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This tutorial is for painting a piece of furniture that is is decent condition. I use this method for my own furniture. I don’t want to make this more complicated than it is so here we go:
1. Lay down a drop cloth. Those cheap seasonal tablecloths work best- the kind with the felt backing and usually a seasonal design on top. Set your furniture on top.
2. If you just bought an old piece of furniture or you are redoing a piece you have in your house, you will want to remove the hardware first. That’s all the handles and knobs etc. Put them away in a ziploc bag or a piece will go missing and you will have to replace them. If the intention is to replace them, still save them so you can measure for what you need.
3. Gather your supplies: a brush, rags, paint, screwdriver, sandpaper, cleaner and a paint stirrer. I LOVE General Finishes paint. Don’t just use any paint-it has to be FOR furniture-either GF, chalk paint or some sort of enamel. I love GF because it goes on silky smooth, it’s thin, and dries fast. It’s also so durable, and doesn’t need a base coat or top coat usually. It only comes in certain colors, but I mix colors to get the look I want. It’s worth the price. You can order it through Amazon or search for a local supplier here. A quart will be plenty for a dresser. I pint would work well for a smaller table.
4. Clean the piece. I use Krud Kutter. (You can find this at Amazon, Lowes, or Home Depot.) It is such a great product that you can almost use it without sanding (I have before!) It dulls the surface and removes all the grime. Spray it on, and with a wet rag wipe it off well.
5. Now is the time to do repairs if needed. For scratches, use awood filler and a putty knife. You might have to do this multiple times until the scratches are filled. The best way to tell is to use your hands and feel the surface-if you can feel the indentation do fill it again. Lightly sand these areas so it nice smooth surface after the putty dries.
6. Take out the drawers. I usually leave up cabinet doors, and I paint the inside and outside of the door. I don’t usually paint the inside of a cabinet but I do tape it around where the door fits to create a nice line when the door is open.
7. Lay the drawers surface size up on their ends so they are easy to paint.
8. Lightly sand the entire piece (yes I skip this step if the surface is dull.). This doesn’t take much time, really just “wiping” it everywhere with a piece of 120-150 grit sandpaper-a sponge block works the best. You do NOT have to sand all the way down to the wood at all. You are just creating a little adhesion for the paint. Wipe off all the dust with a damp rag, and let dry.
9. To prime or not to prime. If you are painting it white or cream, prime. If the wood is still very shiny or slick, or is a red wood, and you are painting it a light color, prime. I do not like using smelly primer, so I use this kindwhen I prime. Since I use General Finishes paint, if I am painting the wood a darker color like gray, navy or black, I don’t prime. I’ve never had an issue with it but you MUST use Krud Kutter and sand lightly. If in doubt prime. If I am painting something dark a white color, I prime twice. I don’t want to use many coats of expensive paint, when I can cover the surface with cheap white primer first.
10. Priming and painting: I concentrate on ONE area at a time. I always leave the top for last. So I brush one side of a dresser, and then I move on to the front, and then the other side, drawer fronts, and then the top. I go back and check for any drips at the joints. A THIN coat is better than a thick coat, but just brush nicely and evenly. Go slow and make sure each area is covered. Don’t go back to repaint right away once you are done with one area-just check for those little drips and dab if you see one. Once it dries, it will look wonderful and flat-don’t panic.
11. Recoat. Recoat again if needed. I do not usually sand between coats. General Finishes dries fast so I can usually recoat almost right away depending on how big the piece is.
12. If you want to sand the edges, wait until the paint is very dry, and using your sanding block go over the edges until the wood begins to show through.
12. If you want to protect it (General Finishes doesn’t NEED a topcoat, but I use one for the tops of dressers, tables, etc) General Finishes Flat Topcoat is the best. I use the same brush to apply it, and usually do three coats, and I don’t sand in between.
*For antiquing: Between steps 11 and 12 (and I’ve done this after the top coat also and it worked just fine) I take a damp brush and dip it into the General Finishes glaze, and brush it on the “area” again like I’m painting it. Using a damp rag I wipe it off gently. I use a heavier hand for less antiquing and a lighter hand for more antiquing. It looks more natural left in the corners and edges and around any designs. The damp brush and damp rag are the key for me. Adding Floetrol to any paint makes a glaze too. So if you want to antique with gray, use half to half ratio of Floetrol to gray paint. It is easier when glazing to work out of a flat tupperware container than the actually can. You will have lots of wiggle room here, so don’t panic. Just keep that damp rag on hand.
For new hardware, Amazonis great as usually I can get a bulk deal. Hobby Lobby has unique knobs and handles also.
Any questions just let me know!