I often get asked for tips and tricks in regards to painting furniture. People who have never painted a piece before are usually SCARED to do it. So, by compiling this short list of general tips, I’m hoping to help them alleviate some fear, and get them to just jump right in!
Prep your pieces!
PREP your piece. I know I’ve talked at length about this before, but I just cannot stress how important it is. If you don’t prep your piece properly, you may have adhesion issues, or at the very least it won’t turn out the way you’d like. In some cases, as with adhesion issues (where the paint won’t stick), you have to completely strip the piece and start over. That’s not a real great confidence builder, is it? If you’re wondering HOW you should prep your piece, you can read the blog post I wrote on it, here. Also, don’t believe the ‘No Prep’ myth, and always prep your pieces. If you want to know about the whole ‘No Prep’ fallacy that some paint companies claim, you can go here.
Use the right products!
Use a decent FURNITURE paint. I know, I know, LOTS of people use regular latex paint and have NO issues, but here’s the deal: Latex paint is made for coverage, Furniture paint is made for adhesion. Latex paints are typically used on walls. Walls that are made from porous gypsum board (or drywall). Walls just stand there, doing nothing but perhaps holding up your roof, and even then, not all walls even work that hard. It’s totally ok to use a paint that is made for coverage on them. They get no use, and you WANT good coverage when painting a wall. It makes the job easier because it covers in less coats.
Furniture paint, on the other hand, is made to adhere to furniture. Furniture gets used and abused. It gets moved. it’s drawers get slammed, drinks are set on it, and kids play with their toys either on it, or by it. Let’s face it, anything you put on furniture had better be pretty strong. Also, a lot of the new techniques are just harder to do with latex, like distressing and blending. We can get into the whole ‘furniture paint is soooo expensive’ but it’s comparing apples to oranges. If you’re dead set on using latex, at least use an additive like calcium carbonate to give it some of the properties that other furniture paints have.
Practice a little.
Get some sample boards. What do I mean by sample boards? They’re just scrap pieces of wood, that I use to experiment on. If I’m wondering what a certain layered look will look like – sample board. How about some glazing? Yep, sample board. Sample boards not only give you a feel for your materials, but they also give you a visual. I always, always encourage my students to use sample boards when trying new things. It saves you from making mistakes on your furniture pieces.
Call in the troops!
Surround yourself with like minded people. If you’re using an actual Furniture Paint, chances are that the brand you choose has a Facebook Group dedicated to their brand. In these groups you will find the entire spectrum of furniture people from professionals to newbies. It is in these groups that you can learn all of the little nuances about their paint. These groups are great resources!
In addition to these groups, there are many non brand specific furniture painting groups out there. I run a large group called Furniture Rehab Bootcamp, where we discuss tips and tricks, answer any question you may have, and give inspiration in many forms. Regardless of which group you join, be active. Ask questions, use the search function in every group, and check for great resources in the ‘Files’ section of every group. All groups do have group rules, so be sure to familiarize yourself with those.
Just do it!
Finally, my last tip is to just do it. Seriously, paint it. You CANNOT mess it up beyond being able to fix it. If you’ve done your proper prep work, painted it and don’t like it, you can simply paint over it. You’re probably wanting to paint your piece because it’s either ugly, or it doesn’t match your decor. Either way, what do you have to lose? Just get it going and stop putting it off. You will be sooo proud of yourself!
For a list of my most helpful Amazon picks go here.
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