5 Things to Do Before You Paint

before you paint DIY Paint painting prep


Painting furniture should be easy. Let me help you get your project off to the right start with my list of 5 Things to Do Before You Paint.

1. Check it OUT.  Do this before you buy or haul it home. If you are like me an awesome piece of furniture can get you so excited that big issues sometimes get ignored and overlooked and when you get it home you realize you do not have the carpentry skills needed to save the piece.  Now is the time to look it over. Check the hardware. Is it complete? Does it all work as it should? Is it sturdy? Do the wobble test. Try to rock the piece. Does it move? Can you tighten it with a screw or two? Or is it a bigger job than you can handle. You don’t need more projects in your “fix-it-later” pile, do you?  Check the drawers. Open them. I once brought home a dresser that looked like it had drawers, but just had drawer fronts screwed in. What a mess. If it has drawers do they slide as they should? Are they in one piece and all secure? Look for water damage. Flip it over. Look at everything. I know cool furniture gets your heart racing, but you want a piece to work on that you will be able to finish. Now is also the time to glue and clamp or make small repairs with filler or Bondo and sand before you paint.

2. Wash it.  So many of the best pieces I find are cheap or free because they are filthy.  Cleaning a piece is SO important. Even if it doesn’t look dirty I recommend washing everything before you paint.  Grease or old cleaning products can cause bleed through and give you a headache later. I use Dawn dish soap (the blue one) and water and wash everything down before I paint.

3. Shiny?  Smooth?  Okay, look at your piece.  Does it have a super shiny finish on it?  If so you should knock off the shine a bit with 220 grit sandpaper to help the first coat of paint stick a little better.  You don’t have to get out an orbital sander, but at least grab a sanding block and quickly go over the piece.  If you discover there are really rough spots on the furniture you should also smooth them down before you paint to save you time later.  A smooth (not shiny) piece is perfect for paint.

See the shiny finish?


4. Wood Color.  Remember the last step about sanding?  The only exception would be if the wood was a red-colored wood.  If your piece is red I would skip the sanding and just start to apply your stain blocker/primer.  My favorite primer is Salvation Solution from DIY Paint. It is sold in white or clear.  Redwood is known for bleed through and it can be a mess. Avoid trouble by applying a primer first.  Need more help with identifying what wood will cause bleed through? Check out my post 3 Tips to Pick Your Perfect Paint Color.


5. Prepare your workspace.  Do you have everything you need?  It is so much more fun to paint when I get all my supplies ready ahead of time.  I hate to have to run and find something while I am in the middle of the painting.  Make sure you have paint, brushes, water bottle (to smooth paint), wet wipes (for messes).  I also love good music to paint by...but that might just be me.

I hope this has helped you to get all ready to start your project.  Need paint supplies?  Check out my online store and have everything delivered right to your door.

Happy Painting!



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