Friday, August 24, 2007

Painting Furniture-Step by Step

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How to Paint Furniture: I've received so many questions about painting furniture that I decided to write up a step by step guide to share with you. I'm sure there are many different ways to paint furniture but this is how my dad taught me. Below are a few of the pieces I have painted so you can see the "before and afters". The instructions are at the bottom of this post.





After


This bed was free on craigslist.org I was the second person to call on it but I left my name/number just in case the first person didn't show up. He showed up but when he saw how bad of shape it was in he didn't want it. It had someone's initials carved in it but nothing a little sanding couldn't fix.









After



After







After

Painting furniture


Stripping: I almost always strip my furniture before I paint it. Another option would be to sand it really well. You don’t want any clear finish or wax on it or the paint will scrape right off. I use Jasco paint stripper. It comes in a can and I think you should be able to find it at most hardware stores. Follow the directions on the can and make sure you have long sleeves and pants, shoes, and safety glasses or goggles on. Trust me on this one…I was using this wearing flip-flops and got just a speck of it on the top of my foot….Ouch, it feels likes it's burning a hole through your skin…actually it probably is. You can use a wire brush to get into crevices. I buy the small disposable wire brushes at the hardware store (they are shaped like a toothbrush).

Prepping: Before you paint, wipe the piece down to remove all the stripper and sand it lightly. I like to use the 3M sponge sanders. Wipe down again after sanding.

Adding appliqués: If you would like to add appliqués now is the time. You can see on the picture of my bed that I added a cherub/swag appliqué. There are a number of places you can buy them. One is Do It Youself Chic and another is The Shabby Suite. Update: I've been purchasing some lately at The Bella Cottage. Click on either one of those to go to their website.

Primer: Some pieces I primed first and others I didn’t. If the wood still has stain that was not removed completely from stripping and sanding it, I would prime it for sure. Make sure you get a primer that also says "sealer", this will seal the stain so it doesn't bleed through your paint. Some pieces of furniture will need two coats of primer to seal the stain.

Paint: I use regular latex indoor house paint. I’ve used flat and eggshell, it doesn’t really matter, in the end they look the same. I use a soft white, not pure stark white but any color will do. Just brush it on following the grain of the wood. Let it dry and if needed add a second coat. I wait about a week before I go on to the next step (If you're in a hurry you can probably wait 48 hours and be fine). Latex paint it will be gummy if you try to sand it before it’s really had time to cure. Warning...It’s going to look really bad at this point, it will be very flat and chalky looking, especially if you used flat latex but trust me it will look good in the end after you put the paste wax on.

Sanding and distressing: I lightly sand the whole painted piece with very fine sand paper. This really smoothes out the latex paint. On the edges I sand through to the wood to give it a distressed look. You want to do this in areas where the piece would normally wear over time, like on the edges. If you want a more distressed look you can take a large chain and hit it on the wood to leave dents…I don’t do this but I’ve seen my dad do it on his pieces.

Adding accent colors:
This is optional but on some pieces you may want to add another color to bring out the details of the piece. There are two ways to do this. The first is to buy some brown craft paint (umber or sienna colors) and dilute with a little water to make a wash. Use a rag to wipe the wash over the area you would like to “antique” and then lightly wipe away the excess. If you’ve added too much you can remove some of it with a wet rag. I used this technique on the cherub swag appliqué on my bed. The second option is to use “Rub n Buff” which is available at most hobby stores. It comes in many different colors. Put a little on your finger and lightly rub over the piece where you want to add color. The difference between these two options is that the first one gets down into the crevices and the second one goes on the high spots. You can even use both of these together.

Waxing: I use a paste wax instead of a clear coat. I use Howard Citrus Shield Premium Natural Paste Wax. Make sure you get Natural color because it comes in different wood tones also. The wax does make the furniture a little more yellow but it's very light. Follow the directions on the can…you rub it on and buff it out. It takes a few coats of this to give it a nice luster. To keep up the wax finish I occasionally use another Howard product called Feed-N-Wax. Both these products can be found in most hardware stores. (look in the area where they have the wood refinishing products NOT in the cleaning department where you will find furniture polish)

That's it! I hope I didn't leave anything out. Please feel free to leave a message or email me if something isn't clear.


UPDATE: I'm adding a link to how I painted my blue cabinet because I often get asked, click here for those instructions.

260 comments:

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Y said...

