DIY Basics

The Best Paint Sprayer For Kitchen Cabinets (Plus Tips On Getting A Beautiful Finish)

For a couple of years now, y’all have heard me sing the praises of my Critter Siphon Gun paint sprayer (which you can find on Amazon by clicking right here) for projects like painting furniture and kitchen cabinets, right? Well, today I have visual aids to show you just how good this little siphon gun is.

best paint sprayer for kitchen cabinets - Wagner Flexio vs Critter (v)

This little paint sprayer doesn’t look like much, but I absolutely love it.

critter spray gun

It isn’t meant for painting walls, the exterior of your home, or any other large, flat surfaces. But for smaller projects like furniture and cabinets, I personally think it’s unbeatable. You have to have an air compressor to use it, so if you have one, you’re in business.

A couple of weeks ago when I started painting my kitchen cabinets, I couldn’t find my Critter sprayer. Ever since I cleared out all of the rooms in order to refinish my hardwood floors, things have been a bit lost and jumbled.

No problem,” I thought to myself. “I have another sprayer I can use!

Remember last year when I painted my living room and entryway with all of that trim on the walls? Painting all of that with a brush was going to take forever, so I went out and purchased the Wagner Flexio 590 to make quick work of painting those walls and all of that trim. Well, that paint sprayer comes with a detail finish nozzle that is described as “ideal for small projects and fine finishing.”

So I got it out, put the detail finish nozzle on it, filled up the cup with paint, and got busy on my cabinets doors.

Well, thank goodness I was painting the backs of the doors that day, because the finish was not good. Not good at all. That so-called detail finish nozzle that’s ideal for fine finishing left a rough, bumpy mess on the backs of my cabinet doors.

There was no way I could use that on the front of my cabinet doors, but I couldn’t find my Critter anywhere. So I ordered another one. And it was totally worth the extra money and the added wait time. The difference between the two finishes is remarkable.

best paint sprayer for kitchen cabinets - Wagner Flexio vs Critter

I’ve been recommending the Critter Siphon Gun for a while now, and I’ve had many people tell me over the last couple of years that they’ve purchased this sprayer based on my recommendation. Most people love it, but I’ve had about five people tell me that they just couldn’t get it to work right.

So if you’re one of those people, or if you’re wanting to purchase a sprayer, here are my recommendations for getting a beautiful finish with this Critter.

Do all of your prep work first.

In other words, do all of your sanding, priming, caulking, etc., on all of the doors and have them paint-ready BEFORE you even get the Critter out of the box. Don’t fill up the jar with paint until you’re actually ready to spray. Don’t work on one door at a time, where you pick up one door, spend 5-7 minutes sanding, another minute brushing off all of the dust, and then paint. Grab another door, spend another 5-7 minutes sanding, another minute brushing off the dust, and then paint.

Nope. You want all of your doors (or project pieces) paint-ready when you fill up that jar with paint so that there will be no stopping between doors. The longer you have to stop and wait between doors, the more likely it is that paint will start drying in the nozzle, the straw, or even in the jar, and that can clog the sprayer.

Strain the paint as you pour it into the jar.

I really cannot stress this enough. Strain anything and everything as you pour it into the jar. It doesn’t matter if it’s latex paint, oil-based paint, primer, oil-based polyurethane, water-based polyurethane or anything else. Don’t put anything into that jar that hasn’t gone through a strainer first. Let me say it again…

Don’t put anything into that jar that hasn’t gone through a strainer first.

DO NOT put anything into that jar that hasn’t gone through a strainer first!!

Got it? 🙂

Just keep in mind that the sprayer is made to spray a very fine mist, which means that all of the parts are small — the straw is very small diameter, the nozzle is tiny, etc. Any little clump will stop up the nozzle. But if you strain everything as you pour it into the cup, it will work beautifully. I purchase paper cone strainers in packages of four at Home Depot in the paint sprayer section.

Put a pin in it.

