How to Paint Animal Prints on Furniture


Animal prints are often used in home decor as bold and interesting patterns in wall art, window treatments, fabrics and accessories. They can also be used to add a vibrant and dynamic look to ordinary furniture. Consider using animal prints on dressers, tables, wood paneling and built-ins or even as accents to seating. Painting animal prints on furniture is an inexpensive way to make a bold statement in a room.

Things You'll Need

  • Furniture
  • Coarse-grit sandpaper
  • Damp rag
  • Primer
  • Water-based paint
  • Straight and angled brushes
  • Shellac
  • Choose your animal print design. Some popular and easy to replicate choices of animal prints are leopard, zebra, cheetah or tiger. You may want to find a stencil you like. If you plan to draw your design by hand, consider using pictures of these animals as a guide.

  • Prepare the surface of your furniture. If your furniture is wood, it is a good idea to sand down your piece of furniture with coarse-grit sandpaper. This will help level your surface, as well as help the new paint to adhere. Clean the surface of any dust with a warm, damp rag.

  • Use painter's tape to protect the hardware or areas you don't want to paint. You may even consider removing the hardware if possible. Painter's tape is easy to remove once the paint dries and will keep the areas you don't want painted safe.

  • Paint a layer of primer on your furniture. This step is often overlooked, but it will really enhance the quality of the finished product. It will also save you the hassle of painting multiple coats of your animal print.

  • Draw or stencil your animal print design with a pencil. This will help you make sure you are comfortable with your design before painting.

  • Fill in your animal print design with your water-based paint. Water-based paint is preferred to oil-based because they are easier to use and quicker to dry. Use a combination of angled and straight brushes in various sizes to convey the intricacies of your animal print. Allow your paint to dry fully for at least 24 hours.

  • Add a layer of shellac to protect your paint and furniture surface. This will help preserve your animal print design and add a glossy, professional finish to your furniture. Allow to dry for at least 24 to 48 hours.

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  • Photo Credit animal print image by Leticia Wilson from
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