How to Prep and Paint Furniture With A Paint Sprayer (and a Master Bedroom Makeover Update)

Paint!! Paint!! and more Paint!!

That’s been the theme for this week in my One Room Challenge bedroom makeover.

Purple paint in the bedroom
The new purple paint in the bedroom

First, there was my last minute change of heart on the paint color for my walls (in the bedroom design board from week 2). Instead of dark grey or black (like the black bedroom inspiration pictures from week 1), I ended up going with purple (Shadow from Benjamin Moore to be exact).

Thanks to my mother, it’s up on the walls and the ceiling (if you’ve been around here for a while, you know I think painting the ceiling is just as important as the walls)…and…I love it!! I am SO glad I went with my gut on that decision.

The purple looks awesome with in the room!

Upcycle Furniture

The settee and end tables before painting
The settee and end tables before painting

As I mentioned last week, I’m saving some money on this remodel by reusing the end tables, book shelves and settee that were already in the bedroom. However, to make them go with my new moody, modern bedroom, they really needed an upgrade! So I decided gloss black paint would be just the thing.

The one problem with re-painting existing furniture is making sure that the paint sticks.  I don’t want it to be peeling in a few months time…with my eclectic, deco, glam style, chipping paint is definitely NOT the look I’m going for.

I’m also probably the only person in the world who isn’t a fan of chalk paint (which they say sticks better than regular paint)…so I’m using the latex black paint (Valspar Dark Kettle Black) left over from my den makeover. One less can of paint to buy!

The trick to getting a good finish is a good start. The prep work is everything!

Sand Furniture Without Getting Sawdust Everywhere

The first step to prepping the pieces is to remove the top of the old finish by sanding it.

Liquid Sanders

I have never had very good luck with liquid sanders*…the kind you rub on and then wipe off, supposedly taking the old finish with it.

This is not to say that they don’t work, it could be operator error (ie. I might not have done it right). If anyone has any tips on how to make them work, I’d love to hear them!

But in any case, I didn’t even attempt to use them for this go around.

Manual Sanding

A foam sanding block works well for sanding crevices in furniture
A foam sanding block works well for sanding crevices in furniture

So we went for the good old manual sanding effort instead. And by “we”, I really mean my mother…

The end tables and settee had a fair number of details that needed to be hand-sanded.

Using a fine grit sanding block with an angled end makes it easier to get into those grooves. The fine grit takes the finish off without gouging into the surface below. And it doesn’t really generate too much mess…which is always a bonus.

Using an Electric Sander

An electric sander makes quick work of flat surfaces
An electric sander makes quick work of flat surfaces

 

 

However, there were also some fairly large flat areas that could be sanded with an electric sander…a much faster but messier way to sand.

I use a DeWalt random orbit sander* for sanding furniture since it is easy to use without leaving gouges in the wood. Don’t press down on it as you sand and let it move in small circles as you move from one end of the furniture to the next. The furniture finish will be removed in no time!

The only problem is all of the sawdust it spews everywhere. Using it in the garage is bad enough, but trying to use it indoors is impossible!

Dust Collection Option #1

In the past, I have tried hooking up a shop vac* to the sander but it never seemed to get all of the sawdust. Eventually the dust would start to rise out of the shop vac canister. And every once in a while the hose would come off the sander at the worst possible moment…resulting in the same mountain of dust covering everything.

Dust Collection Option #2

Then last year, I took a woodworking class and learned how the professionals sand furniture WITHOUT getting dust everywhere! This method works so well you can even do it in the house!

Okay, I should say professionals that aren’t working in their shops…then they usually have a fancy dust collection system built in.

But as far as portable dust collection, I think this is the best thing since sliced bread.

So what is it you ask?

The Festool dust collector attached to a DeWalt random orbit sander
The Festool dust collector attached to a DeWalt random orbit sander

The Festool HEPA dust collector*. I will warn you now that they are pretty expensive! But if do lots of DIY projects like I do, I think they are worth every penny!

It works like a vacuum but has a very powerful suction engine and a HEPA filter. When you attach it to your sander, it really works to collect ALL of the dust! The end of the hose is rubber and fits very snugly into the dust bag tube for my sander, so it never falls out in the middle of sanding.

There are different models and sizes available, but I have the CT-26E*. It has large-sized wheels that make it very easy to move around, is compact enough to store away under my work bench, and my favorite part…has an automated power outlet. If you plug your sander into this outlet, and switch the dust collector to auto mode, the vacuum will automatically turn on when you start up the sander, and switch off when you stop.

