Furniture Painting Techniques | Airtasker US
Do you have a knack for DIY painting projects and are looking for ways to expand your skills? Here’s a quick guide to different furniture painting techniques for some inspiration. Whether you want to upgrade your old furniture or explore ways to make money painting, this guide is for you!
1. Distressed painting techniques
Have tables and chairs with a rustic, weathered look without hitting the antique store. Distressed painting techniques are quite popular and easy to do, and you can pick a different distressed painting technique depending on your skill level and the materials you have on hand.
Here are different methods to achieve a distressed paint look.
To do this technique, get a block of wood and some cans of paint. Dip the block in the different colors, then use this as your “brush”. This leaves rough strokes that instantly make surfaces look distressed.
Wet paper technique
Tear up small pieces of paper, wet them, and then stick them onto the furniture. Paint the wood while the paper is still wet, then gently lift the bits of paper off.
Dry brushing technique
Painting furniture with a dry brush is key to getting a lovely distressed surface. Get an old, dry brush and dip it straight into the paint. Take the excess paint off, then use quick random strokes. Leave out some parts of each table leg or surface to get a weathered feel.
Sanding and repainting
This furniture “painting” technique is probably the easiest – all you need is a bit of sandpaper and some paint. Apply the paint, then sand random spots on the furniture for a more organic look.
Rinsing or scraping
These furniture painting techniques involve lifting paint off of the piece. Start by painting the chair or table in your color of choice, then scrape off random bits of paint! You can also try dipping the furniture in water while the paint is still wet.
2. Patterned paint techniques
This painting technique is for you if you like bold designs and want to challenge yourself. Patterned furniture paint techniques involve using masking tape, stencils, or other guides to achieve interesting designs. Whether you go with plaid, striped, or polka-dotted, your new table or chair is sure to make a statement in any room!
3. Layering paint techniques
Layering involves applying different shades of paint on top of each other. The steps are pretty straightforward, allowing you to easily get that layered look.
- Apply your first layer of paint and let it dry.
- Apply the succeeding layers of paint, or swirl the wet paint around each new coat!
4. French wash paint technique
The French wash furniture painting technique creates a subtle marble-like and elegant effect. French wash typically uses a special French wash paint and a dry flogger brush. These materials help create a textured, swirling effect. Depending on your brush strokes, your furniture can look fancy or have a more industrial look.
5. Matte paint furniture
Matte paint is great for older furniture, as it conceals dents and imperfections. (The low gloss of matte paint absorbs light instead of reflecting it.) But keep in mind that this painting technique isn’t ideal for frequently used furniture; Flat finishes are usually harder to wash.
6. Faux linen effect
Make cross-hatching strokes to get a faux linen effect. Start by applying a thick layer of paint in one direction. Once this layer has dried completely, apply the second layer in the opposite direction. You can even use two colors for a more prominent cross-hatching pattern.
Whitewashing wooden furniture gives your pieces a classic look. Plus, it’s fairly easy to do! Just gather your white paint, rollers and brushes, and sandpaper. After sanding down a surface, apply a coat of white paint, then wait for it to dry. You can then apply an additional coat of paint, and/or finish with a sealant.
8. Faux verdigris finish
If you love the blue-green tinge on antique copper, bronze, or brass look, you’ll want to try this painting technique! You can easily create a faux verdigris finish with some paint and patience. You’ll need staining gels and patinas, appliques, and chalk paint.
Verdigris is a bright blue-green encrustation or patina that forms on copper, brass, or bronze.
Here’s how to make paint look like verdigris:
- While the paint is still wet, use a damp rag to distress the coat.
- Follow this up with some sanding and waxing to further age the details of your furniture.
This furniture painting technique works best on pieces with lots of carving and molding since they’ve already got an antique look.
9. Jewel tones
Chalk paint, spray wax, and a gilded patina can create a beautiful jewel tone that looks great on ornate side tables and cabinets. This furniture painting technique is quite easy to follow.
- First, use two coats of your chalk paint of choice and let the furniture dry overnight.
