How To Paint Wooden Furniture

One great way to decorate your home or office on a budget is to learn how to paint wooden furniture yourself. For one thing, unfinished furniture is far cheaper. Moreover, once you learn how to paint wooden furniture you can turn old garage sale finds into chic, modern beauties. By following the right steps you can paint wooden furniture like an expert every time.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Bucket of water and mild detergent
  • Putty knife
  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Palm sander
  • Sandpaper backing block
  • Mineral spirits or denatured alcohol
  • Terry cloth
  • Water-based primer
  • Latex acrylic or epoxy spray paint
  • Foam brush

Follow these steps to learn how to paint wooden furniture:

  1. Prepare the wooden furniture for painting. If the wooden furniture you want to paint is already coated in old paint or stain, you must first smooth the surface by sanding. Use a palm sander and 100-grit sandpaper and work in circular motions along the surface of the wooden piece. Be careful not to over-sand corners and edges. There is no need to sand the surface to visual perfection as the primer and paint will eliminate color differences. However, chip away any flaws with the putty knife and ensure that the wooden furniture feels smooth to the touch. Next, follow with 220-grit sandpaper secured on a backing block (not a palm sander). Work in straight lines to eliminate the circular marks left by the palm sander. Follow this step for unfinished furniture as well to give the wooden piece a smooth finish before you start painting.
  2. Clean the wooden furniture before painting. The sandpaper will leave traces of invisible wax on the wooden furniture. Finger oil, dirt and dust from sanding may all mar the surface. An important step of learning how to paint wooden furniture expertly is to patiently clean the surface first. Using water and mild detergent to wipe the wooden furniture clean of dirt, sawdust or grime. Once dry, use a terry cloth and mineral spirits or denatured alcohol to clean the surface of oils or wax residue.
  3. Prime the wooden furniture. Since wood is porous it will tend to absorb paint in uneven blotches. To reduce the amount of paint you’ll need, as well as to achieve an even, professional finish, it’s vital to first prime the piece with water-based primer. For unfinished wood, prime the wooden furniture in its entirety, working with a foam brush in straight, even strokes from top to bottom. For partially sanded, old furniture, prime only the bare spots of wood.
  4. Paint the wooden furniture. It’s best to paint wooden furniture with spray paint. This allows for an even distribution of paint around corners, curved edges and hard to reach areas. Shake the can of paint thoroughly for 1 minute before starting. Hold the nozzle one foot away from the furniture and press down firmly. It’s best to spray the first squirt at a scrap piece of wood to confirm that the nozzle is working well, as well as give you the opportunity to test the spray velocity and paint spread. For the first coat, spray in straight lines from top to bottom. Once dry, spray the second coat from bottom to top. This will create an even spread of paint from both directions. For curved surfaces like chair legs, spray more lightly to reduce the amount of paint overlap and potential drips as you turn around the piece.

As with many crafts, the secret for how to paint wooden furniture beautifully is to approach the project with patience. Sanding, cleaning and priming play a vital role in creating a perfect canvas on which you can then paint your masterpiece.

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