Dear Cindy,

I am so glad :) i found your blog.Bless you!
Cindy can you give me some tips regarding a mahogany furniture.I wanted to paint it antique white.You have painted your bed beautifully & skillfully.
I am going to paint my bed white for the first time a lil nervous.
I have a carpenter/painter working in my house and i asked him to paint my bed whit.But its really difficult to explain him what i want as he says the bed is already varnished so he'll just sand it and paint it white.
As i don't know a single thing about it.i started searching on the net and found your lovely blog.
Can you please guide me a lil for:
1.what to do after sanding a mahagony /dark wood furniture.Can e paint directly (as the carpenter says it is aleady varnished so no need for it) or is it better to apply something? Urgent.

thank you!
Best Wishes.

Yusra

Y said...

Dear Cindy,

I am so glad :) i found your blog.Bless you!
Cindy can you give me some tips regarding a mahogany furniture.I wanted to paint it antique white.You have painted your bed beautifully & skillfully.
I am going to paint my bed white for the first time a lil nervous.
I have a carpenter/painter working in my house and i asked him to paint my bed whit.But its really difficult to explain him what i want as he says the bed is already varnished so he'll just sand it and paint it white.
As i don't know a single thing about it.i started searching on the net and found your lovely blog.
Can you please guide me a lil for:
1.what to do after sanding a mahagony /dark wood furniture.Can e paint directly (as the carpenter says it is aleady varnished so no need for it) or is it better to apply something? Urgent.

thank you!
Best Wishes.

Yusra

Cindy ~ My Romantic Home said...

You want to make sure he primes/seals it first before painting it. It is really hard to cover the dark stains, they want to bleed through the paint. It may take a few coats of primer/sealer to seal in that dark stain.

Anonymous said...

I prepared an old dresser for painting by sanding (only lightly because a lot of it was veneered)and washing with TSP, then rinsing well. Unfortunately, I missed a spot of candle wax and now it's bleeding through the darkly tinted alkyd enamel that was recommended as a primer before my black waterborne alkyd top coat. Any suggestions before I carry on - wondering I should sand the stain? reapply primer? or expect that the topcoat will cover the stain?
Another question - I've read about your wax treatment, but I'm wondering if that should be my finishing coat, or whether you'd recommend a urethane coat if I'm at all concerned about protecting the furniture from water damage if a spill should occur and not get wiped up immediately. Thanks for your advice.

cheap wardrobes said...

Thank you so much for the simple breakdown of instructions! I was Leary before I found your blog because everyone told me not to paint wood. I just painted my son ‘s nightstand and dresser and….I love it! I might even try white on my daughter’s dresser!

Samantha said...

So glad I came across your site. I'm thinking of painting nursery furniture black. Do I still use the wax at the end if I am using black paint? Not sure if that is a step used only for white? Also- I recently cleaned the furniture with Pledge, will stripping and sanding remove this as well? I read that it is necessary to make sure all polish is removed.
Thank you!

Cindy ~ My Romantic Home said...

yes, stripping and sanding will remove the pledge. You can use the paste wax on black or you can use a polyurethane over the black paint. Either will work.

designer prom dresses said...

These step by step tips for furniture painting is really helpful and beneficial for all people who want have a brand new look home furniture. The tips are really cool & fantastic, we could save a lot of funds for furniture through these.

Toko Tenun Ikat Troso said...

Thanks for the info Cindy, I have alot of painting to do soon :)

Lorynne McGurk said...

Hi Cindy!Thanks so much for sharing your secrets with us. You have an amazing blog and an even more amazing home. One thing, could you please provide more details on how to attach the appliques and how you paint over them if it isn't straight forward? Thanks so much! x Lorynne

Anonymous said...

Loving your site...you've inspired me to redo my guest bedroom a romantic shabby chic. One question, the bed I want to paint is pine and wrought iron. Do I do the same technique for both the wood and the metal? Thanks for sharing your beautiful things.

Annie

Jeparacrafts.com said...

really funtastic,.....
Thanks for the info Cindy, I have alot of painting to do soon :)

Run4Kat said...

Hi Cindy, I love your blog! Thanks for the tips. I have a table and 4 chairs that I'd like to make over in an antique white distressed shabby chic look. It was my grandmothers. The table top is brown and is made to look like wood and the base and legs are a yellowish color. This is probably silly but I always thought sanding and stripping was for real wood...but I believe from looking at some of your pics it's not correct? Should I sand and strip these fake wood pieces as well?

Also, do you do your projects outside or inside? I'm wondering about the strong smells and mess, but I live in Miami and I worry the heat/humidity would make the paint bubble?

Thanks!
Katrina in Miami

Cindy ~ My Romantic Home said...

I haven't painted fake wood so I'm not sure. You may be able to prime it and then paint it. I do all my work outdoors. I live in California where it is really dry so I'm not sure how humidity will affect it. Sorry I couldn't be more help!

print work flow said...

