Monday, January 12, 2015

Smooth Finish for Painted Furniture: My Hints

I just had a beautiful complimentary email from a lady who saw (and felt) some of my furniture in real life and was amazed at how very smooth it is. (I think it is hard to tell from photographs sometimes) She asked me how I manage to achieve such a fine finish. A lot of it comes down to years of practice but here are some other tips I've pulled together to get a lovely smooth finish with minimal to no brush marks (if that's the look you are wanting)

My tips for getting a very smooth painted finish on your furniture. Lilyfield Life Furniture painting workshops.

My hints for a very smooth painted finish on your furniture:

1. Sand your piece before you start painting. You will never obtain a smooth finish if your piece is all bumped and rough before you even start painting. You do not need to sand it back to raw wood. Just a light sanding to create a key for the paint and to remove any bumps and other issues. This is also the time you might want to fill any holes or make other repairs.

2. Wipe down and clean your piece.

3. Use a synthetic tapered edge flat or sash brush. A bristle brush such as Annie Sloan's is designed for laying down a lot of paint and creating texture so it's not the brush you should be using if you want a very smooth finish with minimal brush marks.

4. To obtain a very smooth surface, paint in the direction of the wood grain.

5. Sand lightly between coats. This does not need to be laborious -just a soft sand with a fine grit sand paper or sanding sponge. It will take only about a minute extra.

6. For the final coat of paint, either water down your paint a little, or before dipping you brush into paint, dip your paint brush into some water, just touching the end of the paint brush into the water's meniscus. Practice this first as you do not want to wet your paint brush so much that you create drips and streaks. You just want the paint watery enough so it will smooth out as it is drying. (rather than having brush ridge marks)

7. Wax your piece then sand with a super fine sand paper (such as 600 grit) and then wax lightly again. 

Yes it's a lot of work but it will be so worth it.

My tips for getting a very smooth painted finish on your furniture. Lilyfield Life Furniture painting workshops.

I'll be running furniture painting workshops again in a few months so message me if you are interested and I'll add you to my notification list.

Fiona xx

Sharing at Miss Mustard Seed


  1. Great tips Fiona! Your finishes always look flawless!

  2. Your work is stunning! I would love to enrol in one of your workshops but you're a bit of a trek from Canada :) I'm so grateful for your generous and helpful posts! Thank you so much!


  3. Fiona, I'm a fan of smooth finishes on painted furniture, although distressed finishes have their place. Here are two tips that I would add. (1.) Use wet/dry sandpaper - especially for any drips or imperfections. When used wet, the sandpaper will blend in any imperfections and will make the finish as smooth as glass. It is also economical because when the paper is full, you just rinse it out in water and keep using it until the grit no longer grabs. Finally, it is great if you have asthma or if you are sanding inside because the paper does not create dust when used wet. (2.) Use a tack cloth to wipe down a piece before applying additional coats of paint or finish. You can make your own using cheese cloth but frankly, at $.99 per cloth, it is hardly worth the effort of making your own. Hope this adds to everyone's arsenal of tips and tricks.


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