Don’t leave the sprayer full of paint just sitting around for more than a few minutes. If you need to take a phone call, take a Facebook break, or stop for a quick lunch, stick a straight pin (the kind with the little yellow ball on the end) into the top of the nozzle to keep air air out and keep the paint from drying in there. If you don’t have a straight pin, wrap a small piece of plastic wrap around the nozzle.

But don’t do the straight pin/plastic wrap thing if you’re through painting for the day and plan to come back to it the next day. If that’s the case, the absolute best thing to do is to empty and clean the sprayer completely. Pour any leftover paint back into your paint can, and restrain the paint the next day. The next best thing to do is to put a lid on the mason jar (yes, this sprayer uses pint-size mason jars) and wash the nozzle really well. This second option isn’t always guaranteed to work, especially if the paint isn’t completely filling the jar. If there’s any air in the jar while it’s stored, there’s always a chance that you’ll come back to a clump or two. And it only takes a tiny little clump to clog that little straw or the tiny nozzle.

Set your air compressor and sprayer correctly.

I know. That seems obvious. But I think one of the biggest frustrations with this siphon gun is that you have to kind of test out different settings not only on your air compressor, but also on the nozzle of the spray gun itself, to find that “sweet spot” where everything works beautifully together. That testing and trial and error the very first time I used my gun made me think the thing was broken. Or just a cheap piece of junk. But once I found that “sweet spot” on the compressor setting and the nozzle setting, it worked amazingly well.

I can’t guarantee that your settings will need to be exactly like mine, but on my Porter Cable 6-gallon pancake compressor, I keep the tank pressure at about 120-140, and the regulator pressure (i.e., the pressure in the air hose going to the tool) at 90.

At that air pressure, the “sweet spot” on the spray nozzle looks like this…

critter sprayer nozzle setting for latex paint

The vertical nozzle is where the paint sprays out, and the horizontal nozzle is where the air comes out. You can see that the paint nozzle is very close to the top of the hole on the air nozzle. Yours might need a slightly different setting, but this is a good place to start.

You can also get a scrap piece of cardboard or wood, and pull the trigger to spray the paint as you use your other hand to adjust the paint nozzle up and down. Adjusting the nozzle while spraying is the best way to find that perfect setting, but just don’t spray your doors (or other project) while adjusting the nozzle.

Empty your air compressor completely after each use.

Air compressors shouldn’t be stored with air in them. Doing so can cause condensation to build up in the compressor, and can actually cause rust to form inside. After each use, empty the air, and then loosen the nozzle on the bottom that allows every little bit of air (as well as any built-up condensation) to escape. Store the compressor with that nozzle open between uses.

If condensation builds up in your compressor, that moisture can spray out through the air hose, mix with the paint and cause big droplets of watered down paint to land on your doors. If you take care of your compressor (i.e., empty it after every use), that shouldn’t happen. If it does happen, you just need to stop painting and take a few minutes to empty the compressor completely. Open the nozzle on bottom of the air compressor tank to be sure there’s no condensation left in the compressor. Then refill the compressor and start painting again. Spray the paint onto a scrap for about a full minute to be sure all of the condensation is out of the air hose before you resume painting your cabinet doors.

Spray close to your doors.

The Critter sprays a very fine mist of paint, so the further you make those tiny specks of paint travel through the air before hitting your doors, the more likely it is that they’ll start drying mid-air, hit your project partially dry, and leave a bumpy, rough finish.

Don’t make the paint work so hard! Spray close to the doors so that the paint actually arrives at its destination in its liquid state and can do all of its drying after it hits the doors. But if you hold it too close, and you’ll get puddles and runs. 😀 I know, it can be confusing. It just takes a bit of practice. When spraying paints, I hold the nozzle about 5-7 inches from the cabinet doors as I spray them (about 10 inches for polyurethanes since they’re thinner and can puddle/run easier), and I always spray the doors while they’re lying horizontally.

You also want to avoid spraying on windy days for the same reason — you’ll lose half of your paint to the wind, and you risk the other half partially drying mid-air before hitting your cabinet doors.

