Learning how to paint furniture is really very easy. I am a firm believe that painted furniture is some of the most beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, their are stunning wood pieces I wouldn’t DARE paint. But for less expensive pieces, or pieces that have already been painted in the past, a willingness to bust out your favorite paint can extend the life of your furniture by many many years. And I’m all about upcycling more, and contributing to the rampant consumerism that is our society these days much much less!
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Another benefit to painted furniture is the ability to truly make it your own. The possibilities are endless. You can mix paint colors, add decorative wax, or even stencil your project.
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How to Paint Furniture – What You’ll Need:
- Paint of your choice – I prefer Fusion Mineral Paint or Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for furniture
- A good qualify paint brush – Staalmeester has amazing options!
- TSP or Simple Green Cleaner
- A few old rags
- Plastic tarp or drop cloth
- Painters tape
- Cling Wrap
- Flour sack towel
- Small stencil brush
- Furniture Wax
How to Paint Furniture – The Before:
Today, I’m sharing the transformation of the beautiful sideboard we have in our living room. I’ve had it for about two years, and it’s always been a shabby chic kind of white. And I LOVED it! But I’m also someone who craves change. So out came the paint, and I can’t wait to share the full transformation with you!
Before you paint, you always want to check the finish of your current furniture. If it has wax on it, you will want to use mineral spirits to remove the wax prior to painting. If you aren’t sure if your piece has been waxes, use the fingernail test! Use your fingernail to scratch the finish of your furniture gently. You should see wax under your fingernail if you piece has been waxed. If so, use mineral spirits to remove it. If not, you are good to proceed to the next step!
How to Paint Furniture – the Step by Step:
Step 1: First, set up your area for painting. Lay down a plastic tarp or drop cloth and place your furniture piece on top. Be sure you’ve covered your area well enough to avoid accidental drips getting on your floor or other furniture.
Step 2: Clean your piece thoroughly. I usually use TSP or Simple Green cleaner. Both are great at degreasing and getting your piece prepped for paint. Here, I sprayed Simple Green all over my sideboard, and wiped it off with an old rag. I always recommend doing this process twice, to ensure the best paint adhesion.
Next, dampen a second cloth with water, and give your piece another wipe down to remove any residue left behind by the cleaner.
Step 3: Remove all hardware if possible. However, with old pieces like mine, it’s impossible to get the hardware off. If that’s the case for you, tape off your hardware with painters tape.
Step 4: Be sure to read your specific paint instructions to see if a primer coat is needed. A big reason I use Fusion Mineral Paint and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is because you absolutely do NOT need to prime. And anything that saved me time and money, I’m on board for!So here, I did not prime. I just began painting! I used a Staalmeester oval 2010 series brush, and Fusion Mineral Paint in Coal Black.
Paint with the grain of your wood, or in the direction of whatever paint was previously applied. It’s also best to work in sections, based on your furniture piece itself. So first, paint the top, then one side, then the other. Then a door, then the other door, etc.
The photo above shows the first third of the top of my sideboard with the first coat of paint. You can see how uniform I kept my brush strokes. I repeated this process on the other two third of the top, and then ran my brush the ENTIRE length of the top, until all of my strokes were even. Fusion Mineral Paint is a great self leveling paint, so if you ensure your strokes are uniform, almost all of them will disappear in the drying process!
Step 5: Once your entire piece is painted, allow to dry for at least 2 hours (but read your specific paint to confirm). While you wait for your paint to dry, grab a small piece of cling wrap (or foil if you don’t have cling wrap). Wrap your cling wrap around the bristles of your paint brush, and place it in the fridge. This trick will save you time, water, and loads of paint! I’ve left a paint brush this way overnight, and my brush has never been dried out!
Step 6: After a couple of hours, pull your paint brush out of the fridge and remove the cling wrap. Apply the second coat of paint in the same manner as the first. I almost always only need two coats, but if you need a third, repeat this process again, allowing several hours of dry time in between the second and third coats.
Step 7: Allow to dry overnight. You can then decide if you’d like to apply wax or another decorative treatment to your piece. Or you can of course distress it using a sanding block for a more rustic look (this is easier to do with chalk pain than Fusion). If using chalk paint, it is always recommended that you wax your piece. But Fusion Mineral Paint comes with a built in top coat, so its totally unnecessary to wax. Here, I added a bit of white wax on the beautiful detail pieces, to enhance their beauty and make them more noticable!
I prefer applying wax with a small stencil brush on the details, and then buffing it off with a flour sack towel as needed. If I am waxing the whole piece, then I will use one flour sack towel to apply the wax, and a separate towel to buff it off.
Step 8: Do any touch ups you may need, then remove your tarp/drop cloth, and enjoy!
The Final Reveal!:
The details are more noticeable in person than they appear here, and it’s just the perfect amount of subtle beauty that I love.
The contrast of the Coal Black in this space is just stunning! As much as I loved the white, I’m an even bigger fan of this change! It’s bold, and beautiful, and took me less than a day to accomplish. And now this beautiful piece gets to live a new life with her shiny new look! And like I said before, learning how to paint furniture is really as easy as it seems! I hope you’ll try it if you haven’t previously!
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Let me know what you think of the transformation in the comments below! Are you a fan of painted furniture like me?