It may sound like a promised dream – beautiful used furniture restored then painted without sanding. Can this be done? Can you paint over varnished wood without sanding?
Painting your wood furniture is among the best, simplest, and easiest ways of giving it the much needed revamp and transformation at a fraction of the cost. However, sanding your lovely flea market finds and heirloom pieces first can be a very tedious task.
You might have a large and awkward table or platform bed and you can already feel your arms turning numb with the mere thought of having to fire up that handheld sander. You might not even have a sander at home at all and you have no plans to buy one.
Maybe the piece you want to paint is extremely intricate and complicated to sand. It can be a slatted bench, a bentwood chair, or mirror whose frame has a detailed carving.
Well, you can stay away from that horrible sandpaper because the good news is that there are a lot of reliable ways to find the best paint for furniture made from wood with no need for you to sand it first before anything else.
Just like with any type of paint job, you need to clean first surface properly before you start and if you unsure of the method you will use, you can test some in small patches before you commit to the entire job.
You might encounter a lot of terrific video tutorials out there that offer steps for painting furniture without sanding. But, if you are looking for the best paint for furniture without sanding, here are the top options available for you.
Paint options with no prep work required
Mix equal parts bonding agent and milk paint
This first option is your best choice if you wish to stay away from VOCs completely. You can buy mixed paint in premixed or powder form or you can also make it yourself at home. This is a biodegradable and nontoxic paint option that works great on wood furniture and once you mix this with bonding agent of equal part, there is no longer a need for you to sand the piece prior to starting the job. This bonding agent acts as the primer. It is like you are getting a conditioner and shampoo at the same time.
Go for chalk paint
If a super matte finish is fine with you, this is definitely your best option. It is no doubt the most popular and common way of painting almost anything and everything without sanding at all. One thing that makes chalk paint such an appealing option is not just because of its pretty much finish but also because of its no prep promise. It is even safe to say that chalk points can be considered as the cornerstone of today’s industry of painted furniture. Since the rise in popularity of Anne Sloan’s Chalk Paints, there are already various brands of paints of chalk type that were introduced to the market.
With no prep work required at all, adhesive chalk paint is essentially a sort of miracle for those times when you don’t want to start with sanding the surface first as this can stick to many types of surfaces. An exciting bonus here is that it can even function as a chalkboard. This is a great thing if you have a breakfast table that can double up as a canvass for your kids.
Go for mineral paint
If you want a super durable finish, don’t look any further than mineral paint. This is quite the same as chalk paint in the sense that no prime or prep is necessary. It can stick to almost anything. The best thing is that there are brands that are durable, stain-proof, waterproof, and doesn’t even need a topcoat. This means that you can finally say goodbye to those ugly water rings, thanks to it being waterproof. It also doesn’t need any prep just to cling to the slick surface. One downside to it, however, is that you will pay for this kind of durability since this is much more expensive that some other choices, not to mention that it is also available in smaller doses.
Paint options with prep required
The very first thing you need to do before anything else is to ensure that the furniture is clean and get rid of any hardware. You can use a lint-free cloth for wiping down the surface properly.
An important tip here is to ensure that you avoid using a paper towel. It is important to achieve a lint-free surface.
Remove and set aside all the hardware. You might opt to add new fixtures as replacement for hardware or you can already recycle your existing hardware. If you are planning to use some new pieces of hardware, you have to check to ensure that all existing holes are on the right location with the right size.
One more tip is that if you will change hardware, there might be a need for you to fill in all the previous dents and holes since, most of the time, the size of modern hardware is different from antique.
If you notice major scratches, gouges, or nicks, you can use Elmer’s wood filler or putty for filling them in. You like something paintable, moldable, and easy to clean and use at the same time. Remember that if you want a distressed furniture piece, you could always leave majority of the minor flaws to add more character.
High quality bonding primer serves as the best kept-secret that will let you skip sanding. Your choice depends on whether or not you will paint wood furniture or laminate furniture without sanding.
An important tip here is that similar to a good primer, a good brush is also an imperative investment. You might need to do some experiments for you to find and determine the one that will work best for your chosen primer and paint. You might end up using the combination of regular brushes, foam rollers, foam brushes, and a sprayer if you have one. The main goal here is to make sure that loose paintbrush hairs don’t get stuck to your furniture.
See to it that you thoroughly mix the whole can and apply a few light coats to let the piece dry properly between coats, approximately 30 minutes to one hour.
You also need to be ready to apply several coats of the primer. For older pieces in particular, the wood will just likely absorb everything. You can begin with a couple of coats and never be surprised if you will ever need three to four more.
We also recommend you read our previous best wood to make furniture guide.