 

So those are my tips for getting the best out of this little paint sprayer that packs a big punch. The Critter Siphon Gun is definitely my favorite paint sprayer for cabinets, furniture, and other small projects, and if you take the time to find those perfect settings and implement the tips I’ve learned over the last couple of years and shared here, I think you’ll love it, too! You can click rigth here to find it right here on Amazon.

I’ve used it to spray latex paint, oil-based paint, oil-based primer, oil-based polyurethane, and water-based polyurethane. It works wonderfully with all of those. Of those products, the only one I had to thin down was the oil-based primer. With everything else, I pour it straight from the can, through the paint strainer, into the jar, and I’m ready to go! But it’s also perfectly fine to add a little Floetrol (for latex paint) or Penetrol (for oil-based paint) if you want to. Just keep in mind that you might not need much at all, and the addition of those might require changes in your compressor and/or nozzle settings.

If you’re not quite ready for a sprayer, and just want to stick with painting with a brush, be sure to check out my tips for getting a near-perfect finish with a paint brush

how to paint cabinets with a brush and get a near-flawless finish



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59 Comments

  • Reply
    Justin
    March 16, 2017 at 9:24 am

    I had my eye on the critter before you did your first post on it and bought it right after you gave it the seal of approval. I can vouch that it is a great tool and you really can’t beat the price.

    I have a cabinet that I painted red…one of the hardest colors to work with because of the way it dries, and I initially tried brushing it and was so unhappy with the finish. I ended-up finishing it with the critter and I can’t believe the differences in the areas I brushed versus where I sprayed.

    The one thing I haven’t tried…mostly cause I didn’t really need to…was adding paint conditioner. I think I may have to do that with my next project because I bought the paint + primer stuff (why, I dunno…I knew I was going to spray it) and I think that paint is a bit thicker. I’m just really unclear how much of the conditioner to add. The instructions give a wide range and you use it but haven’t really said how much you add. It’s the orange bottle you use…the name escapes me at the moment.

    I will say that the critter is a little bit of a pain to clean, but I suppose most paint sprayers are. They claim you can just put mineral spirits or thinner into the jar and spray it clean but it never really gets it all. I find I need to pull the parts off and scrub a little, even go so far as use pipe cleaners to get the tubes clean.

    • Reply
      Kristi
      March 16, 2017 at 9:42 am

      With the conditioner, you can add up to 8 ounces of Floetrol per gallon of paint. But in the sprayer, I’d start with probably half that amount. So perhaps fill up the the jar, and then add just one tablespoon of Floetrol to start. If that’s not working, add the other tablespoon.
       
      I do agree that cleaning oil-based paint and primer out of the straw and nozzle are a pain, but I find that cleaning oil-based paints off of anything is a pain. The pipe cleaners work very well. I find that cleaning latex paints and water-based polyurethanes out of the sprayer is pretty easy.

      • Reply
        janpartist
        March 16, 2017 at 11:28 am

        An artist trick for cleaning brushes (this would be after using mineral spirits if oil and after using dish soap for water based) is to do a second washing with Murphy’s Wood Soap, or maybe it’s called Murphy’s Oil Soap but it’s amber colored and meant for cleaning kitchen cabinets and stuff. It’s great at paint removing.

        • Reply
          Justin
          March 16, 2017 at 1:36 pm

          Thanks for the tip on the Murphy’s oil!

      • Reply
        michele
        December 11, 2018 at 4:50 pm

        Can you use this refinish a tub??

        • Reply
          Kristi
          December 11, 2018 at 6:07 pm

          I would imagine so, but you’d just have to be sure to clean it out immediately after use. I think those tub refinishing kits have to be used within a very specific amount of time after the two parts are mixed together.

    • Reply
      Paula
      April 4, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      Can you use it for chalk paint

  • Reply
    Sue
    March 16, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Wow! Such a difference. Thanks for the tips.

  • Reply
    Erin
    March 16, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Hi there!

