How to Refinish or Paint Bamboo Furniture

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Refinish bamboo furniture to keep it looking its best.
Refinish bamboo furniture to keep it looking its best. (Image: Jupiterimages  /Polka Dot/Getty Images)

If you wish to refinish bamboo furniture, you will need to condition the surface a particular way, based on your overall goals. If you plan to stain the bamboo, you must prepare the surface for better absorption. Bamboo contains a slick outer layer that will reject new finishes. You must use sandpaper to remove this layer, or the stain will not soak in. If you plan to paint the furniture, you must sand the surface to promote adhesion. You will also need to apply a particular type of primer that will help to create a durable finish.

Things You'll Need

  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloths
  • Plastic dropcloths
  • Heavy-duty fabric dropcloths
  • 2- to 3-inch oil-based paintbrush
  • Oil-based stain
  • Rags
  • Mineral spirits
  • Varnish
  • Acrylic latex primer
  • 2- to 4-inch latex paintbrush
  • Acrylic enamel

Staining

Work in a well-ventilated area.

Sand the slick outer surface of the bamboo furniture with 120-grit sandpaper. Sand until the bamboo feels slightly rough.

Wipe down the bamboo with tack cloths.

Spread out plastic dropcloths and cover those with fabric ones. Place the bamboo furniture on the dropcloths.

Coat the sanded bamboo furniture with oil-based stain, using a paintbrush manufactured for use with oil paints. Wipe excess stain from the bamboo with cloth rags. Wait two hours. Add an additional coat of stain to the bamboo furniture if you want a darker finish. Wait eight hours for the stained bamboo to dry.

Wash your brush with mineral spirits.

Coat the stained bamboo furniture with varnish, using the clean paintbrush. Wait eight hours before using the furniture.

Painting

Abrade the bamboo furniture with 120-grit sandpaper. Sand until the bamboo feels slightly rough.

Place the bamboo furniture on heavy-duty fabric dropcloths.

Coat the abraded bamboo furniture with acrylic latex primer, using a paintbrush manufactured for use with latex paint. Wait two hours for the primed bamboo to dry.

Wash your brush with water.

Coat the primed bamboo furniture with acrylic enamel, using the clean paintbrush. Wait eight hours before using the furniture.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not apply stain directly over varnished bamboo furniture, or the stain will flake.
  • Never paint bare bamboo, or the paint will chip and peel.
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