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Painting Old or Used Furniture

By: H. Iacobacci-Miller

What You Will Need:

  • Mineral Spirits
  • Sandpaper - 150 grit and 220 grit
  • Tack Cloth
  • Wood Filler - to repair any damaged areas
  • Primer - high quality
  • Paint Brushes
  • Alkyd or Latex Enamel Paint

The Process:

  1. First things first - Lay down a drop cloth or old sheet to protect your floor from paint splatter.
  2. Wipe down the furniture with mineral spirits to thoroughly clean.
  3. Using the 150-grit sandpaper, sand the furniture to remove the gloss and give your paint a surface to adhere to. Another option would be to use a paint or varnish stripper to take the furniture to the bare wood. Follow the manufacturer's directions carefully and sand after the process is completed.
  4. Wipe down thoroughly with tack cloth to remove all dust residue.
  5. Make any needed repairs using wood filler or wood spackle following the manufacturer's directions and sanding after filler/spackle has dried completely. Wipe surface with tack cloth to remove any dust residue.
  6. Apply a coat of high-quality primer and allow to dry thoroughly.
  7. Once the primer has dried, sand the surface lightly with 220-grit sandpaper and wipe down with tack cloth.
  8. Apply 2 - 3 coats of your topcoat allowing each coat to dry completely and lightly sanding between coats, wiping down with tack cloth.

Now that you have the basics down for painting old furniture, you can opt to do a faux finish, add a creative stencil design to match your room or even decoupage your updated piece of furniture. Painting old furniture is a wonderful, cheap way to revive and extend the life of nearly any piece of furniture from hand-me-downs to flea market finds.

If you have pictures of furniture painting projects that you would like to share, we'd love to post them.