How do you prime wooden furniture

Painting craft quality wooden furniture

The preparatory work for painting wooden furniture depends on various factors

Even the most beautiful wooden furniture no longer looks like new after a few years. In most cases, however, the processing quality is okay. If you then paint such pieces of furniture, you get first-class looking wooden furniture again with little effort. In addition, there is also wooden furniture that has not yet been treated. In order to protect the wood, varnishing or glazing is recommended in any case. So, before you get down to work, you need to clarify the following questions first.


  • is it untreated "raw" wood or has it already been painted?
  • do you want to apply a colored varnish or paint a transparent glaze?
  • is it solid wood furniture or a veneer?
  • does damage have to be repaired?

Prime wooden furniture or not

If you want to paint a veneer, a primer is recommended. This also closes any gaps and cracks on the edges of the transition from the veneer to the wood. Otherwise it is sufficient if you apply the paint or varnish in three working steps as a preliminary, intermediate and top coat.

The material for painting your wooden furniture

Depending on how you can answer the preceding questions for yourself, the following material and tool lists vary.

Step-by-step instructions for painting wooden furniture

  • possibly primer (veneer)
  • Lacquer system (acrylic lacquer, synthetic resin lacquer, etc.)
  • Paint stripping (paste or fluid)
  • various fillers (€ 4.25 at Amazon *) n (for wood, polyester or lacquer filler)
  • Sandpaper in different grits
  • White spirit
  • duct tape
  • Orbital sander (€ 24.90 at Amazon *)
  • Sanding block
  • various spatulas
  • possibly hot air dryer
  • brush
  • Paint and lacquer rollers
  • Paint pan with scraper

1. Preparatory work

Additionally for wooden furniture with old paint

First of all, you need to remove the old paint. Either sand it down, treat the paint surface with a hot air blower and level off the paint, or stain the piece of furniture.

All wooden furniture

Now moisten the wood, including untreated furniture. This causes the wood to swell and loose fibers stand up. Now roughly sand the wood surface with a suitable sandpaper. Then let the wood dry completely.

Repair damage

Now fill in the damage with a suitable spatula. Let the filler used dry according to the manufacturer's instructions and sand the filled areas flat.

Grinding work

Now roughly sand the wooden furniture with a suitable sandpaper. A grit around 120 is suitable for this. In the second sanding pass, they use a maximum of 150 grit, in the last sanding then a maximum of 180 grit.

Cleaning and masking the wooden furniture

Clean the prepared furniture with white spirit so that no grease residues stick to it. In addition, wiping with a dust-binding paintwork cloth is recommended. If the furniture is painted later, every inclusion, no matter how small, can be seen very clearly - especially with colored paint. Then mask off areas and areas that should not be painted.

2. Priming the wooden furniture

As already mentioned at the beginning, you should paint veneered wooden furniture in particular with a primer in order to explicitly close cracks and the smallest fraying at the edges. With all other wooden furniture, you don't need a primer, unless you want to apply a barrier layer (barrier primer).

3. Painting the wooden furniture

Now you can start painting the wooden furniture. Use a suitable paint or varnish roller for this. First coat the paint used lengthways in four to five lengths. Then roll the painted lacquer across to smooth the lacquer. Using the same technique, you now apply a total of three coats: the preliminary coat, an intermediate coat and a top coat.

Painting a glaze

If you are painting a transparent glaze, first apply a primer with the glaze. Let this primer dry completely, then sand the pre-glazed wooden furniture with a fine sandpaper with a grain size larger than 200. Clean the furniture again thoroughly from dust and sanding dust and varnish the top layer.

4. Rework

If you are not really satisfied with the end result, you can sand down the last layer of lacquer with a very fine sandpaper or even polishing paste and then paint it again. If everything fits, let the paint dry completely before removing the tape.

If you want to paint separate areas (multi-colored paintwork), first allow the primer to dry completely. Then tape around the area to be painted in a different color. Many people are already painting with the other color and are annoyed because it can run under the tape. Therefore paint the masked area again with the basic color. This practically seals the tape, and the paint in a second color shows up with razor-sharp edges.

There are foam and flock rolls for the paint rolls. Use foam rollers for synthetic resin paints, flock rollers for acrylic paints.

If the type of wood in your piece of furniture is very resinous, a primer is also recommended, as the lacquer could otherwise react with the resin. This applies to new, untreated pieces of furniture.

Before smoothing paintwork, always apply the first coat following the grain.

Of course, the in-house journal also offers you numerous advice on processing and painting other materials, such as [painting metal] or [painting bitumen].

Author: Tom Hess

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