July 19, 2017

Following our segment on Channel 2’s Houston Life TV show I wanted to make sure to give you a few more tips on painting furniture.  I definitely advise signing up for one of our painted furniture workshops in order to not only get all of the detailed pertinent info, but also learn different techniques to make your furniture and your talent really stand out.  If you’re in a hurry to get started, here’s a crash course for you…


*You do not have to sand or prime when using milk paint or chalky paints. However…sometimes you should.  Each piece of furniture is in unique condition.  Some pieces will be in very rough shape when you get them and others will be in near excellent condition.  If it needs to be sanded…then sand it before you get started.  Paint won’t hide issues that really needed to be sanded out.

*Cleaning is critical.  You absolutely must do a thorough cleaning on the inside and exterior of anything you are going to paint.  Don’t cut corners…you will spend a lot of time bringing furniture back to life, but it’s only time wasted if you have to redo it because you cut corners.  I personally use Simple Green to clean my furniture. Be sure to remove all drawers and clean behind everything inside.

*I use Shellac when I need a clear primer or to stop odors such as cigarette smoke or an old musty smell.  Dryer sheets are also great (and inexpensive) to stick in the drawers while you are working on painting it to help absorb smells as well and give it a fresh scent.


*There are many different types of furniture paint on the market today.  They vary quite a bit from brand to brand in texture and coverage.  Cheaper isn’t always better.  If you save a few bucks on paint, but have to apply 3x as many coats of paint, then you’ve really spent more money on paint using the cheaper product, not to mention the time you’ve wasted. My personal favorite is General Finishes Milk Paint (GF).  I’ve used LOTS of different products over the years and by far GF is the easiest to work with, smoothest and gets the job done in fewer coats and less time than any of the other brands I’ve ever used.  The only time I venture to other paint lines is when I need a color GF doesn’t offer. When they come out with a mint, hot pink, bluer turquoise and darker yellow shade…I’ll never have to use another paint line again!

*The sunlight is your best friend when it’s time to check your paint job!  If you are painting indoors…make sure to take your furniture outside if possible before you apply the top coat to make sure you didn’t miss anything.  You’d be surprised what the sunlight exposes that you didn’t see indoors.

*Yes, you need to top coat/seal your work…and pretty quickly after painting if possible.  You don’t want your work to need to be touched up or another coat of paint applied because it sat around too long and accumulated dust, absorbed oils from handling, etc.  Regardless of what paint line I use…I only use GF top coats.  They are the most durable on the market.  I see pieces get excessively handled in the retail store and GF hands down is the only thing I would trust to keep my hard work looking great for years.

*Brushes – Use whatever you like and are comfortable using.  There’s no need to spend a fortune on a paint brush.  Anything at the hardware store that you use for other painting projects should work just fine.  Purdy brushes are a popular choice.


Here’s the cliff note version…

1. Clean thoroughly

2. Lightly prep

3. Paint (average is about 3 coats)

4. Top coat (I suggest 2 coats)

When you want to get fancy…take a class or watch a lot of online technique tutorials to learn how to create the “wow factor”!  If you love painting furniture check out the General Finishes Indianapolis Expo this fall expo.generalfinishes.com


In case you missed the show here’s the link for you: https://www.click2houston.com/houston-life/give-new-life-to-old-pieces

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below and we will do our best to answer you as quickly as possible!