Easy ideas for hand-painting furniture pieces with a long-lasting finish.
If you're looking for an easy and affordable way to give new life to an outdated piece of furniture, look no further! Hand-painting furniture with latex paint will give you the best results long term. From creating custom designs to revamping a family heirloom, hand-painting a coat of paint gives your project added depth and versatility that a regular spray paint can’t.
Learn how to pick the right paint color, properly prepare the surface for paint, and create mesmerizing effects like two-tone blending with this complete guide. Plus, get insider tips from experts on how to make your furniture look professionally done. So grab your brush and get ready to create something amazing.
Hand-Painting Furniture Basics
Here are a few basics on how to paint furniture by hand.
My preferred type of paint for wood furniture is latex paint, as it has held up the best against general wear and tear over the last several years. Latex paint is the best paint for main pieces that will require more longevity and see more usage overall.
I have also experimented with many specialty paints such as chalk paint and milk paint. These paints are a great choice for accent pieces or various decor items. And if you are looking for a great paint to incorporate with a distressed look, these are ideal options.
Touching Up Furniture Paint
Once your piece is finished, take a look here for the best options to repair and touch up your furniture paint.
These items can be bought at Home Depot, Lowe's, online or your local hardware store.
- Drop cloths - best for containing your mess to one spot
- Paint stirrer - you can usually grab a few for free.
- Painter's tape - perfect for taping off different sections of your project.
- Sandpaper or a sand block - I like to use 100 grit sandpaper to sand everything down in the beginning and 220 for the coats in between.
- Latex primer - Kilz latex primer or Zinsers latex primer. They cover great and are cost effective.
- Latex paint - I prefer Sherwin Williams, Ace's Valspar or Benjamin Moore.
- Paint Brush - Selecting a brush that is decent quality is very important. I like to use Purdy or Zibra brushes they have soft smooth bristles making for a smooth finish.
Prep Work for Hand-Painting Furniture
The first step is to take apart your old furniture. First of all, remove all the hardware off of your piece as well as any doors. I like to dissemble all of my pieces as much as possible. This will allow you to keep your hardware clean and free of paint. Plus, you will achieve a much better paint job.
Sanding Old Finish
Now it is time to pull out the 100 grit sand paper by sanding the wood surfaces down. The finish doesn't have to be completely removed, but it needs to be roughened up so the paint has something to stick to. Sand out all of your scratches and dings and use wood filler if you need to.
Before moving on to the next step you will also want to make sure your wood surfaces are smooth. If you do not have a smooth surface it will show when it is painted.
Hand Paint Furniture
After your sanding process is complete and you have wiped down your piece of furniture, the next step is applying primer. An even coat of primer is the best way to making sure the paint will stick. Primer helps to seal the surface and allow for even painting. It also helps the paint to stick and bind to your furniture.
Sand in between your primer and paint coats. Once your primer is dry use 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out your paint. This will also help to eliminate brush marks on your flat surfaces. You can also lightly sand in between each coat of paint to make sure you are achieving a smooth finish.
Before painting, I like to add a little bit of Flotrol to my paint. Flotrol helps to eliminate visible brush marks in your paint without diluting your paint color. Start at the top of your piece and use long straight brush strokes whenever possible. Allow your paint to dry before applying another coat. Large pieces of furniture will require a second coat at minimum. This hutch required 3 coats to cover.
Finish Work for Hand-Painting Furniture
There are many different ways and techniques to use for the finish work on your pieces of furniture. Take a look at a few options below and this post for easy distress techniques without a sander.
The vintage look is a very popular style for farmhouse and shabby chic. I always like to sand the edges of my piece because that it where you generally will see wear and tear first. Purposefully eliminating paint from the places it is most likely to chip from will help your paint stay looking nice even longer.
If you like your pieces more distressed you can sand in specific areas. Sand in areas where the paint will naturally flake off for a more natural look.
After your paint has dried or cured for 24 hours it will be ready to glaze. I wanted a heavy glaze on this hutch so I used stain. A glaze is nice for adding a dark color that makes the finish look more aged and detailed.
A top coat is one of the most important steps of this process. The top coat is what will seal and protect your piece to stand the test of time. Be careful on the top coat that you choose so it doesn't yellow your piece. I personally like to use Varathane water-based diamond polyurethane finish in a spray can. It eliminates brush marks and goes on nice and even!
After you have top coated your piece let is sit for at least 24 hours before you start using it. This will give your paint and top coat time to set. Keep in mind, latex paint can take up to 30 days to fully cure and harden, but it is okay to use it before then.
If you’ve been dreaming of giving some of your furniture pieces a breathtaking upgrade, don’t wait any longer. Hand-painting furniture with latex paint can be an inexpensive and rewarding experience that will give your home a unique and personal touch. Make sure to choose the right type of paint, properly prepare the surface, and apply the paint with the right tools.
With a bit of patience, you’ll be able to create something beautiful with your own two hands that can last for years. Hand paint your furniture and unleash your creative side.
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