Painting and all that


I am asked almost on a daily basis what paint would I  recommend, how, why, what, when.  I always try to reply to all the emails, tweets, facebook comments etc but have to admit its a bit time consuming. So I thought it was about time I got around to a writing a few tips down.

NO 1 :  You do not need to invest your hard earned cash buying expensive designer paints.   I’m not saying don’t buy them,we all like to splash the cash on luxury items from time to time.  Its just that to get a lovely paint finish you really don’t have to buy blind just because you read somewhere its the must have paint.  It is possible to obtain the matt chalky finish popular at the moment by using a good quality matt emulsion paint.  I particularly love Dulux Trade Matt emulsions.  They are expensive but are top quality, cover really well, are hard waring and go a long, long way.  I also love Craig and Rose 1829 Chalk paint, it comes in a range of beautiful colours.  To be honest any good quality emulsion paint will do the job.  If you are unsure of colours buy the tester pots first.  I find most of the good quality brands go a long way.  I often manage to paint a whole chair from one tester pot. 


NO 2 :  It really is all in the preparation !  OK so some paints are marketed as one coat wonders with no preparation required but if you want you item to have longevity. You will need to prep it properly first.  

a.   Make sure the surface you are painting is clean from dirt, grease and grime. I usually wipe            down with sugar soap, but to be honest good old soap and water usually works just as well or white spirit.  Just make sure its completely dry before you continue.

b.   Gently rub down all surfaces you want to paint.  A light grade sand paper is best to ensure you don’t scratch the surface wood.  You don’t need to exert too much on this just enough to give the paint something to bond to.

c.  If you are planning to paint an old, dark piece of furniture or if the piece was previously painted with a gloss paint, was varnished or waxed it is best to also use a primer first.  I recommend Zinsser B I N Shellac based primer.  This will stop patches of bleed from the wood coming through with light coloured paint and acts as a great base coat.

 Pic from Pinterest

ok so now you are ready to paint :

NO 3 :  As I said you don’t need to buy expensive designer paints but do buy the best brushes you can afford. Its really worth the investment.  Cheap brushes loose their bristles which can be very annoying when they fall into the paint or get stuck to the piece you are painting.  The best kind of brushes to buy are sable artists brushes for small areas or precise painting.  I am always on the lookout at bootsales and charity shops for any kind of artist brushes.  They are wonderful and give a great finish.  For large surface areas I use natural bristle brushes like Pioneer spirit which hold the paint really well and give great coverage over large items.  If you don’t like to see brush strokes then foam rollers are good to cover large flat areas like the tops of tables etc. 

NO 4:    You can’t rush !  If you want to have a lovely painted piece to be proud of you  need to take your time painting it.  Several light coats are a must.  Apply a light top coat all over the item, starting at the top and working your way down the piece, try to not get distracted !  Its very easy especially when painting a large piece or a chair to get bored and move to another area, try not to do this as you may cause a patchy look to the finished item.  Don’t be put off by the look of the item when you have applied the first coat, it will look awful, we all have to start somewhere.   

After you have applied your first coat, let it dry properly.  Do not be tempted to start another coat otherwise you will cause drag and may even lift off the previous coat.  The beauty of using Matt emulsion paints is they dry really quickly so you should only have to wait less than an hour between coats.  When each coat has dried, give it a  gently rub down with a soft grade sand paper to lift and smooth any imperfections. 


NO 5 :  Final stage, once you have finished painting and your piece is dry. Time to apply either a wax or matt varnish.  I like to use wax which can be applied easily with a cloth or a brush and gives a soft sheen finish.  For a more durable finish, a matt varnish is recommended and can be quickly applied with a brush.  Once applied leave the piece overnight.  The following day give the item a light buff with a clean cloth ( I use old cotton tee shirts).

I hope this quick overview has helped, please don’t hesitate to comment below if you have any questions.



  1. The Mummy Diary
    May 8, 2014 / 5:50 pm

    I absolutely hate painting and can never get it right, probably bad preparation and tools to be honest. Great tips though and I have some drawers I want to paint so will take all this in.

    • karen jones
      May 8, 2014 / 7:53 pm

      Part of the secret is enjoying doing it, so maybe get someone else to do it for you lovely lady xx

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