Step-by-step tips on repainting old furniture without ruining it.
Whether an antique store, thrift store or side-of-the curb find, it’s important to treat old furniture right when giving it new life. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to repaint vintage furniture.
1. Clean It
First, give your new find a good scrubbing. Using a stiff-bristled scrub brush (not metal or wire!), scrub your furniture with soap and water and follow with an antibacterial cleaner. If you prefer something chemical-free, mix equal parts white vinegar and water, to kill any nasty bugs or bacteria.
2. Remove Old Paint
While you will probably need to use some chemicals to remove the old paint, avoid dunking your piece in a vat of chemicals. The wood in antique furniture is already old and dry and you don’t want to dry it out even more.
Instead, opt for a water-based stripper and plastic tools such as a knife, scraper or scrub brush. Metal tools may leave stains and harsh grooves on the old surface.
You will need different shaped tools for different parts of the piece. Keep this in mind and have a bunch of different tools from around the house on hand, in case the one you bought for the purpose isn’t as effective as you thought.
Apply the stripper with a natural-fibre paint brush then let it sit for 30 minutes.
3. Give It Another Clean
Remove excess chemicals using a stripper remover or denatured alcohol. Don’t use more water as you’ll have to wait for your furniture to dry before the next step.
4. Sand It
Give the furniture a light sanding so you have an even surface. If you have a fairly small piece of furniture, a light hand-sanding will do. For bigger pieces, use a power sander but follow with a light hand-sanding to remove the pattern an electronic sander may leave.
5. Finish It
From here you can choose to stain or paint your piece. If painting, start with a primer. Let it dry for the amount of time specified on the can then follow with your paint of choice. While an oil-based paint can give you a rich, shiny finish, you can also opt for a glossy latex. Or go for a matte latex for a shabby chic look.