Make it Monday: the ultimate guide to painting furniture

Make it Monday: the ultimate guide to painting furniture


Posted 24th Sep 2018

With a lick of paint and a bit of imagination, it can be easy to fill your home with bespoke pieces that are tailored to your own personal taste

However, if you love the idea of personalised furniture but have something holding you back, you wouldn't be alone. The prospect of stripping, sanding and painting can seem an overwhelming prospect for DIY-newbies.

However, that's where this handy guide from Rust-Oleum comes in. So, if you have the gear but no idea, then read on...

Why paint furniture when it can be bought ready-made?

Compared to some of the more accessible and modern pieces that can be bought today, older furniture will often be a better quality - all it needs is a spot of TLC.

It doesn't matter if it's a dated piece of a vintage gem you've found in a charity shop - a restoration makeover is a great way to save cash. And don't forget, you're sure to be left with something unique.

So, what's your vision?

Before you start hunting for the perfect paint, it’s important to think about the finish you want to achieve. Do you want it distressed or block colour? Glossy or matte? Once you've decided these starting blocks, it will be easier to pinpoint the correct paint you need.

Do you always need a primer?

Priming depends on the surface and paint you use. Some paints will not require priming, so check the instructions before getting down to it.

Different primers are designed specifically for wood, plastic, metal or ceramic surfaces - the function is to seal the surface, so it will provide a good key for paint and offers a uniform base to apply your paint to. This will improve the durability and appearance of the paint in the process.

Surface preparation

Whether you're priming or applying the paint straight onto the item, it's recommended to make sure you're applying it to a clean, dry surface, that’s and free from any wax, furniture polish, dirt or dust that could prevent paint from achieving a good key.

Try washing the item thoroughly in solution of hot water and liquid detergent, before rinsing away the soap residue with some clean warm water. Allow the surface to dry before giving it a final wipe with methylated spirit or white spirit.

Generally, it is a good idea to abrade an existing paint or varnish to help the next coat adhere, and ensure the existing paint or varnish has a strong key to ensure the loose or flaking bits of paint or varnish is removed back to a firm feathered edge.

Does it matter what type of paintbrush you use?

There are two main types of paintbrushes - those that have natural-hair bristles, and those made with synthetic materials (however, you can get brushes made with a blend of both).

When you use an oil-based paint, natural-hair will provide a better finish - however, when used with water based or latex paint, it absorbs the water, and becomes limp.

Unfortunately, having a cheaper brush will not hold as much paint as a higher quality one, meaning the paint job takes longer. The better quality brushes will have a tapered end, giving you more control, meaning it's better to invest from the outset in a quality brush.

To prep should I use sandpaper or wire wool?

When you paint wood, some abrasion is important as it allows the paint to grip the surface. If it's free from contaminants, a light sand could do the trick - simply choose a fine sandpaper which has a 360 to 600 grit.

When it comes to heavy sanding and stripping, you should go for a coarser sandpaper which has a 40 to 60 grit. If you think there could be varnish or contaminates which could react with the paint on the surface, simply use white spirit when you've finished and some wire wool to make sure the residue has been removed.

Should I use wax to seal the paint?

Most paints offer a tough durable finish that will not require further protection from a wax or protective lacquer.

Furniture wax is incredibly easy to apply with a brush or rag, giving you a soft and velvety sheen, which is ideal if you're going for a shabby chic look. Furniture lacquer will be applied with a brush and provides a matt finish to projects that require more durability against knocks and stains.

Masking matters

You can make sure one area of paint doesn't bleed into the other or if you want to corner off those edges to give you a polished finish, masking tape will be essential.

A lot of DIY-dab hands may say craft tape is the key but masking tape works just as well.

Most importantly, try to enjoy it! This is a great chance to make your chance to create your own, unique pieces, so don't stress out.

Tutorial courtesy of Rust-Oleum





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