I always strive for a smooth finish when working on a piece of furniture, at least on the base paint, before distressing or aging it. Brush strokes make a piece look sloppily.
There are a few key things to do when painting with a paint brush that will keep brush strokes from showing up on your piece.
Floetrol is an additive you can add to the paint that will help your paint stay wet longer, which will give it more time to meld together or self level and eliminate brush strokes. When paint dries quickly, like on hot days, it’s harder to keep the brush strokes from showing. On days like that, you’ll definitely want to be adding Floetrol to your paint.
If you can’t find floetrol at your local store you can find it here on Amazon.com. Each project requires about 3 TBSP so this one investment will last you years, and yes it is worth it, I never go without it.
2. Use a High Quality Brush
Low quality brushes show paint strokes, period. High quality brushes don’t. Also, use the correct brush for the paint. With Latex paint, use a nylon or polyester brush and for oil based paints use a natural bristle brush. Some of the higher end paint brush brands are Purdy & Wooster.
This Purdey 2-1/2-Inch Angle Trim Brush is my most favorite brush in the world. I have had it for about 8 years now and I use it on everything, tables, nightstands, dressers, baseboards, etc. Invest in a good brush and clean it well after each project. Your a painter now, and you need a favorite brush!
3. Longer Bristles = Better
Shorter bristles will show paint strokes more than longer bristles will, if you get a Purdy or Wooster brush you won’t have a problem in this area, they know brushes and don’t even sell short bristles. Don’t confuse this advice with the handles. I have a Purdy brush with a short handle that I love to use in small confined spaces such as inside cupboards, drawers and closets.
4. Work in Sections
Working in sections will help you finish areas while the paint is still wet. Taking a paint brush over dried areas will result in the paint balling up and leaving streaks. Once your paint has been brushed on for a minute or two move on and stop rolling it.
5. Try a Roller
Use a roller on long, flat areas, and save the brush for the detailed areas. Rollers come in different textures, they aren’t all like the common known bumpy rollers used for painting walls. You can purchase rollers in all different textures. For a smooth finish I use this 6-Inch Foam Roller made for an Ultra-Smooth Surfaces Remember with a roller, you need to always roll in one direction only, otherwise, you’ll have a problem with roller marks.
If you do end up with some brush strokes, in spite of your best efforts, sand them down a bit and go over that spot one more time. Don’t use regular sand paper for this, you will need a very small grain, such as 320 or 400 grit. You can find them at your hardware store, or auto store (they use them on sanding down cars for paint touch ups).
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