For some women it is the mall...others it's the outlets...me? Lowes! Hands down my favorite place to shop. So when I decided I needed to post a "picture tutorial" on the supplies you will need to paint or refinish a piece of furniture, it was a good excuse to run in and buy all new stuff...after all, who wants to take a picture of all their old nasty stuff!!!
Not that I need an excuse...because of the apartments, I am pretty much in Lowes every day...which is why I like it...I know where EVERYTHING is. And if I don't know, they always have nice people to help me.
So here is a picture "shopping list." These are the supplies you MUST have on hand if you intend to paint or refinish a piece of furniture. I'm sure I am forgetting SOMETHING! But I'll figure it out eventually and let you know.
One thing I want to tell you...DIYers NEVER throw away coffee cans/tubs or old towels or tshirts. You will go through many, so just keep a plastic tub in your garage for these items....rip or cut them up into "hand towel" size pieces!
WORD OF WARNING!!! IMPORTANT!! Towels or rags with any kind of chemical on them should be laid out in the drive or lawn FIRST and allowed to dry. Then place them in an open container outside until trash day! DO NOT put chemical soaked rags in a garbage can or leave them in your garage....they can catch fire. Trust me...
These are the materials you will need for both painting AND refinishing. I usually store all of mine in those nifty little plastic containers so I can see everything. I have one for rags, stain, tape/paper, paint supplies, etc. Make a system that works for you but if you store them in the plastic containers they will stack nicely on garage shelves and you will still be able to see everything!
Paint supplies and process:
Remove all hardware and hinges: That is what the ziploc bags are for. Put each type item in a bag and then label. You think you will remember where everything goes...you will not. The fumes do that to you!
Also, if you are going to be using new hardware, MEASURE!!! If it is a "one holer" it is not a problem...but if it has two holes, it could be and might limit the hardware you can get. I buy my hardware at myknobs.com. Best selection and prices anywhere! Check them out!
Lysol spray/wipes (not pictured): I wipe everything down with sanitary wipes and spray all drawers/inside cabinets with a disinfectant spray. If you still have an odor problem, you might try a vinegar spray (50/50 vinegar and water in a spray bottle). If all else fails, plan on kilzing and painting the inside of the drawers/cabinets/etc.
Appropriate stripper/glove/plastic putty knife: If you are painting a piece that has chipped or peeling paint, and it can't be sanded smooth, I am going to suggest stripping the old paint/finish off. For that, buy a paint stripper appropriate to the finish that is on the piece and FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS VERY CAREFULLY! Seriously, break out the readers and follow them to a T! Once you have done that, "wash" the entire piece with steel wool and mineral spirits, changing out your rag often to make sure you get all the gunk off! Remember, you are going to sand the piece, so a "little" gunk is okay....but try to get the bulk off of it with a stripper!
Glue/clamps (not pictured) If you don't have clamps, invest in some....they aren't cheap but honestly, they are VERY necessary!
I use good ole' wood glue. Some brands of glue I will not use because it expands and "bubbles" and then dries like concrete...and will NOT come off, which makes it impossible to stain or even sand. But MOST DIY project pieces need some repairs and you must glue and clamp everything before you proceed. If necessary, carefully "pry" apart the loose joints and take a razor blade to them to clean off the old adhesives. Then reglue and clamp.
Your piece should be repaired and feel "solid" and should be allowed to dry overnight.
Wood filler/putty knife. Chipped veneers and laminate should be filled with wood filler prior to priming. Just use the putty knife to fill in the chips, hardware holes (if you are using different sized hardware) and any cracks! It doesn't have to be perfect because you are going to sand it. But try to make it easy on yourself...put the putty into the crack/chip/hole with a putty knife and then hold the knife at a 45 degree angle and run over it. Sometimes you might have to do two coats of this process...but you will know after it dries and you sand. If it looks or feels rough after drying and sanding, repeat this process!
Painter's Caulk/caulk gun (not pictured): (Do NOT use silicone caulk) If the piece is stained and you are going to be painting it, YOU MUST CAULK EVERY JOINT AND SEAM!!! Sorry...if you don't it will show BIG TIME after you paint! When you Kilz, you will see what I mean. But try to get as much of it done now, before you put the first coat of primer on! The trick to caulking....cut the caulk tube tip at a 45 degree angle and don't cut the hole too big! The little caulk gun poker thingy (technical term) should barely fit in the hole. Use a sharp razor blade, not scissors. (BTW, I keep a utility knife and replacement blades handy at all times...HOWEVER get the kind that has an easy blade change...don't get the kind with the little screw and if you do, don't use an electric drill to tighten the screw....it turns into a propeller and will result in a trip to the ER....trust me, some things are learned the hard way) The less that comes out, the less mess you make to clean up. And it always helps to have one broken nail so you can run your finger along the caulk line to smooth it out....if you don't have one bad finger (hehe) use a smooth, very slightly damp sponge...just keep it clean. Damp paper towels will come in handy during this process...caulking is an art form and takes many years of practice and patience...but it is a necessary evil!
(Oh, BTW, ALWAYS wear nasty clothes and shoes when projecting....you WILL get caulk, paint, finish on you intentionally or unintentionally!!!!! I buy old jeans and shirts at the thrift store just for this purpose!)
