How to Spray Polyurethane

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Polyurethane finishes can be applied to wood and ceramic projects to provide a protective finish. These finishes come in a convenient spray can available with high gloss, semi gloss or satin finishes. All three finishes require careful application for a smooth, even finish without drips and smears. Polyurethane is safe to use with proper ventilation and protective measures. Look at some tips on how to spray polyurethane on your projects to provide a protective coating that will make your projects look beautiful for years to come.

Things You'll Need

  • Polyurethane spray
  • Newspapers
  • Ventilation mask
  • Set up your spraying area in a well-ventilated area, either outside with no wind or with multiple open windows inside. Place newspapers to completely cover the area where you will be spraying, making sure to extend the covered area to include an overspray area. Placing your project inside a large box will allow you to spray evenly while controlling the overspray.

  • Position your project carefully to allow for maximum application of the polyurethane. You'll need to allow the product to dry between applications before rotating it to do the other sides. Elevate your project off the newspaper or cardboard surface with a scrap block of wood to keep the bottom edge of the project from sticking to your work surface.

  • Put on your mask (polyurethane has a very strong smell) and pop off the can lid using a screwdriver. Shake the can well for at least a minute.

  • Spray one light, even coat working onto your surface with the polurethane spray held about 12 inches from the project. For best application, start spraying just outside the project surface, sweeping horizontally across the project. Work from top to bottom with even stroke and continual spray.

  • Allow the first coat to dry completely. If you're applying finish to a wood or ceramic project, you might want to sand between coats for a nice smooth finish. Make sure to use fine grit sandpaper when your first coat is totally dry and brush or wipe off any sand residue completely. Light sanding between coats will bring your project to a high shine after multiple coat applications.

  • Add additional coats of polyurethane to your project as needed. Allow the product to dry for at least one day after final application to prevent smudges. If you're placing the project on a painted or wood surface, it's best to give the polyurethane spray a few extra days to dry completely.

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