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How I prepare furniture to get it ready to paint - My 6 step process.

Updated: Feb 2, 2023


Amanda of Renewed By Hope

So I thought I would talk a bit about Prep. How I prepare my furniture prior to painting / upcycling.


Why? Well, because without good prep I would be risking the quality and longevity of the finishes I apply. You can see pictures of my finished items on the Gallery page.



I know different painters / furniture artists have different ways of prepping – and just like me, each has developed processes that best suits their style of finish. I’m just going to give you an outline of what I do and why I consider it to be important:


1. Examine the piece – give it a good look all over. Looking for any defects, minor repairs, checking how doors and drawers fit and operate. Making notes of anything that needs resolving – glueing, filling, sanding to improve fit (doors & drawers), stains to be dealt with, any signs of deterioration in the wood. Do the catches work, are all the handles there? Do they need replacing? Would new ones be better. Decide on the best way to implement any repairs. The quality of any repairs will impact the final paint finish – in terms of how well they have been done.


2. Initial Clean

Cleaner prior to painting furniture

– using an environmentally friendly degreaser / anti-fungal / anti-bacterial cleaner. The one I use is called Grime Cutter.


Being careful not to over wet the wood – the whole piece is cleaned thoroughly to remove as much surface contaminants as possible. So that I am not sanding them into the wood at a later stage.




3. Strip down – remove existing handles, doors, and drawers, as appropriate. So that all areas can be fully prepped and later painted or restored.


4. Sanding – depending on the state of the existing finish and the final desired outcome, this is either a scuff sand (de-glossing the existing surface to allow primer and paint to adhere well) or sanding back to bare wood (if removing stains, cracked varnish, or if using wood stain). Whilst flat surfaces can be done with an electric sander, smaller areas and detail have to be hand sanded to get into all the corners and crevices.


5. Clean again – first with a hoover tool to remove as much sanding dust as possible. Then using another environmentally friendly pre-paint cleaner - Fusion TSP. Leave to dry off.


6. Masking up – this is the process of using decorators masking tape to give good clean divide between the areas being painted and those not – such as the sides of drawers the edge of cabinets, and around the drawer compartments. To keep the paint off the areas you don’t want it.


And then….the piece is ready to be painted! Phew!


I'll write more about my paint processes on another post. If you have any questions about how I work then use the Contact page to get in touch.




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