I’m not an expert at painting and restoring furniture. But I have learned a lot since I’ve been doing it…and since I’ve promised a few people this post, I’m going to jot down some of my resources and painting tips for you.
I buy pieces that are in relatively good shape, and solid wood. Sometimes you have to use your imagination a little bit. Don’t be afraid of chips, dents, or wear and tear. Wood filler, wood glue, or a little bit of trim go a long way!
90% of the time I sand my larger pieces. If the finish is really damaged or has large flat surfaces I break out the big guns and use an electric sander.
I only sand to smooth the surface and get scratches out, but if your piece is already smooth you can actually skip the sanding. Some paints (like Chalk paint) cut out the sanding step completely…but if your surface is rough or has any scratches in it, you’ll still want to give it a good sanding. Don’t worry about getting all the cracks and crevices, just prime those areas well.
After sanding, clean your piece. If I sanded it a lot I use a vacuum brush attachment over the whole thing, then I wipe it down with wet/dry rags. Get all of the dust off!
Always always always prime. I use the Zinsser primer, it comes as a brush on paint, or as a spray paint. Both work great, but for larger pieces with large flat surfaces, I recommend lightly rolling it on or brushing it on.
Most of the time I use plain old Interior Latex paint from Home Depot…it’s usually left over paint from my house somewhere. I like to use a smooth 4" roller to do the large flat surfaces and a brush in the curved or hard to reach spots.
I think one of the biggest mistakes is not allowing the paint to dry long enough after painting. It can take up to a week for the paint to fully harden…so be patient…and leave it alone for as long as possible. Also wait for the paint to dry fully in between coats. I usually give it full day, or do a coat in the morning and one before bed.
It’s hard to wait I know…but it’ll be worth it. Plus if your like me it’s been sitting in your garage for 5 months anyways, so what’s another few days? ;)
On larger pieces like a dresser or table I always use a protective finish once the paint is completely dry. I like Minwax Water Based Polycrylic just because it doesn’t have the strong fumes. On a table top or the top of a dresser I will do at least 2 or three coats to keep it protected. **If you're painting over white paint you might not want to use polycrylic. Even though it says it won't yellow I've heard from a couple of people that said it did, so use a wax product instead (some wax recommendations at the bottom of this post).
I love spray paint.
But spray paint doesn’t create an even sheen. So if you use it on a large dresser, table, or anything with large flat surfaces…you’ll see that some spots might be shinier or more opaque than others. Which is why I don’t use spray paint on anything larger than a nightstand.
I spray paint shiny wood, plastic, metal…everything. I rarely sand before spray paint, but I do use a spray primer as an extra precaution.
I highly recommend reading the posts from this blog. I’ve learned a lot from her, and tried some of the products she recommends. If you want to learn more about it read her great posts below: