No matter how carefully you treat your furniture, you’ll have to restore or repair the most of it after a while. Since purchasing new furniture is expensive, especially the big items – it´s worth to consider restoring the old furniture, especially the items that you love. A fresh coating on a scratched table board or chair can make it look brand new.
You can do those small repairs and changes all by yourself, without any special knowledge or tools, and it is certainly cheaper than buying new furniture. But, if you own valuable antique furniture, let the professional restorer take care of it!
Step 1 – preparing the space for painting
No matter how easy it sounds, before painting the furniture you’ll have to choose and prepare a place to do it. If you choose a damp space, like basement, it will take longer for the paint to dry. The result will be better if you paint in a warm and dry room, instead the cold and humid one.
If you choose a dusty space or a space with a lot of flies, mosquitoes, and other insects, it is most likely that some of them will stick to the surface. At the same time you have to consider that the room has to be spacious, so you can easily do your job.
So, use some mat on the surface where you plan to paint (plastic film, old cloth, protective cover…) to protect the floor.
Make sure the room is airy and you can open the windows to ventilate it. That way, the drying time will be slightly shorter.
Don’t forget to protect yourself! Put on protective glows and protective mask, bearing in mind that varnish and paint will evaporate and they could badly affect your health.
Step 2 – preparing the furniture
1. Remove all parts of the furniture that can be removed without damaging the furniture, and that you don’t plan to paint (metal handles,hinges and similar). This way those parts won´t be in your way during painting and you will not stain them.
2. If there are holes or cracks in the furniture, filling them is a time spent well. Use the badigeon that can be found in different colours. Clean the hole first and apply the badigeon using a spatula, smoothen it and let it dry (The exact drying time can be found in the instructions: in most cases, the surface layer dries in approx. 20 minutes, and the deeper layer in approx. 4 hours.) After the badigeon dries, the surface needs to be lightly sanded and brushed with oil- or alcohol- based mordant (rettery). If you need to fill the crack in your plywood furniture, use an oil-based badigeon, because plywood is very porous.
3. Before repainting the wood, you have to clean all the smudges, dirt and dust from the surface, because, otherwise, the new paint layer will become grainy and it will peel off after a while. Dust can be washed or removed by brush or a vacuum cleaner, and less accessible corners can be cleaned using brush or a sharp object. The furniture can be washed with detergent soap, washing soda, common cleanser or a mild washing agent.
4. Remove the old paint, that is, sand the furniture. The common mistake that “DIY˝ craftsmen do is to stick to the instructions on the products where it says there is no need to sand the surface. However, sanding the surfaces with the sandpaper (emery paper) is really necessary. Be careful not to damage the surface. The goal is to make the furniture surfaces a bit coarser, so the basic paint layer can easier stick to it. If you want a good effect, pick a medium sand paper, and if you are looking for the perfect results, you will need to sand a few more times with the finer sandpaper P200, P240 or even P400, after the initial sanding with P120.
5. Remove sanding residues with a damp cloth and, if necessary, repeat the process and wait for the furniture to dry.
Step 3 – applying the basic layer
The basic layer or the primer is applied in order to evenly distribute the basic colour or varnish on the wood and to increase its lifespan. You don’t have to pay too much attention to evenly apply the basic layer. The more important is to cover all the surfaces you intend to paint. Basic layer dries fast and you can start painting right after you apply it. However, before painting it, to ensure good paint adherence, you should sand the basic layer once more using the fine sandpaper. Make sure to wipe the dust with a damp cloth, and wait until the surface dries before applying the paint.
Note: before you start painting, make sure you have enough of basic layer, spare brush; brush cleaner, cloth and an overall or an apron. Also, when putting the brush into the paint, remove the extra paint. Be careful not to use too much paint on the brush.
Step 4 – painting
It won’t be a problem to paint furniture with proper colour or varnish after you have done all the preparations. You have to take into the consideration that you’ll have to, depending on the quality you want to achieve, apply more than one layer of paint or varnish. One is surely not enough; two will give you the desired effect, while the true professionals apply up to 6 layers. The process is not difficult, but it is time-consuming, because every layer must dry for a few hours before you can apply the next one.
The paint (varnish) can be applied using a roller or the paint brush, depending on your preferences. Personally, we prefer the paintbrush. For the perfect results, you will need a better, a bit more expensive paintbrush, but it will last for years. Lower quality brush leaves marks, which stay on the surface, and usually the bristles that fall out remain in the paint.
Before applying the varnish, start with two or three brushstrokes in the direction of wood fibres and paint one band. Without dipping the brush, change the direction and spread the varnish on the surface. Dip the brush into the varnish and paint the next band, parallel to the previous one. The point of the brush may only lightly touch the edge in order to avoid the trace. Then paint the whole surface and finish painting with vertical brushstrokes. Varnish paints must dry for several hours. The surfaces shouldn’t be touched. After drying, the surface should be sanded using fine paper, due to the next coating. You must remove dust before applying the next layer.
Step 5 – apply the final layer
Using a clean brush, and after the varnishing has completely dried, you can apply the water-based protective glossy coating. Apply it carefully not leaving any bubbles and keep the surface smooth. Let it dry for at least 72 hours.