How To Paint Wood Furniture Without Sanding?

by Katie Williams

Painting is the easiest way to give your house and furniture a new look without spending too much. It also makes up for a fun and enjoyable activity for those who like to do DIY projects. Sanding, however, is a not-so-fun process that can be tiresome and messy. However, did you know that we can skip this lengthy step?

There are multiple ways to go about this – you can use a specific type of paint like chalk to use directly on the furniture, or go for deglossing/priming the wood for a smooth and safe finish. If you are just a beginner, this article has noted down everything you need to know about how to paint wood furniture without sanding.

Can I Paint Finished Wood Without Sanding?

Yes, you can paint finished wood without sanding and there are multiple ways to do it. Sanding is mainly necessary to make the surface slightly rough for the paint to stick easily on and not wear away with time. However, if you use enough primer with the paint, the former will make it long-lasting as sanding would have.

Another way would be to use chalk paint which gives out a rugged finish (you can see the paint strokes) and is resilient even with time. Chalk paint is good for furniture as it enhances the wooden texture beautifully.

Can You Paint Straight Over Wood Furniture?

Technically, you can paint directly over wood furniture, but it would peel off over time. If you want the paint temporarily, then acrylic, oil, or chalk paint will last well on wood for some weeks (can be stretched to months with care). This is why processes like sanding and priming are required for the painted piece’s longevity.

Paint Wood Furniture

How Do You Prep Furniture For Painting Without Sanding?

Since you would not be sanding your furniture which is important for making the paint stick, prepping is important to ensure a smooth finish. Following is the process you need to do before you start painting.

Step 1: Put Furniture In Ventilated Place

Your furniture is going to take a long time to dry, hence make sure to not start at a place where a lot of people will pass by or has no ventilation. Move your furniture to a room where air can pass easily so that the paint also dries off quickly. Paint fumes are also not healthy to inhale – especially for children and pregnant women.

Make sure to put your wooden furniture on a drop cloth or on newspapers to avoid making a mess.

Step 2: Remove Knobs And Handles

To ensure that the painting process goes smoothly, remove all door handles, knobs, and other types of accessories that might cause obstructions. If you are painting a piece that has some sort of cushioning like sofas, make sure to remove or cover them as well.

Step 3: Fix Up Scratches Or Holes

Your old piece of furniture has seen a lot of time and will probably have a lot of markings or bumps. Fill these in with wood fillers or other available options in the market.

Step 4: Wipe The Furniture Clean

Make sure to clean your furniture thoroughly before you paint it as you would not want markings left by dust or other tiny particles. Try cleaning the surface with a tack cloth as it is better at picking dust than normal cleaning rags.

How To Paint Wood Furniture Without Sanding?

It is possible to paint wood furniture without sanding if you have a good primer or a deglosser. Following is a guide on how to go about the whole process.

Step 1: Prep The Furniture For Painting

Preparing the furniture for painting is also an easy job that just requires removing the door knobs and handles, filling in the cracks and markings, and wiping the furniture clean. Follow the guide mentioned to help prep your furniture for painting without sanding.

Step 2: Degloss Instead Of Sanding

Instead of sanding, degloss your furniture using a deglosser – especially if your furniture has complicated and intricate designs. Deglosser helps dull the paint down and gives the surface the same finish as sandpaper without the hard work. All you need to do is simply soak a rag in a deglosser and then wipe your furniture with it.

However, when working with a deglosser, remember that it has a strong smell, so try and open it outside. Also, make sure to use gloves and goggles as the material is harmful in many ways.

Step 3: Apply A Primer

The next step is to apply a bonding primer. This is the most important part if you are painting without sanding the furniture. You can use a primer designed for the kind of paint you are using and with simple brush strokes, paint over the surface and apply at least two coats or more depending on the finish.

Some primers may take a lot of time to dry while others can dry up just within 10 minutes.

Step 4: Paint The Furniture

After the primer dries up, it is time to paint the furniture. The easiest and most readily available paint to use is acrylic. It is also affordable and very easy to apply on the surface.

If you are using milk paint, you will require to use a bonding agent for painting easily.  Simply mix the bonding agent with the paint and stir well until completely well-mixed. It is perfect for temporary paint jobs that have to last slightly longer as this process can also be done without using a primer or deglosser before you paint.

If the furniture is matte, you can use chalk paint as it dries quickly and even thin layers of coating can get the job done. The only downside is that the finish can be rough as brush strokes are visible. However, with chalk paint, you do not need deglossers or primers to make it stay.

The last option you can choose for painting is mineral paint. It is the best as it is waterproof and perfect for furniture you keep things on. It requires no bonding agent or primer and is also hardy. However, it can be expensive, so it is not the best option monetary-wise.

Apply as many coats as you would require to give your furniture a smooth finish and make the paint flat. Give it a couple of hours or a day to set and you will have yourself a beautiful new piece of furnishing.

NOTE: This is not a necessary part of the process, but you can add a layer of clear coat to finish off the furniture’s paint job. People do it not just for getting a smooth look on a painted piece, but also to protect the furnishing surface from future stains or scratches.

