Thursday, February 27, 2014

My furniture painting secrets

Do you learn the hard way and wish at the end you had checked things out a little more thoroughly?  This  overconfidence gets me in hot water more times than I would like to admit, but learn I do!  I paint furniture frequently.  That means lots of experience from too many mistakes. Here's my recipe now.

What goes under a paint job is very important especially if you are painting a hard surface like laminate. My best painting tip in these situations is ....

Stix bonding primer
My top pick for a bonding primer

  use STIX bonding primer  as a base on just about anything, and then go with the paint of your choice on top of it - my fav is below.  With used furniture degrease with TSP or vinegar and do a light sanding with a sanding pad or electric sander. Paint doesn't like grease, and I always feel better if I sand a bit first. No need to overdo it!

The Facts on STIX

 Keep in mind:
  1. STIX is not a paint but a  primer/sealant, only a thin translucent coat is required; you are not gaining anything by going for opaque coverage.  
  2. You don't  need two coats; don't waste it because it is on the expensive side.
  3. You probably need a quart rather than a gallon for smaller jobs because it spreads a long way.
  4. It is best  applied going in one direction using light but swift movements. Forget back and forth or w moves.
  5. Wait at least 90 minutes for drying.
My latest project was a colour change for a small media cabinet from Target.  We needed  a multipurpose piece to act as a side table and storage for  two pieces of  TV equipment.  I hate it when you need something right away because you are forced to choose from what is available. 30 inch media cabinets are a thing of the past it seems; everyone has big TVs.   This one was the least offensive to  my design sensibilities.  NO I don't love it at all because it is a tad too traditional for me, but it will serve our purpose until hubby builds one - might be years!

media cabinet Target

The nutmeg colour looked terrible with my decor  especially my so lovely golden undertoned 80's oak. In comes trusty BM Iron Mountain  to match the  family room colour scheme. I highly recommend this gray if you are looking for a dark gray hue.

Benjamin Moore Iron Mountain
Benjamin Moore Iron  Mountain
If I want a durable finish I use Benjamin Moore Advance in a pearl finish.

Benjamin Moore Advance waterborne alkyd Iron Mountain

But.... if you are the impatient type it might not be for you.  I have to do a lot of self talk to get me through the drying time, but it is worth it for a durable finish. 

The facts on  Advance

 Benjamin Moore Advance is a waterborn alkyd and is as close to an oil finish as you can get today.

  • durable finish
  •  levels nicely
  • soap and water cleanup
  • available in all BM colours
  • low VOCs
  • difficult paint for impatient people (like me); re-coating time is 16 hours (don't try to hurry it); seems to take even longer when applied over sealed, hard, non porous surfaces; takes many days to fully harden from my experience
  • some reviews report whites yellowing over time ( I haven't used white)
  • higher price range(you get what you pay for)
  • not self-priming, stain-blocking nor antimicrobial -mildew resistant
 If you want a very extensive review of this product read Jack Pauhl.

Advance Benjamin moore Stix bonding primer
Benjamin Moore Iron Mountain using  Advance
Photo:  Margaret Ryall

 You may notice we chopped over two inches off the legs to hide the wires that were coming down behind the cabinet.  Wires are the enemy and they must be dealt with at all costs! This will also be used as a side table so it needed to be shorter.  I liked the higher legs, but function always wins. 

Do  you have any painting tips to pass along?  


  1. Love the colour of this. I have painted lots and right now am painting my kitchen cabinets. My one piece os advance is make sure you do your prep work. Follow instructions and use tack cloths for keeping your piece dust free before you apply your primer and paint. Cheers

  2. Tack cloth for dust is a must. Forgot to mention it Lesley.

  3. Great post! Been reading a lot about painting my furniture. Thanks for the info here!


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