I like this post can you please send me some notification about your blog.

oakley canada said...

so nice .

Anonymous said...

Cindy...I have a friend that wants me to paint an old piece of furniture that has pressed wood, hardwood, and plastic doors, drawers, and molding. How would you recommend tackling this project?
Thanks,
Amber

ParkerNicole said...

What an appropriate post. Painting furniture is a great way to save money; instead of buying new furniture. Painting a piece of furniture can give it new life and repurpose it in your home.
Home interior designer

Inessa Stewart's Antiques said...

Wow!Its art.I know nothing about painting wood, but I might start off, just seeing this pictures. The before and after are making me wonder if they are the same crafts..You do have a gift!

Precious Crafts said...

I have repainted a few shelves, disastrously! I am so glad to have found your instructions. Thank you for your generosity.

towel radiators said...

I have been following your blog for some time now!!

It has been of great enjoyment, thank you

Phyllis said...

I am on a mission to paint all of the furniture that I had as a little girl,one piece at a time! It's from the 1950's,solid wood,french provencial. So far the chest of drawers has turned out really well. Your instructions are great and easy to follow. THANKS!!

Tonya said...

This is a very helpful post. I am about to paint my very first piece of furniture. I was going to let hubby do it...but I think I am going to try it myself. The piece, a dresser, is currently white. It is going in my son's room...so I am thinking either blue to match his headboard, or a light nude color or a nice pine/brown. Not sure yet. I suppose if I do it blue and change my mind....I could always repaint it right?

painting toronto said...

Wow, These all the great tips. Break out the oil-based primer to ensure that the paint sticks and no stains come through and ruin your finish. Give the entire piece a good once over with a roller or paint brush. This coat of primer doesn’t have to be perfectly even in tone (it’ll probably look thinner in some areas since that’s how primer rolls) but as long as the entire piece is well covered – and it’s not too gloppy and thick – it’s ready for step three once it dries.
painting toronto

Wax Furniture said...

Great blog and great designs of furniture after painting and everyone can inspire from these picture. Thank you for posting your painting instructions.

renta oficinas said...

It’s a great tip on Do It yourself stuff. Thanks!

Aaron Wigington said...

It is really neat to see your projects transform, you really have a gift. I am just starting to refinish furniture and my have some questions to bounce of you from time to time. thanks for sharing

Aaron

Louise Clark said...

Hi Cindy, I love your blog and your work. I am starting my own business doing wall art and paint effects in Scotland and feel inspired now.Please let me know what you think.
Louise www.tatoodles.co.uk

Silvia said...

Awesome post. Thank so much!!!

house in foreclosure elk grove village said...

When I start to create a decorative piece of hand painted furniture, the first question I ask myself is am I going to stain it or paint it? If I'm starting with a piece of new unfinished furniture that has a beautiful wood grain, staining is an excellent option.

jill Cavanagh Flowers said...

Hi Cindy,
Thanks again for your blog. I am in the process of painting an old table, using your method.
I have hit a wall as the paint suppliers in Australia all say that they do not stock latex paint. I have looked on the Behr website to try and work out what would be the equivalent paint - The behr site has a 100 per cent acrylic latex indoor paint - Is this the paint that you use?
Thank you again
Jill

Cindy said...

Yes, I believe that's what it is. It's just their regular indoor wall paint.

home painting services said...

When painting a piece of furniture, the most important part is the preparation of work done beforehand. Furniture needs to be clean and smooth. You have provided great steps in your post, and by using them we can easily paint a piece of furniture.

Julie E.Pearlman said...

Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all folks you actually realize what you are speaking approximately! Bookmarked. Kindly also consult with my website =). We can have a link exchange agreement among us!
11K0688 -N Lexmark 500 Sheet Drawer Option T Series

Office Furniture said...

Wow, you've really got some talent.I'm just an amateur still but I'm working really hard to polish my refurbishing skills. I search every week for at least one new project. I hope to be at your skill level some day. I love your blog by the way!

Leo Salvador said...

Easy do it yourself makeover. The paint you used is just right for the furniture and those are great tips too. Thanks for sharing this!

BeezRentalDesigns said...

Hi Cindy, bet you never thought you'd be getting comments 5yrs later. Just wanted to say thank you for the fine tutorial. I've painted furniture through the years and liked the results. But I've never figured out how to get the more subtle painted-finish look your pieces have. Now I know the steps to use and just in time for my bedroom makeover.
Barbe

Grace | labor posters said...

You have superb designs when talking about interior painting, and I actually love them!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this step by step process, it has helped me paint a cabinet I made. I also love the idea of using paste wax instead of clear coat. Btw your blue cabinet is amazing.

