Painting furniture: some hints and a clever how to

A coat of paint can transform a tired or ratty piece of furniture into something splendid. Here are some hints and a clever how to.

  • You'll get a better result with spray paint if you rest the can in warm water for about five minutes before using it. The spray will come out in a finer mist for more even coverage.
  • For an even finish, hold your spray can at a steady distance from the furniture's surface the entire time you're spraying. Once you've worked out the best distance, tape a stick or piece of dowel to the can as a guide.
  • When priming and painting drawers, coat only the fronts and their edges. Applying paint to the sides will make drawers stick when they're closed. Instead, coat the sides with a clear finish.
  • Don't pick out stray brush bristles, dust particles or lint from a painted surface once a skin has started to form on it. Instead, wait for the surface to dry, then buff out the flaws with a damp paper towel.
  • To spray-paint without mess, use a makeshift spray booth. All you need is a large cardboard box – the kind that fridges and ovens come in. If you don't have one of these on hand, a local appliance store may be able to give you one that they've discarded.
  • When you're spray-painting the exterior of a piece of furniture, spray the corners first, aiming directly at each corner and coating both sides evenly.
  • When you're spraying the inside of a cabinet, don't spray into the corners at all. Instead, spray straight onto the flat surfaces, doing the back first, then each side.
  • When spray-painting a flat surface such as a tabletop, you'll probablytend to hold the can at an angle, resulting in overspray. To cover this up, always work from the near to the far side, covering the overspray as you go. If you work from the far to the near side, the overspray will leave a pebbly texture on areas already coated.
Painting furniture: some hints and a clever how to

What you will need

  • Mineral spirits and cotton cloths
  • Fine- and medium-grade sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Sanding block
  • Primer
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paint
  • Wood filler (as required)
  • Grain filler (as required)

1. Fix the flaws

  • To clean wood, wipe it down with your mineral spirits.
  • Sand all shine until it's dulled, then wipe the surface with a tack cloth.
  • Repair any damage with wood filler.
  • If the wood is open-grained and you don't want to see it through the paint, rub in a grain filler.

2. Prime it

  • Sand the filler lightly with your medium-grade sandpaper on the sanding block.
  • Wipe the surface down with a tack cloth.
  • Apply a primer.
  • If you're working on a chair, turn it upside down and start applying primer to areas that are hard to reach.
  • Then turn the chair right side up and prime from the top down.

3. Paint to perfection

  • When the primer is dry, lightly sand with fine-grade sandpaper.
  • Wipe with tack cloth, then apply two to three coats of paint.
  • If using gloss paint, sand between coats with fine-grade sandpaper and clean with a tack cloth.

More tips

  • You'll get a more even finish on open-weave materials such as cane if you hold the spray can at an angle of roughly 45 degrees above the surface.
  • When painting wicker, spray first from one side, then from the other, so that you penetrate the weave as much as possible.

Keep these hints and clever how to in mind when you're painting your furniture and you'll be well on your way to transforming tired pieces into something splendid.

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