I was a first-timer when it came to painting furniture and I was SUPER nervous about it. Do I sand the piece of furniture first? How many coats should I do? Should I spray-paint, roller-paint, or just use a paint-brush? What kind of paint should I get? I had no idea, so I called my sister to ask for advice. Here's what she said:
Purchase some sandpaper and sand down the surfaces of the furniture that you're going to paint. Just enough to remove any of the lacquer and make it so that paint will adhere to it.
Buy some Behr Premium paint plus primer (I'm sure any brand of paint will do as long as it's strong paint plus primer) and apply with a brush. Foam brushes are very nice for the hard-to-reach areas.
Apply several coats.
Here's what I did:
I went to Home Depot and bought some Klean-Strip sander and de-glosser and applied two coats with a rag. Then I used a paint brush to apply the paint (behr premium plus primer). I ended up painting three coats over everything with the paint brush except for the detailing, for which I mostly used a foam brush. I finished off with two coats of Polyurethane to, hopefully, protect the paint job from chips etc. The whole process took me three days to complete.
The dresser didn't turn out too badly, but definitely didn't go the way I expected. Here are my tips and suggestions.
Take the time to clean up your furniture before you get started, removing knobs, dusting, etc. Accept that this project is going to take a few days and BE PATIENT! Don't try and rush the drying process of the coats or you WILL regret it.
Stick with sandpaper. When I finished applying two GENEROUS coats of the liquid sander (Klean-STrip sander and de-glosser), I still wasn't sure if it had done it's job and decided to go ahead with the painting, and I think it would have been better if I had just sanded the whole thing myself. You don't have to sand it down to its bones, but make sure you sand it enough so that the paint will be able to adhere.
3. Paint Brush:
The problem with using a paint brush is that it leaves lines where you paint from the bristles. You can eliminate this by sanding between each coat of paint (a fact I learned AFTER I had already finished). Sanding after each coat is a good idea anyway, especially if you're an impatient painter and you end up with paint-run lines and some bits of dried paint fused to your furniture. Some sandpaper and a new coat will fix that for you.
4. Spray Paint:
I haven't tried spray-painting furniture before, but I've been told that you can fore-go the streaks if you use spray-paint instead. Rustoleum from Home Depot is a good brand to go with for spray-painting furniture.
A roller will eliminate any lines, as well, but may end up leaving a splotchy look on your furniture. It did on mine, and I decided I'd rather have lines than splotch.
6. Foam Brush:
They are very useful for any detailing in your furniture and for those hard-to-reach places.
**Note: There are also foam roller brushes that you can use that are less likely to make your project splotchy and are great for small projects, but might be a little too small for bigger projects.
3-5 coats of paint ought to do the trick! This may vary depending on whether you decide to sand or not.
Polyurethane leaves a nice shiny coating over all the work you've done, but not too shiny. I used the medium shine for my project (there are three types, one that's really shiny, one that's not very shiny, and one that is in the middle). The can suggests three coats, but I just used two and I think it's fine. Added bonus! the Polyurethane smells A LOT better than paint.
**Disclaimer! I was just notified that Polyurethane does have a tendency to yellow over time whether it is water-based or oil-based. I don't know from experience, but I think to be safe, next time I'll do without.
I ended up spending around $60 for all the products I needed for this project (sander/de-glosser, paint, Polyurethane, paint brush, and rollers). The price for your project will probably vary by what you already have, especially if you already have brushes and sand-paper.
Hope your project exceeds your expectations and that you can keep your patience throughout the process. Also, here are a couple of the pins I wish I had remembered before I started painting with some good advice.
Good luck, and I'll see you next week. I can't wait to show you how my maternity shirt turned out. See you next week!
P.S. Also, I have a girlfriend who apparently is very experienced with painting furniture. Why, oh why did I not think to ask her for advice? Lucky for you, she has a blog.