    Do I need to purchase the maintenance kit on Amazon that comes with the sprayer?

    • Reply
      Kristi
      March 16, 2017 at 9:36 am

      I’ve never purchased one. As long as you clean it really well between uses, making sure there’s no paint left in the straw or nozzle, you shouldn’t need that maintenance kit. But a pack of pipe cleaners from the craft store might not be a bad idea. 🙂

  • Reply
    JOAN PATRICIA HABINOWSKI
    March 16, 2017 at 9:46 am

    can you do regular size doors with it. i know you said small doors, but i thought i would ask

    • Reply
      Kristi
      March 16, 2017 at 10:18 am

      You can…yes. I sprayed my music room doors (the ones that I did the fretwork design on) with my Critter. It was very good at getting into all of that detail work. I could also see using it on French doors. However, if you’re just painting regular six-panel doors, I wouldn’t do that job with the Critter. I’d actually recommend getting a larger sprayer that sprays more paint for that kind of project.

  • Reply
    Amy
    March 16, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Will you spray the shell of the cabinets as well?
    *we purchased this sprayer a few months back beacause of an earlier review of yours and love it! Thanks for all the detailed info you give!!

    • Reply
      Kristi
      March 16, 2017 at 10:21 am

      I’ve gone back and forth on this. I sprayed them the last time, and it worked beautifully. But I dread all of the taping and draping that’s needed in order to spray indoors WAY more than I dread painting all of those with a brush. I’ll probably try the brush first and see if that works out. But when you brush part of a project, and spray part of it, you always run the risk of the sheen not being the same. Sprayers and paint brushes affect the sheen differently, so even if the paint comes out of the same can, it can often look like two different sheens. But I might try it anyway just to avoid all of that taping and draping. 😀 I mean, I REALLY dread it. I hate it more than I hate drop cloths. 😀

      • Reply
        Kathleen
        March 17, 2017 at 11:36 am

        I can totally vouch for that. I brush painted my cabinet boxes and sprayed my doors – not only different sheens, different color. I have overlay doors so it doesn’t bother me too much, but on sunny days when the light is hitting the cabinets, you can totally see it. The pain in the sprayer was also thinned down so that also might have something to do with it.

  • Reply
    Heather Gillett
    March 16, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Lee Valley sells the Critter Spray Products 22032 118SG Siphon Gun in Canada! ;-D

  • Reply
    Tracy
    March 16, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Ugh! Wish I would have read your old post before spending $$$!! Spent many hair pulling 😩research hours trying to pick just the right one. Ease of clean up was a huge priority! I must add this siphon/pot type sprayer sometimes was hindering when trying to spray odd angles inside a cabinet. I crafted a large spray booth in the garage ( my Dexter room😏). And this drying rack: http://s3.amazonaws.com/finehomebuilding.s3.tauntoncloud.com/app/uploads/2016/04/09221404/LITCH_paint_802_copy.jpg. A life saver if you have a lot of cabinets. Hard to find space to lay them all to dry.
    Can’t wait to see the finished kitchen!!! Any updates on when the counter tops will be done? 😀

    • Reply
      Kristi
      March 16, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      That drying rack is amazing! I need to build something like ethat!
       
      And yes! I’m finally on the countertop guy’s schedule. He’ll be here next Thursday and Friday. I’m excited!! 🙂

      • Reply
        Jackie
        March 16, 2017 at 11:16 pm

        Have you seen this- less permanent and less expensive. You could do that with the doors too I’d think- and just make sure that the cup hooks go on the hop of the uppers and the bottom of the lowers…
        http://www.ana-white.com/2013/12/momplex/painting-face-frames

        Also- I love that your critter matches your new paint colour!