- Follow up with a wash of paint in a complementary color (e.g. green paint for a blue base).
- Brush two different colors of spray wax all over the piece – ideally the same colors as the base and wash.
- Use a dabbling or stippling motion to add texture to the surface. F
- Finish up with a coat of patina for a metallic sheen, then seal everything up with a top coat.
10. Stencil texture technique
Try this stencil texture painting technique if you want to do more than just give your favorite chair a fresh coat of paint. You’ll need some chalk paint, wax, texture medium, and a stencil. You can also use some patina and metallic paint to enhance the details of the furniture. In just a few hours, you can turn a boring chair into hotel-worthy furniture!
11. Antique silver finish
This furniture painting technique will lend an elegant look to your dining set or even your dresser.
Here are the steps to do it:
- Coat the piece in black paint.
- Use the dry brush painting technique to apply silver paint to the high points of the furniture like carvings and grooves.
- To emphasize these high points, you can swipe on a damp cloth dipped in some silver paint.
- After the paint has cured, apply a coat of black spray wax and wipe it back with a damp cloth. This last layer both beautifies and protects your freshly-painted furniture.
12. Aged copper finish
If silver isn’t your thing, a warm copper finish might be the best fit for your home. This furniture painting technique uses copper gel wax, texture medium, and sandpaper. Achieve a coppery glow with a greenish patina that looks like oxidized metal. You can make the furniture look as new or as weathered as you like, depending on how much patina you apply.
Earn money with these furniture painting techniques.
These painting techniques for furniture will give you lots of options to update pieces in your home. If you’re ready to do more than DIY and earn money with your painting skills, you can find painting jobs on Airtasker. What better way to apply these furniture painting techniques than while earning extra cash on the side? Sign up as a painting Tasker now.
10 Tips for Using Chalk Style Paint
Lee has over two decades of hands-on experience remodeling, fixing, and improving homes, and has been providing home improvement advice for over 13 years.
Learn more about The Spruce’s
Updated on 05/20/22
The Spruce / Jordan Provost
With its supple texture and seductive colors, chalk paint transforms ordinary items like thrift store furniture into eye-catching art pieces. Odorless and naturally free of VOCs, chalk paint is a joy to work with and helps to revive old items or make new ones look fabulously old.
Chalk style paint behaves differently from conventional paint since it has a mineral content that places it closer to lime wash than to latex paints. With a fast drying time and the option of a final wax finish, chalk paint tends to operate under its own set of rules. With these tips, though, you can easily create unique refreshed furniture with a stunning look—and with that signature chalk paint velvet texture.
How to Transform a Piece of Furniture With Chalky Finish Paint
Go Easy on the Prep Work
Paint guides typically stress the need for extensive cleaning and other prepping of surfaces before applying paint. Yet if there’s one aspect of painting that most people don’t like, it’s the prep work.
So, you might be delighted to learn that chalk paint is remarkably good at sticking to problem surfaces. Sanding, cleaning, and priming can be avoided in most instances—especially helpful with old, antique pieces that you may have picked up along the way.
Clean and sand when you have surface-threatening issues like:
- Heavy grease
- Wood sap
- Moss or dried moss
- Mildew or mold spots
Use Different Brush Strokes for Varied Effects
Be creative with your chalk paint brush strokes for entirely different looks. For all stroke techniques, complete a local area before moving to the adjacent area. Be sure to work rapidly.
- Cross-hatch: For a faux linen effect, brush an area vertically and follow on top with horizontal strokes.
- Stipple: To create low peaks and valleys, lay down the paint thickly in a small area and follow by dabbing with the bristles.
- Feather: For a smooth surface, brush the paint in a small area and quickly follow with additional delicate parallel strokes on top.
Distress Carefully With Fine Sandpaper
Distressing is a technique that creates the illusion of age on wood surfaces. Avoid distressing all areas of the furniture equally. Instead, think about authentic vintage furniture and these pieces would have been used.
Consider the areas that would receive the most amount of wear and tear: 90-degree edges, handles and pulls, high spots, horizontal work surfaces; chair seats; chair armrests, and corners.
