How to Paint Wood Furniture

When your wood furniture is new or long time uses , you might want to refinish it. Furniture refinishing can greatly improve the durability of your furniture and increase its value. Furniture refinishing is not a DIY project, so contacting home repair or design specialist is the best way to start your project.

However, if you find that it’s just not worth the time and cost, then you may want to try painting your furniture smooth. This article will give you information on how to paint wood furniture smoothly in a few simple steps.

How to Paint Wood Furniture

how to paint wood furniture smooth,

Applying different paint with different tools will give you a different look, feel and end result. It is important to know what type of paint you are using (latex or oil), how it is applied and what the finished product looks like. You can follow the step by step tutorial below to learn how to paint wood furniture smoothly.

Step 1: Tools You Will Need

When you starting the paint process, having the right tools is a must. The following list includes some of the tools that you will need for a furniture refinishing project:

  1. Scraper tool
  2. Sander and Sandpaper
  3. Tack cloth
  4. Nylon bristle brush
  5. Safety gear
  6. Drop cloth
  7. Spray-on oil-based primer
  8. Oil-based paint
  9. Sanders pad (optional)

Step 2: Clean the Wood Surfaces

Before painting, you need to clean the wood surfaces. You will have to do a light sanding with the sanding block and a smooth finish is needed.

Also Read: The 5 Best Belt Sander for Knife Making [Customers Choice]

You then need to apply a coat of wood oil, which will help to protect the wood from water and moisture damage. Let the wood oil to sit for a few minutes before wiping it off with a soft cloth. The dirt or dust will lift away from the surface with the oil.

Step 3: Sand and Prep the Wood Surfaces

Now that you have oiled your surface, you can use your scraper tool and remove any residue left over from the oiling process.

Let the cleaned surface sit for a few minutes and then wipe it off with the tack cloth. The tack cloth will remove any oil from the surface that may have been left over from the wood oil.

If there is still some residue on the surface, you should use a fine grit sandpaper and sand off any marks that may have appeared. Make sure that your sandpaper is not too course and to make sure that you are not tearing up the wood surface.

Step 4: Clean the Dust From Wood Surfaces

We will be painting the furniture with oil based primers, so you need to get rid of the wood oil residue. Give your wood surfaces a tissue bath and wipe it clean.

This will remove any dust, dirt and debris from the surface so that you can paint the wood smoothly. You should not use harsh chemicals on the surface or you will cause damage to the wood.

Step 5: Priming the Wood Surfaces

Right before you start painting the wood surfaces, you need to primer those wood surface. Avoid using oil based primer on the wood components that are painted with oil, because the two will react with each other and cause discoloration in the surface.

You should use oil based primer on the unfinished areas of the wood. Use a spray-on oil-based primer on the wood surfaces that are primed, so that you can allow it to act like a sealer for the oil. Just make sure that you do not use too much pressure when spraying the primer.

Step 6: Sand the Primer

When the wood surfaces are primed, you will need to sand off any rough edges and splinters that may have been left over from the wood priming process.  You can use the sanding block or a fine grit sandpaper to do this. You want to make sure that you sand the priming process using the lowest grit that you can get away with.

The you must be clean the wood surfaces, again using your tack cloth. This will make sure that you are not leaving any residue behind.  The last thing that you should do is to vacuum the wood surfaces, so that there are no loose particles left behind that could cause problems during the painting process.

Step 7: Paint the Wood

Now that you have sanded off the rough edges, it’s time to prime and paint the furniture. You will be painting with oil based oil paint , so check out our article on how to paint wood furniture with oil-based paint.

You can use any spray-on primer that you want for your own application, but keep in mind that you should not use too much primer because it will cause a shine on the wood surface.

Read More: How To Use a Coping Saw For Work

Make sure that you watch the process the entire time and make sure that you allow enough drying time between coats.  You should also check out the drying time on your paint cans.

Step 8: Sanding and Repaint the Wood Surfaces

After you have applied three coats of oil based primer and two coats of oil based paint, it’s time to sand off any rough edges.  You will need to sand away any excess paint or primer using sandpaper or a electric sander. This is important so that you can get a smooth finish.

You should also make sure that all the edges of your furniture are sanded and free from paint or primer.  Once this is done, wipe the surfaces with a tack cloth so that there are no excess particles left behind. You will want to make sure that there are no areas on the wood surface that are left unpainted or unlined.

