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How to Spray Paint Furniture

This is a easy tutorial post on how to spray paint furniture! I have done this several times to a lot of my furniture pieces and they always come out looking amazing! Try it out the next time you want to spice up an old furniture piece and follow these few steps!

How to spray paint furniture

In the last few days, I have received several emails and comments asking for a “how to” on how I paint my furniture. Honestly, every piece is different but typically we do the same few steps. I will use my dresser redo to explain things since that is where the majority of the questions came from! You gals are so sweet with all of the compliments!

Spray Painting Furniture

  1. First, lightly sand down the furniture and clean.

    Make sure to wipe off the dust from sanding! This will round up the wood a bit and because we are using spray paint, I want it to stick really well.

  2. Next, remove all of the hardware.

    Put all of the hardware in a baggie so nothing gets lost…especially the screws!

  3. If you are painting a dresser of some sort, next take out all of the drawers and lay them face up.

    Start by priming all of the drawers and make sure to do at least 2 coats before using the spray paint. Also lay out all of the hardware and spray those as well!

  4. Finally, spray paint the furniture and let dry.

    Make sure your furniture completely drys before sealing it with Polycrilic and bringing it back into the house. Sometimes I take a sand black and lightly sand to make the wood look distressed.

How to Spray Paint a Dresser

    For this piece, it was a dark wood with a glossy lacquer of some sort over top. I started by lightly sanding the dresser to remove some of that shiny junk off… I know, I sound so professional 😉 Then, I wiped off the dust from sanding. This roughened up the wood a bit and since I was using spray paint, I wanted it to stick really well. I also recommend using Gloss Off. You can get it from Home Depot and it helps the paint adhere better.  I removed all the hardware and put it in a sandwich baggie so I didn’t lose anything. Losing screws and hardware = not cool.  Not like I’ve lost any in the middle of a project or anything 😉

Remove Hardware

Next, I took all of the drawers and put them “face up” in the grass (I like to spray in the grass because once you mow the grass all your paint goes bye-bye and you have no overspray issues or clean-up! Sa-weeeet!

I gave all of the drawers two coats of KILZ Spray Primer. In my opinion, the BEST spray primer available and one can costs around $4 and it goes a long way. I believe I used 2 cans to prime all the drawers and the dresser. It really is the best stuff!
The only issue I have found with this primer is that it can leave a little gritty texture once it dries so I used a shop rag and rubbed it off. It worked great!  However, I have found that if you shake the can for 2-3 minutes (a really long time when you’re shaking the can!) You don’t, typically end up with the gritty texture when it dries. If you still get a gritty texture, run a piece of fine sandpaper over it to smooth it out.
 This may be a good job for little ones that want to help Mommy! Just make sure to watch the kiddos around spray paint obviously. 😉
While the primer dried, I worked on the hardware. I laid the hardware on a plastic drop cloth and sprayed it with 2 coats of Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint.
How to Spray Paint Furniture - www.classyclutter.net
Spray Paint Hardware
Then, while the hardware dried, I went back to the grass to paint! PS. I live in Arizona and I painted at 1:00pm in the middle of July in 114 degree heat. I am NOT exaggerating! That’s how much I wanted to finish this and that’s when my little boys take their naps so I didn’t have much of a choice! That being said, the paint dried VERY quickly!
Next came the paint! I always use Krylon or Rustoleum double cover spray paint. Krylon has an amazing nozzle for spraying weird angles but Rustoleum has awesome coverage. Both are great!
I used Krylon Ivory for the base and Krylon Black for the top.  A great painting technique I learned by watching this video. I really think it is the best way.  This is the technique I used for painting this dresser and I do the same on every spray paint project.
For the top of the dresser, I taped up a piece of cardboard to the base of the top, to protect the ivory and painted the top black. I wish I had a picture of how I did this to show you because it really worked well. Sorry loves!
After the paint dried, I used a sanding block to distress the edges.
Finally, I used a smooth paint roller like the one below to roll a coat or two of Polycrylic over the top to protect the black surface.
Finally, reattach your hardware and jump for joy that you are done! Your furniture will thank you for bringing it back to life!
If you’re new to painting, I would HIGHLY recommend visiting All Things Thrifty and read her post Painting Furniture 101.  This is where I started several years ago and I am sooo thankful for this post to set me in the right direction. Check out her piano transformation here! it is TO DIE FOR!
Hope this helps!! If you have any questions on what to do, leave a comment or shoot us an email!
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  1. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!! That doesn’t seem as overwhelming as I thought it would be!! I live in AZ too and might do it tomorrow LOL! Oh love the sunny days! Thanks for taking the time to do this!!!

  2. When I showed my 24 year old daughter this picture as her dresser is as old as she is and it needs a new life, she loved the idea of how you did it. Thanks!

  3. I also live in AZ and CANNOT WAIT to use this. I have a few things in my house that need some TLC. So excited that it’s nowhere as near as hard as i thought.

