Decor Tutorials

Painting furniture the easy way

In my past life we used to hold furniture painting courses in our interior design showroom, taught by a fantastic teacher (not me) and they were very well attended. Everyone enjoyed a great day aided by a good lunch and lots of laughter as well as learning the skills of painting furniture. Fast forward a few years and the craze for upcycling has gone mad, Annie Sloan is everywhere and there can’t be much left to paint!

‘Mummy, how do I paint a chest of drawers?’

A call from my daughter asking me for advice this week has prompted me to get out my paintbrush and put up this post, much easier than explaining over the phone!

My chest of drawers as it was …

furniture painting tutorial

So I found an old but useful sized chest of drawers that had admittedly been annoying me for several months and decided that this would be the object for this tutorial.

First of all, you will need

  • Sheets to protect the floor
  • Small hand sanding machine
  • Sandpaper, coarse & fine
  • Flexible sanding pads
  • Masking tape
  • Brush, I use a 1” brush from Flamant
  • Zinsser
  • Any matt emulsion paint, I’ve used Marstons (they are no longer trading but I have enough left to do this and I love the consistency of the paint)
  • Wax & old cloths

Method for painting

  1. Firstly you need to remove the drawers and take off the handles and put them aside. Mine are brass so to clean them up I soaked them in malt vinegar for 24hrs, much the easiest way.

furniture painting tutorial
furniture painting tutorial

furniture painting tutorial

2.   You then need to start sanding all the areas that you are going to be painting. You can do it by hand or with a little electric sander. Keep sanding in the direction of the grain and it only needs a light sand, just something to help the paint adhere to. Finish off with the finest graded paper to ensure it’s a smooth surface. If you have tricky corners then I use the flexible sanding pads which give a more delicate finish when you are distressing the piece.

furniture painting tutorial3.   When you’ve finished just wipe it with a cloth to make sure there are no traces of dust around.Mask the drawer fronts with tape at the sides so it gives a neat finish where you want your painting line to painting tutorialfurniture painting tutorial

furniture painting tutorial

4.   Apply a thin coat of the primer, the Zinsser to all the areas where you want, making sure there are no drips in the corners. Let it dry for the stated period on the tin, usually around 4 hours. I use the Zinsser as it is a great multi purpose primer and if your piece of furniture was previously varnished it stops horrid brown stains seeping painting tutorial

furniture painting tutorial

5.   Now to the fun bit, the colour. I usually do two coats to get a good depth of colour. For this project I’m using a Marstons Graphite Grey, it does look quite grey as I paint but when we’ve finished it will be a lovely black colour. again keep painting in the same direction and try to avoid dribbles in the corners. allow each coat to dry completely before going onto the next one.

furniture painting tutorial

6.   If you are looking for an ‘aged’ look then at this stage get your sandpaper and very carefully sand the edges where they would have naturally worn over the years, the edges of the drawers and the painting tutorial

7.   Leave 24 hours to completely dry before starting the final step. Now apply a thin coat of the wax ( I use Briwax, Old pine) on top of the paint, carefully in a sort of polishing movement to avoid any lines. Leave the wax to dry for about twenty minutes before buffing it up into a nice shine. This gives a lovely finish to the paint and helps protect it. You can always put a second coat of wax on if you think it needs it.

furniture painting tutorialfurniture painting tutorialfurniture painting tutorial


The result …

furniture painting tutorial


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1 Comment

  • Reply
    March 23, 2017 at 12:59 am

    This makes it sound simple to paint furniture – it’s an affordable way to update the look of an old piece and revamp the entire room.

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