Wrap fine-grit sandpaper such as #220 around a wood block or purchase a foam sanding block. Apply light pressure when sanding these areas, since you can always go back and intensify the distressed areas with more sanding. This looks especially nice on items like candlesticks and dressers.
Photoboyko / Getty Images
Apply Thin Coats of Chalk Paint on Slick Surfaces
Wood’s open pores are ideal for capturing paint and helping it firmly stick. Slick, shiny items such as honed stone, metal, and ceramic tile lack pores, so you must apply the chalk paint with a different technique.
After thinning down the chalk paint with water, apply a thin coat to the work material, brushing in all directions. Make sure that the entire surface is covered.
After letting the paint dry for several hours, thin down the paint in the can if needed and apply a light feather coat to the surface. Smooth away brush marks by feathering lightly with the top of the brush.
Create a Two-Color Distress for Greater Depth
Chalk-painted furniture with eye-catching depth is often achieved with the two-color distress technique.
Sanding sections of single-layer paint reveals only wood underneath. Yet by laying down two different colors and delicately sanding down key sections of the top paint layer, you will expose that lower color layer, not wood. Using a darker color for the bottom layer will produce maximum depth when contrasted with a lighter top layer.
Apply Wax for a Supple Texture
Chalk paint alone results in a texture that, true to its name, feels chalky and dry. An application of special chalk paint wax protects the finish and gives it a pleasing soap-like feel.
Apply the wax with a brush or lint-free cloth. Wipe off excess wax with a fresh lint-free cloth. The wax will look white in the container but it applies clear, so do not worry about its initial appearance.
Dry-Brush to Blend Top and Bottom Colors
When the piece has an existing lower color that you would like to blend with an upper color, use the dry-brush technique.
Touch the tips of the bristles into the chalk paint. Remove from the paint and hold the brush away from the workpiece for a few seconds to allow the chalk paint to reach a drier consistency on the brush. Then firmly brush over the work surface.
Since the chalk paint is fairly dry, it is virtually impossible to ruin the lower level with too much paint.
Obtain an Ultra-Smooth Finish by Sanding
Though chalk paint is often associated with a heavily textured, weathered look, it can also go in the other direction and produce a sleek appearance for surfaces such as cabinet doors.
Chalk paint’s mineral content makes it easy to sand down, and this is key to producing a smooth finish. The idea is to sand the chalk paint with gradually finer grits of sandpaper until the final grit is relatively smooth.
- Paint a thin coat on the item with a high-quality brush or low-nap foam or velour paint roller.
- Let the paint thoroughly cure. While chalk paint dries to the touch within an hour or two, you’ll usually want to wait a full day before sanding.
- Sand lightly with fine-grit #220 sandpaper. Your aim is not to sand through the paint layer (as with the two-color distress technique) but to flatten the brush strokes or stipples.
- Brush or roll on a second coat.
- Sand again to a smooth finish. An even finer grit of sandpaper, #320, will help to produce a smoother finish.
- Final sanding of the chalk paint can be with something other than sandpaper: the scrubbing side of a sponge, white paper, or undyed cloth.
Easily Thin or Thicken Chalk Paint
Chalk paint is water-based, rendering it easy to thin and thicken.
Thin the chalk paint with small amounts of cool water. Slowly stir the paint while adding the water.
Unlike latex paint, which develops a skin when the paint can lid is left open, chalk paint has no such properties. This means that you can thicken it simply by leaving the lid open, then stirring. During this time, water evaporates from the mixture, slightly changing the ratio of chalk paint mix to water.
Another way to thicken chalk paint is to add more dry mixture. This isn’t possible if you purchased pre-mixed chalk paint. But if you bought it as a dry mix, simply tap in a little extra dry mix while stirring.
Consider All Brands of Chalk-Style Paint
In 1990, Annie Sloan created Chalk Paint in part because she needed a paint that would dry extremely fast. Even though her company is the only one that makes the product called Chalk Paint, other paint manufacturers have since developed similar chalk-style paint products.
