I feel like I should preface posts where I give tons of information like this with “I’m not a professional!” I don’t have a degree in painting furniture, interior design or anything like that. What I do have is nearly a decade’s worth of painting furniture, decorating and things of that nature under my belt. So while I don’t own a piece of paper stating that I know what the hell I’m talking about, I do have a hell of a lot of experience. 😉
Besides writing about tons of furniture makeovers I’ve completed, I’ve also written multiple posts pertaining to painting in general: my favorite tools for painting, what kind of topcoats to use with what kind of paint and on what kind of furniture, my best painting tips, how to use a paint sprayer for furniture makeovers, and what kind of paint to use on what surface. As I said in one of those more recent articles though, there are always still questions. I’m totally not complaining about that! I love answering your painting questions to the best of my ability because painting furniture, walls and essentially my entire body in the process is something I enjoy.
These painting questions are ones I get pretty regularly. I thought it might help to put them all in one place. And if you have a question that isn’t answered here, please leave it in the comments and I will respond to you as well as add it in this post. Let’s do this thang!
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FAQ: Painting Furniture
Q: Can I use oil-based paint in a paint sprayer?
A: With the paint sprayer I use, a HomeRight Finish Max, you can use oil-based paint in it. You just need to follow the instructions on the paint can as to how to thin the paint. Also, I have tutorial here on how to use a paint sprayer.
Q: Can I paint over oil-based paint with a latex-based paint?
A: Based from my experience, I wouldn’t do it. I’ve tried this before and it has just never ended well. I’ve heard of some people having success with sanding the finish, priming it, then going over it with latex-based, but I’ve never had much success with it. If you really want to try it, I would suggest doing it in a small spot first and seeing how that goes.
Q: What type of topcoat/sealer should I put on my kitchen cabinets?
A: If they are stained or painted a dark color, go with a polyurethane. If they aren’t stained, go with a polycrylic. Polyurethanes have a tendency to yellow over time and polycrylics don’t. It should be said though that polyurethanes are tougher in terms of protection than polycrylics. Also, here is a guide for determining what kind of topcoat to use on what.
Q: Do I need a topcoat on top of a satin or eggshell paint?
A: Yes. Unless you used a semi-gloss paint, you usually always need a topcoat with flat, satin or eggshell finishes. You can use a polycrylic in a satin finish to keep the piece from having too much shine.
Q: I painted my piece of furniture and put a topcoat on it. I put it back in use and a few days later, I grabbed a magazine off it I had placed there and it seemed like the magazine had to be “peeled” off the furniture. It even left a little of the ink from the magazine on the table. What happened?
A: The paint and/or topcoat didn’t have enough time to fully cure. Some paint jobs can take weeks to fully cure, especially if you are in a high humidity area. After your paint and topcoat have dried to the touch, you can move it back into place. I suggest letting it sit “undecorated” though for at least a week. If it has drawers or doors, leave those slightly open as well to let them fully cure. After a week, lay a magazine on top of the piece for a few hours and close the doors/drawers. If after a few hours, everything is removed and opened without sticking, you should be good to go, if not, let it cure longer. I’m in Tennessee and if I makeover a piece of furniture during the summer, I tend to wait as long as possible before decorating and fully closing the doors and drawers on it. I will wait usually at least two weeks.
Q: After painting my piece, I noticed little tiny bumps in my finish. What happened?
A: Those little bumps are little bits of dust and dirt most likely. Before applying paint to your piece, always be sure to wipe it down well with a tack cloth. Paint your furniture in places where there isn’t much dust flying around as well. If you have a shopvac, then it’s a really good idea to vacuum the piece after sanding it, then going back over it with a tack cloth and finally painting it.
Q: What can I put over a piece of furniture if I want to add photos to the top of it?
A: Mod Podge works well for this. First, apply Mod Podge to the surface where the photos will be placed, then put the photos on top of that and finally put another coat of Mod Podge over the photos. I would suggest doing at least two light coats of Mod Podge on top of the photos to really protect them.
Q: What kind of paint do I use for trim? And what color(s) do you use or have you used?
A: Always use a semi-gloss or gloss for trim. They will be much more durable and easier to wipe clean than flat, satin, or eggshell finishes. In the 70’s Landing Pad, I’ve used Limousine Leather and Bit of Sugar, both by Behr and both in semi-gloss finishes on the trim. In our Beloved Foreclosure, I used Crumb Cookie by Valspar, but had it mixed in Behr paint.
Q: Can I paint latex paint over oil-based paint? Any pointers?
A: I’ve never actually had to deal with this. I’ve heard that you can paint latex right over oil based, but then in this article it says to do a good bit of prepping first. My advice would be to get a couple sample pots of latex paint that you would use on your trim or wall – get the sheen you paint on there as well, not just any sample pots. Clean a small area of both the trim and wall in a not-so-noticeable place and then paint the latex paint on there and see how it does. Wait at least two weeks – a month to see if anything happens with it.
Q: What kind of paint would I use on a brass/metal fireplace surround?
A: Once more, I’ve never done this, but I know that Rust-Oleum makes a high-heat spray paint that I think would work well for this. Just be sure to keep the paint out of the actual fireplace.
Have more questions about painting? Please leave them in the comments below and I’ll respond to them there and add them to this post.
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