Refinishing Furniture for Beginners

refinish furniture pieces

Are you interested in learning how to refinish furniture? Do you have an exciting DIY project in mind, but aren’t sure about just where to begin? We have a helpful guide that will give you everything you need to know to get started doing your own refinishing projects.

Get the Right Supplies

Depending on the nature and intensity of your project, you’ll probably need to purchase paint stripper, wood conditioner, and/or stain. You’ll also need tarps, brushes, scrapers, and other such supplies. And don’t forget personal safety– make sure you pick up goggles and gloves as well.

Learn How to Use Your Tools

Don’t just jump in without reading the instructions. If you’re using a new product like a paint stripper, read up and make sure you know everything there is to know. This will save you some grief down the line, not to mention a disastrous project.

Step 1: Paint Strip

If your piece of furniture has been painted, you will first need to strip that old coat of paint. Purchase a paint stripper product and apply it to the piece. Afterwards, you will need to scrape the paint off.

Step 2: Sand

You can use sandpaper, or a sander machine if your piece is too large to do with paper alone. Don’t rush this step– you need to make sure that the piece is sanded down to the bare wood, and all the bumps and imperfections have been smoothed over. This will make the rest of your job much easier.

Step 3: Stain

Apply a wood conditioner to your piece, and then you’re ready to stain it. You can use a brush or a paint sprayer (as these work with stain as well). Make sure that your conditioner and stain are compatible with each other– some conditioners only work with oil-based stain, and not water-based. Work slowly to make sure that you apply an even coat to the entire piece.

Step 4 (optional): Varnish

If your piece will be exposed to the elements, it’s a good idea to add a protective varnish once it’s completely dry. This will help to prevent cracking and peeling while it’s under the hot sun. Indoor pieces may be able to skip this step, although some DIY-ers will use varnish on all their projects just for that added level of protection.

That’s it! Once you get the basics down, you can start adding additional steps, like switching hardware on dressers or replacing the legs on tables. With these simple steps in mind, you should be able to do your first refinishing project with no problems.


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