What to Know Before Painting Furniture Without Sanding

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In some instances, it is perfectly fine to skip the sanding step when re-painting a piece of furniture, but you will want to keep these tips in mind when deciding if sanding would be appropriate or not.

Is the Surface Shiny or Slick? – If the surface is very smooth and shiny, you may want to use sandpaper as the paint or primer could peel off or easily scrap off with a fingernail.  You will want to, at the very least, go over the furniture with 220 or 320 grit sandpaper; this will give the primer, or paint, something to adhere to.

Has the Surface Been Thoroughly Cleaned? Make sure you start by cleaning the surface with some kind of degreaser before you paint or prime.  Paint and primer will not adhere to any type of oils, even those used in cleaning solutions.

Has the Surface Been Waxed? – If you are painting over something that has a wax coating over top, sand the wax off.  Paint and primer will NOT adhere to a waxed surface.

You Can Use a Liquid Sander – You can also wipe the piece down with a liquid sander (available at most hardware stores) instead of using actual sandpaper.  NOTE: read the directions on the back before buying to ensure it will work with your piece, along with the primer, or paint, you intend to use.

Use an Oil Based Primer – If you decide not to sand, you will want to use an oil based primer, or a shellac based primer, as opposed to no primer or a water based primer.  Oil and shellac primers cure faster, reducing the risk of paint peeling or being scratched off within the first 2-4 weeks.

If you read through this list, and still feel it’s fine to paint without sanding, congrats!  You’ve shaved some time off of this project.

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Things to watch for when refurnishing your Dresser or Nightstand

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We use dressers and nightstands every day, and if a child is using one, you can bet that it’s being used and abused.  If your dresser is looking old and worn, you may want to just refurnish it instead of going out any buying a new one; this can save you money, and it’s amazing how a coat of paint can change the entire look!  However, there are a few things you need to look for when you do want to refurnish.

Surface: If the surface of the nightstand has rough grain, or is looking bubbly- beware.  The problem with uneven surfaces is that once you sand and prime them, all of the uneven areas begin to expand- you’re then left with a blotchy surface.  The solution to this is to sand completely past the stain, and down to the actual wood.

Peeling Veneer – It could be a big problem if the veneer is peeling.  If it peels off easily, it won”t be worth your time to repair it.  Yet, if it has only began to peel in a few small areas, it is salvageable with wood glue and wood filler.

Laminate – Laminate is a plastic coating over the wood.  You can paint over it, but that is not ideal.  Painting over it will make the it look… not quite right, and very amateur.  It’s best to stay away from this entirely.

Drawers – Drawers are, of course, the most important part of the dresser or nightstand, so it only makes sense to know if you have something made with quality.  If you do have something of quality, think about whether or not it would be best to get rid of it, or to try and refurnish it. One way to know if you do have quality craftsmanship is by taking the drawer out of the dresser, and looking for Dovetails.  If you see the Dovetails like in the picture below, you know you have something of quality.

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Lastly, if the drawers are on metal drawer guides that slide, make sure they slide smoothly.  These guides are difficult to fix and with older dressers, and many of the parts needed to fix them are no longer made.  If there is not a metal guide, and the drawer is wood on wood, you can smooth the sliding a little by wiping furniture wax on the bottom of the drawers and the wood guides underneath.  This will help smooth it out quite a bit.

That’s it!  If you have a dresser or nightstand that seems to be in good standing- go ahead and slap some paint on it to give it a whole new look.  Happy Painting!

Primer Not Sticking? Don’t Worry.

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Did you paint an antique dresser, making it look new and beautiful, only to see that the primer is chipping the next day?  Don’t worry- it’s not the end of the world, and you don’t need to sand off ALL of the hard work you did, and start over; you just need to be patient.

Of course, clearing the surface of dirt, chipped paint, grime, oil, etc. will help the primer stick to the surface of the furniture (you can even sand it down with 80-100 grit sandpaper to ensure the surface is clean of debris).  But once you have a smooth, clean surface, you can apply your coat(s) of primer.

You get up the next day, eager to see your beautiful work, when you notice the paint chipping, cracking, and peeling off like a sticker; what do you do?  As stated before, you only need to be patient.  Even though it does state on the product information that it takes around 40 minutes for it to dry enough for it to be touched, it takes about seven days to fully harden. If you do find that the primer is chipping, or peeling, simply fix that little area, instead of re-doing everything.

Did you say a WEEK?  Yes, it does take a week, but don’t worry- you don’t have to wait a week before applying a second coat.  Usually the primer is ready for that next coat in about an hour, and will continue to harden even though there are globs of paint on top of it.

See- it’s simple, and nothing to panic over.