Technique: Prep

Here’s a little bit about how I do what I do……

Each and every piece of furniture needs a good cleaning. No matter how “clean” the home is it came from, furniture gets years and years of whatever on it, and it needs to come off for paint to adhere or stain to cure.

Ok then so….regular dawn soap and water work great, but to cut out a little bit of sanding I like to use TSP.


I really, really like using this product. It gets the grime off easily and takes off the glossy topcoat you’d otherwise have to sand through. Win-win.

Then, sanding. With furniture, the more sanding you do, the better the end result will be. This is the time consuming part; prep work. I can’t stress that enough. I cringe when I’m on Pinterest and I see blog posts for “No Sanding AT ALL” painted furniture tutorials. Sure, it may work, but what will the end result look like? (Don’t even get me started on tutorials for painting laminate furniture with no sanding, bah!)

Sanding isn’t just for removing old finish, but for smoothing out dings and cracks. Painting directly over them simply magnifies them. Yuck. So, sanding must and does happen with all my furniture pieces.


Another step to a seemless finish is filling those dings and holes too big to sand out. I recommend a wood filler, because it hardens nicely. This is what I use to fill drawer holes and anything else. Letting this stuff cure is important too, there really isn’t a way to skip or shorten prep work, there is no substitute for it. (Yes, even “chalk paint”)


Next week, I’ll talk about the kind of paints I prefer.

Thanks for reading!



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