Preparing for painting is a pain in the rear, I know. But it’s essential!
Lately you can read a lot about paints that don’t need sanding or priming. It may be true but only if your piece is in a very good condition – it don’t have any cracks, stains, it’s not smelly or glossy – as you probably know, it’s not the case in most of used furniture.
I’m not really fond of this part of the makeover. It takes a lot of time, lot more than painting itself, but if you want to have a nice, even and long lasting finish, you just have to do it 🙂 Try to have a good fun, play some good music and think about the end result 😉
It’s always the first step for me. No matter what type of prep work you’ll have to do later (filling, priming, replacing, reorganizing and all other -ings), do sanding first – then you’ll see what kind of wood you’re dealing with, does it need to be replaced or fixed or maybe it’s so beautiful, that you won’t want it to be covered.
The best way to do it is to use a detail sander – you don’t need any experience, it’s very easy to use. If you don’t have it and want to refurbish only one piece of furniture, use a sanding paper – it will take longer but you’ll get same result as with a power tool. Of course even with a sander you’ll have to use sanding paper at some point – for details, corners and so on.
For initial sanding you can use medium grit paper (60-80) but always finish with fine one for best results (100-220). Just remember to be careful, medium grit paper can leave scratches that will be hard to remove.
Clean all the surfaces with a slightly damp cloth.
And last but not least: ALWAYS use a dust mask.
P.S. OK, there’s one thing that I can think of that you have to do before sanding – removing loose veneer if you have a piece with one. And here is a tutorial from another blog – here.
Now it’s time grab your filler and fix all the cracks, gaps, wood knots, dents, scratches and gouges. I’m using ready-to-use wood filler, that can be painted and nailed/screwed – this bit is very important, especially when you have to replace the hinges, for example.
Apply the filler and work it well into the damage – for deeper ones build it up in layers, let it dry and sand off the excess.
It may seem like a waste of time, after all you have to put the same effort into it as for painting, but it’s a necessary thing.
Primer will fill the grains and make finish coat smoother, it blocks stains, bleeding and prevent the paint from peeling off after some time. It’s a must-do with a bare wood, stripped one, glossy or smelly surfaces, changing from dark to light color – and even if you think that there’s no need for using the primer, do it anyway 😉
There are basically two types of primers.
– Oil-based which is good for bleeding surfaces but it dries slowly and it’s odorous – be sure that your workplace area is well ventilated and there are no kids and pets around.
– Water-based. Dries quickly, it’s odorless but it may not block the stains (I use this one in most cases).
If you have a piece that have only couple of stains or knots (they’ll probably bleed through), use shellac on those, and paint the rest with a water-based primer.
One coat of primer is usually all you need. When dry, sand it with fine sandpaper, especially if you use water-based primer (it can rise the wood grain). Clean the surfaces with a damp cloth.
Now that we’re finished with preparing it’s time to paint! 🙂