Trends change quickly in the world of decor and design, and it is likely that you will want to keep up with the times. Wood furniture often comes with a polyurethane varnish or lacquer that prevents an easy or immediate decor change. But with careful preparations, you can paint over finished wood in your home and update its look. It requires some patient sanding and oil-based paint products to adhere to the plastic and polyurethane finishes on wood and commercial wood furniture.
Dampen the cotton rag with the the trisodium phosphate solution. Wipe away all dirt, grease and grime from the surface of the wood, scrubbing away at any tough stains. Let the wood air-dry before proceeding.
Sand the wood with a sanding sponge, power rotary tool, oscillating sander or sanding block until the varnished wood is smooth and the wood has lost its gloss and sheen. Use lower grit sand paper for rougher finishes and thicker varnishes. Wipe away any dust residue leftover from sanding with a tack cloth.
Apply a thin coat of primer onto the wood. Apply in careful, even strokes to avoid any thick splotches of primer in isolated areas. Let the first coat dry to touch.
Apply a second coat of the primer. Allow to dry overnight. Sand until the primed surface is smooth to remove uneven textures due to blotches in the primer application and from the brushstrokes.
Apply a single coat of the enamel paint in the same manner of application as the primer, using long and even strokes across the surface of the wood. Let the first coat dry to touch before apply subsequent coats of paint.
Tips & Warnings
- You can use a spray gun in place of a brush for a smoother, more professional finish.
- Apply a wipe-on polyurethane varnish to protect the paint job if desired.
- Oil paints take a lot of time to dry. If time is an issue, substitute the oil-based enamel paint with a high-quality 100% acrylic paint.
- Many of the products involved in this process have strong fumes. Apply them outdoors or in well-ventilated areas.
- Some oil-based paints are flammable. Please read the labels of your selected products and use caution.
- Always use gloves, eye protection and a dust mask when working with TSP, especially in its powdered form.
Things You'll Need:
- Cotton rag
- Trisodium phosphate solution
- 220- to 400-grit abrasives
- Tack cloth
- Oil-based primer/sealer
- Oil-based enamel paint
- Natural-bristle paintbrushes
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