Friday, July 12, 2013

Details: Prepping Your Furniture for Painting

This is part 1 of my Details series.   

Details are everything.   I live a life of details, which for an artist, can be confusing!  But I love the details.  Details are the difference between doing a craft and craftmanship.  I have had some questions about how I paint furniture so I thought I would share some of what I do.

 THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP IS PREPPING YOUR PIECE.  After hours of work on a piece, the last thing you want is for your paint to peel or to have bumps and lumps where you don't want them.  The first thing I do is check for needed repairs.  I do them first because if I can't repair the piece properly there is no sense on continuing the job.  If a repair isn't feasible, then I break the piece down for parts, just like a car!  Sometimes there are just loose screws, sometime a leg needs a new brace, sometimes you need to fill in with wood putty or glue some pieces.

After repairs are made,  I sand.  Ok, my chalk paint users are now saying they can skip this paragraph, because the almighty chalk pain lets you skip this step, right?  Here's the truth as I see it.  No, you don't have to sand to allow chalk paint to adhere to your surface.  You do have to sand in order to present your best product.  Very few used pieces of furniture are in pristine condition.   Sanding gives your piece it's best chance of being the best in can be.    Don't skip sanding. 

And as you sand, begin with your coarsest sandpaper that you need for your piece.  Sand with the grain, but ALWAYS follow up and sand with finer paper.  I usually sand in 3 phases: coarse, then medium, then fine.  Never skip the steps or you do not end with the smoothest surface available to your product.          

CleaningSo important to upcycling a piece.  I use Murphy's oil soap/water mix.  I also use Simply Green.  And the best degreaser ever?  Don't laugh... my sister by another mother showed me this product....
Yep.  Awesome Orange from the Dollar Tree.  Trust me.  Best degreaser ever!  Make sure you flip your piece and clean underneath, pull out drawers and scrub your inner framing, scrub inside your drawers... you get the picture.  TOUCH EVERY SURFACE.  Remove all previous tags and leave only original furniture tags that you might find.

This about covers the prep work.  It is so important to be very thorough in the step.  Not the funnest step to upcycling your goods, but never skimp on the base work.  You will never regret the time you invest in your piece's details.  ;)