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How to Paint Spray Your Furniture (Complete Guide)

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We all have an old piece of wood furniture at home. It could be a wooden chair with sentimental value, a table you used to work on, or a dresser you got as a present. Whichever one it is, there is a chance the finish on your old furniture is worn out.

A worn-out finish on wood furniture means that the finish on the furniture is old, unsightly, and possibly peeling off the wood. No one wants to have such wood furniture at home as it can be unattractive. But rather than throw it out or toss it in the garbage truck, you can make the furniture look as good as new. How? By spraying it again with a fresh coat and finish.

Spraying wood furniture is a great way to refurbish the furniture and give it a new look. You just need to remove the old finish, sand the surface, and spray paint the wood furniture.

So, how do you remove the existing old finish from the wood furniture without damaging the wood? What tools do you need to spray paint wood furniture? And most importantly, how to paint spray your furniture? You see there is a lot more to know about spray painting wood furniture. So, let’s take a closer look.

What Do You Need to Spray Paint Wood Furniture?

  • A drop cloth or plastic sheet
  • Paint scraper
  • Sandpaper
  • A pair of work gloves
  • Primer
  • A pair of goggles
  • A paint sprayer or a paintbrush to apply the paint, (I recommend using a paint sprayer.)
  • A respirator or breathing mask
  • Duct tape or masking tape
  • Cleaning equipment

Related Read — Best Paint Sprayers for Woodworking

How to Paint Spray Your Furniture?

Spray painting wood furniture is very easy, but if you don’t know the right steps involved, it could turn out to be a difficult and messy task. The steps below will guide you on the best way to spray paint your wood furniture.

Put on Your Safety Gear

The process of spraying wood furniture involves a lot of palm activity so put on a pair of gloves to prevent cuts and bruises. A breathing and eye protection will prevent dust and paint fumes from getting into your eyes and your lungs.

Take Out the Wood Furniture

If you can, you should take out the furniture. It’s best to spray paint wood furniture outdoors. That way, you don’t have to worry about paint fumes or toxic air inside your home.

Though it is advised to spray outdoors, you should not spray in windy areas where dust and debris can disturb your spraying or the curing process of the paint on the wood furniture.

Related Read — Paint Sprayers for Furniture

Dust and Clean the Wood Furniture

Either you take out the furniture or leave it indoors, you need to dust and clean the wood furniture before working on it. Use a soft brush to dust the wood furniture and then use a rag to clean it.

If needed, you can use a bit of water and soap to clean the wood furniture. Do not use too much water or you will have to wait for the wood furniture to get dry before you can work on it.

Cover and Tape Any Objects Nearby

If you didn’t take the furniture out earlier, then this is a step you can’t skip. Even if you did take it out, you should still cover surrounding objects that you don’t want to paint on. Use a drop cloth or plastic sheet to cover surrounding objects.

If you are a homeowner, then you need to know how to refinish furniture. If you don't, then don't worry. We have prepared a little guide that will come in handy when you are doing home renovations.

You should also use masking tape or duct tape to cover any part of the furniture that you don’t want paint on. If it’s a dresser, then you don’t want the paint to get on the mirror and the handles.

If it’s a chair, you don’t want the paint to get on the foam or leather. I’m sure you get the gist. So use the drop cloth or plastic sheet and masking tape to cover the needed areas.

Sand the Wood Furniture

Before you move on to prime or spray, you need to sand the surface of the wood furniture. Sanding helps to prepare the surface for the paint. It helps to smoothen out the surface of the furniture by removing imperfections and edges on the furniture.

Sanding will also help to improve adhesion so the paint can stick well to the surface.  If you don’t sand, then you will most likely not have a smooth finish on the furniture.

To sand, start with medium-grit sandpaper like the 120-grit sandpaper. Rub the abrasive side of the sandpaper against the surface of the furniture repeatedly in a circular motion. After a while, switch the sandpaper to fine-grit sandpaper like the 180-grit.

Use the new sandpaper to also sand the furniture. While the coarse sandpaper removed large bumps and edges, the fine-grit sandpaper ensures you have a smooth surface to work on.

Related Read — Best Paint Sprayers For Chalk Paint?

Prime the Furniture

This step isn’t necessary but it is advisable to prime the furniture. If you had a dark color on the wood furniture previously, then you need to prime it. If you go ahead to paint over a dark color, the finish you will achieve will be a combination of the previous finish and the new one. It wouldn’t be neat or clear which color you used.

Priming the paint helps to improve adhesion too. Use a putty knife or spatula to scoop the primer for the can and press it on the surface of the furniture.

You can apply two coats or layers of primer on the surface. Ensure to buy a primer that is recommended for furniture and one that will work well for the paint you want to use. The instructions on the container of the primer will indicate both.

Mix the Paint

The primer will need time to work. While it’s working its magic, you can use that period to mix or thin the paint if required. You need to read and follow the instructions on the container of the paint you buy to know if you need to thin the paint or mix with any other supply such as a paint binder.

After mixing the paint, you should also prep the paint sprayer provided you plan on using one. Prepping the paint sprayer involves inspecting the sprayer to be sure it’s in good condition, cleaning the spray gun, priming the pump, and adjusting the volume of the spray.

You should consult the paint sprayer manual on how to do each. If you plan on using a paintbrush, then you don’t need to prep.

