Saturday, November 21, 2009

White "Green" Painting

Today we made a big purchase: a 26-gallon air compressor and a paint sprayer kit. I'm going to paint a dresser for Sweet Pea's room, and I have a nearly unlimited number of other projects in mind that I can now tackle with more confidence of a good outcome. The idea is that I will achieve a smooth, professional finish. That's the hope at least. I have never used a paint sprayer or air brush before so this is all in theory right now. I was inspired to try my hand at spray gun painting by the impressive DIY feats of fellow blogger Michelle of Three Men and a Lady.

While we did spend a bundle on those two items, and the no-VOC paint I got as well, we're hopeful that in the long run this will save us money: I can paint a cheap used dresser and make it look nice rather than buying one new, I can paint the desk we have and spruce it up rather than buying a new one, and eventually I can paint our kitchen cabinets while we save to re-do our kitchen, probably years from now. A few of the other projects I have in mind include: 2 bookshelves, the frame of a bulletin board, a plant stand, the futon frame, and Sweet Pea's toddler bed. Most of these items are currently untreated or stained wood, and are all different shades and in various states of needing attention. Really, the cheapest, greenest thing to do would be to just leave everything as is, but I want my home to look nice and my furniture to look better than it does. I think painting, and a few new drawer pulls, is the best option for improvement. In addition to painting, the air compressor has many other uses, including airing up tires, powering an impact wrench or a nail gun, or lots of other tools. Average has wanted one for a long time so this was an exciting purchase for both of us.

To get started with my projects, I picked out a gallon of white, actually "Grace's Smile" is the name of the color, non-toxic paint. I bought it from the local Green Store. I wish I had known about this product when we first moved into our house. I was pregnant at the time and nervous about being exposed to paint fumes, so Average (with the help of some friends and family) did all of the interior painting before we moved in. He painted all three bedrooms and the ceilings in the entire house without any assistance from me at all-- what a guy, right? The house still smelled like paint for weeks, or maybe even longer. Well, the Green Store stocks two brands of low-odor paint, Yolo and Mythic, and Mythic is completely non-toxic and no-VOC. They are substantially more expensive than traditional paint (the gallon of Mythic that I bought cost $47.95), but I think the cost is worth it, especially since my first project is a dresser that will go in my infant's bedroom. You can get Mythic mixed to any color you want, even from another brand's color swatch!

Look for more posts to come as I begin work on the dresser, etc. The puppy is finally getting easy to manage, most of the time, so I may actually have some free time for projects again. Of course, the holidays are coming up so that means more events and travel for us so I'm not exactly sure when I'm going to be able to get started. I also have a post in mind about our holiday gifts and how we're saving money, being more environmentally responsible, and hopefully also giving more meaningful gifts this year.

Please let me know if you have any tips on using a paint sprayer, or on furniture remodeling in general. As always, all comments are welcome!


  1. Wow! Exciting. Can't wait to see the results. FYI - Jerry's has low VOC paint and it's much less expensive than at the Green Store. We painted our entire house with it when I was pregnant. (There's still some odor when it's wet, so Aaron had to do all the painting. But it's not as bad as regular paint. And once it dries, it's odor free.)

  2. Thanks for the tip, Abby! I bought some low-VOC paint from Freddy's a few months ago to help my sister paint a room at my dad's house. It had hardly any odor and the baby was either in the room with us or just outside in the hallway most of the time and I felt fine about it. For the spray application though I decided I wanted the maximum in non-toxic since it will be "atomized" or whatever, misted into the air, so it seems like a more likely chance of me actually somehow breathing in paint. Plus our baby likes to lick everything :)

  3. I used both Mythic and Yolo paints in my kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms. I didn't notice a smell at all and people who were helping also commented on the low or no smell. It seemed worth the extra cost since I don't paint that often and paint can off gas for a really long time. I think I painted most of my house 2-3 coats for less than $200. A pretty cheap home improvement project. Yolo is out of Portland so its nice to support a local company. Good luck with the painting!