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How To Paint Pine Furniture

Updated on August 8, 2012
Learn how to paint pine furniture
Learn how to paint pine furniture

Here's what you'll need:

  1. stain, paint or glaze

  2. tack cloth and lint free rag (an old t-shirt will do just fine)

  3. top coat and foam brushes

  4. safety glasses and dust mask

  5. 150-220 grit sandpaper

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, or even if you're not but would like to be, painting a piece of pine furniture is a great way to spend a weekend. Whether it's a new unfinished piece or a yard sale find, pine takes to paint well.

Do you like painted furniture, but not so much the look of a new painted piece? You're not alone. Don't worry just de-stress! “Old” new distressed furniture is all the rage. But it also comes with a big price tag in those trendy country furniture shops. You can get the look quite easily yourself with glazes, antiquing agents or crackle medium.

Almost any wooden piece of furniture, old or new, can be distressed so that it looks just like a pricey antique. And you don't have to spend a fortune...

For more on furniture see here.

Finishing, or Refinishing, Pine Furniture

Whether it's a yard sale find, or new unfinished pine furniture, creating a masterpiece to treasure in your home for years to come is very satisfying and saved a great deal of money too. Although it might involve a few steps you hadn't counted on, but it really is very easy if you take your time and don't rush each step.

If you have bought unfinished pine furniture you should finish it as soon as possible so it doesn't dry out, warp or split. White Pine, as well as, yellow pine is a soft wood. Because it is soft older pieces of pine furniture can show wear. Both new and used pine pieces paint very well, older used furniture does not always take to stain well and it's best to paint it instead. But there's a lot you can do with the painted finish like glazes and crackling to create a great piece of "strategically aged" furniture that would probably cost at least twice the price you paid for it in a trendy shop.

If you are going to refinish your furniture find it's always best to do it right and take the old finish off before applying new. The easiest way to do this is with Zip-Strip Paint and Finish Remover. The Premium Green is the most pleasant to use because it is non-toxic, has low odor, contains no biohazardous materials and says it's safe to use around pets, but please don't take chances--keep pets out of the area where you are working. The Premium Green is thicker than the original and stays where you put it. It very effectively dissolves the old paint or finish and you can just wipe it away or simply scrape it off with a paint scrapper. It won't hurt the wood or discolor it. It's even safe for antiques and old wood. Just the thing for your yard sale treasure.

Once your piece of pine furniture is completely free from old paint and Zip-Strip it's time to get creative!

Preparing your Pine Furniture for Paint or Stain

Unfinished furniture is usually smooth and ready to finish but sometimes there are a few places that can use some sanding.Look for any rough spots by running your hand over the surface, but always remember to wash your hands thoroughly first with non-moisturizing soap.

The oil from our skin will turn bare wood dark and, if you are planning to stain your wood, your natural skin oil will prevent the stain from penetrating. Wipe your wood with a clean tack cloth to remove any dust.

Now, prepare your work area. It should be a well-ventilated area with enough room for you to completely walk around the piece. Have a way to keep pets and small children out. Set out all of your supplies listed above.

It's important to make sure your pine furniture is well-prepared prior to painting.
It's important to make sure your pine furniture is well-prepared prior to painting.

In Distress: Glazing and Antiquing Pine Furniture

After the last coat of paint or stain is completely dry, and before the top coat, apply your glaze or antiquing product. Sand edges--only the edges--of your doors, drawers, raised panels, and corners of your piece all the way to the bare wood with a coarse #100 or #200 grit sandpaper.

The glaze will color the sanded edges and give the painted surface an aged appearance. Apply with a foam brush over the entire area. Then wipe off the excess with a lint free cloth to get your desired look.

Let dry at least 2 to 4 hours.

Apply the top coat for sheen and increase durability.

Glazing and antiquing your pine furniture gives it the perfect texture!
Glazing and antiquing your pine furniture gives it the perfect texture!

Pretty in Paint: Painting Instructions

When painting knotty pine the knots will bleed through the paint and show. There are products you can buy such as BIN that used as a primer should keep the knots from showing through your paint.

Paint with a good quality acrylic paint, milk paint is good for furniture. Apply with a good foam brush to avoid brush marks and avoid over brushing. Let dry thoroughly.

Lightly buff the thoroughly dry surface with a crumbled brown paper bag. Wipe off any dust with a soft cloth. Two or three coats of paint is usually recommended.

Let every coat of paint dry thoroughly between coats. Patience is a virtue but never more than when painting or staining wood.

Unless you are going to glaze or antique the furniture apply a topcoat over your paint to add durability and to make it shinier.

Staining Instructions

To be sure your stain is the right color, stir the stain thoroughly and apply a small amount to a hidden area.

Mentally divide your piece of furniture in small sections and apply stain to each medium size section with a foam brush in the direction of the wood's grain. Then wipe the stain off with a clean rag also in the direction of the wood grain.Continue doing this to each section until your piece is done.

Let dry thoroughly overnight without touching.

Then buff the entire piece of thoroughly dry furniture with a crumpled brown paper bag to create a smooth surface. Wipe with a lint-free cloth. If the shade is too light, repeat the staining process.

When staining pine any knots (dark round spots) will show unless your stain is very dark. That's okay, it's part of the beauty of pine. Pine wood with knots is called "knotty pine."

Staining your pine furniture will take it to the next level
Staining your pine furniture will take it to the next level

Applying the Top Coat

Do not shake the top coat, stir well. Shaking will cause air bubbles to form and ruin all your hard work. Apply the top coat with a foam brush with long straight strokes and, again, don't over brush.

At least three coats is recommended--and remember to let dry thoroughly after each coat. You will be glad you took the time to do the job right. Buff the piece with a crumpled brown paper bag after each coat except the last coat.

Top coats take longer to dry than stain or paint. Be sure to read the directions on the can.

Aged to Prefection: Pine Furniture with a Crackle Finish

Have you ever wondered how to get that aged cracked paint wood finish you see in expensive décor stores? It's actually very easy to give your pine furniture this charming vintage look if you read and follow these simple instructions.

You will need:

  • Two colors of acrylic paint and
  • 8 oz bottle FolkArt Crackle Medium ( is a good place to buy)
  • 2 foam brushes and a bristle brush
  • sandpaper and a tack cloth
  • clear varnish

First decide what color you want to show through and what color you want on top. If your piece of furniture is unfinished, or after you have stripped the old paint off, sand the piece and wipe all dust off with a tack cloth. Then brush on the first coat of paint with your sponge brush. Let dry and apply a second coat unless you want a light color.

Let the second coat dry completely.

Once your bottom coats of paint are dry apply a medium coat of "Crackle Medium" with the bristle brush and let air dry just until sticky or "tacky" to the touch.


When it is tacky apply a light even coat of your contrasting color paint to your piece of furniture. This top coat should start to crackle right away.

Important: Be sure not to over brush the top coat of paint it will smudge and it won't crackle.

If you would like additional aging, when paint is completely dry lightly sand the corners with a medium weight sandpaper to distress it more. Remove dust with a tack cloth.

When you're satisfied with your new "old" furniture apply one or two coats of clear varnish to protect it.

The main thing to remember when finishing furniture is to always let paint, stain or any glazes dry completely between coats (with the exception of the crackle medium).


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