Painting furniture is easier than you might think. And although I have heard the expression before that you don’t need to prep furniture before you paint, this isn’t true. If you want your beautiful paint job to be durable and last for years, you need to prep. Below I will go over the steps for painting furniture and talk about different products you may need and how to apply them.
Cleaning your piece is the first step. You don’t want to start sanding a piece down before cleaning it because if there is wax or grease build up on it, sanding will only heat it up and push it farther into the wood.
Fusion has it’s own brand of TSP Cleaner that is biodegradable and non toxic. It comes in a concentrated form and all you need is two small cap fulls in a one litre spray bottle. It goes a long way. I use this now for cleaning a lot of things. Just spray it on and use a green scrubbing pad that you can find at the dollar store and give it a light scrubbing. Then use a rag or paper towel and wipe it off. Do this until the rag or paper towel wipes up clear. No need to rinse off.
Testing for Wax Buildup
Now that the piece is clean, do a light scratch test with your fingernail. Just checking to see if there is wax build up on the furniture. If no residue comes off, you’re ready for the next step. If you do see that there is a wax residue, you will have to remove this before painting or the paint will not adhere to the surface. You will need to pour some Mineral Spirits onto a rag and wipe the surface until you don’t feel any more wax residue. Mineral Spirits have quite an odor so you will want to do this in a well ventilated room and/or wear a mask. You should wear some gloves too to protect your hands and maybe some protective eye wear just to be safe.
Should You Sand?
After you have cleaned the surface and let it dry, you need to decide whether or not it needs to be sanded. If the surface is shiny because it has a coating of shellac or varnish or it is MDF or laminate, you should give it a light scuffing with a sanding pad. No need to take it right down to the wood, just scuff up the shine. This will give the surface some “teeth” which will allow the paint to adhere well. Once you rub over it with the sanding pad, just enough to create some dust, you will have to wipe it down with a damp cloth to make sure all the dust is gone before you paint.
If, after you cleaned the surface, you see that it is a dull surface or untreated wood, you won’t need to sand at all. Just move on to the painting part of the project.
Do You Need a Primer?
If you’re painting a surface other than wood, say for instance glass, metal or a very shiny surface that you can’t sand down, you would use Ultra Grip. This is a “stick like glue” primer that can be used to paint virtually any type of surface.
You would paint this on with a brush. Make sure you don’t over load the brush because you don’t want to leave brush strokes behind or this will show up under your paint. Just a light even coat. It goes on cloudy and dries clear. Let it dry for 24 hours before you paint.
Another fantastic use for Ultra Grip is in place of Mod Podge when Decoupaging. If you are familiar with Decoupaging and use the iron method, Ultra Grip is proving to fantastic for this. More about this in an upcoming post.
Painting with a Brush
There are a couple ways to paint a piece. You can either brush the whole surface or you can use a roller on the larger surfaces. If you are using a brush for the whole piece you should work in manageable sections. When painting a large area, say the side or top of a dresser, work in sections. Start at the back or front and paint from side to side, following the grain of the wood. You never want to paint across the grain as it won’t look smooth once it’s dry.
Don’t load too much paint on your brush. You want enough to get good coverage from one end to the other but not so much that you leave noticeable brush strokes behind.
Once you paint from side to side and back and forth, go over it one last time gently with the edge of the brush from end to end so there is one long uniform paint line. You don’t want to see start and stop lines when it dries. This should be done in a minute or two so that the paint isn’t starting to get tacky yet. Then go on to the next section beside it and do the same until the whole top or side is done. Don’t keep going back over it at this point because it will not dry smooth and uniform.
Painting with a Roller
If you are using a roller for the large surfaces, you will want to load the roller and go back and forth over the whole area until it’s covered. Then, to get a smooth finish, go over lightly with the edge of a brush from edge to edge one line at a time. So, for example, if you’re rolling paint on the top of a dresser, you start at the back and brush from one end to the other very lightly, then go next to it from end to end and so on working your way towards yourself until you finish the whole top. This will even out the paint and take out any bubbles left behind by the roller.
