I know there are a lot of you out there who would like to paint your own furniture, but just need a few tips on how to get started. You can definitely search and find other tutorials on this, but I thought I would give you our process that we use. We've been doing this for many years, and this is what we do with every piece we paint. Over the years, we have found which products we like the best and which steps in the process are important to achieve a nice finish that LASTS! It is so frustrating to paint a piece and have it start to chip or scratch within a few weeks.
In order for your paint project to hold up, the absolutely most important thing is that you prep it correctly! We love Fusion Mineral Paint and products, but without the proper prep, no matter what paint you use it will not hold up.
We do this 5 step process before we paint any piece of wood furniture. Using this process and a good paint, you can turn any old piece of junk furniture into a lovely new piece for your home!
1. In this step your goal is to just get the junk off the surface. A quick wipe down with a rag or paper towel is all that's necessary. Make sure to get the underside as that is where a lot of dust and cobwebs will be hidden in older furniture.
If there are any stickers, you will want to remove them before you continue as they will gum up your sand paper and make a MESS! Goo Gone works great for this.
2. Take out all the drawers on your piece and take off the hardware. If you plan to reuse the hardware make sure you put them all together in a container and SAVE THE SCREWS! We have learned this one the hard way! You can always replace the knobs and pulls on a piece, but it can sometimes to be hard to find new pulls that fit your drawers as the depth and distance between screw holes is different in the older pieces. We find that if it's possible, it's much nicer to be able to reuse the originals.
Hardware can be sanded, washed with TSP, and painted with Fusion Mineral Paint to give them a whole new life!
3. Many pieces of older furniture have a wood veneer. That basically means that the surface of the piece is covered with a thin wood sheet that has been glued to the base of the furniture. This sheet can be sanded and painted as is, but that's not always possible.
If your furniture is a solid wood piece with no veneer, or the veneer is in great condition (no peeling, chips, loose pieces, or buckling) you can move on to step 4.
If your veneer is damaged, you have a few options.
REMOVE IT: The photo above is a side view of a drawer. You can see that the veneer on this piece was very loose as I could pull it right up. There was a lot of other damage to the veneer on the drawers as well. So, I decided to remove the veneer. For this piece all I needed was a metal paint scraper. It came right off of all the drawers as it was so loose. If it does not let loose easily, you can lay a damp towel on the top of the veneer and apply a warm iron. The moisture and heat should weaken the glue and allow you to remove the veneer.
REPAIR IT: If the veneer is just a little loose, you can simply glue it back down with wood glue. You will want to put a clamp on it, or something heavy to hold the veneer down while the glue is drying.
If there is a chip in your veneer, you can fill it in with a basic wood filler. This will require some dry time.
4. SAND! I know, I know, there are all kinds of claims out there that say, "Use our paint, you don't need to sand." Well, I call baloney on that. If your furniture is made of real wood, and looks anything like this piece, you should sand it before you paint. In the end, it's worth your time to do this step rather than have your paint chip off later.
Sanding opens up the pores of the wood and roughs up whatever top coat may be on the piece. This will allow the paint to have something to adhere to (no matter what type of paint you use, it has to have something to grab onto to stick). Sanding also removes a lot of junk that you just don't want on the surface of your furniture.
You can sand with an electric sander or just your hand and piece of sand paper. You don't want your sand paper to be too aggressive or too fine, so use a grit between 200 & 220. If you are simply painting and not staining, you do not need to get down to the raw wood, just a quick surface sand to rough it up is enough.
Be a bit careful when sanding a piece with a wood veneer as most veneers are very thin and you don't want to sand through them. Easy does it!
WHEN YOU SHOULD NOT SAND
1. If your piece was painted badly and is chipping, you may need to use a stripper to get off the old paint before you sand.
2. If your piece has a wax finish on it (scrape it with your fingernail, it will come off) you will need to remove the wax before you sand. Mineral Spirits removes wax.
3. If your piece is not real wood, you will likely not want to sand it. Press board, particle board, laminate, melamine, etc. all need Ultra Grip or a good primer before painting rather than sanding.
5. A good cleaning is very important to proper prep. You can clean with TSP really well before you sand and then wipe it down again after. If there may be grease on the surface definitely do that as you don't want to sand it into the wood. For this piece, I did my deep clean at the end.
TSP removes all the gunk and junk and gets any remaining grease off your surface. I like to use Fusion's TSP because it is more eco-friendly than most on the market. Plus, it's really affordable.
I put 2 capfuls in a bucket, fill half way with water, and then clean my whole piece really well with the solution and a rag. I make sure to get inside and outside all drawers, undersides of everything, and of course any cracks or crevices. This cleaning will also remove all the dust you created while sanding.
Once your piece is clean, you are ready to paint!
It may seem like a bit of a process, but I promise you that prep is the most important part of painting furniture and it is so worth doing it right!
It really is amazing what a little work and paint can do for a piece of furniture. I did this one for myself as we needed something to hold our TV and hide all the remotes and things that come with a Wii. After prepping my piece, I painted one coat of Fusion Mineral Paint in Seaside on the base. I used one coat of Fusion's Liming Wax on the drawers. I painted my hardware with Fusion Mineral Paint in Limestone. Here is my project beginning to end!
Before, After Being Prepped, Halfway Through, and Finished!
Thanks for reading! If you ever want to tackle a project, but need a little extra advice, feel free to contact us! We would love to answer any questions you have and get you started on your next project!
I am Jenny. I am married to my best friend and am mama to six uniquely beautiful kids. I love to create and make old things new. I run a business from our farm place with my sister.