Trust me, y'all. I've bought a paint brush or two. Wait. Let's be honest. I've bought way too many brushes and rollers over the years. What does that mean for you? Well, I have some tips that I can pass along to you. Sit back and take note, friends.
MY TOP 10 FURNITURE PAINTING TIPS
It really is important to properly prepare your furniture piece first. If you are going for a smooth finish, it is a good idea to lightly sand the entire piece to smooth any flaws. On the other hand, you can probably skip the sanding if you are going for a distressed finish or painting a piece that was in fairly good condition. Regardless of the look you are going with, if your piece has a super shiny or a flaky finish, you should always start by sanding it.
Don’t pinch pennies when it comes to your brush. I know it can be painful to pay for a nice quality brush, but you will save money over time. I used to always buy the economy brushes, but I found that I would use one, throw it away, buy another. There were used economy brushes everywhere you guys! Now, for most projects, Purdy brushes are my go to.
Let your rollers do the work for you! If you have larger surfaces that you are painting, use a roller. Foam rollers are great for painting a large, smooth surface (think furniture or cabinets.) The front of the package will say something about doors or trims. If you are using a urethane paint or topcoat, then I would recommend a velour or mohair roller. This is what has worked for me in the past.
Painters tape. Can I just say that this is THE BEST past of a project?! The removal of the tape that is. My kids even beg to help with tape removal. Frog tape as never let me down. Make sure that you clean and dust the surface before you put the tape on. I have made the mistake of not fully cleaning before I taped off and I wasn’t a good thing. Tape! And use quality tape.
Let’s talk about sanding. Do you always have to do it? Well, that really depends on the project and the type of paint you’re using. The only paint that I have never sanded with is chalk paint. I don’t use a ton of that anymore so I usually do at least a light sand before most furniture projects. I even do this when I am using a primer. You don’t have to go crazy. For most painting projects, a light sand with 180 grit (don’t get stuck on the 180, but somewhere around there) paper to remove any sheen before you prime will be just fine. I only did a light sand before my kitchen cabinets and the primer adhered wonderfully.
Ok now that we have talked about that, let’s talk primers. Oil based primers work with latex OR oil based paints. Y’all! It took me years until I even knew that glorious piece of information. Oil based primers have a strong smell, but will help lay a buttery smooth foundation before you paint in addition to providing an enamel undercoat. If that is the look you’re going for, then oil based primer is your friend. If you have laminate (think IKEA furniture), super shiny, tile, or any other tricky surface, consider a shellac primer. That is what has worked for me in the past.
Another tool that I learned about years into my experience is Floetrol. This is an additive for your latex paint. It helps to thin the paint and eliminate brush strokes. If you are using oil based paints, you will want to use Penetrol.
Did you know that you don’t have to clean your brushes and rollers between every single coat? Most projects will require multiple coats, with hours between for dry time. Stick your brush or roller in a plastic sandwhich bag and seal it up. You can also wrap them in foil. I prefer using a plastic bag. Keep it sealed tightly so that air can’t get to it. When it is time for the next coat, just get your brush and roller back out and you are good to go.
Most projects will require some type of topcoat. You have probably heard of polyurethane before. This is ok for some projects, but it can yellow over time. With latex paint projects, I love Polycrylic, which is water based. If you are ever in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask someone at the store. I have done this many times. This is how you learn! If you would rather spend a little more and have less steps, a paint that I have loved recently is Sherwin-Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel. This paint does not require a topcoat because it is already built into the paint. I used this on my kitchen cabinets, our tile backsplash, and a few other pieces around the house.
Let the paint cure! Just because it is dry to the touch DOES NOT mean that it is ready for normal use. It takes latex paint 30 days to fully harden, or cure. Using your piece before this may cause it to ding or get scratches. If you want older looking, “chippy”, pieces then this may not matter to you. However, if you want a smooth finish, you will want to baby your paint for about a month.