  • Reply
    Brette
    March 16, 2017 at 11:48 am

    For those who don’t want to buy a sprayer, this is what worked for me after much trial and error. I was able to get a very smooth finish using a brush, thanks to some advice I got from a forum for people who paint wooden boats. I mixed 50 percent oil paint (Benjamin Moore), 25 percent Penetrol and 25 percent mineral spirits. It will be thin but the brush marks will easily level out to near invisibility. I don’t know if this will work as well with another brand. In fact, Benjamin Moore would probably not endorse or recommend this. It says on the can not to thin. (This is related to EPA regulations regarding the limitation of volatile organic compounds.) I replaced all my cabinet doors with paint-grade maple. With 21 doors, it was a huge job that took over a year off and on. But I wanted to use oil because it’s more durable and that was what was used on the boxes and woodwork. Unfortunately, I discovered this technique toward the end of my project, so some of the doors have brush marks. But one professional painter said they could be eliminated by a top coat of the 50.25.25. formula. I know that oil is being phased out and that most people don’t want to use it, but until substitutes are perfected, I will use it. I live in an older house with oil-painted woodwork. Using oil over oil is easier for me since it requires less sanding and only spot priming.

  • Reply
    Erin
    March 16, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    I am so glad you posted this because I bought a Critter and love it. Last time I used though I had a bumpy finish on a couple of interior doors. Now I know it’s because I held it too far away and I didn’t strain the paint either. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Katherine
    March 16, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Are you using the critter sprayer for the cabinet bases themselves too? And are you going to spray the inside of the cabinets? Curious to know how it works using it like that or if you’d recommend just hand brushing that or using a roller.

  • Reply
    Lynne
    March 16, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Kristi I have a question; in a previous post regarding the Timbermate filler as a good method for minimizing oak grain you said you preferred using a brush to a sprayer because the brush helps to fill in the oak grain better than a sprayer. I am getting ready to repaint my kitchen cabinets which are oak (they look a lot like yours), and this time I want to eliminate as much of the grain as possible. Would you recommend applying two coats of the Timbermate (sanding between each coat) followed by spraying? Or brushing? I like the idea of using a sprayer to save time vs brushing.

    • Reply
      Kristi
      March 16, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      When dealing with oak and wanting to hide the grain, you are going to have to do some brushing at some point. You’ll need to brush on something for grain filling. You can use either watered down Timbermate, or you can even use a thick-ish coat of oil-based primer. As you brush, just be sure you’re pushing it down into the grain. Then you’ll sand until the surface is very smooth. If you can still see grain that needs to be filled, you can do more filling, and more sanding. And again, most of that will be sanded off, leaving just the Timbermate or primer that fills the grain.
       
      Then you’ll want to prime the doors. I personally like to brush the primer coat as well. Let that dry very well, and then sand (by hand this time) with 220-grit sandpaper until very smooth.
       
      At that point, you can spray the paint. However, just keep an eye out for any areas of grain you may have missed. As you spray (especially if you use a color other than white), it will be obvious, as the paint will build up on the around the grain, but won’t go down into it. If you see areas like that, you’ll need to brush paint over them to push the paint down into the grain. Let that coat dry really well, and sand with 220-grit sandpaper by hand.
       
      Once you’ve done all of that, the final coat can be sprayed for a smooth final finish.
       
      There’s nothing quick about getting a smooth finish on oak cabinets with deep grain. 🙂 But if done right, it’ll only have to be done once. In the future, if you want to change cabinet colors, you’ll just need to paint (spray) and be done. None of the wood filling, priming, etc. will be needed.

  • Reply
    Jo Anne Wooldridge
    March 16, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    I’m still working on finishing my upstairs…unfinished pine 5″ x 6′, tongue in groove (Lumber Liquidators $1.29 sq ft) floors. I don’t know how you stay motivated to do a whole house. I had a non professional professional from Craigs List put it down but was left with 1/4″ more or less gaps between all boards…about 900 sq ft. So I figure, how hard can it be to choose a wood filler, roll a few coats of poly and voile… Hardwood floors that look as great as yours for a great price Ha! Everything that can go wrong has… But depending on the day I remain hopeful that someday my upstairs will have something up there other than just my bed. Like I told a customer at Home Depot when I was returning the square sander that was incredibly heavy and didn’t sand worth a beans (trying to get the wood filler off the surface)…I think I know how to DIY but I D.O.N.T. He laughed and said that’s clever, handed me his realtor business card and said in case you get tired of your DIY. And then there’s the walls that need painting…trim that needs putting and the stairs. What do you use for stairs? Ahhh. Then there’s the downstairs which is currently cement I painted. For now I think I’ll have a glass of Pino Grigo and watch The Munsters.

