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    How do you paint pine furniture?

    This is a long indepth article on painting pine furniture, the most read online on this topic. It is written by professional furniture painters, and there is a lot to digest, so maybe print it off or bookmark it: preparation and painting of pine – waxed, varnished, bare or painted – laminate… brushes to use, why what where how…! All the answers are here!

    This was an orange pine dresser! Now it is a lovely feature piece.

    One of the most environmentally responsible things you can do these days is to paint pine furniture that you buy second hand, or have had in the family for a while. Older pieces are usually quite well constructed and deserve some love, especially those that were made with love! (The same applies to second hand kitchens!)

    Even if a piece of furniture is a little out of touch with current tastes, and gone orange on you! for the sake of a few coats of paint or wax or varnish, a grim fashion statement can be updated and given a new lease of life.

    This pine table was all bare orange and dull. But paintable.

    painted pine table

    DIY or call a pro?

    So, once you have decided to revive an old pine chest or table, you have to decide how to commit yourself financially and/or time wise.

    a – You can call in a professional furniture painter They will give you a fixed price , and at the end of the job, present you with a finished piece of hand-painted furniture that makes you smile.

    b – you can do it yourself.

    If you do it yourself, this is where I hope I can make a bit of a difference

    So often on forums I see the life and the fun factor drain out of people as they make mistake after mistake, and see their investment in time and money turn to pooh.

    Just because you aren’t a professional, doesn’t mean you can’t do a good job, and being DIY doesn’t preclude you from using trade quality products. In all honestly, I really don’t understand why anyone spends the money on rubbish in big DIY stores when for the same or even less, you can use the right kit. If the reason is, I don’t know what is available outside of B&Q, then you came to the right site.

    Painting pine properly yourself, you need to invest financially, and wisely:

    Correct paint for the finish or effect you are after

    ;

    There are many options, but the basic starting point for non professionals, I think, is either

    - Annie Sloan chalk paint – Apply straight on any surface, no prep required. Once painted, protect the chalk paint with wax.

    - or acrylic eggshell. The surface has to be cleaned, prepared and primed before egshelling.

    - or you can go with oil eggshell over a thoroughly cleaned, prepared and primed surface. I like oil eggshell, but if you aren’t confident in your abilities, go acrylic eggshell. (Everything worth knowing about Oil v acrylic eggshell)

    You can go round and round with this brand is better than that brand, and who would pay £x for that posh paint when you can get that high street brand paint for £x less 40%.

    To save yourself headache and heartache, just think:

    - the high street eggshell paints are shiny

    - the posh eggshells are flatter

    - chalk paint is different, quirky, and very cool, if the French look is your thing. 

    - there really isn’t that much of a price difference for small quantities of paint.

    With that simplified view of the paint world you should find it easier to take your pick of some of these paint suitable for furniture .

    The overall cost of materials for a piece of furniture is fairly constant, whichever paint you choose.

    Shabby chic or not shabby chic?

    Whatever paint you choose, you can either apply it conventionally, that is to say flat and even block colour and leave it that way, or you shabby chic your paintwork with a juducious sanding. This wooden headboard was painted with a water based eggshell, I believe, and distressed.

    It could have been painted conventionally, and over time, wear and tear would have shabby chic-ed it naturally. Or they could have used chalk paint from the outset, roughed up the edges to imitate wear and tear, and protected with wax.

    Lee Simone gives some brilliant advice on distressed paint finishes for furniture.

    It is purely a case of taste how you go about painting furniture and distressing it, or not.

    headboard painted and distressed

    Correct cleaning product for pine

    You won’t need any cleaner if you use chalk paint.

    If you use conventional oil or acrylic or waterborne paints, you will need to make sure the surface is thoroughly clean and keyed/sanded.

    To remove wax, try a cleaner that doesn’t gas or burn you. Krudkutter Original is the business in tandem with a good kitchen scourer.

    I cover abrasives further down.

    Brushes

    My Paint Brush is a superb ONLINE destination for paint brushes. If you trust our opinion, and you want to buy exceptional professional brushes (and accessories) from an online store, MyPaintBrush will really see you right with fair prices and brilliant customer service, I can’t recommend any place better.

    Why you should use a decent paint brush

    Just like you wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes for a sprint that are 2 sizes too small for you, why would you buy a cruddy brush for your expensive paint? I think the Wooster FTP is the best for chalk paint, and the brushes pictured below will do you proud in acrylic eggshell.

    American paint brushes

    PICASSO BRUSH FOR £7 – WHILE STOCKS LAST -* Picasso 2″ angled sash brush! .

    If you stick with water-based paints, there is no excuse nor reason to worry that a brush is too good for you.

    Brush care

    Taking care of brushes used in water-based paints can be as simple as leaving the brush in a pot of Krudkutter cleaner for an hour and wash it out under a cool running tap. You can get it perfectly clean.

    Flick it out as dry as you can, shape it with your fingers and lay it down somewhere safe on a piece of kitchen paper.

    Or treat yourself to a * Brush Vest.
    Brush Vest to keep the brush safe while in transit.

    Or use the * Paint Brush Cover Don’t clean your brush every day, place it in the cover designed for protecting bristles and keeping the paint soft for a few days.

    Store and Go! gel

    Store and go

    This pot of gel will keep your water based and oil based brushes in perfect condition for months. When you want a break or at the end of the day or at the end of a job, literally wipe off excess paint and dunk the brush into the gel. You can leave it an hour for lunch or with the lid on, 6 – 12 months, and when you come back, scrape gel off bristles into a scrap pot and carry on painting. Under £20, so much hassle saved, very eco friendly, the water savings are massive. What’s not to like!

    Simple cleaning ensures a really nice synthetic paint brush will last you a long time and it will be a joy to use, and there should be some sense of peace of mind too, knowing that you are using the same kit that painters like me are using, rather than using cheapo brushes from B&Q that pros wouldn’t have much luck with either!