- The Spruce Best Home Chalk Style Paint (see the colors)
- Behr Chalk Decorative Paint and Wax
- Valspar Chalky Finish Paint
- Rust-Oleum Chalked Ultra-Matte Paint
- Chalky Chicks Furniture Paint
The 8 Best Chalk Paints of 2023
- Design options
- Preparatory stage
- Art for beginners
- Using stencils
- Decoupage technology
- Painting with acrylic paints
- Features of painting in various rooms
Popularity of hand-made products is growing day by day, including hand-painted furniture. A fascinating activity also brings practical benefits: with the help of painting, old pieces of furniture acquire a second life. But it is not necessary to deal exclusively with restoration. New simple furniture without frills can be turned into a real masterpiece of the interior. The main thing is to choose the right painting technique.
The way furniture is designed depends on professional skills and the time you are willing to spend on creating a masterpiece. For beginners who do not know the art of artistic drawing, it is better to start by using simple stencils. A more complex and interesting painting is obtained by mastering the decoupage technique. In the future, the main composition can be supplemented with small details made independently.
Masters who own a brush, it is better to try painting furniture using acrylic paints. It will take more time to work, but the freedom of creativity here is not limited to a certain composition. For the first experiments, small pieces of furniture are suitable – a stool, a chair or a shoe shelf. After honing your painting skills, you can move on to larger items – chests of drawers, cabinets.
Depending on the chosen technique, you will need:
- Acrylic paints. You can buy a set or individual shades of the desired volume. The water-resistant image surface is ideal for a wooden base.
- Brushes. It is recommended to purchase synthetic products or with mixed pile, designed specifically for acrylic formulations. It is better to refuse natural brushes. To work, you will need wide instances that fill the background areas, and thin brushes for drawing small details.
- Primer. Usually, before starting work, the surface of the furniture is treated for better adhesion with the applied paint layer.
- Special blends for specific effects. To give the picture interesting shades, you should use little tricks. Most often, painting is found in the interior of Provence. The provincial design direction actively uses special techniques for the artificial aging of surfaces. It can be scuffs, small cracks and chips. Craquelure varnish, gelatin, PVA glue and even egg yolk can be useful to achieve this goal.
Golden colors give the pattern on the furniture extra brightness, to get a blurry image, use a hair dryer when painting.
Furniture surfaces must be cleaned and degreased before starting work. To eliminate irregularities, sanding is carried out, scratches and dents are puttied, after which the furniture is covered with a primer. The beginning of painting is started after thorough drying of the treated surface.
Art for beginners
After the preparatory stage, they proceed directly to the design of furniture.
Painting with a stencil is the easiest way to transform the interior of a room. Having chosen the option you like from numerous examples, it is initially printed out and then transferred to a thick sheet. An ornament or other image is carefully cut out. Simple and at the same time attractive patterns are presented below:
The surface of the furniture is initially painted with a background color, usually calm shades are chosen for this purpose. After the paint dries, the stencil is securely fixed to the furniture and the prepared cutouts are filled with brighter paint. The work is carried out with a sponge, so the surface is painted more evenly. It is better to gradually apply several layers to the furniture.
Depending on the selected pattern, furniture painting is done in one color or multicolor. In conclusion, it is recommended to additionally circle the contour of the painting to obtain a brighter image. If the stencil is small, you can use the pattern on several objects, the main thing is to observe moderation in order to avoid oversaturation of the interior with bright colors.
The essence of decoupage technique consists in fixing a drawing made on paper or fabric onto a dense base. It can be small vases and jars or larger furniture. The advantage of decoupage compared to painting with acrylic paints is that it is not necessary to choose a wooden surface for decoration.
The choice of varnish is of great importance in the preparation of materials. Depending on the composition, the surface of the furniture can be:
- with glitter;
To imitate painting, a special material with a printed pattern is purchased. There are the following options for decorating furniture:
- Napkins. Due to the thin base, working with them is quite difficult. For beginners, it is better to train on small, even surfaces of furniture.