Bedroom Furniture said...

Good Job.I love your bedroom furniture after painting.Looks beautiful. Thanks for sharing instruction how to paint step by step.

Thornhill Louis said...

I have a lot of furniture that I really want to re-paint. I don’t have a sander, but can I rent one from somewhere? please suggest me.
Beeswax

Thornhill Louis said...

I have a lot of furniture that I really want to re-paint. I don’t have a sander, but can I rent one from somewhere? please suggest me.
Beeswax

Home Furniture said...

Hello Cindy!
You are very brilliant-minded. I enjoyed so much scrolling down and watching your photos of it of before and after. Thumbs up!
Thank you for sharing! :)

Antique Furniture said...

Excellent information and i have been told about your blog by one of my friend and i have read your blog and the information was very useful.Thanks for the information.

Thanks & Regards,
Ketty

Sam said...

Just love the contemporary look that you have achieved. I will be back to look out for more inspiration.

Elliot said...

Loving this page!! I do a fair few bits my self, would be great if you could stop by my page so we can share tips etc. have a look at some of my work on http://www.facebook.com/thefurniturerecyclingshop
I mainly import from France right now and paint up louis XV style furniture from 50's and am loving it!!!

Athena at Minerva's Garden said...

These painting tips are super helpful--thank you so much for sharing them, Cindy!

Kelly said...

Hi Cindy,

I have never painted furniture before but decided to give it a try. So I set out searching for how to do it. I came across your blog and I just wanted to thank you for sharing how to do this! I began my project this afternoon and have finished sanding my table. Next step an applique, primer, paint and a color wash. I'm excited to see the end result! Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Have you tried Chalk Paint™ decorative paint by Annie Sloan? No stripping, sanding, scraping or priming!

kelly said...

Just a note to say thank you!!! I completed my first refinished piece of work and by following your instructions it came out BEAUTIFUL!!!!! I love it!!! I was surprised however, at how the wax coat really changed the color from a a creamy white to a yellowish creamy white. Had I not been going for an antique look I think I would have been a little upset at the color change. But as it stands I LOVE IT!!! Thanks again!

Athena at Minervas Garden said...

I know this is a post from several years ago, but I loved seeing your before and after furniture projects, and your painting tips were very helpful--thank you, Cindy!

Elle Lowe said...

Hi Cindy,


You are very skilled at refurbishing second hand furniture and I really love you work. Plus you have also included the "how to" part so that we could do something similar with what we have. I'm really glad that I came across your blog. Looking forward to seeing more of your artistic paint job. :)


Best,


Elle

Elle Lowe said...

Hi Cindy!


I just love what you did with those second hand furniture . They went from blunt to amazing! Plus you also included the "how to" part in your blog which is very helpful because we can do something similar with our own old furniture. You just made me realize that something that is old needs not be unattractive and useless and that we can give it a second chance at glory. I am so glad that I was able to come across your blog. Looking forward to reading more of this kind of stuff here.


Best,



Elle

alismimi said...

I love your blog....i am new to the whole trying to redo a fleamarket find with paint but feel better after reading all of your great info. I have ordered appliques from Bella Cottage but how do i adhere them to my bed ? I see the order in which to do it in the redo ( after stripping and sanding) but are they glued on or what? They are not made of wood, they are white and. I assume of some type of resin...would so appreciate your help...i found a wooden bed at an antique fleamarket for 40 bucks and want to creat a shabby chic bed for my little grandaughters room....just waiting for some drier weather here in cahjunland, lol

Cindy said...

I use white wood glue to adhere them. I tape them down with masking tape to keep them in place while they dry.

Shikha said...

Hi I want to paint a few pieces of furniture in mu house
do you need to do this in an open space
and what Primer do you use ?

Cindy said...

You can do it indoors because it's just latex paint that you would paint your walls with. I wouldn't use the paint stripper inside though. I've used different primers...just make sure it says "sealer" also if you are putting it over stained wood.

Jassica Mody said...

Absolutely gorgeous. You really know how to put a beautiful decorating ideas and interior designs , thanks for sharing it with us

stephenn richardsonn said...

Thanks for the information Cindy. Great Job!



I'm looking for purchase second hand office furniture for my new office.

indofurni1234 said...

I have been reading your blog for about a month or so and I enjoy it so much thank-you. Your home is so beautiful. I want to take the time to comment because it is for funny I alway wanted to know how people got the look when they painted furniture. In indonesia we are furniture manufacturer, we have some beautiful collection please visit my site to www.indo-furni.com


regards

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