    Paint conditioner

    Acrylic paint gets a bad rap because people say it goes on stringy and you can’t get rid of brushmarks. That isn’t true. Buy a little pot of Floetrol and add up to 10% to your paint instead of water. Some decorators will tell you it is a waste of money! At worst, you create 10% more usable paint. At best it will give you time to work the paint. And it will help the paint to lie flat with fewer / negligible brushmarks.

    conditioner for ALL water based paints

    An alternative conditioner which some decorators are getting quite attached to is XIM Latex Xtender.

    If you use oil paint, add Owatrol oil, up to 10%. Again, with a bit of technique, the conditioner will help brushmarks flow out nicely.

    Good sandpaper

    Abrasives have come a long way since Oakey sandpaper, the stuff that used to disintegrate and stink to high heaven when it got damp! Abranet is the way ahead.

    Use 80 or 120 grade for rougher sanding.

    If you use acrylic eggshell, on flat surfaces, sand between coats with 240 or 320 grade abranet, and your finish will be immaculate. On profiles use a spongy sanding pad, or if you have a lot to do, consider Mirka Gold Flex, which is a bit of a revelation for sanding edges without removing too much paint. (Mirka do provide many of the best sanding solutions on the market.)

    For chalk paint, it can be sanded super glassy smooth, but really, there is no need to sand till you get to the first wax stage. It’s the Annie Sloan way and it really is much cleaner that way.

    Abranet is my abrasive of choice.

    abranet abrasive

    Across the range, Abranet is used on the roughest woodwork to the highest class autos. It is part of a dustless sanding system. I got started for with an Abranet starter kit which back in 2009 was between £25-£40. I have adopted the whole power sanding system too, but I still have this starter kit, and use it most days.

    The system is a sanding block that plugs into your vacuum cleaner, plus some abrasives. Without seeing it, I know its a weird concept, but honestly, it has revolutionised decorating across the board. And this is what the basic kit looks like.

    So you use the sanding block for flat areas, the dust goes straight down the tube into your vacuum. For fiddly bits, there are a variety of specialist sponges and blocks available, but for DIY to get the feel for it, the simplest option is an interface pad.

    A starter kit comes with an interface pad, which is about 1/2″ thick foam with velcro. I take this pad off the sanding block and use it for sanding profiles.

    detaches and can be used to sand profiles

    Don’t bother cutting corners with other sandpaper, you will miss the whole point of Abranet and dustless sanding. (Dustless in that 90% of dust should be captured at source. )

    Exclusive Mirka offer to Traditional Painter Newsletter readers

    Traditional Painters work with Mirka, who we think are out-and-out fantastic company with a great ethos. They seem to like us too, and have put together an offer.

    Readers of the Traditional Painter Newsletter have enjoyed a tasty price on the Abranet Starter Kit – £33.07 delivered to your door, or the Handy Kit for under £40 delivered. Readers of this article can also take advantage of the offer too. It is a great price, really.

    If you do sign up for the Newsletter, you will receive leads and tips on many more deals that will help you with your furniture painting projects


    Masking tape

    So often I see demos on Youtube where a few pieces of masking tape in the right place would have raised the standard from sloppy DIY to thoughtful professional. 3M Scoth Blue 2090 is reliable and easy to get hold of. *Dolphin is also a reliable blue tape used by Traditional Painters and about half the price of the 3M range.

    scotch blue 2090 tape and dispenser work well together

    Don’t buy from a Dulux Decorator merchant though, price ways, they will pull your pants down, so to speak. Shop for tapes on-line for a much more reasonable price.

    Floor protection

    A roll of lining paper works well, or a sheet of One Tuff if you like your floor protection tuff and fluff free. Cotton dust sheets or newspaper, nooooooooooo – that is making life hard for yourself.

    Make time
    You are also committing your free time to this project, because even with the best will in the world, no plug-and-play-and-leave machine can do the work for you. I don’t know about you, but there are only so many hours in a day, definitely not unlimited spare time, so make it count, do it right and maximise the return on your money and time!

    That is the kit, how do I actually paint pine furniture?

    There are thousands of blogs and forums that talk about painting pine and painting pine furniture. I see a lot of misconceptions floating around, and home DIY painters especially, are getting in trouble, unnecessarily, following duff advice, or not understanding a few simple principles.

    Painting pine properly is not super easy, but with a few thoughts in the forefront of your mind, any keen painter can achieve excellent results.

    Rather than me talking in abstracts this links to an article I wrote that uses the exact same principles outlined above:

    Paint a pine table with Little Greene paint & Mirka CEROS

    When you have read that, you should have a clearer picture in your mind of the practical steps and the principles. However, there are lots of combinations of primers and paints for different surfaces, so by all means come back here, and below is a series of step by steps to paint varnished furniture, paint waxed furniture etc

    IF YOU ARE LEARNING SOMETHING, WHY NOT SIGN UP FOR FREE EMAIL UPDATES OF SIMILAR QUALITY ARTICLES ABOUT PAINTING FURNITURE, KITCHENS AND PERIOD PROPERTY.

    Painting pine furniture the professional ways

    When it comes to preparing pine furniture for painting, if you want a professional looking finish, there is no choice: it should be done to the best of your ability. When deciding which primers and finish paint to use on pine furniture, there is choice. Oil based or water based, or a combination of the two.

    All the paints and products mentioned, I use them and stand by them (unless I say otherwise). Some suppliers are listed in the lower information section of the page.

    Armed with a good paint brush, abranet abrasives, vacuum cleaner with brush attachment, decent paint, a few bits and bobs, and the tips and tricks below, you are good to go!

    Any questions this weekend, just ask them via Twitter. I am @acmasterpainter

    Oil based finish on pine furniture

    I think the combination of water-based primer, oil based undercoat, oil-based eggshell is the solution numero uno that ticks all the boxes for the most durable and, in my opinion, the most beautiful traditional paint finish possible on timber:

    Step-by-step way to an oil paint finish on pine »

    Clean the pine- If woodwork is fairly clean, wipe it thoroughly with a lint-free rag dampened with white spirit or meths. (Not dripping!) When it has evaporated off, sand with 120 or 180 grade Abranet abrasive paper, using a foam sanding pad for intricate areas.