- Decoupage card printed on rice paper. Due to the denser base and elasticity, it will be a little easier to achieve the effect of painting on furniture.
- Decoupage cards on plain paper.
- Prints on photo paper. The advantage of the solution is the ability to order any image that is best suited for decorating furniture painting.
Attention! Regardless of the chosen pattern, the piece of furniture intended for decoupage painting is painted in a white background. The reason for the requirement is simple – before applying, the paper with a pattern is moistened, if the base is colored, the color of the painting will be noticeably distorted. On a white background, the color scheme will remain in its original form.
The pattern is fixed in different ways. Usually, the surface is treated with glue, after drying, paper with a pattern is applied and carefully leveled, achieving a complete absence of bubbles or wrinkles. When the paper dries, the drawing is varnished, which will preserve the integrity of the painting.
Illustrative examples of painting made using decoupage technique are shown in the photo:
Painting with acrylic paints
Full painting is more suitable for people who can create an interesting picture on furniture by themselves. But this is not a prerequisite. A simple drawing in the form of a cherry on a children’s chair is quite possible for a beginner to complete.
Main stages of work:
- It is better to make a preliminary sketch of the painting on paper in order to choose a harmonious color palette that will blend into the overall interior.
- Pencils, paints, brushes, varnish and other handy materials are prepared.
- The outlines of the pattern are applied to the surface of the furniture with a simple pencil without pressure so that it does not subsequently show through the acrylic paint.
- First, large elements of the painting are painted, then small details are drawn up.
Depending on the desired effect, the base coat of paint is allowed to dry or another tone is applied on top without waiting for complete drying. Photos will help you evaluate the variety of images with which you can decorate furniture:
Features of painting in various rooms
When choosing an image, they are guided by the functional purpose of the room and the style of the interior. Most often, painting on furniture is in demand in the Provence style. Natural motifs, all kinds of vegetation and birds are fully consistent with the design concept with a taste of the French province. The painted chest of drawers in the bedroom looks extremely organic. If desired, the furniture in the kitchen can also be painted, although it is easier to turn to the decoupage technique. In addition to flowers, birds and vegetation, there are other interesting compositions.
Children’s room is a space for creativity. For beginners, it is better to choose simple images, these can be fish, colorful numbers and letters. If desired, the child’s room will be filled with bunnies, fairies, cars and sailboats. It all depends on the age, gender and preferences of your beloved child.
You can also choose a neutral theme for furniture design – geometric shapes, iridescent bubbles, the choice is limited only by your own imagination.
The kitchen is the right place for still lifes. The painting in the form of a tree will look extremely impressive on the furniture, the trunk of which is located on the pencil case, and the branches smoothly pass to the adjacent cabinet.
Go ahead, and by designing the surface of the furniture set, you can transform the interior of the room beyond recognition. The main thing is to take into account the functionality of the room, the overall stylistic decision and not overestimate your own capabilities.
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An introductory article about furniture in the Provence style
There is a stereotype: Provence style furniture is an expensive product, decorated with exquisite carvings and decorative details. But simple and inexpensive products are also combined with this style of interior. The main thing is to know the rules for choosing furniture suitable for Provence.
Features of furniture in the style of French Provence
Characteristic features of furniture that matches the style:
- Simple lines with rounded edges.
- Natural materials – primarily wood.
- Light palette – pastel, like “faded” shades. The preferred color is white interspersed with shades of beige: cream, soft pink, light blue, azure.
- Additional charm – aged surfaces (easy to do yourself).
- Facade painting.
- For upholstery – thin and light material, natural fabrics. Synthetic are excluded.
Provence interior furniture options
When choosing furniture, they focus not only on functionality. The aesthetic component is also important. After all, the task of style is to create a homely comfortable interior filled with light shades and reminiscent of French rural landscapes.
- Provence style tables – made of natural wood, often round in shape, with curved and carved legs. The product is usually painted in a light color and varnished. A round table is placed in the center, a rectangular one near the wall.
