5 secrets to successfully painting furniture
Whether you are into giving old furniture a new life as a hobby or a business, there are secrets to doing this the right way. Let me tell you what I have learned (and still am learning) along the way. I will share my top 5 secrets on how to successfully paint furniture.
1: Be picky with the furniture you choose
Now, this one may be a surprise to you. Many people paint everything they can get their hands on. I don't. I have learned the hard way when I had to bring furniture I paid a good bit of money for, to the thrift store. When I pick my furniture, there are a couple of things I look for:
Condition: One thing I always check for is the condition of the furniture I buy. I want quality furniture. If it falls apart by the time you put it in your car, you're wasting your money. Check if it is sturdy and undamaged or has minimal damage that is easy to repair. Look for chipped wood and if any present molding is intact. ALWAYS look for solid wood furniture because particleboard or laminate is impossible to paint.
Drawers and doors: Check if doors lock properly and if drawers close all the way. If they don't, see if it's an easy fix or not.
Hardware: Check if all the hardware is on the furniture. If there are keyholes, ask if the keys come with it
Legs: Often the legs of the furniture are damaged. Make sure they are in good condition or if they are damaged that is an easy fix
2: Prep your furniture properly
These days so many paint companies advertise with "no prep needed! Just paint!". I am here to tell you that is just an advertising tool and actually not true.
All furniture needs prep, one way or the other. Current paints are made to stick and cover but don't talk about bleeding. Often you don't even see the bleeding until you put a top coat on and your perfectly painted piece of furniture bleeds yellow or orange because it was not properly prepped.
First and foremost you need to clean your furniture before you start painting. You can do that with a mix of 1:1 water and white vinegar with a drop of blue dawn dish soap or you can use Dixie Belle's White Lightning which is made specifically to get the gunk and grease off of furniture.
After you clean your furniture thoroughly, make sure you rinse it with a clean cloth and water to get any leftover residue off.
Use Dixie Belle's Slick Stick for slick, shiny surfaces such as glass, counter-tops, Formica, tile, or any furniture that has a really shiny finish. You don't need it on regular, well-cleaned furniture. But if you're dealing with a shiny surface, you want to use this to make sure the paint adheres well.
In general, you don't have to sand your surfaces. I only do that if I want to get the original wood grain to show, or if there are uneven things on the surface that have to be smoothed out. I use 120 sandpaper for that. Otherwise, I don't sand anything.
Primer - B.O.S.S.
My first (and sometimes second) coat is always a coat of clear or white Dixie Belle B.O.S.S. This one is a game-changer! B.O.S.S. stands for Blocks Odor, Stains, Stops bleed through. Many wood surfaces bleed through. To prevent that you have to put 4-5 coats on to attempt to cover that up, you're better off simply starting with B.O.S.S. Depending on the surface I will apply one or two coats. B.O.S.S. comes in white and in clear. The clear is actually white but dries up clear and the white I use for when I paint light colors because it also functions as a primer.
Sometimes a piece of furniture is just smelly. They often have been stored in dark places for years. Especially cedar chests seem to have that problem. One or two coats of B.O.S.S. and that problem is gone permanently!
3: Choose the right paint brushes
Sounds like a no brainer, right? Well, there's paintbrushes and then there are paintbrushes. I have a whole arsenal of brushes simply because I tried so many. I get my artisan brushes at Hobby Lobby or Michaels, but for the bigger brushes, I found that the ones you find in regular stores, including Home Depot, are just not doing the job with chalk mineral paint. Many of them flare easily at the tip, which means your brush strokes will be stripy and that just doesn't look good.
Invest in quality brushes! I can't emphasize this enough. Half of the problems with painting furniture are caused by crappy brushes that leave ugly brush strokes, don't cover everything and leave hair in your paint. For painting, I use my synthetic Dixie Belle Brushes. I have 4 or 5 of each but the one I use the most is the mini. For waxing projects, I mostly use the Redesign with Prima brushes that are actually natural bristles but work great for waxing.
4: Use high-quality paint
Like with brushes, there's paint, and then there's paint. I find the best and easiest way to paint furniture is to use chalk mineral paint. There are quite a few brands out there and there is a huge variety of quality and color options amongst them. I have used brands that needed 4-5 coats to cover the surface. And I also ran into problems with the paint being "chunky" instead of smooth no matter how well I shook and stirred it.
I will say, I have tried many different brands (and even have many wholesale accounts with a variety of brands) and Dixie Belle sticks out head and shoulders above the rest. It has the best coverage and stays the most resilient over time. They have the most variety of colors and additional products and they simply don't compare to other brands. Dixie Belle Chalk Mineral Paint is non-toxic, is water-based and has zero VOCs. Don't believe me? Try for yourself.
5: Step away before you finish
One thing I do when I finish painting and before I put a top coat on, is to step away from it and leave it out of my sight for 24 - 48 hours or so. Usually, when I see it again I see little flaws that need touching up or I am not completely happy with how it looks and will change a few things. The really cool think about Dixie Belle Paint is that if you're not happy with it, you simply paint over it without any problems. Once I have decided all the little flaws have been addressed and I completely happy with it, I will seal the surface with Gator Hide.
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