    .

    Or, if the woodwork is waxy or filthy, I degrease and de-wax with Liberon Wax Cleaner and steel wool. Krudkutter Original with scourers achieves a quicker and cleaner end result. Leave to dry overnight and then sand as above. (See Annie Sloan chalk paint below if you cannot stand the prospect of too much preparation of waxy pine.)

    .

    Prime pine – Prime with Blackfriars Problem Solving Primer, which is water-based low VOC low odour. (The contents of the Blackfriars tin are in fact re-branded Classidur Universal Primer which historically adheres to any surface better than any other primer available to the decorating trade. It has a lot of body too.) Mythic Universal primer is on a par with the Blackfriars paint for this scenario. It is fantastic to apply, but because of its consistency, I would specify 2 coats of Mythic primer on new timber versus one of the Blackfriars.

    .

    For water based primer, use a Wooster Silver Tip, Proform Picasso, Rembrandt or Corona Knight brush to give yourself the best chance of a nice finish.

    .

    Undercoat – apply a coat of oil-based undercoat tinted to the colour of the top coat. (I use Little Greene oil undercoat, as it has body and dries as expected. I used to favour Dulux Trade undercoat for this sort of work, but I’m not confident with Dulux formulas these days.)

    .

    Fill – When the u/c has dried overnight ideally, do any filling of dents over the undercoat; sand smooth. 2-pack filler is most sensible choice.

    .

    Eggshell finish – Apply 2 coats of Little Greene Oil Eggshell, sanding between coats and cleaning with a tack rag. Prior to last coat, sand with 240 or 320 grade for a lovely finish.

    .

    Brush tip! If this is a one-off project, just buy one 2″ Wooster Alpha, for the whole job. Clean it out after priming in water-based. When you have finished with the oil u/c, if you have a little Brushmate vapour box, there’s no need to clean the brush out.

    .

    Finish with the undercoating, then use a scraper and piece of lining paper to get out as much paint as you can, then work the brush in to the eggshell. By the time you are onto the second coat of eggshell, the brush will be perfect.

    .

    If this has been of use, why not keep informed with updates by email. I don’t spam, just send out more tips and ideas that you can use yourself.

    Water-based finish on pine furniture

    On unpainted timber, a combination of oil based primer, and water-based eggshell will get you very close to a beautiful “oil-based” finish on pine. It is based on what I have picked up from the most knowledgeable residential painter I have ever encountered, US painter, Jack Pauhl.

    When starting from bare pine, please bear in mind that water-based primer and water-based topcoats will do little to disguise the grain of the wood. The finish will be tough, it is low odour and nice to apply, but 2 coats of a quick-drying oil-based primer like Zinsser Coverstain, although rather smelly, is the best start to a more solid water-based finish.

    Step-by-step way to an acrylic eggshell paint finish on pine »

    Prepare pine- Preparation is same as above ie If woodwork is fairly clean, wipe it thoroughly with a lint-free rag dampened with Krudkutter Original or white spirit or meths. (Not dripping!) Sand with 120 or 180 grade abranet, using a foam sanding pad for intricate areas.

    .

    Or, if the woodwork is waxy or filthy, I degrease and de-wax with Liberon Wax Cleaner and steel wool. Krudkutter Original with scourers achieves a quicker and cleaner end result. Leave to dry overnight and then sand as above. (See Annie Sloan chalk paint below if you cannot stand the prospect of too much preparation of waxy pine.)

    .

    Knot and prime pine For a belt and braces approach, use Zinsser Aerosol to seal knots and then prime with Zinsser Cover Stain (oil-based paint) These are superb trade products that dry quickly. On small projects, you can have the surface sealed and primed twice in a day, ready for finishing the next day.

    .

    Fill over first coat of primer Now you can see the blemishes, do any filling, and sand smooth. (2 pack fillers are good bet.)

    .

    Re-prime Apply second coat of Zinsser Cover Stain.

    .

    Acrylic eggshell finish Sand the coverstain smooth with 180 abranet. It will sand down easily to a glassy finish. and apply 2 coats of acrylic eggshell, sanding with 240 or finer Abranet between coats.

    .

    If using Farrow and Ball Estate eggshell, which is an oil-water-borne hybrid, the correct approach is to apply one coat of F&B primer -undercoat over the coverstain! If you paint F&B eggshell straight over Coverstain, or any primer other than Farrow and Ball’s, they will not entertain your complaint if there are any issues. Slow drying, no drying, flaking, to name but 3 issues I have encountered or heard about.

    .

    As you can see, this approach with oil primer plus acrylic topcoats is a bit more thorough than the slap-it-on-quick technique that many people are lead to believe is the advantage of using water-based eggshell.

    .

    You need a really good technique to avoid brush marks in acrylic eggshell. I cover this elsewhere on the site under Brushes.

    .

    If this has been of use, why not keep informed with updates by email. I don’t spam, just send out more tips and ideas that you can use yourself.

    100% water-based products for painting pine furniture

    100% acrylic water-based primer, brushing filler and water-based eggshell plus patience will achieve very close to a beautiful “oil-based” finish on pine using water-based products only! I developed this system on a 2011 project where absolutely no oil paint was allowed on site, but the finish on the woodwork had to be 5 star.

    Step-by-step way to an acrylic eggshell paint finish on pine »

    Prepare surface
    Apply one coat Blackfriars Problem-Solving Primer or 2 coats Mythic Universal primer to seal surface and block stains from knots etc.
    Apply 2 heavy coats of Acrylic Gesso, leave 24 hours and sand smooth with 180 grade Abranet.
    Apply 1 primer undercoat, and 2 topcoats of acrylic eggshell.

    .

    That works!

    .