- Chairs are simple and elegant, exclusively made of wood, with flowing lines. The peculiarity of products that emphasize the connection with Provence is carved details, exquisite patterns, elements of aging (light scuffs, scratches). A pastel palette is preferable, for upholstery – natural material, light floral print, light shades.
- Sofas – this furniture should be made of wood, it is better to choose compact models. Forged and wicker products are appropriate. The sofa is obliged to complement the style of the room – it is decorated with decorative pillows.
- Armchairs – with wide backs, decorated with lace capes with tassels. This furniture must be attractive, because it is an accent in the interior. Reflects the features of Provence and a rocking chair, conducive to needlework and reading.
- Wardrobes and Chests of drawers are another accent for furnishings with a touch of Provence. This furniture, made of wood, must be artificially aged. Other distinctive features include molding, carved decor, and painted facades.
- Beds – furniture with wrought iron frame or. The headboard and legs of the product are figured, with carved details. If a forged frame is preferred, choose bronze or brass. This swirled furniture looks light and lacy. In a spacious bedroom, a canopy can be placed above the head of the bed, which creates a romantic mood.
Rules for arranging furniture in different rooms
The area of the room affects the arrangement of furniture in a room that reflects the Provence style. The space is complemented by cute decor: vases, lace tablecloths, decorative pillows with flowers. Family photos in a wooden frame also look good.
Thinking through the furniture, consider the following:
- The layout of the room and its area.
- Comfort is a priority.
- Natural materials must be visible.
Furniture should not occupy the entire room. It is important that there is no feeling of tightness. You need to leave free space.
Provence furniture in the hallway
The following products are preferred for the hallway:
- Open cabinet or with hinged doors. Shelves, according to the “preferences” of Provence, are decorated with baskets – wicker or fabric.
- Chest of drawers . Install if space permits. The surface is matte, with floral decor or specially aged.
- Hanger . The wall structure is placed above the chest of drawers. A floor hanger with curved hooks is also suitable. The main material is wood, but metal can also be used. The product is painted to match the wardrobe or bleached.
- Mirror . It is placed so that the space visually increases. Suitable for both wall and floor mirrors. The frame can be made of wood, MDF and even plywood. Decor – mosaic, original plaster details, gilding.
- Bench . Need a banquette on ornate legs and without drawers for things.
- Compact sofa . Suitable model with forged legs and decorative cushions (matching the upholstery).
Living room furniture in Provence style
In the living room, the decoration should be associated with the French countryside. But if you overdo it, you get a rustic interior. That is why you need to choose the right furniture.
- Suitable for the living room:
- Compact sofas.
- Armchairs and rocking chairs associated with comfort.
- Coffee table.
- Chest of drawers.
- Cabinet with open shelves.
Rough rustic furniture is out of place in the bedroom. Well-made products with carved details and inlay look good. The priority is light furniture with natural materials, decorated with handmade lace.
Decorating the bedroom Provence
Suitable furniture for the bedroom:
- Wardrobes and chests of drawers with figured legs, floral painting is appropriate.
- Wrought iron or wooden bed.
- Elegant dressing table.
- Bedside tables.
- Decorative table, elegant armchairs – a seating area.
French interior design for children’s room is also appropriate. After all, this style is associated with love and kindness, which creates the appropriate mood in the room. The selected furniture is complemented with the appropriate decor: wicker baskets for toys, chests, figurines, paintings.
Thinking through the kitchen in Provence style, the emphasis is on facades. For furniture, wood, pastel colors are preferable. The technique should be built-in – it needs to be “hidden”. Additional details – curtains with flowers, ceramic dishes, porcelain containers. A great option is a set in light lilac or cream colors or furniture with glass additions in snow-white shades. If there is a shower stall, it is decorated under a tree. Even the bathtub can be decorated in Provence – lay out with delicate mosaics or add decorative details for the legs.
Basic techniques for decorating furniture
Provence style furniture has a special French charm – it is artificially aged , painted in a delicate pastel color and captivates with carved details. Staining is often used: first, the top layer of varnish or paint is removed, then light paint is applied.