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Prep - Not All Furniture, Cabinets, and DIY Projects are Created Equally

I wanted to touch base on the myth that there is no prep involved before painting any piece. This is so WRONG! However, the prep needed is based on the project’s surface you are working on. These are just some of my notes with Prepping Any Piece.

#1 - THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP – CLEAN YOUR SURFACE – before you put a paint brush to it, before you scuff sand, CLEAN YOUR PIECE! This can be as easy as using soap and water. I have used Krud Kutter in the past, but my go to now is Fusion Mineral Paint TSP Alternative Degreaser. This product is a miracle worker and goes a very long way. Please follow the directions on the label when using this product, TSP does need to be diluted, this is a concentrated formula off the shelf. We do not realize how much oil and grease could be on a surface before we clean it. Some surfaces my require elbow grease too! Once you think you have the surface clean, try once more, if your rag comes away without any type of residue you are good to start the next step.

 *** If you are still getting tannins from previously stained surfaces you will need to take your prep steps to the next levels for sure. If not, these tannins will come through the paint at show its ugly self as a stain. It may not be today or this month, but eventually you will see the ugly circular figure make its way to the surface of your beautiful project.

**** If you have wax build up, remove this with Mineral Spirits before Sanding!! The wax will be worked into the wood itself and cause issues with adhesions.

#2 – Stripping/Sanding – Most surfaces only need a scuff sand before painting. However, if you are re-staining any surface, you most likely want to take this surface down to the wood. Be cautious with this! This step does add some time to your overall project, but I find that striping the surface I plan to re-stain so much easier than sanding. I like to use the CirtiStip Stripping Gel. This stuff is amazing, not only is it removing the layers of paint and stain, but also the oil and grim buildup on any surface. Please follow the directions on the bottle and remember to wear protective equipment and do this in a well vented area.

Other than stripping, sanding is an alternative and there are many YouTube videos on the proper sanding techniques. If you are taking your piece down to the wood, starting with the 100 grit keeping the sander flat with little pressure, once you’ve sanded most of the current finish off, switch over to 120 grit, then 150 grit and if you feel the need 180 grit. Once you have removed all the previous paint and finish you are ready to follow through with the next step.

If you are painting over any surface, scuff sanding, using a 220 grit, will allow the fresh paint to adhere to the previously painted and finished surface.

Once you have stripped or sanded your piece, clean the surface once more to remove any dust from sanding, this will ensure a beautiful smooth paint finish in the end.

#3 – Primer/Ultra Grip– To Prime or not to Prime, that is the question... Well, here is my theory on priming my pieces. Painting Raw Wood? Prime! Having trouble with residue from previous paint/stain? Prime! Painting a piece from dark to light? Prime! Why you ask?

Raw wood has various characteristics, knots, lines, and even sap. To keep from having those characteristics from coming through to your beautifully finished project, PRIME!! This will block the knots and sap from coming through eventually.

Tannins from previous satin and paint can come through to the surface after a while, don’t think that three layers of paint will keep these stains from eventually showing through. PRIME!!! This will block the satins from coming to the surface eventually.

Painting a currently Black furniture piece to a crisp White without stripping or sanding down to wood? PRIME!! This will help block the precious color from coming through and changing your crisp white to a dull grey. Also, there is a product called Transition with Fusion Mineral Paint, this product can be used to hide the other color as well. Giving you a blank canvas to begin your project.

Which primer do I use? This is dependent on the finish you will be using. With Fusion Mineral Paint and Jolie Home Paint, I have found that my go to is Zinsser BIN Primer. This stuff must be used in a well vented area, please follow the directions from the label and use protective equipment.

If you are painting any surface that is slick, for instance melamine, glass, or a shiny surface, you want to use a product that will cover that surface to create a layer that the paint will adhere to. Ultra Grip by Fusion Mineral Paint is my go-to for this. Application is simple just follow the directions on the label or watch the how-to video in our library.

So Now What?? I’ve spent all this time cleaning, sanding, and priming. What’s next? Well painting of course!

For more references on Prep check out our How-To Video Library!

Hope you found our prep information helpful, just remember if you have questions we are here to help!