Tutorial: Painting Furniture

I have had A LOT of people ask so here it is! A painting furniture tutorial!!

Disclaimer: Steps for painting and staining our different. This is for painting only! Also, I am not an expert…this is just my experience.

Can anyone paint furniture? YES! Absolutely. Is it always easy and cost effective? Ehhh….If you want to do just a piece or two…it won’t be cheap to buy everything. And there is work involved to make it last. But if you are willing and have the time & money it is worth it!

First, What have I painted furniture with?

Answer: Everything. Well, that’s not true. I have only used spray paints and every possible brand of latex paint. I’m not gonna get in a chalk paint/milk paint fight. Until we started doing this as a business I had no idea people argued over paint. I do not. To each their own and stop yelling at me!!

Here we go! The basics broken down.

TAKE BEFORE PICTURES. Whenever I forget I am so mad!

  1. Dismantle- Take apart the piece of furniture. This means drawers come out. Hinges/handles come off. Repairs are done. Our basement has piles of drawers at any given time. Hardware goes in ziploc baggies and is labeled!
  2. Sanding – Always sand…every inch. Twice. (i sand no matter what kind of paint will be used) Start with a lower grit and finish with a 220 or higher. We tend to go up to 500. I use an electric sander and depending on what kind of piece and how many layers are on it this can take 10min to HOURS. If you are staining…you will want to sand by hand. Or if you find beautiful wood underneath hours of sanding and layers of paint…switch to hand sanding(desk!)photo 2
  3. CLEAN- The most important step. Not just with soap and water. I use a cleaning solution that gets mixed into water. If you have a piece of furniture that doesn’t turn your bucket of water brown…you are probably doing something wrong. Cleaning also usually involves a nail file and/or razor to get in all the little corners. DO NOT PAINT OVER DUST IN THESE CORNERS.
  4. Prime- Depending on the paint you use this may or may not be necessary. We use General Finishes and in most cases this is unnecessary. You can see my post on primer here. 
  5. Paint- We mainly use General Finishes “Milk Paint”. It is actually not a milk paint it is just flat and kind of looks like milk paint. It is acrylic and super durable. We hand paint or use a spray gun. I found out that just buying a spray gun doesn’t make all your painting dreams come true. You have to learn how to use it so don’t expect to plug it in, pour paint in, and for it to be awesome. If you are like me, and anyone I know, you will end up with a horrified look on your face and an awful paint speckled piece of furniture.  Obviously, you can use a brush or a foam roller. I prefer reduced paint strokes if possible so I stick to the sprayer when I can. General Finishes is self leveling so if you are consistent with the amount of paint you apply you won’t be able to see brush strokes! Another note on sprayers – I went through 2 Wagner 590’s and they were inexpensive and got the job done but a higher end sprayer with fluid, fan, and pressure adjustments will ensure a better finish.
  6. Top Coat- I use a two coats of Modern Masters Supreme on every piece of furniture.
  7. Reassemble!
  8. Final photo session.

So there are all kinds of things that can be added to this. Glazing, waxing, distressing, etc…but above are the basics. It is definitely possible to paint your furniture. I used to do it for our things just for fun. If you have the time and don’t mind buying the supplies give it a whirl and let us know how it goes. If it sounds CRAZY but you have a piece of love, shoot us an email 🙂 rescuedfurnishings@gmail.com

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