So you’ve just bought your unfinished furniture from us and are now ready to give your chosen piece its own unique identity by painting it to suit your home’s style. However, there’s a little problem: you’re not entirely sure how to paint unfinished furniture.
Thankfully, we’re here to help: below, we’ve provided a straightforward painting guide that should ensure you can achieve the best possible results every time…
You will need…
- Flexible foam sanding sponge or sandpaper, 220-grit
- Dust mask
- Wood primer
- Latex paint
- Small roller frame
- Foam roller heads with rounded ends
- Standard paint brushes suitable for the size of the piece you are painting
- Clean household cloths
- Vacuum cleaner
- Foam paint brushes
- Drop cloth (if required)
- Wood filler (if required)
Step 1: Decide where you will be painting
When painting unfinished furniture, it is usually best to complete the work outside if the weather allows. However, if you have to paint indoors, then you’ll want to lay a drop cloth in order to protect your floor and existing furniture.
Step 2A: Sand the furniture
When learning how to paint unfinished furniture, it’s important to acknowledge that preparation is the key to a good finish. As a result, you’ll need to sand your piece in order to provide a smooth surface that will hold paint well.
Using your flexible sanding sponge or sandpaper, sweep over the entirety of the piece in smooth, even strokes. As you work, you’ll likely find that a fair amount of dust will be created, so use your dust mask in order to ensure you can work in comfort.
As you sand the piece, it’s also helpful to keep an eye out for any small holes or patches of unevenness. If you don’t notice any holes or dents, then when the sanding is complete, you can move on to Step 3. However, if there are holes, you’ll need to complete Step 2B first.
Step 2B: Fill holes or dents with wood filler
It’s often assumed that the paint will fill any holes or dents you find in your piece, but this is rarely the case – paint can cover some imperfections, but the results are far from assured. It’s, therefore, best to fill holes and dents with wood filler, which you’ll then need to leave to dry for around 24 hours, before sanding flat.
Step 3: Clean the piece
When you’re confident that your furniture is smooth and hole-free, you’ll then need to use the clean household cloths to ensure any residual dust is fully removed from the piece. A dry cloth is usually sufficient for this task; if you do feel you need to dampen the cloth, then you’ll need to ensure the furniture is thoroughly dry before you begin painting.
If working indoors, you’ll also need to use your vacuum cleaner to remove all dust from the area.
Step 4: Apply your primer
You’ll now need to apply your primer to the entire piece, using the roller or paint brushes – both achieve good results, so choose the tool you feel most comfortable using. You’ll need to ensure the primer is applied evenly across every inch of your piece, which you should then leave to dry for at least one hour.
Step 5: Apply your paint
When you are sure that your primer is completely dry, you can begin to apply your chosen paint to the piece. In doing so, it’s usually best to use a foam roller on large surfaces (for example, a tabletop or benches) and then switch to a paintbrush for smaller areas.
You’ll then need to leave at least two hours for the first coat of paint to dry. If you are painting during fall or winter, it may be best to leave a little longer, just to be sure.
Step 6: Check if the paint is dry
To check the paint is completely dry, hold your finger to the surface and drag it for a few inches; the paint should hold firm and not smear at all. If this test is passed, you can then add a second layer of paint, which should be left to dry for three hours.
You can, if you wish, add a third coat after three hours, though this is not always necessary. If you are happy with the finish after two coats, then it may be best to leave be. However, if the finish is not even, then a third coat may be beneficial.
When you have applied your preferred number of coats, it is best to leave the furniture to fully dry for 24 hours before using the piece as intended.
If you follow the above process, you should be able to paint your new unfinished furniture in no time and have a beautiful new piece for your home!