Color “Bleed Through”
If, after the paint dries, you see pinkish or yellowish colors coming through the paint, that is called “bleed through”. It is caused from tannins in certain woods being activated by the water in the paint. Mahogany is known for this. When this occurs, you will need to seal the piece with Shellac. You can paint Shellac right over the paint you have already applied. Just make sure you let it dry for 24 hours before you continue on painting. The Shellac will stop any further bleed through.
Do I Need a Top Coat?
Fusion Mineral Paint is formulated to dry with it’s own top coat. This means that it doesn’t have to be sealed. Once it is fully cured, approximately 21 – 28 days, the paint is very durable and water proof.
However, if you have painted a surface that is going to get lots of wear and tear, say a table top for example, you will want to put a top coat on it so it has more protection. Fusion’s Tough Coat is a wipe on, non yellowing poly that will add durability to your painted surface. If using, wait at least 12 hours after painting your piece to apply Tough Coat.
To apply Tough Coat, you use a damp, lint free rag or one of our applicator pads. You work end to end, one section at a time and do not go back over it as Tough Coat will start to dry quickly. Apply two coats 2 – 4 hours apart lightly sanding between coats if needed.
Tough Coat is recommended for lighter colors only because when it is applied to dark colors, it tends to look “cloudy”. Natural Stain and Finishing Oil can be used on darker colors to add a level of durability without changing the color.
Fusion Mineral Paint dries to a beautiful matte finish. If you want a little bit more shine to your piece, you can add a coat of clear glaze. This will dry to a beautiful shiny. It does not add any more durability as the Tough Coat would, just a soft glossy finish.
You can also mix the clear glaze with another paint color to change the look of the piece. For instance, you can add a Ash or Coat Black to a clear glaze and paint it over a lighter colored piece to bring out decorative details. You simply paint it on and wipe it back with a lint free cloth to get the look you want. You have about 15 minutes of working time before it starts to dry.
Fusion also has an Antiquing Glaze that you can use to get an aged look on your project. Simple brush it on and get it in all the cracks and crevices and then wipe it back to get the desired look. It will darken the paint and stick into the decorative parts to give it that “old world” look.
As stated earlier, you have about 15 minutes of working time before the glaze start to set up and dry so have fun with it. Apply, wipe it back, or add more until you get the look you want.
Homestead House, the company that makes Fusion Mineral Paint, has a selection of furniture waxes. Furniture wax can be used on painted furniture as a sealant or to get a desired effect.
Wax is applied with a brush. After is sets for 5 minutes, you then buff it with a soft cloth. If you are applying dark wax, it is recommended to apply a clear wax first so it is easier to work with the dark wax. Or the two waxes can be combined, this will make it easier to work with the dark wax as well. You have less working time with wax than you do with glazes.
Stain & Finishing Oil
Homestead House also has an amazing product called Stain & Finishing Oil. It is an oil based stain that dries with a very durable finish. It comes in 6 different colors.
As I said earlier when talking about the Tough Coat, when putting it over dark colors, it can turn “cloudy” looking. If you’re looking for a bit more durability with a dark color, it is recommended to use the Natural color Stain & Finishing Oil because it goes on clear and dries with a very durable finish.
Stain is most commonly used on bare wood but quite often it is used over paint colors to create a custom look and add a bit of sheen. You should always practice on a sample board to make sure you will get the desired effect before you start on your painted piece.
Hemp Oil is a wonderful natural product. It is made with 100% natural hemp seeds. When put on bare wood, it soaks in and brings out the beautiful wood grain. When put over paint, it deepens the color and once dry, added a protective coating.
Hemp Oil can be brushed on or put on with a rag. Once it has been applied, leave it set for 10 minutes and then wipe off the access so it doesn’t pool.
I like to use this on the inside and outside of dresser drawers It makes the wood look amazing and it smells fresh.