I get lots of lovely emails and comments from people who have found my blog from googling furniture painting advice. I am very happy to help anyone with their DIY ventures so please feel free to ask away. II have tried many projects and learnt a lot along the way.
One thing I get asked a lot of about what sort of paint to use when painting furniture. To be truthful your paint choice will depend on your personal style and what sort of look you are going for. If you like the look of my furniture, then read on!
I don't use oil based paint not for my house and not on my furniture. I quite like the environment:) Oil based paints smell, are not low VOC and are difficult to dispose off. It's a pain to clean up your brushes, and then the cleaning solvents are difficult to dispose of. Oil based paints also take a long time to dry between coats. The only exception to my dislike of non-water based paint, is if I have an especially shiny old baked on finish on furniture like the armoire, or a piece of Bali furniture that bleed heavily (like the white bench I painted recently) I will use a Zinsser Oil based primer or shellac based BIN. Hint: I leave my paint brush wrapped in gladwrap in the fridge in between coats to save on cleaning.
But the main reason I don't use oil based paint is that due to the alkyds in them, oil based paint will ALWAYS yellow over time. I want my white furniture to stay white. Depending on the previous finish and the amount of sunlight your piece or house trim gets, this can actually happen quite quickly, often within a year of painting. The less sunlight your piece is exposed to the quicker this will happen.
So then what do I use:
So then what do I use:
These days, water based paint technology has made such great advances that it is just not necessary to use old fashioned oil based paint. Many paint companies are phasing out their range of oil based paints altogether.
Some water based options are:
If you want to emulate the glossiness and durability of Oil based paint then the closest is Water Based Enamels. These give a hard durable satin or gloss finish with no top coat required. I used Taubmans Water Based Enamel Trim Coat for my kitchen cabinets as well as for the doors and trim in our house. It has been a great choice and 2 years down the track it is still in wonderful condition and looks as fresh as the day it was painted. (Edit *6 years later there are a few tiny chips on some doors but minimal wear and easy to touch up)
Another water based enamel is Dulux's AquaEnamel. This was one of the first water based enamels on the market in Australia. We painted the cabinets in our lounge room (below) in it 11 years ago and they have held up very well. (* update: We used Dulux Aquaenamel on all the doors, trim and cabinetry in our renovation. Love it)
I recommend these aqua enamels (in a semi gloss) for kitchen cabinetry, bathroom and laundry cabinetry, furniture that is super easy to clean and maintain, if you don't want to worry about water rings from glasses etc). I would also use this if I were ever painting mid century modern furniture that requires a more modern look.
A great option especially love a French matte or shabby chic look is Flat acrylic paint (interior latex/emulsion/acrylic) that you would normally use on walls. I love using this for my painted furniture. It will usually require a top coat but it is easy to paint with, easy to clean up, gives a great finish and is very affordable. You can easily just buy a 500ml sample pot and use that. It will cost around $10. This size will paint several pieces of furniture. You will need a top coat to protect you work - see my tutorial page for the Wax and Top Coat Tutorial.
Milk paint is a wonderful option but it is more expensive and actually requires a more advanced technique. In Australia, currently the only true milk paint available is Porters Milk Paint and Miss Mustard Seed. It is quite lovely to use and gives a beautiful finish when sealed with furniture wax. Miss mustard seed's paint seems to be much harder to control if you don't use the techniques that Porters suggest it you can use the bonding agent to control the crazy chippy.
|the chairs are painted in ASCP Linen and the cabinet is painted in my own homemade chalk paint|
I hope this guide helps you and especially deters you from using white oil based paint in your projects. The yellowing of the white oil based paint that occurs is just so disappointing, especially when it's your time and effort wasted.
Please let me know your favourite paint to use in the comment below. Go on and share your experiences.