Painting on Wood : Steps by step guide on how to paint on wooden surface

A step by step detailed guide on how to paint on wood using acrylic paint with brush and roller. Best practice for sanding and repainting

Are you wondering if you can use acrylic paints for furniture? 

The answer is YES. You can use acrylic paints for any wooden furniture. Apart from the Latex and chalk paint, acrylic paints are the next chosen medium for painting the furniture. Wood is non-glossy, and hence acrylic paints adhere well to the surface.

Acrylic paints are very versatile and can be used on a range of surfaces like paper, canvas, metal, leather, fabric, and wood. These paints are water-based and similar to latex paint. They are fast-drying and non-toxic in nature. The color pigments are suspended and spread by acrylic polymer emulsion, which offers rich colors.
Small scale art projects like painting wooden frames, console tables, or any accent pieces can be very well done with acrylic paints.

The wooden surface must be prepared before you begin to paint. If you do not prepare the surface, you will see the grains of the wood even after you seal the paint. The end product will not have a smooth finish.

So to paint a wood piece and get a smooth long-lasting finish, follow this step-by-step guide.

1. Prep your Wood Surface

Preparing the wood is the first step to starting the work. It makes a lot of difference in the final product. 

The first step is sanding the wood. It ensures a smooth and even surface. Skip this step if you realize your wood has already been sanded down.

Sanding the surface with 280-320 grit wet or dry sandpaper will make the surface smooth. Sand in the direction of the wood grains (the lines you see on the wood) and not against it.
 
Next, altogether remove the sanded particles using a lint-free fabric. The humidity of the cloth will pick up all the loose sand.

2. Apply a Primer

Painting Brush on wooden surface

This measure often goes amiss when it comes to painting on wood. Do not forget to apply primer if you want the paint to adhere well to the surface. So lay a primer coat and let it dry for a couple of hours. Use a foam brush or a roller to apply primer.

A roller or a foam brush instead of a painter’s brush can give you a smoother and even finish. Apply the second layer of the primer for better coverage and leave it to dry overnight. 

A coating of acrylic wood primer will make lighter colors appear more vibrant. If you are seeking a much smoother surface, repeat the process of sanding till you reach the desired feel. The softer, the better!

3. Sanding the Primer

Sand it down again before painting. Use 220-grit sandpaper, and apply mild pressure to stop gouging the primer. Remove the primer dust using a flat brush, followed by a gentle swipe of the tack cloth.

4. Start Painting with Brush

Select the background color of your choice and take a small amount on a palette. 

Please note that acrylic paint dries relatively fast, so do not pour out all the paint at once on the palette. Take a bowl of water and keep it nearby. You will need to dip the paintbrush if the bristles dry or if the paint becomes thick.

Use a broad, flat paintbrush and start painting the surface. Slowly cover the complete surface, including the edges. Let the paint dry for a couple of hours. 

Most acrylic paints will take about 20 minutes to dry. If you are in no hurry, leave your wooden surface to dry overnight. The time may differ depending on the consistency of paints and how thick layers are applied.

5. Paint using a Roller 

Roller Paint with red color

Another tool you can use is a roller. Buy a good quality roller as  it gives a smooth finish. Some cheap quality rollers will cause problems like paint marks and a rough finish. A six-inch foam roller should be good to use. You can also buy the replacement roller cover together or later.

To paint using a roller, pour about four ounces of paint into the tray. Gently dab the roller in the paint and roll up the paint and down the tray's slope a couple of times. It will help spread the paint onto the roller pad. 

Transfer the roller to the wood. Start to roll the paint on the wood, beginning with light pressure only. High-density foam rollers often trap the paint in the roller mat, so you might have to increase pressure gently to release the paint. You can wash and reuse the covers or discard this one and use a new cover.

6. Sand the first coat

You can achieve a much smoother coating if you opt to sand and paint one last time. Sanding the paint coat brings down bumps and inconsistencies introduced by the roller or brush. 

Using 220-grit sandpaper, sand lightly by hand or attach the paper to the orbital sander and then operate lightly through the surface. Don't use pressure on the sander other than the weight of the sander.

After sanding, gently remove the dust from the surface.

7. Paint second coat

Apply a last coat of paint using a brush or roller as you want. This will be the final coat, so be careful not to make any mistakes here. Allow the paint to dry overnight or more before using it.

8. Apply a Sealant

Applying a sealant is essential to protect the underlying layer. It will protect your work from flaking or peeling. You will find many types of sealers in the market, choose as per your need.

You can choose from gloss, matte, satin, and a lot more. It is up to you whether you want to use spray sealer or brush sealer. Both have different application methods, but the results are the same. 

Apply a thin coat of the sealant and allow it to dry. Now you have your finished and sealed furniture ready.

Best Practices for Sanding:

The best suggestion for sanding between coats is to start with coarser grit sandpaper, follow up with medium grit, and complete with fine-grit sandpaper. 

A good hint: Spray a fine mist of water over the sanded surface that may raise the grain. Remember that the best approach to sand is in the direction of the grain. Otherwise, it might damage your surface.

Best Practices for Repainting:

If you are repainting a piece, the first thing to do is check the current paint condition of the surface. If you find the paint is peeling from the surface, scrape it to get rid of old paint coats. Then, make the surface smooth with 180 grit sandpaper.

Never attempt to paint a present wood surface without preparing the surface. Applying an immediate coat of paint over the old coating won't function and will tend to peel, primarily if it includes a shiny finish.

Best Painting tip:

Use a brush and a roller: Paintbrushes and rollers each have unique usage. Rollers cover large areas quickly but can't reach corners or narrow spaces. If you want smooth surfaces, go for a high-density foam roller. 

Use paintbrushes for painting the corners and edges to get a clean, smooth finish. And use rollers for painting large areas to save time. Brushing after rolling to remove lines is an expert technique called back-brushing.

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