Try and Try Again, A Lesson on Painting

This has been in interesting week for me at Houston Woodwork. I booked a small painting project for Monday budgeting 2-4 hours. Spoiler alert, Murphy’s Law attacked me with full force and my 2-4 hour job took 2-1/2 days to complete, YIKES! Although frustrating, I learned many lessons about painting.

  1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT PAINT. Paint is no joke. The vast options are overwhelming and often confusing. My machines that I was painting contained three different surfaces: painted metal, brushed aluminum, and dyed vinyl. My first attempt using an industrial enamel did not stick well to the aluminum and vinyl.
  2. SURFACE PREP. After scraping off more paint than I care to relive, I decided to take more intentional surface prep measures. First I gave the entire surface a light sanding with 220 grit sand paper. Next I rubbed a deglosser over the every surface using a microfiber cloth. I recommend reading the safety label carefully as it is a gnarly chemical. I then sprayed a water based primer over the surface.
  3. TAKE YOUR TAPE OFF WHILE THE PAINT IS WET. This is hard to think about. My primed surfaces looked great when I left them. When I returned to the project later in the day I realized that my tape holding the masking paper to the glass front failed and the paper fell onto my wet primed surface. Add at least 2 hours to repair the damage caused by this flip flub.
  4. DOUBLE, TRIPLE, AND QUADRUPLE CHECK PAINT COLOR. I was painting one machine 2 different colors on the front silver and black. I color matched a silvery/metallic color sample from another machine, loaded my airless sprayer, and sprayed all the silver. But… the silver wasn’t very silver at all. Rather beige, totally wrong for a vending machine. My thought process at this time was something along the lines of “You have got to be kidding me.”
  5. BE FLEXIBLE. We decided to paint the entire front black and scrap the 2-tone idea. I applied several thin coats of a black water based paint to the entire surface, and I dare say it looked nice. Things may be looking up!
  6. DON’T CLEAN YOUR PAINTING EQUIPMENT TOO CLOSE TO YOUR WORK. I was done painting, finally after 2 days of frustrating, but educational, mistakes. All that was left, clean the gear, load the truck, and leave. Not so fast! While cleaning my airless sprayer I accidentally shot a high pressure burst of water into my waste bucket, causing dozens of destructive droplets to fly through the air and land all over my perfectly painted vending machine. My thought process is now “I QUIT!”
  7. PROBLEM SOLVE. I resprayed the surface, but the finish was now terrible after the splash damage. I decided to spray and back roll (run a roller over surface after spraying) to add some texture. Luckily this technique worked well, and the texture hid the flaws from the water droplets.
  8. LEARN A LESSONAdmittedly I did not walk through this whole process with a smile on my face, but I did learn many lessons on paint, process, and patience. I wanted to share some of them and further deepen my understanding by sharing them in this post.

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