Test the Spray

Before spraying, you should test the volume of the spray on a board or can. Testing the spray will prevent overspray. It will also help you discover if you need to make adjustments to the volume before you go ahead to spray the furniture. If you aren’t using a paint sprayer, skip this step.

Paint the Furniture

If you want to use a paintbrush, dip the brush in the mixed paint and apply the paint to the furniture.  If you would be using a paint sprayer, pull the trigger of the spray gun to apply the paint.

While spraying, keep a distance of ten feet between the nozzle of the spray gun and the furniture. If you get too close, the paint will be concentrated on one part of the furniture leading to drips and runs.

Also, you should spray 2-3 layers of top coat on the furniture for maximum results. Follow all instructions on the paint can so you can apply the finish correctly.

While painting, do not move your wrist or you will create an arch. Instead, move your arm from side to side while spraying. This allows you to spray evenly.

If needed, you can apply a clear coat to the paint. Popular clear coats include oil paints, lacquer, and the likes.

Clean Up the Equipment After Use

It is better to clean the paint sprayer after using it if not paint drops will clog the spray gun making it difficult to use the sprayer next time.

After cleaning the sprayer and all other equipment used, you can leave the furniture to dry. Depending on the type of paint used, it may take a few hours or a few days for the furniture to cure.

So there you have it. Remember to only use products recommended for wood furniture and make sure the primer you use is recommended for the paint you intend to use. Also, always put on a respirator while spraying so you don’t introduce paint fumes into your lungs.

Related Read — How to Remove Paint From Skin?

What Type of Paint Is Used on Wood Furniture?

Here are the most widely-used paint types for wood furniture. You should consider which type will be the best for your wood furniture.

Latex Paint

By far one of the most widely-used furniture paint, latex paint is common because of its broad range of colors and finishes. The paint is usually water-based which makes it suitable for indoor use.

Acrylic Paint

This paint like latex paint is also usually water-based. The finish of acrylic paint is usually bright and smooth. There is a wide variety of colors to pick from so you can pick a color that suits your indoor décor. The paint is also self-leveling and can be applied evenly.

This paint is suited for different types of wood furniture because of its high durability, easy application, and bright finish.

The paint dries within minutes so you can apply multiple coats of paint within a short time. The finish is also easy to clean and since it is water-based, it can be used indoors and around children.

The downside is that acrylic paint becomes boring over time. You might have the urge to repaint the wood furniture after a few months.

Related Read — How to Paint a Radiator?

Oil Paint

Oil paint isn’t particularly suited for indoor furniture. You can use this paint on a rocking chair placed outdoors or on a table used in the yard. The paint contains resins and oils that are sometimes not natural. It is not particularly eco-friendly either so do not spray this paint indoors.

Oil paints are also a tad overpriced so expect to spend a couple more bucks. The paint is not easy to clean. You will need a bottle of turpentine or isopropyl to clean stains.

On the plus side, the finish is usually glossy and beautiful. You can also apply oil paint as a clear coat on water-based or oil-based paint for extra sheen and extra protection.

Oil paint is easy to apply and it’s very durable. You can use the paint on any furniture regardless of how much you use the furniture. The finish won’t scratch or chip. This is the reason for its high cost.

Milk Paint

This is another common finish on furniture. It is sometimes referred to as chalky paint. Milk paint gives a natural feel and can be used on different furniture. Its finish is not thick or glossy.

The finish has a light and matte kind of look. If you want a vintage look on your wood furniture, then this is the best paint for you. The paint is very economical so you wouldn’t spend much to get your hands on it.

The downside is you might need extra supplies to apply this paint on wood furniture. The paint doesn’t stick well to the surface so a bonder is sometimes required. You might also need to add a clear coat on the topcoat so the finish lasts longer.

The finish is usually prone to chips, scratches, and it doesn’t do a good job of protecting the wood. This paint isn’t suited for furniture that will be used heavily.

Anyone of the above-mentioned paint typed will work well on your wood furniture as long as you follow the instructions stated on the container and apply the paint well.

Related Read — How to Paint Your House?

So, What Paint Should You Use for Your Wood Furniture?

The biggest decision you have to make before spray painting your wood furniture is to decide which paint to use. There are several options to pick from, each with its benefits.

You can decide to go for latex paint, oil paint, and the likes. Though different sources will indicate one type of paint as the best for wood furniture, the reality is that there is no single paint type that will go for all wood furniture.

The paint that will prove to be the best for you will depend on some factors including:

  • The Type of Finish You Are Going for –  This is the major determinant of the paint type you will buy. The type of finish you want on the wood will determine the best type of paint for your task.
  • Your Budget –  The amount of money you are willing to spend on the wood furniture will determine the best paint and finish for your task. Some paints are pricey than others.
  • The Type of Wood You Are Working on – The wood your furniture is made from will determine the best paint for your task.

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Final Words

So, there you have it, this is how to paint your furniture. If you have any questions or comments, kindly leave them below and I’ll attend to them as soon as possible. Have a nice painting experience.

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We’re a team of engineers, contractors, technicians, and woodworking experts who use power tools daily and share fact-based information, tips, and recommendations. At thetoolgeeks.com, we debunk myths about power tools and share methods to use them effectively.

The Tool Geeks Team

We're a team of engineers, contractors, technicians, and woodworking experts who use power tools daily and share fact-based information, tips, and recommendations. At thetoolgeeks.com, we debunk myths about power tools and share methods to use them effectively.

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