Here’s the long awaited second part of my occasional series on Shabby Chic furniture painting techniques….
(Don’t forget to read Preparing wooden furniture for painting Part 1)
So now you’ve got your beautifully clean, smooth, piece of furniture ready to paint. But first you have to prime it. Otherwise your Shabby Chic paint won’t stick to the surface. Primer is sometimes called ‘wood sealer’ and that’s exactly what it does. It stops the bare wood sucking up your paint and, in the case of pine, it also stops resins oozing out of the wood and spoiling your finish.
Primers can be water based or oil based. It’s best to choose a lead free one, for your own health and for any toddlers who might just decide to teeth on your precious piece of furniture Some all-in one-primers are combined with an undercoat. You can use these but they are probably not needed for the Shabby Chic look.
Do not just use emulsion paint! Despite what some web sites and books might suggest I’ve never found it gives a good finish and you don’t want to see your good work ruined
Where to do it?
You need to work in a well ventilated space, especially if you are using an oil-based primer. You need to be somewhere that wind blown dust isn’t going to be an issue while the primer is drying and somewhere that little fingers (yours included!) won’t be tempted to touch too soon “Just to see if it’s dry yet” – it isn’t!
In a garage with the back door open on a nice day is ideal
Put down plenty of newspaper and wear comfortable, old clothes and shoes. Tie you hair back and wear a hat if you can.It’s no fun having to get primer out of your hair or peeling hairs off your otherwise perfect paint job!
First get everything you need for the job ready. There’s nothing worse than suddenly realising you’ve forgotten something
- A few old, clean, t-shirts or other soft cotton lint-free cloth
- Wood Primer
- Selection of paint brushes (2″, 3″ or 4″)
- Foam paint roller (optional)
- Wire wool
- Wrap the t-shirt round your hand and gently go over the surfaces to make sure they are absolutely smooth. If not it’s back to the sand-paper till the piece passes this test!
- Cover the whole piece with a coat of primer. You can use a 3″ or 4″ brush for this to give texture to the finished piece. For a smooth effect use a small foam roller. Personally I’d use the roller till I knew what I was doing.
- Allow to dry for several hours. It’s hard to be precise about this, it depends on moisture conditions on the day. It is much better to leave it too long than try to rush things! I’d leave it overnight (8 hours) even longer if you live somewhere damp or it’s in a cold garage.
- Once it is totally dry (not before!) lightly rub the surface with the steel wool.
- Wipe the dust off with another old, clean t-shirt.
Ready to Paint?
It’s time to decide exactly what you want the finished piece to look like. There are many possibilities. Do you want to use a technique like decoupage? Will you want a crackled paint finish or a plain one? Are you going to distress a top coat of paint to reveal an underlying colour?
You are on your own now as you have prepared your furniture for painting.