Painting Furniture Pure White - The Best Method

Mar 14, 2019

We love painted furniture; we sell paint, we teach people to paint and we also paint to commission. White is by far the most popular colour choice. Neutral, white furniture is the easiest to slot into your home whatever your interior style choice; from the ever popular Scandi style, to country cottage to contemporary minimalist and everything in between, white fits in with them all. Our best selling paints are Annie Sloan Old White and Pure White. So here are our top tips for getting that dated, tired furniture painted gorgeous crisp, pristine pure white.

Annie Sloan Paint and brushes from La Di Da Interiors, Andover, Hampshire

What tools you will need:

Additional tools sander, gloves, mask

What you might need:

  • Sugar soap
  • Rubber gloves
  • Facemask
  • Orbital sander
  • Sand paper
  • Washing up sponge
  • Liberon Knotting Solution in clear

How to prepare your furniture:

There is a little preparation to do to get a beautifully smooth and crisp white finish. Firstly make sure the piece of furniture is clean, this may involve a quick wipe over with a damp cloth if it's a piece that you've had sat in your spare bedroom. However if it's a piece that you've rescued from a skip, or out of  garden shed then it's likely to need more of a clean. Sugar soap and warm water (wear rubber gloves!) should do the job, then leave to dry naturally. 

Cleaning the furniture

If there are any flaky pieces of paint or scratches in the surface now is the time to sand. Always use a mask when sanding, you only have one pair of lungs. Most cosmetic scratches can be tackled with a few grades of sand paper and some elbow grease. Anything deeper then I use an orbital sander, I have a Makita which I purchased from Screwfix, it's fabulous! 

Once sanded and wiped over with a damp cloth to get rid of the dust, it's the time to look at bleed though. 

What is bleed through? 

Bleed through is caused by dyes, tannins or oils in the wood rising to the surface when painted. Highly annoyingly there is no real way of telling if a piece of furniture will have bleed through or not until you start painting. If it does after the paint has been applied you will see a feint light brown stain appear in patches or blotches. At this point put your paint brush down and step away! When the paint is dry the cover the whole piece in Liberon Clear Knotting Solution. Once that's dry you can paint as normal. In my experience bleed through only happens approximately 1 in 50 pieces, but typically always on the ones your client wants Pure white.

Annie Sloan Old White and Pure White tins La Di Da Interiors, Andover, Hampshire

Getting Painting:

Using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint you do not need to prime, however, when using Pure White we recommend that you apply a base coat of either Old White or Paris Grey. Simply put, by the nature of it's colour, Pure has less pigment than any other of the colours in the Annie Sloan range. You can just paint it right on but you will end up doing 4-5 coats of paint to get the coverage you require, particularly if it's over dark wood such as mahogany. So, by doing a coat of Old White (a soft grey toned white) or Paris Grey (a warm pale grey) as a base you can then complete your piece in Pure White in one or two coats for a perfect finish. 

Painting Pure over Old White

Getting a smooth finish:

Most people that want Pure White furniture also want a smooth flat finish. In orders to achieve this we recommend a couple of things

  • Use a good quality brush - this will make a massive difference to the application
  • Sand any brush marks out between coats - if you want perfection then it will take a little more effort 
  • Add a little water to your top coat - particularly if you're painting in warm conditions

Annie Sloan White Wax at La Di Da Interiors

Using White Wax:

Once your paint is dried and you're happy with the finish it's time to wax. To get that bright, brilliant white we recommend using Annie Sloan White Wax. Apply liberally using a wax brush and remove the excess with a clean lint-free cloth. We would recommend two coats as a minimum. Officially the curing time for wax is 3 weeks but fear not. It will be touch dry within an hour and safe to put back in place, but it will need careful handling for those first few weeks to make sure it stays pristine. 

Pure White Chest of Drawers by Steph at La Di Da Interiors, Hampshire

Caring for your white furniture:

If your furniture gets marked then the best way to remove them is by using a little more of the white wax to remove and clean up the area. 

I look forward to seeing your projects, join our Facebook Paint Addicts Group and share your Pure White projects photographs, before and after! 

 Happy Painting! 

 Steph Signature

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