Enthusiastic Amateurs: When CES handed a HVLP over to the Marketing Administrator...
I’ve always been a keen DIY-er; my husband however, not so much. I'll pounce on a bit of second-hand furniture which is ripe for an upcycle project. I'll happily splash a bit of paint of the wall for one of those trendy (or maybe I'm a little out of touch) feature walls. Give me wallpaper, I'll hang it. Pass over a picture frame and up it goes. However, my husband does not have the same gung-ho attitude when it comes to this.
He has learnt quickly though and had a bash at a few projects in our house. He turned his hand to plastering when the old kitchen tiles took half the wall with them. Let's say the wall now has a rustic charm about it. He even grabbed a saw to trim down a door that was a little too big with the new carpets. Door trimming success! However, the carpet was not so lucky and got a little trim itself. Fortunately, a strategically placed rug now covers the new geometric line addition to the carpet.
So, my husband would now absolutely regard himself as an 'enthusiastic amateur' with a peppering of perhaps 'false confidence'. How would he fair tackling these great big cupboards, skilfully knocked up by our clever builders? The plan was to drench them in an inky midnight blue and to subsequently add a contrasting shiny copper handle. Would the finished article match up to my Pinterest board cupboard of dreams?
Bring out the big guns
Bravely the team at CES leant us the QTech 5 Stage HVLP Turbine Paint Sprayer. Had they known the DIY history, they may have been a little more reluctant to hand it over. To keep costs down the cupboards were built using water resistant MDF. However they were quite the undertaking for a paint job, floor to ceiling height and about 3m across. It was definitely a job for the QTech 5 HVLP. Coincidentally whilst seeming like we were bringing out the big guns for our paint job, quite literally the spray gun on the HVLP is not at all large or cumbersome (more about that later).
Let's get this show on the road
You might be reading this with the same 'hide behind a cushion' fear you feel whilst watching the latest thriller. Possibly thinking it's an 'all the gear, no idea' situation. However, QTech make this machine accessible for even that 'enthusiastic amateur'.
The instructions are clear and easy to follow. The machine takes a mere 10 minutes to set up. Great when you have time pressures; ours being our little people which leaves very little time for DIY. I'm not sure paint spraying mixed with a toddler quite works. The manual made it easy to mix the paint to the correct consistency. The trickiest aspect for a non-pro was tweaking the gun output to find the most appropriate fan pattern in terms of the width and spray direction. Be prepared to do plenty of testing ahead of spraying. On this note we were set up and ready to go.
Be a Speed Demon
One of the main draws of this and similar machines is the time you save and finish you can create. This was no different in our experience. The machine was very easy to use with no overcomplicated buttons that you need a computer science degree to work. The speed you can cover your wall/furniture is incredible. Once you get the hang of the motion of holding your wrist steady and just moving your arm, you are flying. Another tip would be to ensure you overlap 50% for even coverage and not a wall looking like it would be more at home in a tiger enclosure. As we were spraying furniture, it was ideal to set up a bench to place the furniture at the perfect height. Equally the spray gun/nozzle is very lightweight so come the end of a day of painting, my husband didn't feel like he'd had put through a gym session with The Rock. Instead, it was a case of kicking back with a beer, with a sense of smug satisfaction.
The paint goes on in a fine and even mist so does need several coats. However, with the ultra-speedy drying time of water based satin paint, it meant no sooner had every cupboard door had a coat, it was on to coat two. No rest for the wicked! We found a little light sand between coats helps improve the appearance of the paint finish when it comes to furniture painting. One of the biggest surprises was how little paint the QTech HVLP uses. A little paint certainly goes a long way.
Other notable points from our 'amateur DIY-er' are to take your PPE seriously. We're all used to wearing masks now so crack it out for your DIY project. Though the machine is extremely safe, mask, goggles and gloves are essential. Also, as you would with painting with a brush, put down a protective covering. Whilst the machine is fantastic and keeping overspray to a minimum, a little can be inevitable, but if you're masked up, it's no problem at all. Finally, we had no complaints from the neighbours (even the nosy kind, that we all have) which shows the machine wasn't offensive in the level of noise. The noisiest aspect was the transformer which must be used with the machine.
What is the clean out process like?
Now the part none of us enjoy so much, cleaning out! However, this is incredibly important to keep your machine working properly and ready to go the next day. Luckily it is as simple as flushing the paint through the machine to begin with followed by soapy water. This was an easy process and ensured we could effortlessly pick up where we left off the next day. Cleaning the nozzle was a little more challenging and using methelated spirits to clean would potentially make it easier.
The finished Look…
Well, you can judge for yourselves from the pictures! What do you think? However, from our perspective as the cupboard owners, we are delighted we the finish and have had so many comments on the cupboards and friends that can’t believe we created this look ourselves…I think they doubted the ‘enthusiastic amateur’! The paint finish is consistent, easy to maintain and creates a really stylish and more interesting look to what could otherwise be quite a clinic white box of extension space. We would happily use the HVLP again for the ease and speed.
So, you’ve seen how the amateurs handle it. Want to see how the pros do it? Check out the videos on our YouTube Channel.