The dust collector hose attaches to the sander where the dust bag normally goes
The dust collector hose attaches to the sander where the dust bag normally goes

Obviously, for this to work, you need a sander that has a dust bag or hose attachment option (most electric ones do).

And it works best for sanders that have holes in the bottom. That way it can suck up the dust directly as it is created.

The dust collector works great for sanding dry wall or cutting concrete as well as pretty much any other power tool that has a dust bag. For me, not having to clean up after doing these kinds of jobs more than makes up for the price of the vacuum!

Remove Residue

After all of the furniture has been sanded, make sure any remaining grease or oil has been removed from the surface. Krud Kutter* does a great job of this.

Spray it on and let it sit for about a minute, then wipe it off. It was amazing how much extra oil and varnish came off on the rag!

Make sure it is completely dry by waiting an hour before continuing to the priming stage.

Prime The Furniture

Painting furniture with primer first helps the paint to go on better
Painting furniture with primer first helps the paint to go on better

Adding a coat of primer paint helps to make sure the paint sticks and covers up any stains that might bleed through the paint.

For wood that has been finished before, I like to use Kilz latex primer*. It is water based which makes it fairly easy to clean up.

However for unfinished wood, a shellac-based primer* works best. It seals the knots in the wood and makes sure any moisture or resin in the wood does not cause issues with your paint.

When the primer has dried, give the furniture a light sanding to remove any rough bits. This will make your final paint finish smoother.

Use A Paint Sprayer Without Getting Paint Everywhere

The paint sprayer ready to go
The paint sprayer ready to go

My favorite way to paint furniture is to use a paint sprayer.

To be honest, this hasn’t always been true. But I finally found a paint sprayer that works! (And I have tried a lot of them.)

The Homeright Finish Max electric paint sprayer* is my new best friend! It’s easy to use, sprays evenly and is easy to clean up.

The painting tent keeps paint from going everywhere
The painting tent keeps paint from going everywhere

The only problem with spray painting is that the paint goes everywhere!

Fortunately, Homeright has a solution for that, too. They make a painting tent*. You put down a drop cloth and put up the tent which takes only a few minutes.

Furniture in paint tent
Furniture in paint tent

Then move the furniture in and start spraying…the paint stays in the tent! Brilliant!

For this project, it was nice enough outside to set the tent up on the deck (although I have used it in the garage on other occasions). A few minutes later, my end tables were no longer mahogany colored and look so much better already.

The fold down screen on the front of the tent keeps dust off the wet paint
The fold down screen on the front of the tent keeps dust off the wet paint

The fold down screen on the front of the tent helped to keep the bugs and pollen off of my wet paint. This is pretty important around here at this time of the year…my outdoor patio tables are green on the top because of the pollen build up and I’m not going for a green tint on my painted furniture ?

With no rain in the forecast, I was able to leave the painted furniture outside to dry for 24 hours. With gloss or semi-gloss paint, I like to wait that long to make sure it is dry before putting on the next coat.

The painted table
The painted table

After a second coat of paint, my end tables look brand new!

Hand Paint Other Furniture

Cover upholstery with plastic before painting woodwork
Cover upholstery with plastic before painting woodwork

Unfortunately, spray painting the settee wasn’t really an option since I didn’t want to get paint on the upholstery.

My mother did tape plastic sheeting* over the upholstery with painter’s tape* but any little gap will get paint in it when you spray, so I didn’t want to take any chances. (Yes, that’s Winston photo-bombing the picture).

Settee with woodwork painted black
The painted settee

Lucky for me, my mother was nice enough to hand paint it using small craft brushes to get into the crevices and holes. I like it so much better!

Spray Paint Accessories Without Making A Mess

Finally, I wanted to add some accessories to my end tables to make them a little more modern. And I don’t think a DIY project is done unless a little spray paint is involved.

Spray painting small items inside a box prevents the paint from going everywhere
Spray painting small items inside a box prevents the paint from going everywhere

So I bought some 1 1/2″ flat corner braces* and used some champagne spray paint* on them.

Doing this inside of a box helps to keep the paint from going everywhere…something like the paint tent only on a smaller scale.

Adding angle brackets to the drawers gives the table an industrial look
Adding angle brackets to the drawers gives the table an industrial look

Then we attached them onto the corners of the table drawers with screws to give it a little more industrial feel.

Without giving away the whole room, here’s how the chaise and side table look after the room was finished. So much better than the originals!

Well, I’m sure you’ve heard enough about painting by now…and we’re still not finished, so I need to get busy!

Before you go, don’t forget to visit the One Room Challenge featured participants and the other guest participants to get a lot more home decorating inspiration!

Have comments or questions on how to prep and paint furniture without making a mess? Tell us in the section below.

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