You may have to do this process again if you can see any dust or residue in the wood.

The final step to painting wood furniture is always a wipe off with a tack cloth, so that there are no loose particles left behind. If you do not clean off the wood surface properly, then it could cause problems with the paint application.

More Tips on Painting Wood Furniture

Painting Wood Furniture

The key to a smooth finish is to ensure that you are using the right wood primer, paint and sanding tools for your project. We have the following tips to help you out:

1. Sanding Tools

You should not use a power sander on your furniture because this may cause damage.

Instead, use a soft bristle brush and a sanding block for the application of primer and paint or spray-on paint. Be careful not to damage the surfaces with too much pressure.

2. Primer Selection

Oil-based primers can cause problems if you use it on unfinished furniture or with oil based paint. The two should not be used together because they can react to each other and cause discoloration in the surface of the wood.

You should use spray-on oil-based primer on wood surfaces that are primed.  This will act like a sealer to your oil based paint and you will have no problems with any type of paint application.

3. Paint

Make sure that you use oil based oil paint for your project, so that you can avoid problems with the paint not staying in place.  Oil based paints need to be applied in a well-ventilated area, so that the fumes are minimized.

You should try to avoid having any solvents on the surface of the furniture and avoid touching the paint with your bare hands, as it could cause damage to the surface.

Related Article: How to Use a Random Orbital Sander

When you are done, make sure that you clean up any excess materials and let the project dry before moving on to the next step.  Keep in mind that you should not use your furniture for at least 24 hours.

4. Drying Time

You should allow enough drying time for your oil based primer and paint to dry properly.  The amount of drying time will vary from project to project, so you will have to experiment with the drying time to get a good result.

5. Stains

Most stains are oil based, so make sure that you use a stain that is water based and make sure that you rinse any excess stain with the proper solvent. Keep in mind that if the stain is not allowed to dry properly, then it could affect your paint job.

6. Clean Up

When you are done, be sure to clean up all your tools before you leave.  Make sure that there is no solvent left on the surface of the wood and that it is dry before you move on to the next step. You should also protect any areas of the furniture that were exposed during the painting process.

Frequently Asked Question

This is a very popular project for do it yourself furniture painters because of the finished result and low cost of materials. However, there are some questions that might not be addressed in the process above.

How many coats do you need to paint a piece of furniture?

The amount of coats that you will need will depend on the material and the finish that you are trying to achieve. As a reference, we used 5 coats of paint on our project. Two topcoats followed by 3 primer coats and 2 base coats to achieve the finished result.

Can you paint straight over wood furniture?

Yes, you can paint straight over the surface of your furniture. However, you should use a primer that is oil based and not water based for the application. If the wood is sealed properly, then it will not cause any problems with your paint finish.

Can you paint directly on wood?

Yes, you can paint directly on wood. Just make sure that you are using a specific oil-based primer that is made for the application. Make sure that you are not using a water based or latex primer as it will react negatively with your paint and cause problems with the finished finish.

What kind of paint should I use on wood furniture?

You should use a high quality oil-based paint, or spray-on oil based paint. If you do not have these materials, then you can use an enamel based paint. Be careful not to use any solvent type paints if you are working with oil based paints. Also, work in well-ventilated areas and make sure that the fumes are minimized by using a respirator mask.

Can you paint over varnished wood without sanding?

Yes, you can use oil-based water-based, or latex primers to paint over the surface of your wood. You should only sand away the excess paint. Use a primer that has been made with the same type of paint that you want to apply. If possible, be sure to use spray-on paint over a well coated surface.

Can I paint over finished wood?

Yes, you can paint straight over the surface of your furniture. It does not matter what kind of finish is on the surface. However, you should use a primer that is oil based and not water based for the application. If the wood is sealed properly, then it will not cause any problems with your paint finish.

Can I use acrylic paints?

Yes, you can use acrylic paints on wood. However, make sure that you use an oil-based paint to seal the paint properly. Wash your brushes thoroughly after each time you are done with your project as they may contain residues from the acrylic paint.


Painting wood furniture is a great way to add value to your home as well as protect your valuable items, But how to paint wood furniture? This is a tough challenge and most people usually don’t know the right way to go about it.

But with the right knowledge, anyone can paint wood furniture like a professional. The following article will teach you how to paint wood furniture step by step so that you can succeed in your preprimary project.

Similar Posts