    The acrylic gesso is used by artists who prime canvas to create a super smooth substrate before painting. It is water-based and the consistency is like a cross between liquid filler and oil-based undercoat. ie it has body and builds up the surface to give a nice hard base for the rest of the water-based paints. It involves more work than priming with just an oil primer, (2 extra coats, extra sanding, extra time) but where customers with high expectations for quality require zero/low VOC, no/low odour paints, this is the way ahead.

    If this has been of use, why not keep informed with updates by email. I don’t spam, just send out more tips and ideas that you can use yourself.

    Painting over previously painted furniture

    Repainting over old oil paint, I would have no hesitation in recommending an all water-based approach ie 2 coats of Mythic Universal primer plus 2 coats of acrylic finish (Mythic semi gloss, or Little Greene acrylic eggshell, Sikkens BL Satura, to name but 3 that come with glowing references.)

    The hard work for preparing a solid surface has already been done by the old oil paint, so as long as it is solid, you can achieve a really solid and durable finish, slightly more plastic sheeny than oil eggshell, but very acceptable in 95% of cases.

    Painting waxy pine furniture with minimal preparation

    Try Annie Sloan chalk paint for a real country look to your pine furniture. This is a very clever product that thrives on wax and grease. Minimal preparation required except on knots, which you need to seal with a couple of coats of aerosol Zinssser BIN.

    Then apply 2 coats of chalk paint and seal with clear wax or varnish. This is how boy decorators use Annie Sloan Chalk paint.

    You can tint the wax, or wipe on / rub off to reveal the backing colours, distress, age, or keep it conventional. See Cait at Carte Blanche for the full inside story and Annie Sloan supplies.

    Painting laminate

    Sometimes furniture is made up of different materials. The interior of a pine cupboard may have an easy wipe finish? Here is how to paint a laminate finish.

    Furniture painter specialists to do the painting for you

    If you would rather have a professional furniture painter transform a piece of furniture for you, contact one of these specialist furniture painters in your area. Trustworthy and switched on, they have their own slightly different approach to their work, but fundamentally, we all sing off the same hymn sheet. Correct material choice and thorough workmanship is the way to go.

    For ready-reckoner budgeting, think in terms of £150 for a chest of drawers to £250 for a good size wardrobe for a flat paint finish. Nicky Hancock of HK Art or Martin Dunn are 2 craftsmen on the list who also offer fine-artistic additions, and most offer decorative paint finishes. If you have a suite of good quality furniture, it usually makes sense on every level to employ a pro, as you would be hard-pushed to replace one piece for the cost of the painting of the suite. If you have a one-off not-so-special piece of furniture, then experience says that it is probably a DIY project.

    Extra tips

    How much cleaning, how much sanding? »

    The ideal surface is new, unpainted timber. However, unpainted second-hand pieces will accumulate dirt and layers of wax etc which can fatally affect the adhesion of most paint. As a rule of thumb, with poor prep, all your good work could be for nought, so even though the primers available nowadays are really high performance, I don’t skimp on prep, and regardless of the primers I use, I try go the extra mile to get timber surfaces clean. Therefore,

    .

    As an alternative cleaning agent to white spirit or meths, or Langlow Wood Reviver or Liberon Wax Remover, try Krudkutter Original, which is an eco friendly biodegradable cleaner which decorators use to clean really dirty or waxy surfaces quicky. Wipe on with a scourer, leave for a few minutes, and while still damp, scrub down. Wipe with a lint free cloth like a Mirka microfibre. Repeat if necessary.)

    .

    Once cleaned down, the surface is ready for sanding. The aim of sanding is to provide a key for the paint, so 180 is minimum grade roughness you should use to prepare with. At the other extreme, don’t use coarse 60 grade – you don’t want to create ugly gouges and scratches. That doesn’t add character, that screams poor workmanship! I am practically down to only one type of abrasive, Abranet.

    .

    The conventional decorating specification for woodwork always starts, with kps – knot, prime stop.

    Knot and prime »

    If you have knots, (which can continue to exude resin for years afterwards) the text decorating books say to “knot” them ie traditionally you would seal the knots with shellac knotting (brown) or clear styptic knotting.

    .

    That is very old hat, and there are alternatives, which I now prefer.

    .

    Blackfriars Problem Solving Primer or Mythic Universal Primer These are high adhesion water-based primers that prime AND seal knots and stains. One coat Blackfriars or 2 coats of Mythic Universal Primer. (Be aware that if surfaces are in direct sunlight, knots can leak through any sealer).If in doubt, Zinsser BIN is about the last resort and if that fails ot seal a knot, there isn’t much left to do except drill out the knot and fill it

    .

    Zinsser Bullseye or other quick drying primers are user-friendly and have good stain-blocking abilities, just not as good as the 2 above options. However one option that has worked for me is to prepare and paint the whole surface first with a water-based primer. The dark shadow of knots will show through the white primer, and you seal those with a couple of sprays with aerosol Zinsser BIN.

    .

    Bear in mind that some knots will weep beyond the capabilities of any paint coating, and will literally lift the paint and break through it. The ultimate solution is to drill the knot out and fill it. Or view it as character!

    .

    If you are priming over factory lacquered pine, the lacquer coating should have had a stain blocker added to it, so knots should have been sealed in for good. However if you are priming with anything other than Blackfriars or Mythic primers, it might be a good idea to spot spray Zinsser BIN over visible knots.

    .

    All the above primers dry within minutes and can be overpainted the same day.

    Stopper, Filler »

    Types of filler
    Fill any obvious holes with a 2-pack filler or wood stopper, but not a standard “poly” filler which is too soft.

    .

    You could use linseed oil putty or a plastic wood – . Wipe any excess putty or plastic wood off the surface with a rag. Putty skins over sufficiently overnight for painting. Use a chisel to level off plastic wood.

    .

    For cracked joints, I use acrylic caulk sparingly before the first top coat.

    .

