How to Prime Furniture to Paint


Painting a piece of wooden furniture is not difficult. Sand and properly prime the furniture before you apply the final paint coat. The primer will help to keep the paint from chipping and will keep any old stains that are in the wood from showing through the new paint. Priming a piece of furniture may take a little extra time, but by doing so, the finished product will look professional, and the paint job will last longer.

Things You'll Need

  • Primer
  • Paint brush
  • Roller
  • Spray gun
  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Dust mask
  • Newspaper

Priming Furniture

  • Decide which type of primer to use. Shellac is often used as a primer for raw wood or when painting over a pre-existing finish. It works well for knotty pine and other finishes which may already be on the wood and have not been sanded. A thinned-down version of the intended paint is also sometimes used. Bonding primers tend to help the paint adhere the best and last the longest.

  • Find a primer whose tint is close to the final color desired for the piece of furniture you intend to paint.

  • Find a well-ventilated open space to work. Wear gloves, safety goggles and a dust mask.

  • Place the piece of furniture on newspapers.

  • Dust the piece, and wipe it off with a dry rag.

  • Paint all surfaces of the piece. Use a spray-paint system if one is set up. Use a roller for large flat surfaces if painting by hand. This allows the primer to be spread evenly. Use a paintbrush to paint primer on any curved spots as well as paint primer on the joints.

  • Remove any pieces of the furniture which are detachable (drawers, shelves, etc), and prime them separately.

  • Wait at least four hours for the primer to dry before painting the piece of furniture with the paint.

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