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How to Prep Furniture for Painting

I always go by old military adage of the 7 P’s when prepping furniture ... Proper Preparation and Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance!

I’m devoting a whole blog post to this subject as I’m pretty evangelical about it. I wasted time and money at the beginning of my painting journey so hopefully my process will help you avoid my fate.

REGARDLESS of what paint manufacturers say to market their products you need to thoroughly prep your furniture or you will be sanding gunk into the wood, painting over dirt and grime AND have paint adhesion issues.

The cleaning process is also the ideal time to acquaint yourself with the style of the piece, decide on areas to highlight and/or recede and to detect any structural issues or small repairs that are needed after cleaning.

First thing I do is to remove the hardware and set it aside for cleaning (another blog post on this coming soon) and then brush/hoover away cobwebs, clumps of dust, etc.

Now clean, clean and clean again. I use either Fusion Mineral Paint’s TSP diluted as per instructions or a mix of 50/50 distilled vinegar and water. I decant my chosen mixture into an old spray bottle and label it so I don’t get confused! Yep, that’s happened before 🙈.

Spray the cleaning liquid onto your furniture in sections and use a scrubbing sponge, cloth or paper towels to remove the dirt. Repeat this process until there is no more dirt and grime coming off.  Now rinse the furniture with clean water (Fusion’s TSP states no need to rinse but I do anyway) and allow to dry thoroughly.

If any repairs are required then do them now.

Next stage is to key/sand your piece.  How much or how little I sand depends on the finish I am going for and the state of the wood. As a rule of thumb, if the wood is in great condition then I will just key (lightly sand/scuff) using a 120 to 180 grit sandpaper going in the direction of the wood grain. If the finish is peeling then I will sand it with a higher grit sandpaper (80-100) until smooth to the touch.

To know when your surface is smooth after sanding (especially if you have previously filled gouges with wood filler) use this tip. Close your eyes and run your fingers lightly over the surface. It works! You can thank Mr Pumpkin Bleu for that tip ❤️.

At this stage you may consider using a primer/stain blocker prior to painting, especially if you are going to be painting your item a pale colour such as white. Not only will the stain blocker prevent bleed through from the tannins in the wood but it will also mean that you need fewer coats of paint for full coverage as the majority of them are white. If Im going to be painting a dark colour, I will tend to use a grey primer as again it means fewer coats of paint.

You can now paint knowing that your finish will have longevity. Happy painting!

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