How to Paint Wood

Have you ever followed wood painting tutorials online and still had a hard time doing it? This guide will help you paint on wood, especially wooden furniture. Learning how to paint on wood is crucial for any successful woodworker. With paint, you will be able to give your furniture piece character.

This also helps seal the wood and protect it from the elements especially if it is an outdoor piece. Finally, paint also unites a furniture piece with the interior or exterior décor of a home or structure. Find out how to paint on wood with these easy and fool-proof steps.

The basics of painting on wood

Stop wasting materials and expensive paint. There is a better way to paint on wood that will make sure that your wooden furniture is in good shape for years to come.

You will need the following

  • 150-grit sandpaper or orbital sander
  • Tack cloth and rags
  • Primer
  • Mini foam roller
  • Semi-gloss latex paint
  • Protective finish or gloss


1) Prepping the wood surface


Take a closer look at the area to be painted on. Take note of imperfections on the surface, the type of wood and any present surface treatments. These factors will gauge what you need to do before you start to work on it.

As a general rule of working with wood, you must sand the area first to ensure that the primer sticks well. Sand all surfaces with 150-grit sandpaper or an orbital sander. Be careful not to completely strip the surface of the wood. If you are working on a wooden surface with an existing varnish, use 80-grit sandpaper to effectively remove the varnished surface and paint.

2) Removing any dust and residue


Make sure that everything is clean before applying primer on wood. Use a tack cloth to wipe the surface to be painted on. If possible, vacuum dust and residue from the surface and the surrounding area to minimize any specks from landing on your wood and ruining your project. Use a damp cloth to collect dust more efficiently from the area.

3) Applying wood primer


MUST SEE: Make 16,000 Projects With Step By Step Plans

Ted's Woodworking Plans contains complete instructions from start to finish, leaving absolutely no guesswork. Here is what you get:

  1. Step-By-Step Instructions
  2. Cutting & Materials List
  3. Detailed Schematics
  4. Views From All Angles
  5. Suitable For Beginners & Professionals

If you are painting laminate furniture you must use primer ideal for laminates but for the natural wood base, you can use a regular primer. And instead of a regular paint brush, you must use a foam brush to reach crevices and hard to reach areas.

Dry the primer at least an hour or more or according to manufacturer’s instructions. After the primer is dry use a 220-grit sandpaper to remove drips and spills. This will create an even finish which will be perfect for applying latex paint. Remove all dust and residue by wiping with a tack cloth.

4) Painting your project


Use a new foam roller to apply latex paint. You may apply two to three coats but allow adequate drying times for every coat. At least allow about six to eight hours in between coats. Sand in between coats especially if there are any drips or residue on the piece. Remove dust and specks of lint before adding the protective finish.

5) Applying protective finish


This is the final stage of painting wood, therefore, you must use a new foam roller to apply a thin coat of protective finish in gloss. For any type of wood project (furniture, walls, and flooring) you must aspire a flawless product. Therefore you must need to go over this coat with the foam roller to remove any bubbles which can happen when you are moving the tool over the surface.

You must give your piece time to dry. This can take up to 72 hours to dry before using. Check drying times and curing times of the gloss you are using. You will be able to find this in the product label. These may vary depending on the type of gloss. Buff the surface of the furniture. You must let everything dry before you use the furniture piece.


Painting wood should be mastered by any woodworker. Paint can do wonders with wood. It can give furniture character and emphasize or hide imperfections on wooden walls and flooring. Painting on wood is also done in stages. Learning all these can significantly improve your skills

  • January 5, 2019
  • DIY