  • Reply
    Sherry
    March 16, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    When you say that you laid the cabinet doors horizontally, did you mean you laid them flat on a surface?

    • Reply
      Kristi
      March 16, 2017 at 9:30 pm

      Yes, that’s what I mean.

  • Reply
    Debbie
    March 16, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    Thank you, Kristi!
    We purchased the Critter paint sprayer and painted oak cabinets in a town home we flipped. We were asked several times if the cabinets were new. We used the Critter with primer and then one coat of Behr’s premium paint. Your techniques work perfectly. We have painted shutters, furniture and the cabinets with the Critter. It was worth the taping and covering all surfaces to be able to spray our cabinets in place . . . The results are flawless. I have been meaning to send you pictures of the cabinets. I love following your blog, you are super talented and I have learned so much from reading your blog.

  • Reply
    Mitzi
    March 17, 2017 at 5:09 am

    I’m one of the ones who had so much trouble with my Critter sprayer, and this tutorial has been very helpful! I see two areas where I went wrong, well, maybe three. Number one, I didn’t strain the paint……..lesson learned. Number two, when I was reading the instructions on setting the pressure on the compressor, it recommended a much lower pressure, I’m thinking it was like 25%. I was afraid of setting it too high, so I started low, and kept working up until I had it around 40%. It worked at that pressure, but results were inconsistent. Number three, I think I may have stopped periodically to adjust the pieces and move around, and those small breaks allowed the paint time to dry enough for clumping. Ok, I’m going to try this thing again on your recommendations. I built a dresser for my soon to arrive granddaughter, and would love to have that smooth factory finish on the paint. If the weather cooperates this weekend, I’ll give it a go! I’ll be in touch……………..

  • Reply
    Kathleen
    March 17, 2017 at 11:39 am

    The Critter sprayer is the BEST tool I have ever purchased!!! (purchased through your link) I have a lot of tools, but seriously, I love this thing. I plan on getting another one just for oil based products.

  • Reply
    Caitlin
    March 18, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Seems like a lot of work. I am going to have to pass and find something a bit easier to work with.

    I need to be able to plug in and go!

  • Reply
    Anna
    March 18, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    What kind of compressor should I buy to go with the sprayer?

    • Reply
      Kristi
      March 18, 2017 at 7:36 pm

      I have the Porter Cable 6-gallon pancake compressor, and I love it. You can find it at Lowe’s, Home Depot. or on Amazon.

  • Reply
    Cathy
    March 20, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Ok. I’ve got to ask I’m sure, a very silly question. How and where do you fill a compressor? I’ve seen several of the DIYer’s use a tool compressor and I understand this is the tool to have. So fill me in. I want to learn.

    • Reply
      Kristi
      March 20, 2017 at 11:28 am

      The compressor fills itself when you turn the power on. Just flip the switch, and it’ll start making a loud noise filling itself with compressed air.

  • Reply
    Monica
    March 20, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    When you spray a horizontal surface what angle do you hold the sprayer? In the past with a different sprayer I was getting a lot of overspray because I had to hold it at a about a 45 degree angle to keep the paint flowing properly (they were electric).

    • Reply
      Kristi
      March 20, 2017 at 11:16 pm

      Probably between 45 and 30 degrees.

  • Reply
    Kim
    April 9, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Have you used the sprayer with epoxy paints?

    • Reply
      Kristi
      April 13, 2017 at 12:41 am

      I never have, but I feel pretty sure that it would work.

