5 common mistakes with furniture painting (and solutions!)

Greetings readers!  We're back to furniture full-speed ahead this week on the blog (and behind the scenes, always!).  Over the last several weeks I've focused on decorating tips.  I had a blast creating content for you that I hope you found useful in some way!  Did you try any of my tips?  I'd love to hear! 

Today I'd like to share some common mistakes when painting furniture.  It's good to learn from our mistakes....and God knows I've made more than a few over the years!  But we can try and avoid them too!  Today you'll learn what NOT to do and why, as well as solutions to avoid a painting catastrophe....

5 Common Mistakes:

1.  Skimping on the Prep work  

All pieces need some preparation in order to be painted. Though it can be the most grueling stage of the job, it is one of the most important stages.  Failure to prepare your piece, will yield less-than-good results.   Examples include failure to remove ALL hardware (and labeling it), and failure to clean the piece.   

SOLUTION:  Always clean your piece.  Warm soapy water (rag squeezed out) will do. Some pieces may require a stronger cleaning agent like Mineral Spirits. This is for removing oil, grime, stickiness, rust marks, etc.  Always finish with a damp cloth. 

SOLUTION:  Always remove ALL hardware, even if you think you can paint around it. Painting around hardware ends up taking more time in the end and it doesn't yield as nice a result.  Be sure to label the hardware, which makes putting it back on so much faster and easier. 

2.  Not Sanding  

Most pieces should be sanded.  Some primers will say "no sanding needed".  But typically, I sand every piece.  Even a light sanding (which takes 5-10 minutes) is a good idea, as it prepares the surface to accept paint.  Additionally, it smooths the surface.  

SOLUTION: Sand before priming, sand after priming, sand after each layer of paint. Yep. Each layer. This is what creates a smooth finish.    

3. Skipping Primer

Primer allows the paint to adhere to the surface.  It can also prevent paint from chipping. For these reasons, it's pretty darn important!  Primer is especially important on darker pieces, that are painted in lighter colors.  If used (and 2 coats is best!), you might not require as many coats of paint later. 

SOLUTION: Just prime!  The only time it is NOT required is when you use chalk paint. (that's a whole other blog post!) 

4.  Insufficient paint application

Typically the brighter the color, the more layers of paint are required.  Especially white! (this is where primer becomes your friend).  When we skimp on layers, blotches and brush strokes will be visible.  The time investment in layering up the paint is worth it in the end. 

SOLUTION: Don't skip layers!  Plan on at least 2-3 layers.  That way, you are prepared for a third or fourth coat if you are unhappy with the first 2 coats.  It's all in the mindset! 

5. Omitting topcoat

All pieces should be protected once painted.  Not sealing your painted piece will result in a surface that easily chips, scratches, and shows fingerprints.  Yuck!

SOLUTION: Use a topcoat over the paint.  Polycrylic/polyurethane or wax are two types of topcoat that will protect your painted piece.  Allow your piece at least 24 hours to dry, before applying topcoat.  You don't really need a special "topcoat" brush, but they are on the market. 

Next time you contemplate a furniture painting project, don't forget about these 5 very important steps!  Include them all and you're well on your way to success.  Forget any one or a combination of them, and you might not be a happy camper.  

Have a question about painting projects?  Let's talk!