We’ve all heard the basics to painting furniture, right? It’s the same old rhyme – prep, prime, paint, seal. Yadda, yadda, yadda. But what if your stuff still doesn’t turn out the way you want? What if you’re still dissatisfied? Is there more? Is there something that maybe you are missing?
Welcome, my friends to the secret steps to furniture painting that you haven’t heard a million times. These are essential steps to having a beautiful finished furniture piece.
This is the holy grail, those little tips and tricks that are sometimes suggested, sometimes mentioned but most often forgotten and never given the attention they deserve. These secrets can make all the difference in your next project.
Choose the Right furniture
You’ve probably seen before at the top of a painting tutorial it says something like, pick a piece of furniture. Obviously. But the secret is to do more than that. Choose carefully. Choose a piece of furniture that you can envision in your head as the finished product. Choose a piece with good bones, a great structure and shape, something that can be functional and beautiful. Choose carefully. If you hate it now, it doesn’t matter how you paint it, you’ll probably still hate it.
Be a handyman first
Paint is great, but it doesn’t fix a wonky door or a stuck drawer. Repair the piece of furniture before you paint it. Pull off the veneer, check the joints and the back and the doors. If you have to make new holes or hammer in a few nails because it’ll be covered up. You can’t just cover up bad furniture with paint, if you do, you’ll just end up with more bad furniture that is slightly more colorful.
Choose three paints
Obviously selecting paint is an important step, but the real secret is to choose three paints. Choose one color that you like, and then choose another a few shades lighter and another a few shades darker. Put all three colors to the test. I can’t tell you how many times I have changed my mind as soon as I’ve actually seen the paint color on the wood. It makes a world of difference, so save yourself a trip to the paint store and start with three shades to make sure you love the finished result.
Don’t underestimate sand and glaze
If you look back at you’re work and you’re not happy with it, that just means you’re not done yet. One of the secrets of successfully painting furniture is to keep going. If you’ve got it painted and you hate it, consider a glaze on top. If you just finished and notice drips and streaks, bust out the sandpaper. There are very few problems that can’t be fixed, hidden, or covered up beautifully.
Don’t decide to paint your kitchen table today because your in-laws will be here this weekend. Don’t redo your cabinets because you just found out Thanksgiving will be at your house. Paint requires time, patience, and then more time, and then more patience. Don’t put yourself on a deadline that is less than 2 weeks away, it’s just not a good idea.
Work with tunes
Creating new furniture is an artform, and it tends to work better when you are in a peaceful mind space. Work in an area that is as clean as possible, turn on your favorite music, a great podcast, or the latest Netflix binge and give yourself time and space to create something beautiful.
Fixing up and painting an old piece to give it new life can be therapeutic, gratifying, and rewarding. Or it can be painful, bothersome, and infuriating. Give yourself time, take a double dose of patience, crank up the tunes and get to work.