Spray Painting Our Old Colorbond Sheds

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.

Nala was happy to put her hat on and be a MODELLE

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.

Me with BALLS UP…. wait
I also got this amazing outfit. Please don’t message asking me where you can get your hands on one. I don’t want to reveal all of my style secrets

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.


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.

If I look tired it’s because I am. Thanks Mr Nerd for the photos, you did reasonably well at finally becoming a good Instahusband and I saw a remarked improvement on your usual”one-shot-is-all-I-got” attitude

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


Author: Maya Anderson

When Maya Anderson was thinking of a name for her homes and design blog, nothing seemed more fitting than House Nerd. Obsessed with everything to do with houses, renovating and interior design, Maya is a features journalist by training with a background in print and a focus on homes and real estate. She has been renovating her 1970s house since forever, loves dogs and can eat her body weight in dumplings.

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  • It could not have turned out better. Loving it! A few years back, I was all set to paint my shed black or dark charcoal and then I saw a nice indigo blue and I changed my mind in the last minute. But I think it is still waiting for the black. The last pic of Nala with the can of Dulux is the cutiest. Did she get any fresh black freckles from the backspray?

    • Have to say I do also love indigo blue! Houses, sheds and fences! It’s so pretty with lots of plants and timeless too. No, Nala did not receive any more special black flecks. She only popped outside briefly for this pic and to give me a teaser of how even MORE delicious her coat will look when contrasted against such a solid expanse of black. Then she was straight back inside to have another beauty sleep and leave some more hairs on my new bedlinen.

  • Hello Maya!
    I am considering painting our large Colorbond shed too but just wondered how yours has faired over the past six months?
    Is there any sign that it should be primed or do you think it has taken to the Colorbond well without it?
    Bec 🙂

    • Hi Bec! Ours has done really well, I see no peeling or flaking anywhere! I would say as long as your Colorbond is in good nick, and you’ve cleaned it just before painting, you shouldn’t need a primer if you use the right paint. I did put a little bit of metal etch primer we already had on the areas that get a bit more ‘traffic’ – around the handles to open the shed and the hinges – but aside from that I think you should be ok without. Use the best quality paint you can and make sure it’s ok for metal 🙂

  • If there is after spray.. (like on a neighbour’s property‍♀️) what is best recommended to have it removed. Being acrylic water based and diluted to exit the gun I am assuming there are specific products to use to remove and clean.

    • I would try a paint stripping gel. But would 100 hundred percent try on a small area first to see how it goes first – especially if it’s a painted or varnished surface. When I spilt acrylic paint on our varnished deck I used methalyted spirits in small quantities and rubbed, but it did take some of the varnish off – figured it wasn’t such a big deal as I was going to be re-oiling the whole thing at a later date.

  • Hi there,
    I’m also thinking of painting our shed and want to ask if you regret not applying a primer all over your shed? Has it weathered the way you were expecting it to?

    • Hi Linda, no regrets in this instance. It has held up perfect. I made sure that the paint I was using would be suited to painting on metal. I used Dulux Weathershield but Dulux also make a Dulux Metalshield which also doesn’t require a primer for new (bare) steel, wrought iron or pre-painted metal surfaces.