How to Paint Furniture & Sand Between Coats

When finishing furniture with paint, the process often requires more than one coat to create a even and attractive finish. Sanding between coats is an important step that enables the multiple layers of paint to adhere to one another. Although you may feel tempted to cut corners as you apply multiple layers, take the time to prepare the furniture surface before applying each paint layer to ensure that the finished result looks attractive.

Follow careful steps when you paint furniture.

Step 1

Spread the drop cloth out on a flat work surface and place the furniture piece onto the drop cloth.

Step 2

Remove hardware from the furniture with the screwdriver, if applicable. For example, unscrew any drawer pulls and knobs from dresser drawers or cabinets and set them aside.

Step 3

Sand every surface that you will paint with the sandpaper to scuff the surfaces. Rub the sandpaper back and forth evenly along the grain of the wood. Surfaces that you will not paint do not need sanding. For example, you need only sand the fronts of drawers -- the sides and inside edges of drawers do not need sanding unless you plan to paint these surfaces also. Continue sanding every surface you will paint until you scuff these surfaces thoroughly.

Step 4

Wipe the sanded surfaces with the tack cloth to remove sawdust.

Step 5

Load the flat paintbrush with the acrylic primer and apply the primer to every surface of the furniture in a thin and even layer. Allow the primer to dry for the time recommended on the product label.

Step 6

Sand the primed furniture lightly with the sandpaper after the primer dries thoroughly. Scuff every primed surface lightly with the sandpaper to ensure that the primed surfaces accept the next layer of paint. Wipe the sanded surfaces thoroughly with the tack cloth.

Step 7

Load the flat paintbrush with the acrylic paint and apply the paint over the primed and sanded surfaces. Continue painting until you cover the surfaces evenly. Allow the paint to dry for the time recommended by the paint manufacturer.

Step 8

Sand the painted furniture lightly with the sandpaper again and wipe the surfaces thoroughly with the tack cloth.

Step 9

Apply a second coat of paint to the furniture in a thin and even layer. Allow the paint to dry for at least 24 hours.

Step 10

Place any hardware back into the furniture and secure it with the screwdriver.

Things You Will Need

  • Drop cloth
  • Screwdriver
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • 2-inch flat paintbrush
  • Acrylic primer
  • Acrylic paint

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

Photo Credits

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