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Paint Sprayers & Annie Sloan Chalk Paint


Well they say you only have to make a mistake once to learn from it – and that’s exactly what we did. Lauren & I went to Home Depot one weekend (surprise, surprise) and came out with this little paint sprayer – convinced it would work better for us then anyone else.

Ryobi ONE+ Cordless Paint Sprayer Kit

FAIL. Just FAIL. I tried and tried to get this little thing to work – it sprayed for a good 2 minutes, then would clog up – or start spattering the piece with large globs of paint. No amount of cleaning, thinning or other methods would get this thing to work properly. So I boxed it up and trucked back to Home Depot – doing a silent prayer in my head that they would take it back (hey, I did use it and I cleaned it – but paint gets everywhere!). The guy at Home Depot took it back without even looking in the case. I mean, I could have put bricks in there and returned it. (Granted, it worked about as well as a brick).

So we were back to square one. But then another client requested a piece be lacquered and for that I definelty need a sprayer, so I went off searching again. Low and behold, I found this gem on Harbor Freights website for $14.99! Granted, I held my breath when trying it – doubting the performance of something so cheap – but this gun rocks! If you have a compressor handy (or score one on Craigslist) get this gun!

The Gun

Before you run off and buy the gun – let me recommend 2 more items from Harbor Freight. First, spend the $10 and get the spray gun filler stand. Buy this unless you want to try pouring paint into the gun with one hand while balancing the gun and trying not to spill with the other. It doesn’t work. Trust me – my black lacquered toes are not a fashion statement – I didn’t buy the stand at first and had to wear flip flops with half my toes (and not just the toe nails) painted black for a few days. Buy the stand. (I just ordered mine last week).

Second – if you plan on using a variety of paints, buy extra cups. It’s just easier that way – instead of having to rinse between paint colors.

I use a Porter Cable Compressor that Lauren bought me for my birthday this year – I got the entire nail gun kit but the compressor itself is available for just $99. One note if you have the porter compressor set like I do (an maybe for others as well) – the gun doesn’t come with the male connector piece for your hose, so I removed one from my nailgun to use and it worked just fine. Later on a different trip to Home Depot I picked up the make connector for $1.49 so I don’t have to keep changing things around.

So does this work with Chalk Paint? Like butta. I sprayed 5 pieces in 2 hours – did not have to thin the paint and I only used 1 can of paint (with some leftover). It was easy so not a lot of explanation necessary – just fired up the compressor, poured the paint in the cup and started squeezing the trigger. (I did have “the claw” after 2 hours of spraying though). The paint came out perfectly smooth – you can see a finished sample on the buffet we just revealed – and I’ll have 4 more pieces completed this week that were all sprayed as well. I didn’t have to thin the paint – just adjusted the gun to get the pattern I wanted and away I went.

Bonus: The beauty of this gun is the lack of overspray – now it’s not perfect, but it doesn’t create the cloud of paint that the other sprayers did. My arms weren’t covered in paint and I wasn’t sneezing out flecks of paint hours later. I probably didn’t need to cover up the other pieces in the garage, but I did just to be safe.

If you have any questions/concerns with using a compressor – just leave a comment or contact us and I would be happy to help you out. They really aren’t scary – just loud!


  1. Hi – glad to hear of your success with the paint srayer – and such an inexpensive one at that! I have an HVLP sprayer already and I was wondering about using it with AS Chalk Paint. I’ve put even textured materials through it (but wayered it down), so I thought the Chalk Paint would work. But as an extra sprayer – your suggestion sounds fantastic…and easy to use. Have to try it out. Thanks for writing about your experiences!!

    Linda Leyble

  2. We’ve used it through HVLP and thinned about 20%. If you think your pot is a little “bitty” then straining through tights is worthwhile

  3. Thanks for the tips! Picked up the sprayer ($11.99 w/coupon), stand and extra cups at my local Harbor Freight store! I can’t wait to use it with my ASCP!!

  4. I am so anxious to try it !! I have a paint sprayer that feeds from a paint container that attaches to the bottom ~ I think there is alot of overspray so I really want to try this one!
    Thank you for letting us know about it 🙂


  5. Thank you so much for the recommendation and great post! I have been wanting to switch to a paint sprayer for a while now, now I just need to find a cheap compressor on Craigslist!

  6. Hi! Would you please tell me the model # of your Porter Cable compressor? And do you have any suggestions for someone who has never sprayed furniture? Thanks!

  7. What does one do when they started spraying lacquer in a can on AS chalk painted Armoire?

    I did not do the wax as I thought the lacquer would be so much faster.

    Now I have a Paris Gray Armoire painted and 1/2 sprayed with lacquer with no idea of what to do with the mess I have now.

