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Painting unfinished furniture

A guide to 6 steps to painting unfinished furniture

By: Editor

Brushing on new paint is the easiest way to give a piece of furniture a new look. Whether you're painting unfinished or already-painted furniture, try to work in a space that's free of drafts and air-borne dirt, so specks of dust and lint will be less likely to land on your just-painted surfaces.

  • If your piece feature small dents or nicks, natural flaws, or nail or staple holes, use wood filler to even the surface before applying your primer or first coat of paint.
  • Once the filler is dry, use a fine-grit sandpaper to remove any access filler and to buff your entire piece.
  • Use a tack cloth to clean your wood's surface, removing debris and sanding residue before you paint.
  • Seal the wood with a coat of primer, to fill and seal the bare wood so the surface will better accept your paint.   Choose a good all-purpose primer-sealer formulated for use with water or oil-based paints. Once it's dry, sand again, and again use the tack cloth to remove any debris.
  • Apply your first coat of paint, let it dry, sand your piece again, and wipe it clean.
  • Add your topcoat, let it dry, then finish with several coats of varnish if you like. If you want to give your painted surface extra protection, add sheen, or tone down a too-shiny surface, you can apply a few topcoats of clear varnish or polyurethane. Varnishes come in water and oil-based formulas and in sheens ranging from matte to high-gloss.

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