How to Paint Lacquered Furniture

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If you would like to paint lacquered furniture, you will need to consider a pair of important points. First, because lacquered paint is slick and glossy, it is poorly-suited for paint adhesion. You will need to condition the lacquered surface through abrasion techniques. In addition, because lacquered furniture is so smooth, you should employ a particular application strategy that will promote a smooth, professional-looking finish, free of sagging, runs and brushstrokes.

How to Paint Lacquered Furniture
(Nicolas Agustin Cabrera/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Palm sander
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Heavy-duty fabric drop cloth
  • Blue painter's tape
  • 2- to 3-inch oil-based paintbrush
  • Oil-based primer
  • Mineral spirits
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Wooden stir stick
  • Measuring cup
  • Oil-based enamel paint
Step 1

Work in a well-ventilated area, like an open garage.

Nicolas Agustin Cabrera/Demand Media
Step 2

Abrade the lacquered furniture to stimulate adhesion by sanding it with a palm sander fitted with 220-grit sandpaper. Sand until the glossy lacquered coating appears dull.

Nicolas Agustin Cabrera/Demand Media
Step 3

Remove dust from the sanded furniture by wiping it down with a tack cloth.

Nicolas Agustin Cabrera/Demand Media
Step 4

Place the furniture on top of a fabric drop cloth. Cover any parts of the furniture you do not want painted with painter's tape.

Nicolas Agustin Cabrera/Demand Media
Step 5

Apply a coat of oil-based primer to the abraded lacquered furniture, using a paintbrush manufactured for applying oil-based paints. Allow the primer to dry for two hours.

Nicolas Agustin Cabrera/Demand Media
Step 6

Wash the brush with mineral spirits.

Nicolas Agustin Cabrera/Demand Media
Step 7

Dilute the oil-based enamel paint to promote a smoother finish by stirring in one ounce of mineral spirits for every gallon of paint. Mix the water and paint in a 5-gallon bucket. Stir for five minutes using a wooden stir stick.

Nicolas Agustin Cabrera/Demand Media
Step 8

Apply two thin coats of the diluted enamel paint using the cleaned paintbrush. Do not over-apply, as this will lead to runs and drips. Allow two hours of dry time between coats. Allow the paint to dry and cure for six hours before using the furniture.

Nicolas Agustin Cabrera/Demand Media

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Tips & Warnings

  • Although you may use acrylic latex primer and paint to coat lacquered furniture, the finish will not be as durable.
  • Do not use plain rags in place of a sticky tack cloth, or you may leave behind dust that could inhibit adhesion.
  • Do not attempt to cover the lacquered furniture in one, thick coat of paint, or you may end up with a messy-looking finish.
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