    The extent of your filling is very subjective. I could skim and fill the grain of old pine furniture with Toupret Gras a Lacquer till it had a porcelain blemish free finish, but I think it is pointless and detracts from the fact it is pine. I fill obvious nail holes, and then make a judgement on where I stop. Judging by customers’ responses to the quality of my paintwork, so far, so good! Fillers and primers are getting quite complex bedfellows these days.

    If this has been of use, why not keep informed with updates by email. I don’t spam, just send out more tips and ideas that you can use yourself.

    Painting over primer »

    For an oil finish, after priming, you should either undercoat once, topcoat twice, 3 x topcoats. I am a big fan of tinting the undercoat as close to the top coat colour as possible. Dulux oil undercoat was as good as any under Little Greene or other oil eggshell finishes but I tend ot stick with LG now. (Mark at Broken Cross Decorators Merchants in Macclesfield or any merchant with a machine should be able to tint primers and undercoats to match whatever you need for topcoats.)

    .

    Next day, sand down well with 220 grade abrasive, clean off with vacuum/tack rag; apply acrylic caulk to joints, let it dry (2 hours is enough) then apply first topcoat of oil eggshell paint, dry overnight, sanding between coats with 320 grade abrasive, cleaning with vacuum and tack rag, repeat. Done

    I now use Little Greene Paint Company exterior / interior oil based eggshell on furniture and kitchen units.

    In general terms, water based eggshell paint still doesn’t do it for me when a 5 star finish is required on furniture that has never been painted before – UNLESS it is premium grade joinery. There is always a balance with “perfect” because, you have to decide, do you want this laminate-looking finish on a characterful piece of reclaimed pine? I know I don’t, but the laminate look is growing in popularity, so maybe I am out of touch!

    Beware painting furniture in white oil paint The 2010 VOC regulations have thrown most of the paint industry into a tizz and they are having real trouble formulating white eggshell and gloss. Lots of evidence that it is prematurely yellowing, Dulux especially, as the highest profile manufacturer. Drying times have also extended.

    Thus far, Little Greene oil eggshell still performs as expected, and in normal conditions, I have had no problems sanding down first coats of eggshell the following day.

    ok

    Remember, this technique is great for reviving pine and oak furniture, a truly eco recycling strategy, but think long and hard before applying a hand-painted finish to an inlaid, veneered table and / or antique item. Better to sell them and buy a more modestly constructed piece for painting.

    I will be preparing a list of materials and tools required for each of the above options, suggesting decorating products at trade price.


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    76 comments to “How do you paint pine furniture?”

    1. Andy Crichton Traditional Painter

      We are happy to freely share our knowledge gleaned from many years in the kitchen and furniture painting business. And happy to answer any questions.

      In general, if you find the tips useful, if you get the chance, could you just mention our site to the people you get your paint and kit from, or tell your friends, and help spread the word to others struggling to paint right. Thanks.

    2. tv units - cabinets

      If you want to give a room in your home a new look, painting a pine furniture piece is a simple way to freshen up a tired piece of furniture and an easy way to perk up a room. Whether it’s an old bookshelf, a dresser, armoire, kitchen table or coffee table, a new coat of paint can do the trick.

    3. Andy

      Hi, do you have much call for painting your furniture? I envisage that the economic times will make people think increasingly hard about just throwing stuff out. A facelift with paint is a good option.

    4. sarah bakewell

      I have a 1930′s oak dresser that I would like to paint, but it has a light coating of wax all over and I am unsure how to go about getting it off, could you advise?

      many thanks sarah

    5. Traditional Painter

      Either chalk paint straight over wax, or I would suggest cleaning the surface with Krudkutter Original Apply liberally, just before it dries scrub off with a kitchen scourer. No neutralising required, very eco citrus based product. Liberon Wax and polish removerpour into a metal pot, apply with fine steel wool, leave for a couple of minutes (but dont let it dry off) then wipe it clean with more steel wool and a cloth rag. Repeat as necessary. Leave to dry off overnight.

      Then you prime it with Zinsser BIN (shellac based), or Blackfriars Problem-Solving Primer (water based) and carry on with your finishing coats. The wax cleaner is pretty potent so make sure the room is well ventilated, and to be safe, leave rags to dry laying flat, outside. Don’t want to risk any combustion problems

    6. acmasterpainter

      Blatant broadcast of blog post How to Paint Pine Furniture! http://traditionalpainter.com/how-do-you… in my defence, it is getting definitive – almost!

    7. heatherdesign

      I wish painter & decorater @acmasterpainter was based in London – he’s a master tradesman; read his blog… http://traditionalpainter.com/

    8. Julie

      Could you advise me please how I can revamp a laminate vanity unit? I would like to make it look older and more in keeping with our Victorian house and was hoping for a Farrow & Ball painted finish but I am not sure whether I should prepare it any differently to wooden furniture. Many thanks.

    9. Traditional Painter

      Hi Julie

      You do have to prepare it differently form pine. To make a key, wet sand the laminate with an oakey sanding pad (medium), then wipe off the residue with a rag, then prime with Zinsser BIN (shellac and hard to apply) or acrylic Blackfriars Problem Solving primer (easier to apply). Finish with 2 top coats of F&B.

      Alternatively, use ESP from Owatrol a clear liquid that wipes on,wipes off and will clean and prime laminate

      I prefer an oil based finish. I have had great success with preparing as above, then prime with water based Dulux SuperGrip. Then an undercoat and 2 topcoats of oil eggshell / or 3 x oil eggshell, no undercoat. Little Greene can be mixed in Farrow and Ball colours, ask for the Fred and Brenda equivalent. Hope that helps. if you have any other questions, just ask

    10. Karen

      I have imitation pine wardrobes with a tree carved in. My bedroom is black and white I cant afford new and would like to paint them can you advise please?.Quick and easy as I am not good at this. Also should I paint white or cream? Walls are black and white embossed and I dont want to redecorate.