    Any suggestions, ideas, or recommendations for a way out of this? Tkx, Barbara

    • Barbara – I’m guessing you put a clear lacquer over the paint? It should be fine, though you have to be careful with lacquer and the temp at which you spray it. Try lightly sanding it down once it’s dried and either re-coating or re-painting that area. Then wax with a clear wax for the same effect – waxing is typically as quick as a spray can top coat and it dries better.

  8. Hi there,

    I came across your blog recently when looking into spraying ASCP… I have been spraying furniture with regular paints with great success. I gave it a try with the chalk paint & seem to be having less luck this way. It seems to be too dry to come out, too “chalky” perhaps… LOL! Do you have any recommendations? I am not a fan of brush strokes and prefer to spray & would love to be able to have success with the ASCP.

    Thanks so much! I love this blog! Such cute pieces!!!

  9. I went out and bought the sprayer and it works wonderfully and it is also easy to clean. Thanks for the information. I have quite a few pieces of furniture to paint for my daughter and this will make the job easier. I’ve painted a lot of pieces of furniture with ASCP and I really like the paint. I painted a chair then took it to get it reupholstered. I have 2 more chairs to paint and the sprayer will make it easier to paint. I’m loving it!!!!!!!!!

  10. Thank you so much for sharing this! I can’t wait to go get this! I have an antique table and 6 chairs to paint (which I have been avoiding) with intricate detail. This will hopefully make the job a lot easier and faster.

  11. Hi! We are getting ready to paint and stain our dining room table using ASCP. I am going to pick up the paint sprayer you mentioned here and borrow an air compressor from my brother. I just want to clarify (like a poster above) whether or not you used the filter on the stand with water to dilute the paint, or if you just used the stand to pour the paint straight into the cup. 🙂 Thanks!

  12. use Floetrol – paint additive to thin your paint when using paint guns or even for roll on, at most Home Depot’s, Lowe’s, etc. works great! all professional painters use it!

  13. My husband wants to know what size the first air compressor you bought that worked with the chalk paint and what setting you put it on?

  14. Hello! I found your blog article during my research on HVLP sprayers. In many of the other things I have read, they say to use a regulator & filter attached between the sprayer & hose. Granted many are about spraying automotives, but even some of the furniture articles say so too. I can’t tell if you are using those or not. If so can you please tell me which ones you do & which hose, please? Thank you!

  15. Nick,
    I have 10 reclaimed dining room chairs that i have already started painting with ASCP. Getting tired of brushing, so i went out and purchased the same spray gun you recommended. do you leave the small filter inside the gun? Do you water down the chalk paint?
    I also want to attempt spraying on the top finishing coat(lacquer or water based poly). would you recommend this???
    any feedback is greatly appreciated.
    thank you.
    -Luke from Kentucky

  16. I was just looking at this sprayer this weekend! Do you think it would work with homemade chalk paint? (a mixture of plaster of paris, water, and regular paint?)

  17. Hi Nick, are you still out there? I realize this is an old thread but many of us have only just recently found it. Please let us know if you’re still happy with the sprayer!

    Any tips or techniques to share about chalk paint – store bought as well as homemade blends (using latex, water + pop or cc recipe) would be immensely appreciated. Thanks for a great article and links!

    • We’ve been using the sprayer this entire time – first tip is to make sure to clean it thoroughly after every use. Second – I would recommend buying several so that you can spray multiple colors at one go.

  18. Thanks for the tips! I want to buy a paint sprayer to change my brush mask. It is suck, when I painted my chair, it brings me a lot of dirty on the chair’s surface. After reading your article maybe I agree to choose which paint sprayer I should buy.

  19. What is the sprayer that you got from Harbor Freight pls. Model number would be perfect. Thank you. I love your article. Thank you thank you so very much

  20. SOOOO happy I won’t have to hand paint my whole kitchen with a 3″ brush!! I am looking for a smooth finish on the flat faces of my cabinets. Does the spraying leave a texture or is it pretty slick? I am ok having to sand a bit, but it it looks stippled it could be a lot of sanding I assume. thanks!

  21. I’m going to paint some chairs. Did you thin your chalk paint before putting it in your sprayer

  22. Hi! Thanks for all the tips you have given. We recently purchased the spray and starting our first project. With using the ASCP, do you just use water to clean your gun or did you use the mineral solvent that the spray gun instructions recommended. Thanks!

  23. I just found this also. Want to get the right sprayer and have never sprayed before. What is the model number for the sprayer from Harbor Freight? I went on their websites but didn’t know what brand and model number to look for. So excited to try this.

  24. Hey Annie,
    I just found this as well and was wondering if you’ve created (or are planning to create) an updated version? Are you still using the same Harbor Freight sprayer or have you swapped to something else?

  25. It’s rare to find a sprayer that doesn’t have a significant overspray. It’s good to find an option that minimize that especially if you are spraying indoors.

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