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How To Paint Wood Furniture Without Sanding, Priming Or Stripping

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If you’re like me, the very thought of sanding furniture pieces sends shivers down your spine. It’s such a tedious process, and I always feel like I’m going to mess it up. Well, no more! Today I’m going to show you how to paint wood furniture without sanding, priming or stripping. So whether you’re wanting to update an old table, dresser or nightstand, keep reading for all the details.

I like to have small tables or stools near seating as a convenient place for a book, my glasses or a tea cup.

Although they are not usually focal points, I had one table that was hand carved wood and stained dark brown.

I really liked the design but it didn’t add anything visually to my room.

And you know what that means! A furniture makeover was in my future.

But trying to sand off the old finish in all those grooves seemed like more work than I was willing to do. And it’s so messy trying to strip wood with chemicals.

After a little research, I found the perfect solution. A new paint (for me) called Cottage Paint.

It is a clay based product that can be applied directly to any clean wooden surface.

Which means you can paint a piece of furniture without sanding, priming or stripping it first! How cool is that?

The paint comes in a wide range of colors and dries smooth with a matte finish.

So I decided to go with a beautiful green color that would spice up the table and match the accent colors in my wallpaper. (Of course, you can choose any color you want).

Here’s the step by step process for using cottage paint to paint a table without sanding.

Supplies

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  • Masking tape or painter’s tape
  • Cottage chalk paint furniture clean & prep
  • 8 oz. Cottage paint
  • varnish – I used Ralph Lauren faux technique glaze, but you could also use polyurethane or finishing wax depending on the type of finish you are going for.

Equipment

  • Good paint brush – I used Simms Vintage pro Bristle 1½ “ brush
  • #10 bristle stencil brush (optional)
  • 2” foam applicator brush or foam roller

How to use cottage paint

1 | Prep work

Although cottage paint doesn’t require as much preparation as regular paint, you do still need to make sure the furniture has a smooth finish and that’s it’s clean. (A previous finish that is peeling will prevent any kind of new finish from sticking.)

Tape off any areas where you do not want to apply paint.

Then use a toothbrush or small wire brush to remove any loose paint or other finishes that may be on the table.

Finally, spray the table with ‘Clean & Prep’. It acts like a deglosser and will remove any oil, debris and dust on the surface that will affect the adhesion of the paint.

Wait for a minute and wipe it off with a dry cloth.

You can also use TSP for this step. Just make sure to rinse it off so it doesn’t leave a residue.

Make sure the wood is completely dry before you proceed.

2 | Paint

If you’re table has ornate grooves like mine, use a stencil brush to pounce paint into the ornate grooves.

Then paint on the first coat with a regular brush.

For the best finish, keep your brush strokes going in the same direction as the grain in the wood.

Let dry for 2 hours, and give it a second coat of paint. Two lighter coats of paint will will end up being more durable than one thicker coat.

Also, if you’re trying to paint white over black (or another very dark color), you may need a third coat to get complete coverage.

3 | Put on a protective top coat

before and after accent table painted with cottage paint

When the paint is completely dry, brush on the protective varnish topcoat with a foam applicator. This will help to prevent the paint from chipping and scratches.

I used Ralph Lauren faux technique glaze because it gives a satin gloss finish as opposed to the flat finish of Cottage Paint varnish.

However you could also use polyurethane for a hard and more shiny surface, or finishing wax if you want a softer and more matte appearance.

For more even coverage, apply a second coat of the glaze.

Remove the tape and you’re all done!

living room with an accent table painted in green cottage paint

I love the way that it looks in my living room!

Other painted furniture ideas you might like

How to paint furniture without sanding

Think you need to sand your furniture before painting it? Think again! You can give your furniture a fresh coat of paint without all the extra work. Learn how to paint furniture without sanding.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Work Time 1 hour
Drying time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Author Flora

Equipment

  • paint brush
  • #10 bristle stencil brush (optional)
  • 2” foam applicator brush

Ingredients

  • Masking tape or painter’s tape
  • Cottage chalk paint furniture clean & prep
  • 8 oz. Cottage paint
  • varnish

Instructions

  • Tape off any areas where you do not want to apply paint.
  • Use a toothbrush or small wire brush to remove any loose paint or other finishes.
  • Spray the table with ‘Clean & Prep’. Wait for a minute and wipe it off with a dry cloth.
  • Make sure the wood is completely dry before you proceed.
  • If your table has ornate grooves, use a stencil brush to pounce paint into the grooves.
  • Paint over the table with a regular brush.
  • Let dry for 2 hours, and then give it a second coat.
  • When the paint is completely dry, brush on the protective varnish with a foam applicator.
  • For a more even coverage, apply a second coat of the glaze.
  • Remove the tape and you’re all done!

Comments or questions on how to paint wood furniture without sanding or priming?  Tell us in the section below.

This post was originally published on January 7, 2015 but was updated with new content on April 12, 2022.


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