10 Furniture Painting Tips for Beginners


I thought I would put together a little post to get some of you started.  Some of you have no idea where to start, so maybe these tips will help answer your questions!

There are whole paint lines that boast "no prep work", and I think sanding is a pain as much as the next gal, but it really doesn't take much. Just run some 220 sand paper over your piece to scratch up the existing finish.  Then use a damp rag to wipe it off. The whole ordeal only takes about 5 minutes, and it gives your paint a better surface to stick to.

Even during prep, this is a good idea.  And especially if you are refinishing the wood.  Go against the grain and you may get scratches you don't want to see.

It really makes all the difference!  I use the Purdy XL Cub, it fits well in my hand, and gives a smooth finish!  When painting always use long, even brush strokes to reduce the paint lines.  A good brush will also last you a long time!

well loved Purdy brush

Because General Finishes paint is water based, water really is your best tool.  You can thin the paint if it gets a little thick.  You can make a wash (usually 50/50 paint and water) for color variations or for a wash over wood.  And of course, all you need is water to clean out your paint brush!

White Washed Buffet

Don't see the color you want?  Just mix it up to get the perfect color! Just make sure you make enough to paint your whole piece, it may be hard to get that perfect color match again.

Mix of Antique White and Patina Green

This paint is made to be tough, so unless you are painting a really high use surface (like your kitchen table top), you don't need a top coat!  How nice is that?  

 It does take 2-3 weeks for the paint to be fully hardened, so do be gentle during that time.  ie: don't go put your favorite heavy lamp on your nightstand you just painted - it may mark up the surface.  Patience.

Coastal Blue Buffet

My Mother-in-Law recently watched my tutorial video, and when it came to the distressing section, she said - "distressing is sandpaper? that's all it is?".  I recommend using 120 grit sandpaper, and running it right along the edges.  Think of where the piece would naturally get some wear and tear over time, the edges, feet, corners, etc.  And then, if there are additional details you want to highlight, distress those too.  

And guess what, worst case, you get a little crazy with it and end up not liking it...you can paint over that section and start again!

And if you are really feeling crazy, try other tools to distress, like a paint scraper.

Glazing is a newer technique for me.  I was a little intimidated by it.  And can I just tell you, it is SO EASY!  Like brush it on, wipe it off.  No really, that's it.  Way easier than waxing.  

Again, since General Finishes glazes are all water based, worse case, you can paint over it!

Linen Milk Paint with Pitch Black Glaze

And lastly, and I think this is the most important tip of all - don't fear the paint!  Start on a little thrift store piece, or something you hate anyway that you are ready to toss (how much worse can it get?).  Then when you feel more confident, move on to something more impact-ful to your home.  

If you have the gumption it takes, try a


!  All the things you need to refinish a piece of furniture send right to your mailbox.  And, you get me as your backup - I'm happy to answer any questions you may have along the way!

Hope these tips are helpful - ready to start your weekend project?



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