The art of figuring out how to paint furniture without streaks (aka: brush marks) was one that took me about a year to nail down.
I tried every trick in the book and found, like many things, some tricks worked better than others.
So, today I provide the list of tips and tricks that work every time when you’re looking to get a smooth painted finish on your furniture.
But first, I want to squash the myth that it is the paint that is making those brush marks appear. The truth is that it is not the paint that is causing the streaks, but rather how the paint is applied.
Let’s dive in….
How to Paint Furniture without Streaks (aka: brush marks)
All tips below assume you are using a high quality paint made for projects like painting furniture. Our Chalky Finish Furniture Paint is the perfect solution since most projects require nothing more than cleaning the existing surface. That’s right – no stripping, sanding or priming needed.
Now, onto the fail proof tips!
Start with a Smooth Surface
If you want to ensure a smooth painted surface, the first thing you must to is make sure the surface is :
- Cleaned thoroughly (no dust, dirt, animal hair, etc…)
- Free from existing peeling/chipping paint
- Repaired as needed with any existing dings, divots, etc….
Many years ago, someone told me painting furniture is like building a house…if you want it to last, you need to start with a sturdy, reliable surface…I mean, have you ever heard of a house that was built on quicksand? Didn’t think so…
Use those same guidelines when preparing your piece.
Choose a Synthetic Bristle Brush
When it comes to a silky smooth finish, the brush absolutely matters! Synthetic bristle brushes are typically considered more of a specially brush and you won’t always find them at your local hardware or paint store.
My go to brush? Our plush synthetic bristle paint brushes. Three things make this brush work like magic when it comes to a smooth finish:
- The synthetic bristles
- Soft tip at the end of each bristle
- Tapered bristle edge
I was never a believer of the whole “the brush matters” thing until I started painting furniture.
I simply could not grasp why my dollar store brush (no joke, that is what I used to use) wasn’t doing the trick.
Lesson learned, I now understand the importance of choosing the right brush for the project!
Lightly Sand In-between Coats
I’ve found that as long as I follow the first two tips, this one is usually not needed.
However, if you’re seeing lots of brush strokes after the first coat of paint is completely dry, it wouldn’t hurt to take a 220 grit piece of sandpaper and lightly sand all around.
Then, continue the light sanding in-between each coat of paint until you are done painting.
Use a Paint Sprayer
In lieu of the 3 tips above, using a paint sprayer to apply the paint will always ensure the smoothest finish.
You may be wondering, “If spraying is the end all and be all, why wouldn’t you just say that in the beginning!?”
Well, my friends, because spraying your furniture can have quite the learning curve, it’s not a common “go-to” solution.
There are also other factors you should consider before spraying. The main one being that most sprayers (but not all) require the paint to be thinned with water before spraying.
Trouble is, by thinning the paint, you may also lose some of the adhesion power that makes chalky finish paints great.
If you’re spraying on raw wood, there will be little to no issues with thinning the paint….but if you are spraying on a surface that has a varnigh or top coat already on it, losing adhesion power may be problematic in the long run.
All that said, if you want to try out spraying, give it a go!
Many of our customers (and I personally) find this sprayer works best. I have been able to use our Furniture Paint in this sprayer without thinning it beforehand, so it is a win-win for all! And it is why I recommend it over any other paint sprayer.
If you go the spraying route, I also recommend getting a spray tent like this one to keep the mess to a minimum.
Here’s to beautiful smooth painted finishes!
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