here’s no shortage of tutorials about painting furniture online. And I’ve used a lot of them to paint dressers, console tables, chairs, mirrors, and more. But I have found several problems with a lot of the tutorials out there—the paint eventually chips and peels or the finishes aren’t smooth, to name a couple of issues. I’ve had to redo several DIY furniture painting projects in the past, so I decided to compile all the mistakes I’ve made over the years to help you give your furnishings a makeover that will last.
Here’s how to paint a piece of furniture—without making a single mistake:
1. Make sure you sand it first.
There are lots of tutorials out there that claim you don’t need to sand. There are also lots of primers and paints promising no sanding necessary. From what I have learned, sanding is a must. Sand all surfaces with 150-grit sandpaper. (I use this orbital sander with variable speeds.) Be careful not to gouge the surface: You’re just looking to rough it up a little so the primer has something to adhere to; you’re not trying to strip the surface. Use 80-grit if you are sanding a furnishing with an existing varnish.
2. Remove any residue.
Wipe down the surface with a tack cloth to remove any residue. Do not use a paper towel. Don’t speculate on whether it might be better to use a lint-free cloth. Just use the tack cloth.
3. Prime it.
If you’re priming laminate furniture, use Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer. Otherwise, use Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer. Prime using a mini foam roller. Use a foam brush to get into any hard-to-reach areas. Let dry according to the instructions on the can of primer. Once your primer is fully dry, sand away any drips with a 220-grit sanding block, and wipe your piece down with a tack cloth.