Before you get right to work and place that nice soft brush with paint on your piece of furniture, here a few things you need to know before you get started. As much as I love to paint furniture and cannot wait until I am finally able to just brush my paint on there are a few things to consider. Let’s go over these steps that I find are super important to get the look and finish you desire. Of course it depends on the piece you have as I find they are all different and require different order in steps. Here are 4 things to consider before painting furniture and what I typically do when working with old pieces.
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1. Clean, Clean, Clean!
I can’t emphasize how important it is to make sure your piece is cleaned before you paint. You’d be surprised by the amount of dirt and grime that is found on the surfaces. My go to cleaner for cleaning furniture before painting is Krud Kutter.
Look at all that dirt and grime!!
It comes in a spray and a foam and I find both work great but something about the foam sitting there and seeing the dirt and grime drip down makes it so satisfying to me! So I usually like to stick to the foam (I know, silly preference right? but who doesn’t love playing with foam?!).
A little mild soap will work too but I find an extra-strength cleaner is necessary, especially for older pieces. Just spray on and leave for a few minutes then scrub and wipe off with a damp cloth (you may have to do this several times to be sure to get all the dirt off).
2. Examine and Repair
Does your piece have any drawers that need repair? Maybe a leg needs to be secured better? Well, now is the time to fix these. Also a great time to be sure any nails and screws are all intact. Maybe an area needs an extra nail or screw? Do it now.
I find that while I am doing repairs I lay my piece down on its back or side and sometimes things happen where you may cause damage in some areas while repairing and moving your piece around. So you want to be sure that its all taken care of before you have your piece upright and ready to paint. I have learned this the hard way. I’m impatient and hold off on what I think will be a minor repair and wait until the end only to find myself re-painting certain areas because it was slightly damage in the process of repairing after painting.
~Once your piece is nice and clean its time to fill any holes you wish to fill. I use Minwax wood filler for minor dents and small holes I wish to repair. The reason why I wait to fill in any holes is because my next step is to sand so I wait for my wood filler to be completely dried and sand any filled holes and areas I want completely sanded. For bigger damages, I like to use Bondo~
Once you’re piece is repaired, cleaned and any holes are filled, its time to sand. Why sand if you just cleaned your piece you ask? Well, for older pieces sometimes there is so much dirt and grime that sanding over it will cause you to go through a lot of sandpaper and those can go quick which means cost can add up. It also allows for a clear surface for you to be able to see what repairs need to be made.
If you are not leaving any exposed wood and plan on painting your entire piece I recommend scuff sanding lightly before painting. This will allow the paint to adhere to the surface. I love a good mix of wood and painted piece so I use my sander quite frequently.
To remove all the sanding dust I like to vacuum the piece and then wipe it using a tack cloth. One last wipe down and its finally ready for primer or paint.
Depending on the type of paint and wood you are using, you may have to prime. Wood contains a naturally occurring compound called tannins. The tannins in the wood bleed through the surface and leave a yellowish/brown discoloration after painting. If I am painting a piece a light color, espcially white, I almost always prime first. This prevents discoloration seeping through the surface after painting. My favorite primer to use is Zinsser B-I-N Primer. It comes in a spray too and you can easily spray it on.
Guess what? It’s now time for the fun stuff, Paint! I love to use BBFrosch Paint transformer. I talk more about it on BBFrosch Paint Transformer For Painting Furniutre. There are different ways you can paint, you can brush, roll, or spray your paint. It’s completely up to you what you choose to do. When I started painting furniture several years ago I would always brush it on. Now, I have tried spraying and rolling. Depending on the piece and paint I use, I choose one over the other but I haven’t stuck to just one way. After painting you must protect your piece with a wax or polycrylic which I will share more about soon.
And there you have it! Refinishing furniture takes time and patience because these steps are necessary in order to have your work last. So if you are going to take time to paint furniture why not do it right the first time? There are ton of techniques and information and it can become overwhelming but stick with what works for you! I share this because this is what has worked for me. I have learned a lot through trial and error. Most of the time when I run into trouble its because I did one of these necessary steps incorrectly.
Have you tried painting furniture yet? If you haven’t, remember these steps before you grab that nice soft brush and get to work! If you have, comment below and let me know what steps you take and what order you do them.