How to Prepare Furniture for Painting

In this post I'll be sharing some hints and tips for preparing a piece of furniture ready to hand paint and aim to give you the confidence to start your own projects and achieve those moments of 'I am a painting superstar!' Believe me they do happen!

How to prepare furniture for painting by Tiddler & Fox


In the next few posts I'll share ideas and tips for getting a great finish with chalk paint, some special techniques you can use to achieve different results and different types of finishes you can achieve as well as looking at types of brushes, paint and waxes. But first, getting your piece ready to paint.

There are a few ways of preparing a piece of furniture for painting and each one depends on the original finish of your piece of furniture. 

For items of wooden furniture that have a good finish with no holes to fill or edges to sand:

  • clean down with sugar soap on a sponge or lint free cloth, rinse and wipe dry with kitchen roll.
  • apply a good coat of primer and allow to dry for at least half an hour before painting but best to leave to dry for as long as you can.

In this photo, I've cleaned the table with sugar soap which removes all dust and grease before applying a coat of primer. It's really important to make sure the surface is clean and grease free as it will be a better surface for the paint to adhere to.



For items that need a little more work:

  • to achieve the best result for painting, sand the piece all over using a fine grade sandpaper having removed any handles or hardware. If the item needs a bit more sanding then start with a coarse grade and work down using a medium and then fine grade paper. Alternatively, using a hand electric sander can be a lifesaver! In the photo below, the chest has a very shiny surface and I went all over with my Black & Decker MultiEvo hand tool with sander attachment. I do love a power tool...Starting with a medium grade paper and then a fine grade paper to finish.
  • Wire wool can also be a great way to bring up a surface that doesn't require too much elbow grease and is also good for distressing, but more on that in a later post.

Before sanding:

After sanding:


Ok, I know its looks hiddeous, but the sanding gives a fabulous surface for the paint to adhere to so don't panic when furniture looks as if you've just ruined it. Once sanded, I then wiped the chest all over with a damp cloth to remove all dust. You could also use a tack cloth to do this.

  • fill any holes or dents with wood filler, allow to dry thoroughly and then sand smooth
  • paint with a good coat of primer or start painting in your chosen colour!

I use Autentico's Primer as this is made to go with their chalk paint and gives the best base to all my painting and also blocks stains but by all means use whatever primer suits you or is part of the paint range you use.

I'll be talking more about tools and brushes in the next post but my advice would always be to use the best tools you can afford as this will always give you the best finish and investing in good quality tools and brushes will mean they will last longer, saving you money in the long run. 

So you are all set and ready to paint! I'll be back soon with tips on how to get the painting finish you want with advice on paint, colours and tools to use to achieve the best results.

Until next time x



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