Recently I tackled a DIY project at our place that had been on my to-do list for a LONG time – spray painting our old Colorbond sheds black. Woohoo! I know they are just sheds, but they look SO much better now that it legitimately thrills me. I had it in my head for months how much nicer they would look black, and they turned out even better, which is always a nice surprise. I’m totally revealing the absolute dag I am here, but do you guys get the same way about house and garden projects? You think of something you want to make over, and then you cannot get it out of your brain. Every time I looked at those old sheds I would think about how much more sexy they would look if they were black. (Can I get away with using the words ‘sexy’ and ‘sheds’ in the same sentence? I think so).
I think it’s because those sheds backdrop our new deck and outdoor living spaces, and our house had this gorgeous new look with the Scyon cladding, and we had this beautiful new patio and deck, but behind it were these really average old sheds. They’ve been there since we bought the place and you see them from every single back room of our house. Practical, but not very pretty. The small shed was maybe made from Zincalume (I’m guessing?) and the large one was cream Colorbond, with bore water stains.
Mr Nerd is generally supportive of my crazy endeavours, but I can’t say he quite understood my obsession with painting them black. “Why would you want to bother painting the sheds?” he asked.
He ate his words when he saw the results. There is just something about black paint, isn’t there? It has transformative powers. Especially in a garden – plants look so brilliant against black; it makes buildings – even big sheds – seem to recede; it sort of ties everything together and it just looks bold and deliberate. I can’t get enough of black houses and sheds.
The kids have been consuming a good chunk of my energy, time and soul lately but the perfect excuse to finally paint came when Dulux put the word out about their new Jelly Beans campaign. This year from September to October everyone who buys 8L of Dulux paint from Bunnings or an independent hardware store receives a tin of jellybeans, one-of-five collectable Dulux puppies and helps support the company’s $140,000 donation to Second Chance Animal Rescue in Melbourne, and I was happy to put my blogger hat on and do my bit.
So, I got my black Dulux Weathershield paint (Dulux Monument – to tie in with our house’s cladding paint scheme, which we did in Dulux Monument and Dulux Natural White) I cleaned the sheds with a hose and an old broom, and then I began painting.
With a brush. With the kids at my feet. I know.
I’ve done a bit of spray painting – all our old aluminium windows, chairs, planters, small things like picture frames etc – but can you believe I actually had to get up the nerve to spray paint the sheds?
I think it’s because an aerosol can seems so easy, but an electricity-operated spray gun just seemed so intimidating. I felt like if there was someone in the world who could muck it up and somehow whip that spray gun around and spray paint themselves in the face, it would be me. And I thought there would be much more backspray than there actually was. Even when I spray painted our old aluminium windows, I couldn’t believe how much the backspray went. I stopped spray painting to find backspray had actually completed coated my eyebrows and nostril hairs white. I looked in the mirror and I was horrified. I looked like a fiercely ageing Oompa Loompa.
I legit thought that painting with a brush – at least while the kids were underfoot – would be the more doable option. You can see how well THAT idea turned out on my Instagram Stories. (I saved all my progress to a Highlight reel called Shed Makeover, if you want to see videos of my fails and eventual progress – go here). If you want the short version, just imagine Little Nerd asking me his daily 48,000 questions and telling me he wants his 34th snack of the day while I try to paint and Little Miss Nerd climbs up my ladder behind me and joyfully dips her chubby arm into the paint tin (and me screaming and admitting defeat).
The next day I begged my mother to take my spawn for the day, and then I faced my fear, got a spray gun (I used this Dulux Rapid Finish Spray Gun) and BALLSED UP.
I read the manual, got it going and was so delighted with it I wondered why on earth I had been so wary about it before. It was SO much faster and the finish was good. I did two coats, and it was done! It was deliciously satisfying seeing the shed transform before my eyes. I think refilling the plastic container on the spray gun took longer than painting the shed did.
I also fixed up this ugly corner of our garden that’s been bugging me for years (because it’s what my eye would be naturally drawn to when you’re standing at our kitchen sink looking out the window) and I wish I’d remembered to take a proper before photo because it was such an unattractive patch with just some dead straggling plants in it. But as it is I only thought to take a photo of it when I’d cleared it (with the aid of my small, useless assistant). I filled it in with plants I already had – potted palms and some agaves and dracaenas I’d found on the side of the road (God I love green waste pickup) and added some brushwood fencing I got from Bunnings.
When I shared this makeover to my Stories, I got so many DMs – it seems I’m not the only one thinking of painting an ugly Colorbond shed or fence! – so here are a few of those questions and replies. I’m definitely no painting expert, so please feel free to weigh in in the comments section if you are.
HOW TO SPRAY PAINT COLORBOND
What colour did you use?
Dulux Monument – same as our house.
How many tins of paint did it take?
I used up two 4L tins of Dulux Weathershield in a low sheen formula. You need to choose a paint that is compatible with your steel. It needs to be exterior-specific, water-based acrylic paint.
Do you have to use a special paint for spray painting?
Dulux DO make specific formulas for spray painting but you can also use other paints to spray paint with a spray gun. You just need to dilute them with 10 – 20 percent water.
Did you prime the Colorbond first?
After researching this topic online and talking to friends who’d done it before, I decided not to worry about doing a primer beforehand. I did apply an SLS metal etch primer on high-wear areas (like around the handle to the shed door and on the hinges) but aside from that I applied the paint directly to the Colorbond (and metal of the rear shed). The reason for this, is that it’s old Colorbond, which over time has more adhesion than new. If you have a brand new Colorbond shed or fence, some people seem to recommend adding adhesion by either sanding it or using a primer. And you have to make sure you get rid of all the manufacturing residue if it’s a new fence or shed. A warning, if you paint a new Colorbond shed or fence, Bluescope Steel (who manufacture them) say that it will void any of their warranties issued.
How bad was the backspray?
It wasn’t as bad as I had been expecting however if you are painting outside I would one hundred percent recommend you wait for a very calm day (no wind) and make sure you’ve moved your cars away or taken in your washing if it’s close by! If you’re spray painting a patio etc I would make sure you cover up your paving or decking.
Thanks Dulux for gifting me the paint for this post. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments! Do you have a project you’re dying to spray paint? Maya x