Preparing a Varnished Piece of Furniture for Painting?

I have an old shoe cupboard which is varnished/stained, but could do with a new lease of life. I was thinking of changing it to a cream "distressed" look, slightly shabby chic? How easy is this to do? Any tips appreciated.


By cj from UK

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February 23, 20110 found this helpful

I think if you do this you will be surprised how much better it will look. First roughly sand your piece. Then go buy some primer (Zinser123) is the best primer. Put a coat on or maybe even two if you think the dark is coming through too much. Then paint it in cream color you desire. After it dries, sand through in areas where it might naturally get a lot of wear (not too much sanding) and then put on some water based wood stain and immediately wipe it off, leaving color in the cracks and crevices. After it is thoroughly dry, apply a coat of WATER based varnish. I can't stress the water based part enough. If you use any other, it will turn yellow and you will not be happy with it. Hope this helps you.

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February 23, 20110 found this helpful

First thing to do is take some medium grit sandpaper to the finish (after removing the hardware of course) and lightly sand off the finish so the paint will stay on. Then wash the piece well, dry well.


You can paint an under coat that will show through at this point. Then add another coat to it after its dry. Once the second coat is dry you can lightly sand down areas that would wear down as you move the piece, work the drawers and just handle it everyday. Then add some no sheen poly to keep the paint from chipping off unless this is an effect you will want. Do not do the poly in high humidity as this will take months to dry or may never dry. Good luck.

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February 22, 2011

I want to paint a varnished piece of furniture and want to know the proper steps in doing it correctly. For example: strip it first or sand it? What kind of paint do I use?


By toni ovall from Los Angeles, CA

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Home and Garden Home Improvement Furniture RefinishingFebruary 22, 2011
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