  • Reply
    Ilene Richardson
    April 16, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    BEST advice ever! Thank you Kristi. I had brushed on 2 coats of Kilz white primer, sanded after each coat. Then took my favorite 3 inch paint roller and roll two coats, it had a bit of orange peel look to it but I thought perhaps more coats would help. Then that night I read this article about your cabinets now and the link here where are you document the difference in sprayers and ordered a critter sprayer immediately. I just used it and the results were totally professional and I’ve never been more impressed. I have an airbrush and I have a wall air sprayer but this one was different and very easy to strain the paint right into the mason jar. I love it, thank you so much! I was hoping to post a picture of me with the spray but I did not see how to do that.

  • Reply
    jill
    May 18, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Hi Kristie, getting ready to buy this spray as I have a huge number of cabinets to do. I plan to focus on one wall of cabinets at a time but it will still be a lot of cabinet doors. Do you do your spraying outside, uncovered, laid out on tables that are protected with drop cloths? Do you get much dust/dirt in your finish? I have a large garage where I could put a spray tent but seems like very few doors at one time would fit on a table in a spray tent. Where do you put/how do you deal with the partially dry doors as you move forward with more spraying? Thanks!

  • Reply
    Daniel
    September 19, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    Hi Krisie,
    for beginning, sorry for my english!
    I have some difficult to paint with my Critter spray gun.

    For the primer i use the Zinsser Odorless and it’s wonderfull!

    For the paint it’s more difficult. I use the BEHR Interior/Exterior Alkyd Semi-Gloss Enamel Paint – White Base, 3.79 L (this paint is desing for furniture and cabinet). My compressor is at 90 psi like you but the result look like your first picture!

    Homedepot tell me that i can’t add Penetrol in this paint.
    I dont know what to do!
    What kind of paint do you use ?

    • Reply
      Kristi
      September 19, 2017 at 8:55 pm

      I would start by testing out various PSIs — everywhere from 75 to 100 or so. If you don’t find one that gives you better results, then you can certainly add Penetrol to your paint. I have personally used both oil-based (alkyd) and latex paint in my Critter. I’ve also used both water-based and oil-based primers. The only times I remember having to thin the paint was once with the oil-based primer, which I thinned just a bit with mineral spirits, and one time with some older latex paint, which I thinned a bit with Floeetrol. It’s certainly okay to use Penetrol (for oil-based) or Floetrol (for latex). Just be sure you don’t use more than the label on the bottle recommends.

  • Reply
    Heather
    October 1, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Thank you for this post/recommendation. I bought this a week ago and just used it and it works like a charm! I now want to paint EVERYTHING! Thanks again! Love your blog.

  • Reply
    Debbie
    November 24, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    Love your cabinet color. Could you tell me what color it is?

    • Reply
      Kristi
      January 8, 2018 at 9:41 am

      So sorry I missed your question! It’s Behr Hallowed Hush, which I had color matched in Benjamin Moore Advance paint.

  • Reply
    chris
    January 8, 2018 at 7:10 am

    This looks a great product and I would like to have a go, does anyone know the equivalent in the UK. It would be expensive to order from the US with postage etc
    Thanks

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    January 20, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Perfect post for me. Thank you for writing it.

  • Reply
    Andy Shepard
    February 7, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    My wife and I are redoing our kitchen because it’s just dark in there right now and old looking. I like how you say that open shelves will make it feel airy and bring more light into the room. We should probably find someone who can design some kitchen cabinets for us that will have that feeling.

  • Reply
    Bob Wilson
    February 13, 2018 at 9:16 am

    We are trying to paint a wine rack made with crisscrossed 4″ openings for the wine bottles. After trying to prime the unit which is 4′ high by 30″ wide, which holds 34 bottles. Have you tried to spray from the outside through the openings?
    Also from what I gather the sprayer must be used in a vertical plane and not to deviate from the vertical plane by more than several degrees.

    • Reply
      Kristi
      February 13, 2018 at 1:36 pm

      I’ve never owned a wine rack, much less tired to paint one. I have no idea what you mean by trying to spray from the outside through the openings.

