I love, love, love spray painting! It's a quick and easy way to transform (nearly) anything to fit your color/theme and create something fabulous. I really like using Rust-oleum 2X Extra Coat. Rust-oleum offers great colors (along with other items, like glitter spray), the nozzle head is wider and more comfortable to use than some others, the coverage is really great, and a can is generally under $4 at Home Depot. Just follow the directions provided, and you're sure to get great results in about 20 minutes (such quick drying time!). Generally, I like to use two thin coats on items to get the best coverage.
Apart from the spray paint, invest in a canvas/painters tarp, a box of disposable gloves, and a mask meant to protect you from spray-paint fumes. More than once, I've mistakenly spray painted my feet or shoes, so you might also think about getting painter's shoe covers. Then, all you need to do is find something to paint!
I love to buy old and/or ugly frames from second-hand shops like Good Will or Salvation Army (or just pillage the old ones hiding in my garage). For about $5-$10, you're sure to find some large and/or ornate frames that you can turn from ugly to fabulous in minutes! You can put aside the glass, backing, etc. and simply use the painted frames for decor or photo opportunities. But save the glass/backing in case you'd like to use the frame to actually frame photos, etc. in the future. You could also paint the glass with chalkboard spray paint (yes, that exists!) and create a framed feature board for the party (more on this to come).
Spray paint also easily transforms larger items -- like carboard boxes. While a good old paint bucket and brush would also do the job, I like using spray paint and find it to be fairly affordable for big jobs too. It also easily gets into nooks and crannies -- like on the robots below!
The benefits of spray paint really come through when you need to paint tricky pieces or a bunch of smaller items. I generally use spray paint, for example, when I need to paint containers for a party (for candles, centerpieces, etc.) or dowels (for signs, etc.).
For Kate's upcoming Pokemon party, I decided to paint ping pong balls to look like Pokeballs (which are half white and, usually, half red), an idea I had seen on Pinterest. I purchased 144 balls for about $8 on Amazon and then felt the need to paint them all! I started by using a brush and some acrylic paint and just painted away without any taping. This worked fine until I put the ball down, it rolled over, and the paint smudged. Once I realized that I'd probably need to use some painter's tape regardless of the type of painting method I used (just so the ball would stay upright), I decided that I would spray paint the balls in one big bunch. So I taped half of each ball, stuck it to my tarp, and spray painted away! The painting part was easy and the coverage was better than with a brush. Once of the great pluses about spray paint is that there are no brush stroke lines.
All of this taping, painting, un-taping, marking the center line and dot with a Sharpie, etc., took about three hours total for all 144 balls! But that wasn't because I chose the spray paint route. If anything, that saved time.
At this point, my plan is to use these super cute Pokeballs for a game where the kids throw the balls into some container, like a pail, and I intend to call it something like "train your pokemon." We'll see -- if the kids love it, it will have been worth it. And it wasn't costly, so that's good.
I love spray paint so much that, in addition to spray painting items for parties, I spray things around my home. Recently, I spruced up our old patio chairs with some blue spray paint (this took about a 1/2 hour instead of the much longer amount of time this would have taken if I was using a brush) and our old metal screen door with some purple spray paint. I love the results! I hope they inspire you as well.
Happy spray painting, all!