Painting Antique Furniture without ruining Its Appeal

What You'll Need
Paint stripper
Paint scraper
Safety goggles
Rubber gloves
Tack cloth

Most people don’t bother with painting antique furniture. They prefer to strip it and refinish it to bring out the beauty of the wood. That’s the standard way of doing things but it is possible to enjoy painting antique furniture and leave it looking very attractive. It takes a degree of effort and you need to invest plenty of time into stripping the furniture first. This will make painting a great deal easier.


Step 1 - Removing Paint

Unless your furniture has been very well look after, it will have dirt and old paint on it. The first step, prior to painting antique furniture, is to remove this. There might be several layers of paint. The simplest way to get it of is by using paint stripper. Buy one that you brush on to the wood. Make sure that you wear rubber gloves, since it contains chemicals, and work outside on or a plastic drop cloth in a well-ventilated area. If you’re inside, be certain to wear a breathing mask to protect your throat.

Allow the stripper to sit for the recommended time, then remove rit. Depending on the brand, you either wipe it off, scrape it off, or flush it off. If you have to scrape the paint off, use a paint scrape, but do it gently. You might need to repeat the process a few times in order to remove all the paint. You might end up with a few tiny areas of paint left. Clean the chair with water and allow it to dry.

Step 2 - Sanding

Having removed the paint, now you need to sand the wood smooth to bring out the grain. Put on safety goggles first. Start with an 80 grit sandpaper and sand all the wood lightly. Repeat the procedure with a 150 grit and then a 200 girt sandpaper until the furniture feels soft under your fingertips. To remove all the sawdust, wipe down the furniture carefully with a tack cloth.

Step 3 - Painting

Before you start painting antique furniture, you need to consider the effect you want to create with the paint. A thin wash of paint can look attractive, especially if topped with a few small stencils in a contrasting color; this can look quite Colonial. A thin wash of paint also allow the wood the show through.

To achieve this, use a water-based paint and thin it a little. Experiment on a piece of scrap wood to see what gives the type of coverage you desire. Paint on to your furniture with long, even brushstrokes. You don’t want the brush marks to show through. Cover with one thin coat and allow to dry.

Step 4 - Stencils

Choose your stencils and where you want them to be on the wood. Use the paint in a different, darker color at full strength and paint in the stencils. Remove and allow to dry. After painting antique furniture this way, you’ll be more than happy with the result.