How to paint furniture
There are many different ways to paint furniture, with different effects and techniques. Some companies will claim you don't have to do preparation, but as we strongly disagree with that in most cases, we will explain here all the different preparation methods and things to look out for, as well as some useful paint effects and finishes. (book mark this page now, before you forget)
Recommended tools and products used in our tutorial:
These round brushes aren't essential, but they give a great finish when doing corners like the inside of drawers etc. We have provided a link to a brush that we use due to the great natural bristles. We prefer natural bristles to synthetic for painting as its easier to load the brush up with more paint, plus later down the line, if you wish to try the dry brush technique, we feel natural bristle is far superior.
|A great combination of natural bristle and synthetic bristle in a selection of sizes. We feel synthetic works well for varnish finishes as they are much more fluid and tend to leave less brush stroke marks. The natural bristle brushes are great for paint work. just make sure to remove any loose bristles before painting!|
|Zinsser Primer is a fantastic product! It is useful for so many things! It is a shellac based paint which has stain blocking properties and will stick to anything! As long as your item is clean, apply a thin coat of Zinsser B.I.N and you will be able to safely use any paint over the top of it.
This paint can be tricky to get the hang of at first as it dries incredibly fast and can get a bit tacky if you start going over yourself to much. It has a very potent smell and fumes also, so you will need a well ventilated area to work in.
This product will allow you to paint anything in no time, and will even seal all those pesky wood knots that have a habit of bleeding into your paint.
We love this varnish due to its "dead flat" nature. You can barely tell there is any varnish on there at all. It is a great varnish for protecting paint work, but wouldn't recommend it for finishing table tops or surfaces that are in constant use.
When applying the varnish, use a synthetic brush. It will appear milky with bubbles at first, but don't panic, that dries completely clear. you'll love it!
|"Chalk paints" are not something that we are in full agreement with. We have tried and stocked many brands, but due to their "needs no preparation" marketing we chose alternative methods. However, the pigments in "Autentico" and "Annie Sloan" paint are exceptional and makes painting the brighter colours so much fun! Two coats and it looks a solid representation of the colour advertised. The whites however, naturally are not as strong and will require 3-4 coats but this is the same with most brands. Try the Antique Turquoise by "Autentico" the pigments are so vibrant and look great matt and satin alike.|
Our basic furniture painting tutorial: (Scroll down for more advanced techniques)
If you don't have the time to sand the item completely, you can rough it up with some coarse 100 - 60 grit paper, which keys the surface slightly, allowing paint to stick a little better. Then Remove all dust and grease. Sugar soap is a great way to remove all grease and dirt. (Don't apply too much mind, as the grain of the wood will raise, just a damp sponge will do.) Then using Zinsser Primer & Sealer , apply a thin coat all over and allow to dry fully.
We also recommend removing all handles and iron work at this point. Its far easier to remove and reattach, than painting around and masking.
How to give your item a distressed aged look.
Place the sand paper into a sanding block, or fold and use directly with your hands.
Do this in all the areas, just to highlight how much you are looking to do. This is a good opportunity to adjust how much you would like to distress.
Once happy with the areas you want to apply this effect, begin sanding a little harder. Sanding harder in areas of most "potential use". Again, in this step, I would expose some of the wood under the paint in the most used areas.
5) Seal the item. As you have begun the "distressing" effect, without sealing the paint, more paint can flake off as it is easier to distress naturally with your own usage of the item. So to keep the item looking exactly how you want it, either seal with a wax or varnish at this point to finish!
Crackle Effect Finish
Dark Wax Aged Effect Finish
This doesn't have to be a particularly neat process, as this is just the starting point.
4) With a soft woollen or cotton rag (old scarfs work great...not the furry ones though!), gently buff the wax to a shine. The buffing process is important as it gives the item a smooth surface and allows any spills or drips to just run off it, and makes it a little more durable.
Dry Brush Painting
So, first of all, lets explain what dry brushing is. This is a technique that involves using a very small amount of paint on your brush, with the moisture dabbed off onto paper or an old rag, leaving a dry paint substance that gives a mottled aged effect on application.
Gently dab the tip of a dry paint brush into the paint then dab it onto a paper towel to remove any excess paint. You want to keep the tip of your paint brush “dry” and not wet with paint. At the beginning, its best to start with just a small amount on your brush, and add more as you become more confident and comfortable with the technique. It is a slow process to begin with, but at least its just one coat right!
A good indicator for the right amount of paint and contexture is the bristles on the brush, if they are separated and not stuck together you will be fine, but if there is still enough paint there to hold the bristles all together, you will need to dab off a little more paint until they separate.
Use short, quick brush strokes in different directions to give it a textured, non-uniform look. To be honest there's no right or wrong way to dry brush, so get creative with your painting! You can even add in a few different colours or use different shades of the same colour to create a beautiful layered look.
This is very European technique and can be seen on plenty of French and Belgian furniture. It also looks great with a coat of dark wax or patina glaze to bring out the texture.