    11. Traditional Painter

      Hi Karen

      look at he section on painting laminate (I assume laminate is what you mean by imitation?) http://traditionalpainter.com/how-do-i-paint-a-laminate-kitchen

      In a nutshell, wet sand, prime with Blackfriars Problem Solving Primer, leave a day to cure off and finish with acrylic eggshell.

      I can’t advise on colour, except that in a black and white room, you have a background for a multitude of colour options for your furniture. Hope that helps.

    12. Katie

      So can I double check something…..if using Annie Sloan paints then you don’t need to prep waxed furniture before using? But if not using Annie Sloan paints, then need to use the Liberon wax remover & Dulux super grip before painting?
      I’ve already sorted out my paint colours for my piece of furniture, so on one hand it would be easier not to have to choose the colours again (in Annie Sloan), but I notice the primers are all white, and I don’t want any white to show when I distress & sand them back/distress to show the wood, are there any clear primers??

    13. Traditional Painter

      Correct with Annie Sloan.

      Stripping back option, I have moved on to Krudkutter Original as it is less noxious than the Wax remover.

      When the wood is bare, prime with 2 coats Blackfriars Problem Solving Primer (you don’t need a knotting sealer) and finish in oil or acrylic paint. If you choose to prime with Supergrip which is for an oil paint finish only, you also need to seal any knots.

      I dont know a clear primer. You can tint primer to the topcoat colour.

      It just sounds much easier to use Annie Sloan paint. If you buy Annie Sloan paint from Carte Blanche, Cait can tell you the paint plus sample pots so you can mix to approximate the colours you have chosen.

    14. Sue Carr

      I have a victorian dark oak side board I want to paint. What is the procedure? It has a very dark stain/varnish to it.

    15. Traditional Painter

      Hi one option is to clean it with white spirit Krudkutter Original, sand it, prime with 2 coats Zinsser BIN (shellac) or Blackfiars problem Solving primer (water based) and finish with acrylic eggshell or oil eggshell.

      Or you can dust it down and paint 2 coats Annie Sloan Chalk paint and wax it for protection.

      If the top gets a lot of use, you could sand the top and leave it natural timber protected with a couple of coats of Patina woodcare or 3 coats of Polyvine wood varnish or 2 coats Osmo Hardwax oil.

    16. Sonya Marquis

      Hi there. I have a pine ducal dresser but hate pine furniture. Thought I might paint it but think it is varnished. What prep work would you suggest I do to prepare it for painting. I have a small pine bedside cabinet which is also varnished – thought I might try painting this first as a practice project. Many thanks in advance for any advice you have. Sonya

    17. Traditional Painter

      Sonya, thanks for your question. The simplest approach is to use Anne Sloan chalk paint – 2 coats straight onto clean varnish, protected by a couple of coats of clear soft wax. It does have a very neat finish, and is durable.

      To paint with conventional satin /eggshell paint, sand the varnish (I use wet n dry, grade 120, wet) to provide a key. Apply thin coat of Zinsser BIN – it is smelly but does stick the best. Blackfriars Problem Solving Primer is water based alternative, and in the same league as BIN. Over the primer, apply 2 coats of acrylic or oil eggshell, depending on your comfort level. Sand between coats with a 220 or smoother, vacuum clean, wipe with tack rag…

      Mythic now do a self priming satin latex. It is getting good reports. Comes in several sheen levels, any colour. So that requires a good sand and 2 coats. Its an option, one I will be looking into at the first opportunity for sure, as Mythic in general is non toxic, almost no odour, comes in several interesting sheen levels, and variuls products have delivered on practically every count for me so far this past 12-18 months.

    18. acmasterpainter

      Been asked to advise on painting g-plan dressing table. Would like to see other G-plan furniture painting projects.

    19. Pauline

      I found your tips and expert advice very helpful and interesting. but I’m in need of some advice, I’m working on a very old and very tatty chest of draws, I was told that using a oil based primer uber WB eggshell was okay…..nope, the WB eggshell isn’t adhearing and is also seperating, will sanding the OB primer before applying the eggshell sort the problem? I’m at a loss:(

    20. acmasterpainter

      HiPauline, did you use Zinsser Coverstain oil primer? http://www.rustoleum.com/CBGProduct.asp?pid=222 This is very very reliable, it sands easily to a super smooth finish.

      I don’t recommend any oil primer for w/b except Coverstain which is formulated for w/b. I wouldnt think to use conventional oil primers with acrylic topcoats and hope you didnt read contrary on this site?!!!.

      Now, if the w/b eggshell you are using is farrow and Ball, they specify their own primer basecoat only, and will not entertain any issues if you have not followed their routine.

      If you say the w/b eggshell is separating, that sounds like sanding (and removing all dust) may help, but as this is not really expected behaviour with Coverstain, if I were you, to put an end to it, I would get the specific brand accompanying primer undercoat for the w/b topcoat you are using. This will act as a bridge over oil and the topcoat will go on nicely. Let me know how you get on.

    21. Pauline

      Thanks for getting back ot me, I didn’t use converstain, but today I did as you suggested and I sanded it and I got the specific brand WB primer, it solved the problem! the top coat went on really well, thank you so much for your help. x

    22. Traditional Painter

      Phew :)

    23. Luke

      Hi, I have newly fitted bare pine on a campervan wall I am converting and wished to keep the new light bare wood shade, but the sun/heat and also beeswax that I applied has turned it orangey. Can I restore the lighter colour by sanding and varnishing? Will I need a wax remover to varnish? Many thanks for your advice.

    24. Andy Crichton Andy Crichton

      Hi, the beeswax has turned orange, so first task is to remove it. KrudKutter Original plus a green kitchen scourer will do the trick fairly painlessly. Apply, leave a few minutes for the wax to soften and remove with the scourer. Repeat if necessary. The trick is not to let it dry off.

      Once cleaned down it should be lighter pine underneath? If so, a clear varnish that will stay clear is Polyvine Decorators Varnish comes in matt, satin or gloss depending on your taste.

