To Thine Own Self Be Blue

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Sometimes the hardest part of a painting project is picking out a color. That was the case with the shutters on our house. I had recently repainted the front door in General Finishes Klein Blue Milk Paint and loved it. But I wasn’t sure if blue shutters would be too much. Maybe I should go with gray…or keep them black? Part of the house is brick and part is siding, so the color needed to look nice on both. I debated for months.

Finally I had a brainstorm and started searching online for one of those online tools where you upload a picture of your house (or room, whatever you are painting) and change the colors. There are several free ones available and boy, are they handy. Wow, now I could visualize my house with blue shutters! I tried a few other colors but Klein Blue was the clear favorite.

The next big hurdle was getting my hubs to take the old ones down. A huge ladder and a little cussing was involved, but “we” (ha – I held the ladder) got them off the house. I had already printed a picture of the house and gave each window a number. As the shutters came down, I used a paint pen to label each one with the window number and “L” or “R” so we could put them back in the same spot and on the correct side of the window. 

As you can see, these vinyl shutters realllly needed to be painted. We bought the house last year, and we are slowly crossing off the projects on our list…at least until I think of more. Some people might have been tempted to just buy new shutters, but ours were still in great shape, just needed a little TLC. After I gave them a good scrubbing, I was ready to roll.

Hand painting shutters would take forever, so I got out my HomeRight Finish Max HVLP sprayer for the job. It is lightweight, doesn’t require an air compressor, and I feel like it’s “just my size.”  My husband rigged me up a paint rack so I could paint 5-6 shutters at a time.  We moved our vehicles so there would be less chance of overspray getting on them.

Scrubbing them up
Badly in need of a refresh

Getting ready to load sprayer

A word about HomeRight sprayers: The Finish Max paint sprayer is ideal for small to medium projects like furniture, crafts, dressers and cabinets. It has 400 watts of power and a 27 oz. container capacity. HomeRight’s newest sprayer, the Super Max, can cover a wider array of projects, from furniture and cabinets to fences and walls. It can handle thicker paints, so less thinning is required which means less hassle. It features 450 watts of power with a 40 oz. container capacity.  

Weather considerations: The weather should be an important consideration when planning to spray outside. Experts vary a little but most recommend painting when the temperatures are between 50 and 90 degrees F with humidity less than 85%. The day I painted, it was sunny out but not blistering, about 83 degrees with a slight breeze. The humidity level was between 40-50%, which is pretty ideal. 

One should also consider how much the wind is blowing. A gentle breeze is good, but anything stronger will cause dust and debris to potentially ruin your freshly painted surface. It is not recommended to paint in direct sunlight as uneven drying can cause wrinkling. Finally, if your project is outside, time your last coat so it can dry before nighttime dew sets in.

Test the spray pattern

Spraying > painting

Keep the spray nozzle clean

Okay, moving on, I opened up the Klein Blue paint and made sure it was stirred up well. I used the included viscosity cup to see if the paint needed to be thinned for best results with the sprayer. It did not, so off I went! Before I began spraying the shutters, I found some cardboard and did a few test shots on it. The paint came out smoothly and evenly with a compact spray pattern, meaning less overspray.

When using a paint sprayer, it’s important to keep an eye on your spray tip. Trying to spray paint out of a gunked-up nozzle will only cause frustration, so make sure you stop every little bit to clean the tip with the little brush that is included. I had to do this several times over the course of this project.

General Finishes Milk Paints are self-sealing and don’t require a topcoat, but you can extend their performance by doing so. GF recommends Exterior 450, which contains UV stabilizers to minimize fading outdoors. And it dries fast!

Mistakes. Now, I’m going to admit that I did a couple of things wrong here. Since the shutters were up off the ground, I found myself stepping “under” them as I reached across to paint. This led to a bit – okay, a lot – of overspray on ME. Since this is only my second time using a sprayer, I have since learned that overspray is usually caused by one of two things – being too far away from the surface or moving the gun too fast. I kinda think I was guilty of both. But life is all about learning, and that was my lesson for the day.

Final Steps. The last phase in my shutter transformation was getting them back up onto the house and covering the screws with the same paint. I pretended like I was using the drill for the purposes of this picture but my husband and stepson actually reattached the shutters before I got home from work one day. What a great surprise and I loved it! However, I really did go back and paint over the silver screw heads with the Klein Blue so they would blend in. Pfft, like he would touch a paintbrush. He “retired” after we painted every room in our house right after we bought it.

Reattach shutters
Touch up screw heads

And here is how it all looks afterwards! I love that the color is a little bit unexpected because it’s such a vivid blue. Don’t be afraid of color – do something a little different than the guy down the street.

Does your home’s exterior need some freshening up? Giving your front door a new look is an easy, instant upgrade. And shutters can be repainted in a weekend. Find an online “visualizer” and try out different combos for shutters and doors. Stop by your local Woodcraft store, and look at the General Finishes Milk Paint colors for inspiration. A few of my favorite GF colors: Coral Crush, Buttermilk, Holiday Red, Persian Blue, Patina Green and Halcyon Blue. Check ’em out!

We hope youll be inspired!

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