After starting on our kitchen remodel back in the spring of this year, I started looking into the idea of using a paint sprayer. But everything I was finding, that had good reviews, was more than I wanted to spend at this point in time. So I excepted the fact that I would be painting our kitchen cabinets by hand. But then one day I came across this blog post from Little Green Notebook about a cheap paint sprayer. What a paint sprayer for less than $50??? Please tell me more!!!!
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The paint sprayer is called the Critter Paint Sprayer or Critter Paint Gun. I was SOLD and had to give it a try for that price. I found mine at Amazon, HERE, and bought it for less than $50 plus free shipping. I love free shipping!! Something you NEED to make this paint sprayer work is an air compressor (I have the Bostitch Air Compressor Combo Kit, can also be found at Lowes, and it has been working great with the paint sprayer).
I have had this paint sprayer for over 6 months and have used it on three different painting projects. The first project I used it on was our workbench. I used the sprayer to apply grey paint to some wood. I was in love at that moment!! It saved me so much time.
Next, I used it on a kitchen table makeover I did for my sister. This time I used it to apply primer and paint. It again saved me lots of time on painting.
The latest project I have used the sprayer on was my kitchen cabinets doors. And this time I wanted to give the sprayer a test on using primer, paint, and Polycrylic. AND again I saved me tons of time, it would take 15-30 minutes to apply a coat.
After all these projects I wanted to share my findings on the Critter Paint Sprayer. First off I want to share some extra items that will help with the overall experience of the sprayer.
- 16 oz Mason Jar with regular lids – This is what the sprayer uses to store the paint. Having extra jars makes it easier to switch when one jar gets empty. Plus it’s an easy way to store extra paint. I would do up at least two jars each time I painted.
- Mesh filter – This is something you should use with any paint sprayer. It helps remove clumps from your paint, this way your sprayer will not get clogged, picture below.
- Floetrol – This is a paint conditioner that helps thin paint but also helps smooth the paint as it dries. And just so you know paint & primer does need to be thinned for a paint sprayer.
- Gasket – The gasket that comes with the sprayer can wear out and it would be a good idea to have an extra on hand. I am currently trying to find a plastic gasket that would work in its place.
First, you should cover any areas that you do not want to be painted with a drop cloth because you can get an overspray. And make sure to use a painting mask to protect yourself from the fumes.
The Critter Paint Sprayer sprays at about a 3″-4″ wide strip, meaning you are not spraying everything with it. You want to apply in light coats, using it like a can of spray paint. Apply in smooth even coats. I love that it uses Mason jars! I make up a couple of jars before I start. Always make sure to filter the primer, paint, or Polycrylic with the mesh filter. I have tried NOT using it and using it, sometimes I thought I would not need to because the paint looked smooth (no clumps) but there was still clumps that clogged the sprayer.
When applying primer and paint, make sure you thin with either a paint conditioner or water, like I said before I like to use Floetrol. Also when applying, I found it worked best to have the PSI on my air compressor to be around 80. NOTE ABOUT POLYCRYLIC: Make sure you apply this with the PSI around 30-40 and do not, I repeat, DO NOT apply in temperatures below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If you put Polycrylic on too thick and/or at temperatures below 70, it will cause the finish to crack. Please learn from my mistakes…
To give you the smoothest finish take a #220 + grit sandpaper and sand between coats. I use #600 grit sandpaper and lightly sanded between coats. Doing this will give you an amazing finish, it reminds me of a professional finish.
Another thing I LOVE about the sprayer is that the clean up is simple… If you have extra paint in the jar just put a mason jar lid on. Then take the rest of the sprayer to the sink and remove the nozzle tip plus spring. Wash the nozzle, the liquid tube (part where the paint comes up to spray out), gasket, and any other parts that need washing. All I do is run all the parts through the water until the water becomes clean which takes less than 3 minutes.
Overall I think the Critter Paint Sprayer is a great sprayer for the price (but I have not used any others). It saves me tons of time painting and gives me a smooth finish. What do you think? OR do you have a favorite paint sprayer?