Thursday, September 8, 2011

Painting Chairs... My Tips and Tricks

I'm by no means an expert in painting furniture, but I have gotten better with each project and I definitely learn something new everytime.  Here are some things I learned this time around:


This is a step not be skip or scrimp on.  Apply 2 coats to give your paint a great base to adhere to.  It'll save you lots of repainting later on.  My other dining chairs were IKEA laminate and I primed and painted them and they look great.  I use KILZ and it seems to do the trick.

Tip 2:  Foam Brushes are Fabulous! 

I've always disliked cleaning brushes.  No matter how much I rinse them, they never get as clean as I'd like them to be.  This time, I primarily used foam brushes and they worked great!  I got mine from the hardware store, not sure if these are more durable than the craft ones.  They were only 79 cents each!  They spread the paint really well, with minimal brush strokes and I feel fine just tossing them when I'm done.

Tip 3:  Plastic Wrap is your Friend! 

Between coats I used to spend lots of time rinsing out my brush only to start over in a few hours or the next day.  It was a tedious step.  I've seen other people wrap their trays and brushes with plastic wrap and it stays moist and ready to use for the next application.  You can save the thorough clean up till you're done with the whole project!  It really works, I saved my primer in a tray for about a week and still worked great.  It was so nice not to rinse brushes between coats.

Tip 4:  Don't forget the Polycrylic Finish. 

It creates a nice smooth finish and protects all your hardwork.  Much like primer, it's a step that pays off to not skip.  You need to be careful when you apply poly, it is quite viscous so it's easy to get drips, yet you want to load up your brush enough so that you're not going back and forth on your piece which causes brush strokes.  Only practice makes perfect, you'll end up finding that perfect balance of a lightly loaded brush and be on the look out for smoothing out any drips before it dries.  I liken it to driving a stick.  I attempted to learn, but couldn't find that sweet spot between the accelerator and the clutch. 

I usually started like this to paint the underside and the legs.

There you have it.  A few small things that have worked for me.  Repainting what you already have can give new life to your furniture without spending very much money.  If you're scared, buy something at a thrift store and just give it a try.  I painted my chairs over 2 nights.  1 night for priming and painting.  2nd night for the poly.  It's totally doable!

Then I flipped them like this to paint the top half.

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