When I started doing projects, I knew that I would have to do some spray-painting eventually. There was just one major problem… I didn’t have anywhere that I could spray paint. Here’s what I did last year to change that.
Now, I should start by saying that I’ve TRIED to use spray paint. Twice, even! It uhm… did not go very well. The thing about using spray cans is that they tend to have a massive overspray. Due to the specific nozzle used at the top of the cans, the contents of what you’re spraying comes out in a very wide cone.
The problem with that wide cone is that the sprayed particles which don’t end up on your project, tend to go everywhere that you don’t want them to. Especially if you’re spraying outside… near your house. On a windy day. Or near your vegetable garden. Yeah… my dad had to clean the tiles with a high pressure cleaner and some of those vegetables with primer on them we had to chuck out. Painful lesson learned.
On both of those cases, I used very large cardboard boxes that we had lying around to try to minimize the issues, but it just wasn’t enough. The overspray still went everywhere, especially when the wind picked up.
- I felt I needed a larger place, dedicated to spraying paint.
- There was no room inside the house, so it had to be outside.
- I didn’t want to ruin anything that my dad already had, either.
- I had to be able to put things down so I could spray them without holding those things.
- I had no money to spend on this, at the time.
Okay, no pressure!
I started by just going outside and taking some photos. I spent some time walking around outside, trying to come up with places I might be able to retool into a spray-place. I took the photos because I wanted to be able to sit down at my computer later and think about the pros and cons of the various spots as well.
The shed with the green wall is nice and flat, but it’s the neighbours’… it’s also in the middle of my dad’s vegetable patch, which is less than ideal. Quite a few cons, no real pros.
The blue-doored shed in my dad’s backyard has a junk corner next to it, which we don’t really need. It wouldn’t have been hard to make some space there and use the side of the fence there as a spray area. I seriously considered this spot for a while, but it had its own problems. For one, if anything got through the fence while somebody else was walking in the publicly accessible alley behind it, that’d be a big problem. It’d also still be pretty close to the vegetable patch, so some wind could cause more issues there as well. Finally, that spot is almost always directly in the sun, because this backyard is on the north of the house, and the sun’s always south of it. Quite a few pros… but, a whole lot of cons. It was a promising spot, but had too many issues.
The final spot I considered was the side of my dad’s wooden mini-shed. Of course, that would break one one of my rules immediately… I didn’t want to ruin anything of my dad’s. And the area was already used, in a way. My dad stored small things there, and there were plants in the way. It did have a lot going for it, though. Due to its position, it’s never in direct sunlight (and anyone who knows anything about painting knows that direct sunlight is usually something to be avoided). There’s also fairly little wind in that spot, making for easier spraying. It was also the furthest away from the vegetables. A lot of pros, quite a few cons… but with some effort, I could fix that.
So I chose the third spot, at the side of my dad’s mini-shed:
From just looking around, I figured I had to do a couple of things here:
- The Barrel! and the storage rack had to be moved,
- The area had to be cleaned,
- The hydrangea had to be moved, and…
- … I had to tile over that area so I could stand there.
We started by moving the hydrangea. I was in luck, as my dad had been wanting to move this anyway. He started cutting off flowers and branches as I started digging it out to expose its roots. I then dug another hole elsewhere in the backyard, and moved it over to its new location.
(Hopefully it’ll do well in its new spot.)
Next up was to move the rain barrel and begin cleaning the area. That’s where I found something quite funny:
The area was already tiled! There was just so much overgrowth that it was completely invisible before. Even my dad had forgotten! Lucky for me, that made preparing the area a lot easier. The only thing I had to do was to finish cleaning it. Mind you, it was still backbreaking labor, especially for me… this had gone uncleaned for a very long time. But I did manage to do it:
At this point, the area was prepared, and I was stuck with the next problem. I had to find a way to protect the side of the shed from paint, have something stable that I can put projects on to be sprayed, all without having it be ugly to look at as part of the backyard, and without spending a cent.
Okay, so there was a little bit of pressure.
The first thing I did was look for materials by asking around. I got lucky again. I’d recently received a very large package at home that had came with a maaassive sheet of plastic. I decided to bring that over so I could attach it to the side of the shed. It was a little bit bigger than I needed it to be to attach it to the side of the shed, which was perfect as it gave me a bit of wiggle room. It did have a couple of tears, but nothing I couldn’t fix with some magical duct tape.
Looking around for more materials at home, and digging through our shed, I found a very large water-resistant piece of synthetic cloth material. It had been a part of a steel-and-cloth gazebo that had been destroyed i a storm a year earlier. We’d kept the useful parts in case they’d… be… well, useful. And this was the perfect material for me. So I brought that with me as well.
I then realized that it would be simple for me to make my own workbench-like area. I’ve previously written about how I got a large number of old pallets, and I had a bunch just sitting in that mini-shed, taking up space. I decided to get out my jigsaw and start sawing. I came up with a pretty simple design that made perfect use of the shape and positioning of the support beams on the pallets, and I sized it to fit snugly onto the side of the shed. Here’s what that looked like when I was done with the basic shape:
Now, this is useful, but it doesn’t have that clean, finished look. Luckily, I still had that large piece of cloth. It took a staple gun and a lot of staples. Luckily, my dad had a staple gun and found a full box of staples in his shed, which I was allowed to use.
Curious what the finished result looks like? Here you go!
Total cost of this entire project: €0.
Having the perfect outside place to spray stuff: priceless!