I’ve noticed that a lot of times tutorials that go over how to use “furniture” (aka “chalk”) paint don’t go over what to do once the paint has dried. I personally have several more steps to go once the paint is dry on my furniture. I sand it, seal it, and often glaze it.
Sand it when the paint is dry? For latex or spray paint, not usually. For “furniture,” chalk, or milk paint, yes. There is an incredible difference in the finish of “furniture” paint when you sand it after it dries and when you don’t. It becomes incredibly smooth and “finished” looking. The paint should dry 8 hours, or overnight, before you sand it.
Depending on the look I am going for, I will either use 220 grit sandpaper or “00” steel wool. Usually using 220 grit sandpaper with my Black & Decker Mouse sander will give more of a distressed look. That means whatever the surface color was before you sanded it (wood or a different color) will show through on the edges and raised details. If I just want to “finish” the piece and I don’t want to distress it I will use “00” (double fine) steel wool. Even when using the “00” steel wool, be careful on the edges and details.
DON’T freak out when you sand your painted piece. Paint dust will come off. Trust me when I say, do not sand indoors, even a garage. You will cover everything in a fine coating of chalk dust. The great thing about “furniture” paint is, if you sand off too much, just touch it up with some more paint. Also, don’t freak out if your paint color “lightens” up a bit. This is just the effect of the “chalk” or plaster of Paris in the paint. When you apply your wax the color will deepen again.
Before you continue the process of finishing your painted piece after you have sanded it, wipe it down completely with a DRY cloth. Actually, most of the time I vacuum the piece with my shop vac when I’m done sanding. You can even use the final sanding process as a way to be creative with your paint. Once you have done a final sanding, you are ready to finish your piece with wax, polyurethane, or glaze. (or all of the above) 😉
I will go over more info on using “furniture” paint in a future blog post.