minutes unless of course you have already just used it that day. Test the spray on a piece of cardboard or paper.
Make sure you hold the aerosol the correct distance from your project, as explained in the priming section of our ‘how to’ guide. If you are too close to the panel then you will not benefit from the full ellipse and risk putting too much paint in too small an area. This will only result in runs in your colour coat and a striped and inconsistent finish.
If you hold the aerosol too far from the surface of your project then less of the paint will land on your project and the finish will appear dry and dusty. This is because the solvent part of the paint has already evaporated between the aerosol and the painted surface. The solvent is not a part of the paint as such and should be considered a vehicle to transport the paint from the aerosol to the colour coat surface.
It sounds obvious but you need to be able to see the ellipse as the paint lands on the surface in order to follow the wet edge as described in the priming section. If you are right-handed, hold the can at chest-height about one foot to the right of your head (the reverse if left-handed). As you spray you will be looking at your project at the correct angle to see how the spray is falling onto the surface.
Once you can see the paint starting to become shiny on the surface, referred to as ‘wetting’, you need to move the aerosol at a steady and even pace. If you are right handed then you move left to right, drop, then right to left, drop and repeat. If you are left handed then start left to right, but the process remains the same.
Moving too fast applies a “dusting” of paint that is too sparse for the components to flow forming a smooth surface. Moving too slow applies the paint too thickly and because it is a thin fluid it will start to run.
It is important that you shake the can periodically while you paint to keep the pigments mixed.
As with the priming process, good paint finishes are always built up from several layers of paint, each one applied over a still tacky surface. There is no need to let the colour coat dry completely between coats. The paint you applied 10 minutes ago is still uncured and soft, so the new coat will not only stick well but the solvents will tend to “re-melt” the last coat and allow the finish to create a smoother, flatter surface.