  4. I read and pinned this post early in the week and it just so happens that I picked up a SWEET dresser at a garage sale for $20 this afternoon, thank you for your post I cannot wait to refinish it!!!

  5. Pretty finish. I always feel inadequate when I read about someone’s success with such simple techniques. I find spray paint very difficult to work with. It drips. It’s hard to get even coverage. And rolling poly? That was a disaster on my recently painted kitchen chairs. Foam everywhere. I had to sand it back to the primer and start over. All I can say is good on ya, girl. You rocked it.

  6. Is the Kilz primer water based or oil based. I cannot find the kilz primer where I live and was wondering what its specifications are so I can find a similar product. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

  7. Thank you for sharing, great information! Have you e er tried Miss Mustard SeedMilk Paint? You add a bonding agent to the first coat of paint, no priming or sanding in 2 coats you are done.

  8. I recently bought a night stand at goodwill that I painted.. I really wish I read this first cuz I didn’t know the first thing to do.. Should what would u recommend? I sand it but I east real wood? So I cleaned it then used a krylon primer and krylon black gloss to paint. I had no idea how I should seal it!

  9. polycrylic is a horrible product. it takes months to fully cure and it is very difficult to get it smooth because it’s not like polyurethane where you can sand it. learned this the hard way.

  10. polycrylic is a horrible product. it takes months to fully cure and it is very difficult to get it smooth because it’s not like polyurethane where you can sand it. learned this the hard way.

  11. Beautiful dresser! I love the final product – amazing that it’s all spray paint. I’m sorry that I couldn’t see the paint video – it was marked private 🙁
    I’m visiting you today from Sunday Scoop. I hope you get a chance to stop by my blog and leave a comment and Link Up, too!
    ~ Megin of VMG206
    Medicine Cabinet Makeover

  12. I tried this today, but I must have done something wrong. The primer and paint are just brushing off like powder. Any suggestions?

  13. Hi, I have a question. Can you spray paint furniture if it is MDF? My bedroom furniture is just a put together set from Walmart or target and is old, but I don’t want to go buy a new one yet. And I want to paint it. but it’s not pine or oak or any other good wood. Will spray paint work on it?



  14. I have been thinking for a long time that I would maybe like to paint my bedroom set an antique white and distress it. Now I KNOW I’m going to! This dresser is EXACTLY like mine and I LOVE how it came out. Great job!!

  15. Ok, so I am not spray painting, but was wondering what color paint would be about the same as yours.. I thought for sure you had glazed or waxed.. WOW.. beautiful

  16. Excellent tips! I’ve been wanting to do this for my daughters dresser, so this is very motivating. I tried watching the video you recommended, but it says private. Is there any other way to view it?

  17. Thanks so much for this helpful article. I am planning to paint over some old dressers I have and I love how yours came out! I bought the ivory paint in satin but noticed you used glossy. Is glossy very shiny. I love how your piece came out but it doesn’t look glossy in the photo…Not sure what would look best. Thanks for your help! Christine

  18. Thanks for the helpful blog. Question about the Policrylic finsh. The image you have posted shows it is water based, but I believe the Rustoleum double coverage spray paint you recommended is oil based. Before I finish my project, will I run into any problems because of this?

  19. Hi, Loved reading this over on how to do a dresser. I wanted to watch the tutorial on the spray painting, but it said it was private. Is there a link that I can look at the video on? I had to laugh when I saw your lawn, I thought…oh she must live in AZ. Then I noted The Scotts said they live in AZ, too. I am in Cali with three of my kids/family in AZ. Two in Mesa and one in Show Low.
    Thank you, Sue

  20. I just bought chairs on wheels for the kitchen that have a gold bar that needs spraying. They are the bucket kind. What is the best way to go about it? I already stripped 2 chairs down to the shiny gold metal.

  21. Are these products safe for cats? I am painting my desk, and my cats like to sit on it, so I want to make sure I make it safe for them. Any tips?

  22. How would I do this if my furniture that I want painted is already white and glossy? It does not have the black underneath, would I have to paint it black then prime it then sanded for the distressed look

  23. too funny! I live in AZ and always paint in the 100 plus heat in my grass! Love the random outlines of rectangles lol! And yes, paint dries super fast out here 🙂

  24. Hi,

    What grit sand paper did you use to distress the base of the dresser? Also, did you apply a top coat/sealant on the base.

  25. Totally beautiful dresser! Wondering if you put any type sealer or wax on the base? I love the poly you used on the black top. Thanks for posting. ?

  26. Hi! Your link to the video you used for your painting technique says the video isn’t available…can you refer me somewhere else to learn the technique?

  27. You just made my furniture project less daunting of a “job!” Thank you. My only question is what grit sandpaper did you use to distress??

  28. I see you don’t monetize your website, don’t waste your traffic, you can earn additional bucks every month.
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    search in gooogle: dracko’s tricks

  29. This helped alot. Can I use a laquer? definitely subscribing. Also how about a spray paint with primer in it to save time, since im planning on changing the colour of my stool depending on the season.

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