No matter how much painting you have or haven’t done, it’s always good to pay attention to details. Here are five details to keep in mind.
Furniture Painting Tips: Beware of drips.
Whether you are painting with a brush or spray, drips are the enemy. If you are working with spray paint, use a light touch and several light coats. If you find drips, sand them out and add another coat. With brushed paint, you’ll often find more paint than you need collected at the corners and edges. Try to find it before it starts to dry, and just brush away the excess with a nearly dry paint brush. Once it dries, you’ll have to sand and paint, but it’s very hard to get it right. Be sure to walk all the way around your piece just after you paint it, and look at it from all angles to catch those drips.
Furniture Painting Tips: Use long, end to end strokes.
Here, you can see the top that was covered with short strokes. This might be ok for a first coat, depending on the finish you are working with, but try to get each coat as smooth as possible using long, end to end strokes that cover the length of whatever you are working on. This means getting the feel for how much paint is loaded on your brush, so that it covers in one pass. It’s just like Goldilocks: not too much and not too little. If this seems hard, then get the entire surface covered with paint, and give it one complete end-to-end pass of the brush while it is still wet. You’ll still see light brush strokes in most paint, but you don’t want to see where it starts and ends.
Furniture Painting Tips: Pay attention to the ends.
If you’ve followed the step above, two sides of any rectangle will be easy because they are going with the direction of your brush. The other two ends, or in the case the ends where you start and finish your stroke, are harder to get just right. You want to be sure not to end up with a bead of paint on the sides. Go over this a couple of times. Feather in the ends, checking one last time for drips that you might not immediately see.
Furniture Painting Tips: Did you mean to make those stripes (and globs)?
If you are in a hurry, or if you are new to painting furniture, it’s easy to end up with extra stripes of paint on your furniture. This happens usually because you load too much paint on your brush, and it falls off onto the furniture, and dries quickly. Be careful to lightly wipe your brush against the inside of the paint can to unload some of the paint on your brush. “Unloading” the brush isn’t an extra step; it’s part of the process.It takes a while to get the right feel for how much paint is just right on the brush, and how much paint causes sloppy marks and drips. Less is more to start with.
Furniture Painting Tips: Kamikaze bugs.
This last one is a toughie. I don’t have a studio, so I’m usually working on my projects in my yard in good weather or in my garage. Outside, the trees and pollen will land on a half-dry project, becoming an unintended part of the design. Inside the garage, the bugs will swing by and get stuck. I honestly don’t have an answer for this one, except to be vigilant in protecting the work area and pulling out the offenders as soon as possible. The best solution would be to have a work area with a slow-moving overhead fan, which discourages bugs. But, this is real life people. If you do have a critter in the mix, try to pull him out asap, and touch up if needed. That’s the great thing about painted furniture. It isn’t factory perfect, so you can always touch it up, whether that is hours or months later.
Painting furniture can be incredibly rewarding, but incredibly frustrating as well. Just take your time and remember that we all have to deal with these same issues. You’ll get better the more you do, and the more you practice your technique. In the end, you can consistently come up with beautiful results like this end table makeover.