      If the pine is too dark, you can sand it, which will help somewhat.

      Final option you could use oxalic acid which is a wood bleach. As with all bleach, dilute as per the instructions, you can always go stronger! And do a test area first to see what it does. Ask over at the forum if you want any more tips. Russ Pike is the wood care restoration guru, he has a few more poultices up his sleeve than me.

    25. chris leggatt

      I have had a carpenter build a large bookcase with cupboards below and also other cupboard units with shelving inside and a desk unit. They have all been built in brown MDF with the exception of the work tops which is a solid beech (kitchen style worktop which does not need to be painted)Please advise what type of paint (paint brand will also help) and undercoat should be used on the MDF and how many coats are required. I am also thinking of painting the cupboard doors a gloss red and the rest a non gloss grey colour to add a bit of colour.

    26. Andy Crichton Andy Crichton

      Thanks for the question Chris, I would suggest Mythic Universal Primer and topcoats, using Floetrol to reduce brushmarks and improve flow, and being very low odour and easy to use. It is a good user friendly system for home painters. I have posted it over on the forum for the other Traditional Painters ideas. http://traditionalpainter.com/forum/furniture-painting-group2/painted-furniture-tips-tricks-best-paint-forum6/how-to-paint-bare-mdf-furniture-thread49#postid-176

    27. Sally Bradley

      Hi, i want to paint a pine chest of drawers that has previously been varnished, where do i start.

    28. Mickey Gobes

      Thanks for sharing this information. Nice post.

    29. Solid Surface Kitchen Worktops

      You need to be picasso to paint pine furniture, it is very tricky!

    30. vicky

      Thank you for the quick response, really appreciate it as I’m chopping on the bit, it’s a case of “now I’ve started”….I think I want to go with your suggestion to use the Dulux water base clear coat ! But but I’ve gone into another sphere, ie want to have the look of shabby or distress am I to late? or can I use wire woollen on my chosen areas and then apply the water base clear coat?

    31. Andy Crichton Andy Crichton

      Shabby chic is achievable any time, sometimes whether you like it or not! Lee Simone wrote a good explanation of the distressing theory, so you can make an authentic attempt.

      When you have aged it, wipe the furniture with a tack rag and start sealing it up. http://traditionalpainter.com/distressed-finishes

      (Obviously you can’t do the wax trick, but the rest you can do, to your piece

    32. vicky

      Thanks again for your advice it’s much appreciated, yes shabby can hide a multitude of sins ( excuses) I will take a look at Lee Simones advise as you suggested.
      I will let you know the end result. Fingers crossed.

    33. Charles Budd

      This is such a useful blog! Having painted a few pieces, I know the advice here is brilliant from a first hand perspective. If I had the time and a bit more space, I’d paint much more furniture!

    34. Andy Crichton Andy Crichton

      Thanks Charlie for the thumbs up. I know from the feedback and questions I receive that a lot of furniture is being painted along the lines of the info in this post. That is very gratifying, being able to share with people who want to do their painting right, what works, no strings attached (unless the strings are attached to an outstanding product!)

      One aspect that I would like to be better though is the “upcycling of information”. Everyone at TP is just as anxious to learn new tricks as share what we already know, so if there is a better way, please chip in folks :)

    35. Fi

      Hi, I am half way through a project and have made a complete mess of it – please help!
      I bought a dark wooden cupboard (c.1940s or 50s) which I wanted to paint a light colour. I fell for the whole ‘Annie Sloan lazy-person-paint’ thing – cleaned the surfaces and tried a test area with AS’s white paint. A yellowy-brown stain bled through straight away.
      I then bought Rustins Sanding Sealer and painted the whole cupboard with it. Once it had dried I started painting.

      I am now looking at a very distressed (not in a good way) cupboard. One half is painted in an Annie Sloan white paint with a yellowy-brown colour bleeding through all over the place. The other half is painted blue in a different brand of paint to see what it would look like. I didn’t like it so painted over it with the AS white paint. As I painted over the same place twice the AS paint seemed to go into chalky chunks and in some places strip the paint back to the wood. Where the white paint did stick, the yellowy-brown bleeding is showing through. Eek.

      What do I do? Can I just paint over everything with another dose of shellac and then paint using the AS white paint over the top? Or do I need to somehow strip everything back and start again?

      Thanks for your help – I don’t want to give up but I’m not far from it!
      Fi

    36. Andy Crichton Andy Crichton

      Hello Fi, first off don’t panic, the chalk paint is very forgiving. If you have the Abranet sanding block attached to a vacuum, just sand out the offending lumpy bits with say 180 grade abrasive, it won’t take much working at all. (I highly recommend this kit, especially chalk paint is very dusty, just warning you before you sand yourself into a dustman.)

      Not sure where Rustins Sanding Sealer comes into the equation? You want clear shellac knotting. (Apologies crossed wires, the sanding sealer is shellac based. It does ned to be left a few hours to cure even though it dries quickly.) Apply knotting over the offending areas. It will dry very quickly so don’t fuss with it. As they say, “get it on there”. The brush is best disposed of unless you ae geared up for cleaning with meths. Leave a couple of hours to cure, then try a sample of chalk paint as before. I reckon you are sorted. Carry on painting, waxing or varnishing to your hearts content.

      I think trying too hard when applying, probably lifted the chalk paint in the first place.
      Let us know how you get on.

    37. TDP Painters Decorators

      Nice Post. Informative. Thanks for sharing

    38. Chris

      I came across your site a while ago when I purchased some raw pine bedroom furniture which I wanted to paint myself. I followed your instructions and used egg shell paint in chalked lime from the Little Green Paint Company and am extremely pleased with the overall finish – it is very hard wearing. I couldn’t have done it without your advice!

      I have now ordered some pine purniture for the kitchen – a table and sideboard. Once again, it will arrive as raw pine as I want to stain it to match my kitchen units which are a medium oak colour. Please could you advise me on how to go about this? I have been told not to use knotting solution as this is already in the stain – is this correct? Also,I want a matt finish clear varnish. Therefore, any tips and product recommendations would be much appreciated.

