Painting furniture: semi-gloss? satin?

alisandeJuly 15, 2007

Hi everyone - I usually hang out at the Kitchen Table and several of the gardening forums, but I have a decorative painting question, and what better place to ask it than here?

I bought two of these pieces at a thrift shop for $5 apiece, to use as tables on my porch. They're reproductions, and I thought it might be fun to paint them. I've read a lot of instructions on how to paint furniture, but none of them mentions what sheen to buy.

I picked up some small bottles of acrylic paint to use for the decorative part of the project. They seem to be in a flat finish, but what about the base coat? I'll be out shopping for a creamy khaki  what finish should I choose?



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Hi Susan,

I paint a lot of furniture mostly chairs and I've done a bedroom set. I have some pictures posted here. You will have to use a primer first. Kiltz or Zissner's work best for this. For the basecoat I don't think the sheen will matter that much. I usually get the eggshell. Once your all done with your project you will have to put a sealer on to protect it. Especially if it's outside. Waterbase exterior sealer is hard to find. Walmart has some in the craft dept. I think it might be by Delta. It's in a small bottle maybe 8 oz size for interior/exterior. I'd suggest using that. What kind of decorative painting are you going to do on them? Have fun with your project and let us know how it's turns out. Gail

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 5:25PM
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I have been painting all sorts of things for years now, inside and out. The craft paint will be fine, you won't have to sand or prime or anything either. However, you will need to seal the tables when you are done. That's really the key to it. Making sure they are weatherproof! You can try something like Thompson's Water Seal or some other exterior sealant. I also will often use clear spray paint from Wal-Mart to seal things that I make for outside. It only comes in gloss, however.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 10:18PM
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Thanks, both of you. I hadn't known about the need to seal them, but I'll certainly do that.

As for what I'm going to paint, I don't really know yet. I've had zero experience painting anything (my craft has been old-fashioned rug hooking), but I hope I've inherited a little of my mother's talent. She was an artist, and I vaguely remember some tole painting she did. (She died when I was nine.)

I bought a book on Amazon: The Big Book of Decorative Painting, by Jackie Shaw. I want to look that over first before deciding what I'll paint. Or maybe I'll look it over and decide to abandon the project entirely. :-)

Thanks again.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 8:36AM
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Susan, Just wanted to say that I love the look of your tables just the way they are--very antique looking.

If you are looking for patterns, be sure to check out the post on here for Free Pattern sites. Lots of fun places to visit and cute patterns to print off.

Good luck on your project, and I hope you will come back and post a pic of it for us to see.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 11:48AM
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Luvs, I kind of like the way they look now, too. When I first saw them I thought they were handmade primitives; it wasn't until I saw the maker's mark on the underside that I realized they were reproductions. It's hard to see in the photo, but the present finish is a mess.

I'm tempted to simply refinish them rather than paint them. Maybe I got carried away with the idea of painting after trying painting on glass for the first time this weekend. I worked on three martini glasses and loved it! And then when I saw little unfinished wood chests for 50¢ at AC Moore, I painted one for my granddaughter and one for me. I've been teaching her to sew, and I promised her a box to put her straight pins in. Nothing fancy, to be sure, but it was relaxing.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 3:43PM
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Those turned out really cute, and what a good idea. Painting doesn't have to be fancy or elaborate to be fun. Just adding some color to an item is fun in itself. I'm glad you are having fun with it and enjoying yourself. Maybe the GD can learn to paint right along with you too. ;o) Luvs

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 8:32PM
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I don't know how, but obviously I missed this post. :)

Hi Susan! I love primitives and I LOVE your tables. I wouldn't change them either. Even if they are repros, nobody else knows right? ha Is it really tall enough for a table?, because I swear it looks like what my g-ma used as a milking stool. It's wonderful.

I love the way you painted your pin boxes. Very cute and something I'm sure GD will cherish. I will reinterate on the sealing. I just started using the Thompsons Waterseal in the spray can for outdoor things myself. Haven't used it long enough for a true test, but I use a clear acrylic spray sealer on every project I finish. You can buy it in glossy or matte.

If you continue to paint please keep sharing your projects with us. We love anything painted. ~Anj

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 10:48AM
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Even if they are repros, nobody else knows right?

Good point, Anj, and I agree. This morning I bought refinishing supplies. I've never refinished before, but there's always a first time! And these pieces look relatively easy. I can always recruit my son . . . he learned how to do it when he was ten, 18 years ago.

The tables are 17" high. I think they were meant to be reproduction milking stools. I also think they were made by hand. I'm glad I decided not to paint them.

However, I'm psyched to keep going with painting on glass. I'll be happy to post pictures, even though my painting efforts are definitely in the beginner category. Is this the best place, or should I post in the Gallery?



    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 3:00PM
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Oh good, I think that's a good choice on these pieces. I hope they turn out nice for you.

We are pretty laid back on this forum. Most of the pics are in the gallery, but if you want to post elsewhere we won't care. We love pictures and don't care where we get to see them. :) We'd love to view your glassware! ~Anj

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 9:09PM
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