Welcome to part 2 of my guide to spray painting. I will cover some methods that you can use to make the paint gleam. Please see part 1 if you have not already done so as it describes how to make sure you have a good covering of paint.
You will need some wet and dry sandpaper and an abrasive paint restorer such T-Cut. You will need some old rags to apply the paint restorer, make sure that they are clean and soft. Synthetics may scratch the paint so try to use cotton. you will need a soft blanket or quilt to place on your bench. This will stop you scratching or denting your paint job. You will also need some water close by. If you have one a spray bottle is great for applying small amounts over a wide area. You will also need a razor knife with a very sharp blade. Knives with interchangeable blades are best.
OK so you have painted your work piece a few times over and you are confident that there are no thin spots or gaps (read part 1 if unsure, another coat never hurt anyone). You will probably see that the paint is pitted, very much like the peel of an orange. If you are sure that your paint is now hardened you can start to handle it. If the paint is still soft it will become indented with your fingerprints. if you are not sure whether your paint is hard don't try to check, do it next week. Any way of checking if the paint is hard will potentially mess it up, so leave it alone.
When you position your work piece on the bench be aware of your surroundings so that you do not scratch it. Position it so that you can easily reach the area that you are about to finish. Spray the area with some water and use come wet and dry paper to lightly cut down the paint until it is smooth. You can get varying grades of wet and dry paper so you can start with a coarse grade then use finer grades in order. The grade of the paper is printed on the back of the paper, the higher the number the finer the grade. Apply more water and remove the paint build-up with the cloth as necessary. Once you have smoothed and dried an area you can reposition the work piece and work on the next.
You may have some imperfections which are still noticeable after sanding because they protrude from the paint. These can include colour runs and bits of dust that fall on paint before it dries. These are removed with your razor blade knife. Gently scrape the blade over the protrusion in varying directions. You should see a fine dust appearing and the protrusion getting wider and wider until it is level with the surrounding paint. Be very gentle when doing this as you can spoil the paint job completely if you dig the blade in. The paint needs to have dried properly before this can be attempted. When the blemish is levelled you can use your fine sandpaper on the area until the texture matches.
The final stage is polishing. apply a generous amount of your abrasive colour restorer to a cloth and rub it into the sanded paintwork. You should very quickly see the paint come up to its full shine. Be careful of edges as the abrasive may rub through the paint because of the increased pressure on the point. When your work piece is completely polished wipe any excess solution off with a damp cloth. Your paint job is complete. For additional protection you can apply a wax based furniture polish.