Furniture Painting Tips from Angela Statzer

“The feeling of satisfaction from taking something ugly and making it usable has never left me. To find, create, and redo is my passion.” Angela Statzer.

This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the Becoming Conference on behalf of One2One Network. Angela Statzer of Button Bird Design presented Find, Create, Redo a session on repainting wooden furniture.

Angela opened the session saying she wasn’t a professional speaker.  She can claim not to be a speaker, but she has the heart of a teacher that shone as she described her craft to the Becoming Conference attendees. Angela walked the session through the entire process.

Finding a piece to refinish.

According to Angela, yardsaling is by far the most cost effective method of sourcing wooden furniture for repainting. She does explain that it is also the most time intensive method, but she insisted that persistence is key and that visiting yardsales is a commitment.

Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity Restore, and Salvation Army are all good sources as well, but she has noted that the cost of furniture at these venues has been rising. Angela purchases her used pieces to resell as finished products, which makes this a key factor in her purchasing decisions.

Photo Credit: Button Bird Designs

If you know exactly what you’re looking for Craigslist can be a good resource, just use reasonable personal safety precautions. Finally, put the word out to your friends and family. It may not be the fastest method to source furniture for refinishing, but it is effective over time. In fact, if you aren’t careful you may end up with more than you can handle.

Preparing for repainting wood furniture.

Fill any holes or gouges with wood putty, allow to dry, sand smooth, and repeat as necessary until the hole or gouge is flush with the surface. Allow to dry thoroughly.

Two approaches to painting wood furniture latex or chalk paint.

To use latex paint, the surface must be prepared or it will not adhere. The slick surface of many finishes must prepped. To prep the surface you may sand -by hand or with a power sander just enough to remove the topmost layer.

Priming is the other choice, albeit a slightly more expensive option. If you’re only planning on refinishing a single piece, it is a reasonable choice. Simply coat the furniture with spray primer and allow to dry.

To refinish furniture with latex paint, choose a satin finish in your preferred color. Angela has used many different brands, but did specifically mention Behr Premium Ultra Plus.

Apply the paint in very thin layers and allow to dry thoroughly -several hours- between each coat to prevent streaking. Before applying subsequent coats, lightly sand with very fine sandpaper to slightly roughen the surface which improves the adherence of the next coat of paint.

Chalk Paint

Chalk paint is much more expensive than latex and can only be ordered online. That said, there is no prep involved and can be applied directly to the furniture, no matter what the finish.

Once the piece has fully dried, it is time to distress the finish. Use small pieces of medium grit sand paper to remove some of the paint along the edges of the piece. This gives furniture an aged appearance. Once you have distressed the piece to your preference, it’s time to protect the finish.

Protecting Painted Furniture

Angela recommend: Minwax Polyurethane Wipe-On Satin: For darker pieces and pieces with lots of wear. Use a clean rag, to rub on the polyurethane like furniture polish. Apply the finish in 2-3 thin even coats depending on the surface allowing to dry thoroughly between each coat.

Or for lighter piece use Minwax Paste Finishing Wax. Apply finishing wax with a lint free cloth, rub on furniture, 10 minutes later buff.

Photo Credit: Button Bird Designs

Then again, if you’re like me and not exactly the craftiest crafter to ever walk this world, you can buy one of Angela’s pieces for your very own:

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