Sand block/sand paper: After a day of all repairs and wood filler drying, sand the spots you repaired WELL! If you have a lot of "stuff" to sand off, use a lower grit paper, but work your way to a 220 grit. Sand paper goes from low (40/really rough) and up....220 is a fine grit. I usually keep a variety of grits on hand....
I have learned that prepping/painting/refinishing has a lot to do with "feel.". Close your eyes and "feel"...if it feels rough, it will look rough after you paint it. Sand it til it is smooth!!! Use this time to meditate and reflect...close your eyes, feel the wood, sway with the paper.
Most wood glue can be cleaned up with a damp warm cloth. Best to try to get as much off as you can AFTER you clap it...but that's not always possible. Sand those areas and you may even have to use some wood filler to fill cracks where you had to repair. Sometimes repairing can take a day or two....PATIENCE!!!!! The more time you spend prepping, the better your project will turn out!
Now sand the entire project with 220. Again....feeeeeel the piece. This is NOT the time to have on gloves. The hardest place are the corners and where pieces of wood join...always crumbs and gunk lurking there. You can use a fine grit on an electric palm sander IF you are very careful and IF you really need to. But I am going to caution against this because many veneers are very thin and can easily be sanded through. You aren't trying to sand it down to the natural finish...just get it smooooooth!.
NOW, HERE IS A STEP THAT MANY DO NOT DO AND IT IS NECESSARY!!! Seriously, I see lots of tutorials that don't mention this step or gloss over it. Invest is TACK CLOTH!!! Lots of it! Doesn't matter what brand, just buy it and use it religiously. Every time you sand and before EVERY coat of paint, run a tack cloth over the entire piece.
I will usually take my compressor and blow all the dust and debris off first...especially out of the drawers and cracks, even where you don't think you will be painting. The air flow from an aerosol spray can cause "debris" to fly up and coat your piece....NASTY! You can use a blow dryer or whatever you have handy...but regardless, USE A TACK CLOTH ON THE ENTIRE PIECE BEFORE AND BETWEEN EVERY COAT OF PAINT!!!
Here is a challenge....blow off the piece, wash it with mineral spirits, clean it with a clean cloth...then "tack" it. I PROMISE you will get dirt and gunk...and that is the stuff that will be under your paint and ruin your finish if you don't get it off!!!!
Okay, have your eyes glazed over yet? And we haven't even started painting yet...told you....the key to a great DIY is in the preparation!!!!
Now you can PRIME!!!! Doesn't matter if you are painting over good old paint or finish...you still need to prime...period.
Okay...there is a debate raging in today's world of DIY....what is the BEST primer/undercoat. For my money, time and effort, it is Kilz...hands down. Yes, it stinks...yes, it usually leaves a "gritty" feeling....but it is good and it does the job a good primer should do! Period. End of discussion in my book! Only thing better is a lacquer undercoat and that needs to be put on with a professional spray rig. I have one...most people don't...and a can of Kilz is a lot easier to toss in the recycle than a spray rig is to clean up!
Now, you can either spray it on with the cans of Kilz...or you can roll it on with a little 4" sponge roller...the latter is cheaper honestly...but a pain to clean up and not good on anything but flat surfaces unless you are really good like me. Again...go easy and you will enjoy it more!
Light coat of Kilz, dry, sand, tack. Do this twice and your piece should be good to go!
After the first coat of Kilz is the time to look for cracks and holes that you may have missed...caulk and putty NOW, and let it dry before you sand and tack and reprime.
Now, tack, tack, tack. Before you spray or brush your first coat of your final paint color make sure everything is filled and sanded and tack it like an OCD crazy woman!
Another debate....roll/brush on or spray on. If you are a novice, I say go to Lowes and buy a can of spray paint....the color selections are AWESOME!!! I have my favorites...but honestly, other than dry time and color selection, I don't see much of a difference. If you are going to roll/brush on, use a latex additive like Floetrol (per directions) Always use it if you are rolling/brushing your project!!!
Now, there was a time when no piece of wood would have been coated with a latex paint in my house. I use oil based (alkaline) paint on all trim and doors...and I use to use it religiously on all furniture...if I even dared to paint a piece. I know this is old school...my father's influence....but latex paints are more durable these days and you should, if you prepped and primed properly, get excellent results with a latex paint.
Pay attention to the temperature...light coats...most paints can be recoated in a short amount of time....basically, follow the directions on whatever paint you use as far as coating.
Clear coats for furniture getting a lot of use is necessary in my book. Most brands of spray paint have a clear coat available...doesn't really matter IMO which one you use...just put on a few coats of clear to protect the finish!
And you are done....and I don't care WHAT the can says....let it sit for at least a day or two before you drag it in the house and load it with your goodies...give it time to "cure." (I watch these DIY shows on HGTV and cringe every time I see a freshly painted book case or desk with crap all over it....two hours after it was painted...REALLY!?)
I know there are things I have neglected to share....again, when I start the dresser project, I will remember and share more.
And in our next post, I will share with you the steps to refinishing, rather than painting...different process, different rules....but always beautiful results!!!