Whether self-made shelves or tables, wooden garden furniture or vintage furniture from the flea market – lacquers and glazes quickly give the furniture a new character. In this guide you will find out how to implement your own designs with a brush and roller, which color is the right one and how to paint furniture.
How can furniture be painted correctly?
Depending on the nature of the piece of furniture and the desired appearance, you first choose a color. Natural resin, synthetic resin and acrylic lacquers or glazes are suitable for painting furniture. Two coats are usually optimal to create a high coverage. Before doing this, make sure that the surface is free of dust and grease. You can stain or sand down already painted furniture before applying the new color. Also, take enough time for your project.
Can you paint coated furniture?
If you want to paint coated furniture, we recommend treating the surfaces beforehand. In any case, you should sand or peel off the paint before you apply a new color. Chalk paints are an exception: Before painting, you only clean the surface of dust and grease. Chalk paints can be painted directly on old layers of lacquer and wood veneers.
Coloring wooden furniture
Pieces of furniture can be varnished or glazed in different ways: Whether you paint everything in bright colors or only paint certain parts in a different color is up to you and your imagination.
Your own color design rounds off the individual character of a self-made piece of furniture: If you use several colors at the same time, you emphasize the modular construction of a shelf, for example. You can give a simple wooden bench a kick if you just paint the base in a color of your choice. The same applies to a wooden shelf, the inside of which you paint in a different color.
Lacquer or glaze – which color is the right one?
There is a wide range of natural resin, synthetic resin and acrylic lacquers for wood and wood-based materials such as MDF boards as substrates.
Natural resin paints are the first choice for environmentally conscious DIY enthusiasts, although they can also contain solvents. The disadvantage of natural resin paints is that they take longer to dry.
If you need a particularly resistant top coat, choose a solvent-based synthetic resin paint. Synthetic resin lacquers are easy to process and also have very good coverage. In addition, they are extremely resistant and are particularly suitable if the coating is later particularly stressed. For environmental and health reasons, look out for aromatic-free synthetic resin paints when buying.
Acrylic lacquers impress with their high coverage, long service life and a durable protective layer. They can be diluted with water and are comparatively low in odor. The water-thinnable, low-pollutant acrylic paints are well suited for most surfaces, both indoors and outdoors – also for furniture and children’s toys.
You can maintain and protect your wooden surfaces with glazes. At the same time, you keep the natural look of the wood with its grain. Non-hazardous glazes for indoor use protect the wood from dirt and water, glazes for outdoors also protect against the effects of the weather, UV rays and fungal attack.
Paint and glaze furniture properly
You prime the wood with a coat of primer paint before you apply the actual paint. You apply each varnish in several thin layers, between which the paint has to dry. You start with the edges and stroke the grain of the wood over the surface. For a particularly fine result, apply a fine intermediate sanding between the painting of the individual layers.
When it comes to glaze, a distinction is made between thick-layer glaze and thin-layer glaze. The latter penetrates deep into the wood and is therefore the first choice for garden fences and the like. The thick-layer glaze, on the other hand, remains – similar to paint – on the surface of the wood and seals it in a decorative way. The thick consistency serves as good protection against moisture for dimensionally stable wooden parts such as window frames and doors and is used more often inside the house, especially when it is water-based.
When glazing, too, you apply the paint in a thin layer and long brushstrokes to the sanded workpiece and then let it dry completely. Then you sand the surface again with fine sandpaper and apply another layer of glaze with the grain.
Brushes and clothes – tips for working
If you want to paint larger areas, you can use paint rollers or surface brushes. A brush is the right choice for edges and small areas. There are special glaze brushes for applying glazes. It is usually worth investing in a brush set.
Before you start, read the manufacturer’s instructions for paint and glaze. You also wear suitable protective clothing. Paints, paint strippers, etc. can contain solvents – do not breathe them. So make sure you work in a well-ventilated room or, even better, outdoors.
Stamp prints, triangles and circles – embellish wooden furniture
You don’t have to paint your entire piece of furniture to add color accents. Triangles, stripes and dots in the right place also make your interior design individual. Lacquers and chalk paints are particularly suitable for this, as they achieve strong colors. Before you start, choose the right colors for your home. You will be guided by the colors that are common in your home.
To bring your own designs onto wood, you can work with stamps and stencils that you make yourself. Paint the stamps and press them firmly onto the surface of your furniture. If you choose to use stencils, dab on the paint.
Shabby chic – beautiful old furniture
By choosing the right color, you can give old furniture a new look – or, exactly the other way around, give new pieces an antique touch. “Shabby Chic” has been popular for several years and has a romantic flea market character. Before you start working on old furniture, ideally you should do some preliminary work to sand off the old paint. If you want to go without it, you work with chalk paint on the shabby chic project. These lacquers work even without sanding – even on veneered wood.
Remove old paint from furniture
If you want to remove old paint, apply a paint stripper. Once the paint stripper has been absorbed, remove the paint with the painter’s spatula. This is relatively quick and not very strenuous, but not the first choice for every do-it-yourselfer due to the solvent-based stripper.
With another variant with hot air, you heat the varnish strongly and then remove it with a spatula. Be careful not to scorch the wood with the hot air. Toxic fumes can be produced when the paint dissolves. For this reason, many do-it-yourselfers swear by sandpaper paint removal. What remains is dust, which is carefully removed. Because only if the wood is free of dust and grease will the new coat of paint last.
Chalk paints – without sanding and stripping
Chalk paint is a water-based paint with natural pigments. The paint has a strong opacity and gives furniture a powdery look because it dries to a velvety matt finish. The paint is porous and does not penetrate the pores of the wood.
There are three different ways of using the paint: If you apply it over the entire surface, analogous to conventional paint, it forms a closed layer of paint. For the typical shabby chic look, you can also lightly sand the surface so that the old layer of wood comes out. If you want, you can also combine two layers of chalk paint: You apply two layers of paint, of which you lightly sand the upper one. Then the lower one shines through slightly and gives the impression of worn areas.