We get a lot of the same questions so we thought we would put them together for you guys. Take a gander and comment below if you have any more questions. Note: We are not paid by any of the products we mention…we just like/love them.
Q: How long does a piece of furniture take to paint?
A: It depends on the piece. A large dresser takes 15-20 hours. This 15-20 hours does not include drying time so depending on the piece it can take up to a couple weeks. Why so long? We have a question about our process below.
Q: What kind of paint do you use/What is your favorite paint?
A: We use different kinds of primers depending on the piece. For paint we use Valspar Signature for most pieces. We also use Modern Masters for Metallic paint which is amazing and worth EVERY penny. We are getting ready to try Amy Howard at Home for lacquer…It just came in the mail today and I literally jumped up and down! We are always looking for and trying new products. Certain paints can cost crazy amounts of money but are soo worth it!
Q: How do you seal your furniture?
A: We have tried SEVERAL sealers….several. There is a long list of kinds we wont use. The one we use the most of is pricy but worth it. We love Varathane! It is a water based polyurethane. You pay for the privilege of having a sealer that won’t yellow…but who wants yellow furniture? It is also very durable and so much stronger than other sealers we have used and worth the money. We also love Modern Masters Supreme Clear. It is amazing…also pricey…but amazing! It is UV protected too. These two sealers mean scratch resistant when they say it, which is hard to truly find. There are a few others we have and will use depending on the project but these are our “go to”.
Q: What is your best trick and tip for creating a glaze?
A: Buying it 🙂 Hehe. But seriously…I love the valspar glaze and it goes a long way and its a great price. Other companies have tintable glazes (like Modern Masters) which are great too. I don’t mess with a good thing.
Q: Do you use a sprayer or brush more regularly and why?
A: We have a sprayer, a Wagner Flexio 590 (I think). Lately we have been hand painting a lot more. There are a few reasons for this. 1) The primer we have been using lately doesn’t love my sprayer (one of the reasons we are on our second one in 6 months). 2) Brushing and rolling gives you a little more control over it and we have been happier with those results…especially with the weather being cold. Paint doesn’t dry well if it is too cold or too hot. But if you use a brush- make sure it is high quality. If you use a roller, use foam and practice. You will get bubbles in the paint if you aren’t familiar with it. If you use a spray gun you will need to practice with pressure and airflow as well.
Q: What does your process entail when painting a piece?
A: This is a long answer but bare with me!
- When we take a piece in the first thing we do is remove the hardware, label it and put it away. Even if the paint we are using paints over metal we always remove the hardware. We make our pieces to last and with that in mind someone may want to change hardware one day.
- Next, we sand and/or strip the piece of furniture.
- After that is done we clean the piece with warm water and TSP. TSP will get any smells out and is also abrasive and will help prepare the furniture to take in paint.
- Paint doesn’t actually adhere to TSP though so once you are done with that process you have to clean the piece again to get the TSP off.
- Now you are ready to prime! We always prime. No matter what kind of paint we use, we prime. Even if the paint says we don’t need to. We have found this helps with the overall longevity and durability. It also helps seal in any stains, etc. that may be on the furniture. The type of primer depends on the surface we are working with.
- Before painting we usually give the primer a light sanding and then (you guessed it) more cleaning!
- Paint time! The first coat always feels so awesome! Typically our pieces get 2-3 coats of paint no matter the kind. Each coat takes a certain amount of time to dry. Depending on the paint there may or may not be sanding and cleaning between coats.
- If we are distressing, the piece typically gets buffed with sandpaper that is over 300 grit. If the piece is not getting distressed then we lightly sand it by hand.
- More cleaning!
- Next up, is sealing. The pieces get 3 coats of sealer with light sanding in between.
- Hardware gets primed and painted.
- Pieces gets put back together and ready for it’s photo shoot.
The more furniture we paint, the more we are moving towards high end products and “extra” steps. You could absolutely paint something differently then we do or with different products and end up with a great piece. This is just the way we do it for the product that we want to put out. Also…this is why a piece takes 15 – 20 hours as answered above. That doesn’t include drying time between all the coats either! These steps vary depending on the particular project but this is a good template of how we do a simple project.
Q: Does using chalk paint affect the value of an antique?
A: I think any paint would affect value the same. I would hope that any painter would only be painting pieces that need some love anyway. We like to think that we are adding value to any piece we paint because it is currently being tossed out or needs some love and attention. I would rather an antique be painted and valued and used instead of in someones garage or basement collecting dust.
Q: Whats the difference between glaze and wax? Where does one get wax and what brand do they use?
A: There is a lot that is similar and I am not a wax expert but I will do my best. It is my understanding that they can be used together or independently. Wax is meant to be a final coat or the sealer on a piece and glaze doesn’t have to be. When I glaze, I seal it with varathane. Wax can have a beautiful finish and it can make a piece. I totally get that. I also get why people would want a piece with wax. It would also probably be easier to do a coat of wax instead of 3 coats of varathane and waiting in between each coat for it to dry…even so, I do not use wax.
I have done a lot of research and even companies that sell wax will say that if it is going to be in a high traffic area that at some point you will need to apply wax in the future. Some people swear by wax and say it is very durable, other’s don’t agree. For our pieces, I feel we can achieve the same look with various techniques and have a product that will have a longer shelf life and be lower maintenance in the long run. So with all that said…I have no idea what the best brand is. It is almost hard to know without trying them all for myself. There are a few local companies that use wax and do a great job. If you want a referral, let me know!
Q: Where do you find your pieces?
A: Lots of times, they find us. People want to get rid of their furniture and we are lucky enough to receive it. Other times- Craigslist. And most times- hours researching garage sales and estate sales and hours going to all of them often times to come home empty handed but when you find what you are looking for it is like striking gold!
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A: I kind of wait for the furniture to talk to me. Sometimes I find inspiration from other furniture painters but most of the time I get a piece and wait for inspiration to strike. Sometimes half way through I might uncover something really neat while peeling back the layers of a piece and go a totally different direction. It is especially exciting when I have an idea and have to wait until I have the right piece to try it on.
Q: What is the most common repair you have to make to an older piece?
A: My husband has to re-glue almost every drawer on old pieces. This, of course, makes them fit differently so there are always additional adjustments.
Q: What has been the toughest, most frustrating issue you’ve had to work through?
A: When we didn’t have a warehouse space the most frustrating battle was the cold weather since we painted in our garage. A couple of heaters did the trick. My husband’s most frustrating issue has probably been a drawer re-build on a bar he is working on right now. He’s got it though…and it is going to be an awesome piece!
Q: What standard, can’t live without tools are in your arsenal?
A: Power sander and face masks! Can’t live without either one of those. 🙂
Q: How do you price your furniture?
A: The market value, quality, and the amount of labor that goes into a piece all factors into the price of the furniture. We still try to pass on a good deal though. For example, we have a grey bassett chest for sale for $425….I don’t think there is a single Bassett chest available for less than $1000 on sale on their website right now. So we try to pass on a great deal when ever we can
Q: Do you paint other people’s furniture or just sell items?
A: 50% of our work is custom paint job’s on other people’s furniture. If you want yours done, send us some pictures and we will get you a quote.
Q: Can we come see your shop?
A: We just moved into a workshop in January with Reclaim Renew (all barn wood furniture- check them out!) This isn’t a retail location but we do have finished pieces there. You are welcome to make an apt or swing by whenever we mention on facebook that we are at the shop. We are there most evenings and weekends. Hope this helped answer some questions for you all! Feel free to ask more below!