      As long as the metal straw can reach paint inside the jar, it will spray the paint. The more paint in the jar, the less imperative it is to hold the sprayer upright.

  • Reply
    Riss
    May 21, 2018 at 11:46 am

    I finished priming the kitchen cabinets using Zinnser BIN, and I noticed that some parts are smooth and most are kinda rough. How do you get the finish so smooth? I will also be using BM Advance paint and really want a smooth finish just like yours. Do you think it’s the distance from where i spray or do I adjust the liquid nozzle of the critter spray gun? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Kristi
      May 21, 2018 at 2:46 pm

      I sand my primer after it dries with 220-grit sandpaper. I’m not familiar with BIN. I use Zinsser oil-based Cover Stain, and when it’s dry, it sands like a dream. It gets so smooth and provides the perfect surface for painting. If you’re getting a rough finish with the paint, then it very well might be the distance from which you’re spraying. Keep in mind that you’re spraying a fine mist of paint. If you make those tiny droplets of paint travel too far through the air, they can start to dry before they even hit your cabinet doors, and that will cause a rough finish. Try spraying closer (maybe practice on a scrap piece of wood) and see if that helps.

  • Reply
    Rhonda
    May 26, 2018 at 11:23 pm

    There are many Cabinet Paints on the market now. Do you think this sprayer would work with those?

  • Reply
    Newbie
    July 10, 2018 at 7:52 pm

    Hi there,
    Thank you so much for your helpful tips. I have FIFTY cabinets to do and have been trying to research the best effective and efficient way. I am planning on using the Benjamin Moore Advance satin finish alkyd paint, will this work with the sprayer? How about Floetrol for thinning? I read contrasting things, some said you should use Penetrol or lamp oil to thin alkyd paint?
    Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Kristi
      July 10, 2018 at 8:37 pm

      Advance is what I used on my cabinets. It works just fine in the sprayer. Advance is a waterborne alkyd paint, which is not the same as an alkyd paint. I know that Benjamin Moore doesn’t recommend using Floetrol in Advance paint, so you might get their input on how to thin the paint. Or I’m sure it will say on the paint can label how to thin it. I didn’t thin mine at all. I did strain it, though. (ALWAYS strain the paint as you pour it into the sprayer jar.) I just used the Advance right out of the can and in the sprayer, and it worked beautifully.

  • Reply
    cathie
    July 18, 2018 at 9:56 am

    THANK YOU! I have the wagner and boy it sucks- good for outdoor stuff like fences or maybe even inside walls but def not for the cabinets! Can you post more pics of the close ups?

  • Reply
    Heather
    August 17, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    Hi!! This is a life saver. We brushed our cabinets recently and they turned our terrible so we are doing them over and ordering this critter. Can I ask exactly what type of paint you put into your sprayer? I need to know exactly was mixture to put in there so we don’t mess it up again!

  • Reply
    Steve
    October 1, 2018 at 8:48 am

    Hi Kristi – I am really looking for a smooth finish like yours for my oak cabinet. I’m trying to use water-based paint (because I’m in Minnesota and its getting around 40 degree already so I’ll need to spray paint inside the house). I have Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water-Base Primer and Sherwin Williams ProClassic Waterborne Interior Acrylic Enamel paint.
    I got some questions and wondering if you can give me some pointers:

    – Do you think the primer would be able hide the wood grain with spraying? Or do you think I should roll the paint on or even use wood filler first?
    – Should I thin the paint?
    – What would be the right distance for spraying? Do you think like 6 inches away from the door is fine?
    – Do you think if I do 2 coats of prime and 2 coats of paint would be enough [sand in between of course :-)] ? Should I apply a top coat, something like Minwax One Coat Clear Gloss Polyurethane?
    – I have a Craftman 3 gallon 3/10 hp 100 max psi compressor. Do you think its powerful enough?

    Sorry for many questions – Any pointers are greatly appreciated! 🙂

    Steve

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