More than any other exterior factor, the usage of a certain piece of furnishing is what wears the paint off. Hence, if you are painting a coffee table or a dresser, adding a layer of waterproof clear coat will upgrade your painting job.

Painted Wood Furniture Without Sanding Before And After

Following is a before and after display of pictures to show what a wooden furniture floor looks like after a painting job minus the sanding process.

How To Paint Wood Furniture Without Sanding

Source: Pinterest

As you can see, painting over this wooden cabinet has given it a fresh, modern look which makes it look new.

What Happens If You Don’t Sand Wood Before Painting?

If you do not sand wood before painting, then the layer of paint would have a rough texture with paint lines and strokes. This makes the surface look blotchy and the overall furniture messy. Sanding is especially important for painting old furniture as, without it, the paint can start chipping off almost immediately.

What Paint To Use On Wood Furniture?

Almost all kinds of paint can be used on wood furniture. The choice mainly depends on the kind of look you want to achieve and if it gels well with a primer which would be necessary for the paint to stay, especially if you are skipping sanding. Following is a list of paints you can use on wood with paint.

Paint Pros Cons
  • Not very durable but more affordable than other options.
  • Available in a wide range of colors and different finishes.
  • Easy to clean
  • Not very long lasting
  • Only good for indoor projects.
  • Takes a long time to cure
  • Enhances and highlights wooden texture
  • Dries easily
  • Can be applied directly too for temporary projects
  • Rough finish and brush lines and strokes are visible
  • Gets scratched or marked easier than other paint
  • Slightly expensive and does not have a lot of options
  • Non-toxic and environment friendly
  • Dries easily
  • Difficult to get a consistent saturation
  • Lots of primer is required as it chips a bit easier
  • Sometimes even bonder can be required
  • Very readily available and is also easy to apply
  • The finish will not stain easily
  • Rich and smooth layers
  • Takes a long time to cure
  • Requires a lot of primer
  • Not available in larger cans, so you would have to buy lots
  • Not easy to chip and is more durable than other options.
  • Levels itself and will give a smooth finish
  • Not easily available
  • Takes a lot of time to dry up
  • High concentration of VOCs
  • Waterproof and very resilient
  • Long lasting and requires no bonding or primer to set
  • Best for painting furniture you keep things on
  • Very expensive

How To Paint Glossy Furniture Without Sanding?

Painting glossy furniture without sanding can be difficult, but it is possible through the same process of deglossing and applying primer on the surface. However, there are some things you can note down when painting glossy furniture this way.

Use Paint Based On Durability

Although acrylic and oil-based paints are easily available in the market, using a more durable paint like chalk or mineral is a better option. Even if they may be more expensive, they stick for a long time without bonding or primer, which makes them perfect for glossy and slippery surfaces.

Paint Using Thin Layers

Since it is glossy furniture, your paint might appear thinner than it already is. Make sure to not misread this and paint thick coats over the surface. Try starting with thin layers and then eventually building it up to have a smooth surface.

You Can Add A Clear Coat Finish

If you are not satisfied with the outcome as painting over glossy furniture can make it look different and duller, you can use a clear coat finish. These are painting materials that add a clear layering to paint jobs for a smooth and shiny surface.

How To Chalk Paint Furniture Without Sanding?

Chalk painting furniture will require the same process as any other paint when you are doing it without sanding. Chalk paint is very sturdy on wood and a great paint to use as it gives a vintage look to the furniture and can also stay without the use of bonding or primer when you paint it normally with sanding.

All you have to do is use as much primer as is required by the furniture. Although mixing with bonding is not exactly needed, you can mix it with chalk paint to make it even more resilient than it already is.

Related Questions

What Can You Clean Your Furniture With?

You can clean your furniture using a damp cloth with general, surface cleaning liquids. For dirt or grease that does not go, you can use warm water. Try avoiding harsh chemicals as they can damage the wood.

Can You Paint Chalk Paint Straight Onto Varnished Wood?

Yes, it is possible to use chalk paint directly onto varnished wood. Two or three coats will give you a great vintage finish, but the paint is not immune to damage. You would require to use other expensive materials to make it stay. Hence, sanding and priming are important processes.

How Long Will A Paint Job Stay On The Furniture?

Although certain types of paints last longer on certain surfaces, the longevity of a paint job mostly depends on the object’s usage. A paint job on furniture shall last you between 5 to 10 years.

Is It Better To Spray Paint Furniture?

Although spray painting is much easier and faster than using a brush, if you are a beginner, it can be a messy medium to use. Spray paints are more durable and can be used on any surface and also dries much more quickly. However, they are not beginner friendly and you can create a lot of mess if your hand is not trained.

What Happens When You Do Not Prime The Wood Before Painting It?

When you do not prime the wood before painting it, chances are that you will have a very blotchy, rough surface. The paint too, will not stick for a long time and some may even start peeling immediately. Using a primer will add another few years to the life of a paint job.

Final Thoughts

Painting furniture to revamp your house is not only cheap but also sustainable and good for the environment. Since you now know a variety of ways and all the important things you need to do before you paint your furniture without sanding, we hope that this article will urge you towards the benefits of recycling and refurbishing.

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