March 20th, 2013

10 Must-Have Paint Tools for Furniture

Painting furniture is quite different from painting walls or ceilings. When you paint walls or ceilings, it’s all about getting even coverage quickly and neatly. But when it comes to painting furniture projects, not only do you want a beautiful looking finish, but also a durable and usable finish. After all, you don’t sit or eat dinner on walls and ceilings.

To achieve a finish that is beautiful and can stand up to use, these are the top 10 paint tools in no particular order that I use again and again for painting furniture projects.

1. Sander. To get paint to stick to furniture, the existing finish or bare wood needs to be sanded. For starting out, invest in a simple palm sander. It’ll do everything from stripping paint finishes, to smoothing out brush marks between coats, to adding a touch of distressing if desired. Although a sander may seem like it has nothing to do with painting, it’s one paint tool I can’t live without.

2. Soft Bristled Brush or Vacuum Brush. I cannot stress enough how important it is to remove all residue after sanding. Paint will not stick to sanding residue. The easiest way to clean your project before painting is by using a vacuum with a soft bristled brush. It is also a good idea to vacuum your work space to prevent sanding residue from adhering to wet paint.

3. Buffing Pads. When you paint by hand, there’s always a rough patch here or there. Don’t stress—there’s an easy paint tool to quickly take care of them. I buy buffing pads by the contractor pack, and quickly buff out rough patches by hand between coats, before the final coat of paint.

4. Tack Cloth. Tack cloth is basically cheesecloth with varnish added to it. It will help remove sanding residue quickly from a project. If you’re using latex-based paint, you can also wipe your project down with a damp cloth.

5. Paint Pyramids. Unlike painting walls, furniture projects often have to be rotated and painted on multiple sides. Paint pyramids—little plastic pyramids—can be used to elevate a freshly painted surface without damaging the paint.

6. Mini Foam Roller Kit. Foam rollers are my favorite for painting furniture because they use less paint, cover projects faster, fit into tiny spots, and create a beautiful, even finish. Once you finish a project, the foam roller can be disposed of, saving clean-up time. Purchase the kit to get the mini foam roller tray, too.

7. Tapered Paint Brush. There are places that a mini foam roller just won’t go, so a brush is a must. A tapered brush will evenly cover corners, mouldings, and edges. Remember, a paint brush is a tool—invest in a high-quality tapered brush and take care of it. You’ll be surprised at how long it will last!

8. Paint Pour Spout. Tired of drippy paint cans, or over-pouring paint? A paint spout will help you pour paint from a can, saving you paint and time. Paint pour spouts can replace paint lids, or you can use washable ones.

9. Drop Cloth. Save time on clean-up by investing in a paint drop cloth. The drop cloth will protect your work surface, and can be used over and over again.

10. Work Table. Having your project at a comfortable work height will ease back strain. You will also be able to see your project better, and apply paint more precisely. Elevating your project off the ground and away from dust and debris helps prevent them from adhering to your drying masterpiece. A work table can be as simple as two sawhorses with plywood on top.

With the right paint tools, you can tackle any paint project with confidence and ease. Remember it’s all about multiple thin layers of paint, properly applied, when trying to achieve a finish that is both beautiful and durable.