Painting wood furniture has evolved over the years. It used to be a known fact that you never paint wood furniture without sanding it first. Things have changed and new products have come out that have changed the furniture painting game. Today I’m going to share a little insight into a few tricks to painting wood furniture without sanding.
My least favorite thing about furniture refinishing is sanding. I will paint and stain all day, but I could do without sanding. It wears me out, LOL. Maybe I’m just a weakling but honestly y’all it wears me out.
After getting this question time and again from the blog and social media, I thought I would share my best tricks to refinishing furniture without sanding.
How do you paint wood furniture without sanding?
Understanding the trick to NOT sanding wood furniture requires an understanding of why you need to sand in the first place. The reason you need to sand wood is to “rough up” the surface to allow the new paint to “stick.” Eliminate the sanding process works as long as the surface is prepared to accept the new finish. This requires using at least one of two things; liquid sandpaper and primer.
What products do you use to prepare wood furniture for paint without sanding
- Liquid sandpaper or liquid de glosser– If you plan to forgo the sanding process when painting furniture, a great product to use to “rough up” the surface is liquid de glosser or liquid sandpaper. This also helps clean the surface really well. Essentially it removes a very thin layer off of the surface and leaves a little “grittier” finish. Liquid sandpaper is a great substitute for sanding. That being said, don’t try to use it to strip the surface of paint, stain or varnish. It’s not that strong.
- Primer- Primer is used to ensure proper adhesion between paint and the surface you are painting. It also seals in stains to prevent bleed through. I’m a huge fan of priming all surfaces before paint.
Do I have to use a primer AND a de glosser when painting furniture without sanding?
Not necessarily. If you don’t use a de glosser, make sure you clean the surface really well. Vinegar is a great cleaner sometimes used to clean wood. Also use a tack cloth or a lint free cloth to make sure the surface is free of dust and debris. I’ve previously used a 1:1 vinegar and water solution when I refinished a large solid wood Oak door. After you’ve cleaned the furniture piece, use a good bonding primer.
Do you have to use a primer if you don’t sand furniture before paint?
There are paints that don’t require a primer to be applied first. That being said, if you are trying to cover up an old furniture smell, use a primer first. If you are worried that the old furniture finish might bleed through the new paint, use a primer first. If you are painting a light color over a dark color, it’s best to use a primer first.
I’m a believer that 95% of successful furniture painting is prep work. This doesn’t necessarily mean sanding. It just means proper cleaning and proper surface treatment.
I’ve got a full video on YouTube that explains in depth when and why you need to use primer. Check it out if you’re on the fence about using primer.
How to paint laminate furniture without sanding
I actually don’t recommend sanding laminate furniture before painting it anyway because most often it’s a thin veneer or plastic composite. You generally don’t sand plastic and you need to be super careful when sanding veneer because you don’t want to sand it away!
In order to paint a laminate surface you would use these same steps that I outlined above with the cleaning or de greasing methods and then primer. One thing to note; ALWAYS use a primer when painting laminate furniture or cabinets. You need a primer layer in order for the paint to bond to the laminate surface.
Steps to painting furniture without sanding
- Use a liquid de glosser or liquid sandpaper to “rough up” the surface and clean it really well
- Make sure to finish cleaning the surface with a tack cloth or lint free cloth
- Use at least one coat of primer
- Finish with your favorite paint product
I shared some of my favorite primer products in a detailed post about why you need to use primer before painting furniture.
I also get asked a lot about if you can use primer as the finish coat of paint. I’ve answered that question in detail in another post.
There are a ton of paint products on the market today that say they don’t require sanding or a primer. This is a loaded question in my opinion. I say that because primer is used for so much more than just bonding the surface to a paint product. That being said, let me share a handful of paint products that claim they don’t need sanding or a primer product.
Disclaimer; Most (not necessarily all) of the paint products in the below categories will state “no sanding required.” Make sure to follow the manufacturers directions.
Paint products that don’t require sanding before painting
- Chalk paint
- Milk paint with bonding agent
- Mineral paints
- Some Enamel paints
- Paint plus primer products
I hope you’ve learned that it IS possible to paint furniture without the laborious task of sanding.