I’ve got some good stuff for you today, guys.

I am so happy to have Miss Mustard Seed here today! She’s such a wonderful inspiration to us all, and better yet, she’s just an awesome person. We’re going to get some of her painting favorites, a topic well loved around here.

Without further introduction,

May I be so bold as to say that you are in for a treat today?  Not because you’re hearing from me on Shaunna’s blog, but because you are going to learn some furniture painting tricks from two people who do it professionally.  We both share painting and finishing tips on our blogs, but there are thousands of ways to do things, so we thought it would be nice for our readers to compare and contrast two different methods.  This shows that there are lots of options out there and you will develop your own techniques and preferences the more painting you do.

Here are my current favorites…

Favorite paint maker and finish:
I almost exclusively use Sherwin Williams paint. It’s definitely more expensive than HD or Lowes, but I can tell a major difference in the quality.  SW paint has a thicker consistency, it covers better in fewer coats and it results in a smoother finish.  I specifically prefer ProClassic for light colors and Duration for darker colors.  I also use their Adhesion water based primer for most of my pieces.  As far as finishes go, I like semi-gloss, satin.  I never use flat paint on a piece of furniture (or a wall for that matter.)  I know a lot of people are scared that semi-gloss will be too shiny, but it really isn’t.  It provides a durable finish that dries hard and is easy to clean.

Favorite brush and roller:
When rolling on furniture, I use Shur-Line foam roller covers, but I have strayed into other brands.  The key for me us using foam for a smooth finish.  All of my brushes are by Purdy.  Resist the urge to buy the bargain buck brush.  A quality brush really does make a difference.  Just take care of it, keep it clean and it will serve you well through many painting projects.

Paint sprayer used:
I use a Graco 7.0 HVLP ProFinish sprayer and I love it.  It’s easy to use, easy to clean and it’s all one unit.  It sprays paint on a smooth and even finish.  One con is definitely the cost.  It is about $800-900, which means it’s a great tool for a professional, but maybe a little over-the-top for the casual DIYer.  If you do sell painted furniture or you are an avid painter, it’s a smart buy.

Favorite glaze(s):
I like different glazing techniques for different pieces.  Ralph Lauren’s glaze tinted with Behr’s Espresso Beans is one of my favorite all purpose antiquing glazes.  I also like using burnt umber universal tint mixed with water, dark walnut wood stain, Valspar’s Asphaltum Glaze (for a blacker finish) and Minwax’s dark paste wax.

Favorite distressing technique:
When I know I’m going to distress a piece, I don’t fret about making the paint job perfect.  I usually only apply one coat of paint and maybe primer underneath.  I leave the palm sander on the shelf and work my biceps by hand sanding the finish with some 60 or 80 grit sand paper.  I like to hit the edges of the furniture and high points of the design and stay away from the flat surfaces.  Distressing looks more natural when it is restricted to the places that tend to get distressed naturally over years of use.

Favorite top coat:
I have gone through topcoat phases over the past couple of years.  My current favorite is paste wax.  It is easy to apply, very durable and gives a beautiful luster to pieces.

Go-to colors:
Creamy by Sherwin Williams is my favorite white and I always have a gallon on hand.  I have also recently fell in love with light French grey by Behr.  That is a beautiful color.

Must-buy furniture:
Whenever I see a quality French provincial piece at a reasonable price, it’s mine.  No debate.  I will also buy any sturdy, solid wood, vintage dressers I find under $50.  I look for dovetailed drawers, veneer that’s in good condition, nice lines and interesting details (like turned legs, bow front drawers and original casters.)

Painting pitfalls:
I think the most common mistake made is to not give paint enough time to cure.  It takes about 30 days for latex paint to fully cure.  Until that point, it is pretty soft and easily scratched, dinged and damaged.  It’s best to leave a piece of painted furniture alone during that period or only use it very gently.  The other mistake is to go super cheap.  Cheap paint and a cheap brush will not result in a quality finish.  Investing in a nice brush (about $17.00) and $5.00 test quart of Sherwin Williams paint will still result in a project that looks great, but it’s still thrifty.

Best prep advice:
Don’t skip sanding!  I know it’s a pain and sends the dust flying, but it’s really necessary.  A palm sander will make short work of it and it won’t even take that long the old fashioned way.  Remember that the purpose of sanding is not to strip the current paint or finish, but to smooth the surface and rough it up (yes, at the same time) to give the paint something to grip.  Wipe down the piece with a damp cloth after sanding to remove dust.  Also, always wear at least a dust mask, but a respirator is best.  Use extreme caution if you believe the piece may have lead paint on it.  That stuff is toxic and shouldn’t be messed with without taking proper precautions.

Favorite hardware source:
I buy a lot of my hardware from a wholesaler, but I also buy it at Hobby Lobby and online at E-Bay at CSN.  I try to keep my purchases at around $2.00/knob.

I hope this has answered some paint questions that may have been on your mind or provided a different take if you’re already proficient in furniture painting.  Make sure to visit my blog to read Shaunna’s thoughts on these same topics!

Miss Mustard Seed
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