We inherited several items of vintage furniture from Matt’s grandparents, and over the years I have enjoyed giving them new life. One of the pieces we inherited was this dark wood vintage armoire. I have the piece sitting in my foyer, but I was ready for a change. It was time to paint it! Today we are talking about painting furniture. It’s a hot topic and there are several ways to go about painting furniture; however, they all share one thing in common—good prep is imperative to the outcome of your project. Today I will show you step-by-step how to prep a piece of wood furniture.
Is Prep Work Really Necessary?
Before we begin, let me share with you a few of my “live and learn” projects so that you understand why proper furniture prep is so important. A few years ago, I didn’t feel like priming or sanding or doing any prep at all. I had painted a few things in the past without priming and got lucky, so I decided to paint my coffee table sans any prep work. You can read about how that little experiment went in my post, Do I Really Have to Prime First?
Yes Beth, but what about chalk paint? You don’t have to prime when you use chalk paint. No? Hmmmmm. Take a look at this piece of mahogany furniture that I properly cleaned and prepped and then painted with the original chalk paint. Priming first would have prevented this bleed through and saved me a ginormous headache and tons of money on additional coats of chalk paint.
Prepping your piece of furniture properly before you start painting will give you the best chance of an end product you adore! Let’s get to it.
Here are the supplies you will need:
The first steps of my project are in this very short 3 minute video. Sometimes it is so much easier to just watch someone do something than to read a step-by-step tutorial. In the video, I show you how to clean your piece of furniture with TSP, how to sand (don’t be scared it takes only a few minutes and is not to be feared or dreaded), and how to fill any gaps or dings. I also include a fantastic quick and easy tip on how to mix milk paint so that there are no lumps in your paint. It’s a great trick!
Be sure to wear your 3M Tekk Protection gloves, goggles, and respirator when working with chemicals. TSP will strip off any wax and grime on your piece and help prepare it for painting.
Next, sand your entire piece with a low grit sandpaper. I used 320 grit on this piece. Sanding will take off the sheen and allow a rougher surface for the paint to grip. I am incredibly sensitive to dust of all kinds, so I wear a respirator when I sand. If your piece of furniture is painted, you will want to be sure to test for lead and follow the proper safety precautions in working with lead paint.
Fill any gaps in your wood with 3M Wood Filler, allow to dry, and then sand and clean. Use a tack cloth (a cheese cloth that is tacky/sticky) to clean up all of the dust.
Remove any hardware and tape off anything you do not want to paint. I used ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape for Exterior Surfaces to tape off my hardware–even though I was obviously indoors. I really loved how the tape performed. It was perfect for taping off my hardware and I liked working with it better than the standard ScotchBlue tape.
Congrats! You are now ready to paint! I used a Purdy 2.5 XL glide brush and Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint in the color Kitchen Scale on my armoire. If you’ve never worked with milk paint before, the paint pigments come in a powder form that you mix with water to create paint. I didn’t prime my piece with a traditional primer but instead mixed in milk paint bonding agent to create a primer in the same color as my paint. I have no plans of distressing this piece so it was very important to me that the paint adhere appropriately. You can see below what it looked like with the milk paint primer coat. Once the piece was completely coated with two coats of paint, I removed the blue tape. You don’t want to make the mistake of allowing your paint to completely dry when using painter’s tape. If you do, you risk the chance of the tape pulling some of the paint away.
And here it is completely finished and looking gorgeous! I used Miss Mustard Seed’s wax to seal the paint and then used just a touch of the dark wax to highlight the medallions on the front of the doors. I am thrilled with how it turned out!
I love milk paint because the pigment varies a tad creating a really beautiful finish.
That is really all there is to it! It might seem like a lot of steps to get from before to painted-pretty-after, but as someone who loves to cut corners and do things as easily as possible I can tell you it just isn’t worth it in the end. Prepping your piece of furniture properly will save you time in the long run and will give you the results you desire!
A huge shout-out to 3M for sponsoring this post and supplying all of the necessary safety equipment needed for my project. I don’t promote companies on my site that I don’t love, and I truly love 3M products. 3M will be at the Haven Conference again this year, so if you are a Haven Maven be sure to stop by their booth and show them some love! You can follow 3M on twitter and facebook: 3M DIY Twitter Page, 3M DIY Facebook Page
This post is a collaboration with 3M DIY. To keep up-to-date on projects, products and sampling visit 3MDIY.com.
Linking to Miss Mustard Seed’s party.