      Thank you.

    39. Andy Crichton Andy Crichton

      Hi Chris, thats a good ending, pleased to hear it worked out well for you.

      Your next project, http://www.osmouk.com/previewpage.cfm?bookid=book001&chapter=5&page=108

      best read up on this post by Martin Dunn, explaining the application of the clear version of the tinted product hat you are looking for http://traditionalpainter.com/the-joy-of-osmo-oil-lets-do-wood-some-good

      This follow up posts gives you some insights if you want to alter the tint to suit http://traditionalpainter.com/how-to-treat-wooden-worktop-osmo

      As always with staining timber, do a sample to achieve the tint as you want it, on a piece of timber out the way, before tackling the main body of work, and you will be fine. Let us know how you get on.

    40. John Atkins

      I have a project to “upcycle” a G-plan teak dining table and six chairs as engagement present for our son. The G-Plan furniture is very old (c 1980′s) and well dried out – no evidence of oils and resins. It’s in reasonable condition. He is wanting quite a bright vibrant colour finish. Can you recommend the best preparation and primer/paint combination and any other tips. Many thanks. (BTW found My Paintbrush a great source of equipment).

    41. Eleanor Davidson

      Please help. I’ve painted all my furniture – mostly with Dulux Quickdry Satinwood. I think it might now be a good idea to varnish it all. What should I use please, so that it won’t go yellowy – or should I use something like liquid wax? Thanks very much, Eleanor

    42. Andy Crichton Andy Crichton

      Shouldn’t really be any need to varnish it but if you do want a little extra protection it could be over coated with acrylic varnish. Johnstone’s Trade QD Varnish is reasonably cheap and does a good job.

    43. Maggie

      I love this guide and I really like how you finished this pine table, the painted legs and bare tops on the tables and cabinets look really attractive, mix of modern & classic. I do like painting furniture, although cannot agree that chalk paint can stick to anything – I mean it will – but without appropriate preparation process / basis it can chip off throughout the years. I still think you need to apply the primer first (even without sanding down) under the paint. I know that sanding down is an arduous process, but it will pay off if you want to have good use of the furniture and have it looking good with the years to come. I cannot stress enough how important is using beeswax (3 layers) as a finish, it makes huge difference for painted furniture, and natural beeswax polish is the best protection against the water, damp and other disasters likely to affect the wooden furniture. Sorry to be lenghty though :)
      http://www.oneclick.cherriehub.co.uk/2013/11/17/how-to-care-for-antique-furniture/

    44. Andy Crichton Andy Crichton

      Thanks for your input, good points.

      To clarify the idea that chalk paint sticks to any surface – compared to all conventional paints, you can paint it on any “n0o-no” surfaces, seal it with wax and it won’t peel and the coating will be as durable as the wax coating. Wax is obviously not the worlds toughest protector, but as you know is used throughout on table tops, and furniture. And 3 coats is better than 2 especially around wet areas.

      As a means to upcycle furniture in a non-destructive way, chalk paint and wax is a pretty compelling choice. And if it does need reviving, it is a very simple touch up process.

      On the other side of the furniture painting fence, where we live predominantly, if you go the conventional painting route and remove all problem coatings first, and then use high adhesion stain blocker primers, yes the durability will be greatly improved. But it’s horses for courses, and at least for the millions of home decorators who hate prep, and won’t do it regardless of what I tell them!, chalk paint is at least going to give a pleasing result that will endure if used within the boundaries of the toughness of wax.

      As a bit of food for thought for sanding options (once the surface has been cleaned of wax or grease). Manual sanding provides a key. Also you can provide a key by applying a deglosser coating like ESP or Gloss Off

    45. barry keenan

      I plan to paint the bed, wardrobe, two chests of drawers in my bedroom. All the furniture is pine

      I would be pleased if you would summarise for me the type of primer, undercoat, eggshell you suggest I should use and whether each of the different paints I need should be water or oiled based

      many thanks

      Barry Keenan

    46. Andy Crichton Andy Crichton

      Hi can you tell me if the pine is bare or clear lacquered?

    47. Dene Tholet

      I’m undertaking a bunk bed challenge, but have decided I want to keep the pine colour. What products could you recommend for clear primer and clear varnish.
      Many Thanks
      Dene

    48. Andy Crichton Andy Crichton

      Hi Dene

      what is the pine coated with or is it bare?

      Andy

    49. Oliver

      Firstly, what an excellent resource this site is! A real gem. Thanks. It’s really made me stop and think about the approach I will take to the furniture that I’m planning on painting.

      Looking at a couple of the most recent questions and having read this article several times over I think there is a little clarity needed over the types of pine that people may end up painting. The article talks about bare pine, waxed pine, and previously painted pine but a lot of furniture available on the second hand marked is factory varnished/lacquered. I assume that I would treat this as painted pine? And in this case after well keying the surface a 100% water based approach would be acceptable? Thanks in advance.

    50. Andy Crichton Andy Crichton

      Thanks, yes, lacquered pine is most common, it is usually sprayed with a sanding sealer prior to lacquering. Sanding sealer is a shellac based product so will hold back staining. Ordinarily you would therefore sand the surface to scuff it up and prime with an adhesion primer and then finish with a water based system. I will check the article reflects that, cheers

    51. Allison

      My husband made a pine bed for our toddler which we plan to paint white. I prefer to use non-toxic products (paint/primer/etc). I’ve looked at the Mythic all-purpose primer and paints but was told by my local paint store that the interior Mythic paint are not a good choice. Which products to you recommend?

    52. Andy Crichton Andy Crichton

      Not sure why they would say they are not suitable? Colours are a bit hit and miss from Mythic, so generally prefer to look elsewhere but white should be easy enough. The primer, apply first coat and leave to dry at least 4 hours before second coat. The semi gloss, two coats, that is a tough finish when cured.

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