Your first project is exciting! You've picked out the piece.
You've picked out the perfect paint color and a fresh new brush.
If this is your very first project, my advice is to start with a small piece. But big or small, that first project is usually accompanied by one part anticipation and two parts anxiety.
Before you open the can or jar and dunk your brush for the first stroke, STOP. There are some items you will want to have on hand for your project, and there are a few basic tips and pointers that will boost your confidence and guarantee your finished project is a success. Ready?
1. You need more than a paint and a brush.
Many of these items you may already have on hand, but gather them up before you begin.
This is the bare-bones minimum list of basic supplies for any project. If your piece has old furniture wax build-up you will also need some mineral spirits to pull the wax out before painting. If it needs repair, you may need wood filler, wood glue, clamps, replacement screws and hardware, etc. Trust us - you will be much more likely to finish your project if you take the time to round up everything you need before you begin.
2. Preparation is key
Yes, we know most DIY furniture paints bill themselves as "no prep" but that doesn't mean what you think it means. What the paint makers are trying to tell you is that you don't have to strip or sand a piece down to bare wood to use their paint. And that is true. But your piece still needs to be prepped.
Prep is simple but crucial:
3. Pour your paint into a clean container.
Pour a few ounces of paint into a clean container (my personal favorite are clean 16-ounce sour cream or cottage cheese bowls. Why?
4. Start at the bottom.
5. Thin layers for the win
Most paints are going to take at least two coats, possibly more. Mineral paints (chalk and milk) go a long way but that does not mean "one coat coverage" On your bottoms and undersides, paint one thin coat and when it's dry to touch (typically by the time you finish the first coat), paint a second thin coat. Let them dry for a few hours before you return them right-side-up and proceed with painting the tops and sides. For the visible areas, paint two thin coats; if more are required, let the piece dry for several hours or overnight before putting on more coats. That lets your paint completely dry before you build up a thick layer.
There are many more in-depth techniques we teach in our furniture painting classes, but these 5 tips will get your project off to a great start!
WHO WRITES THIS STUFF?
I'm Terry Lea, owner of Re-Invintage Home, a vintage home goods shop just south of Nashville in Murfreesboro, TN. A lifelong passion for vintage picking led me to open a shop with my picking pal, Sherri in 2017. Come see us!