Pick Your First Piece of Furniture to Paint

How to Pick the First Piece

The shape of your first piece will determine the scope of your project rather than the size.  The easiest piece to paint, in my opinion is a small to medium night stand or a small chest of drawers.  They are essentially the same piece, they just vary in size.  The solid surfaces and clean intersections create less of an environment to make a mistake.  These items pictured below are small enough to lift myself and can easily fit on my plastic folding table.

I like to use a plastic folding table, because it doesn’t take up much room when it’s folded up, it’s very strong and has been able to hold as much weight as I’ve been able to lift onto it (so far) and I don’t care how much paint I splatter or drip on it.  It has a wonderful colorful patina on it now.  It used to look like this,folding table2

If you are interested in painting a really heavy piece, a spindle bed frame or a set of spindle chairs, you might consider getting a few easier project under you belt first.  These projects are not super hard, they are just much more time consuming.  While a chair is small, each spindle need to be painted separately.  While a bed has flat sides, there are lots and lots of flat sides. If you’re just starting out, it feels great to be able to start and finish a job in one day.  If time drags on or you have to wait for help, it could be frustrating.  Build up your confidence with a fast win.

Lots of spindles
hard to paint1hard to paint2

Super heavy
hard to paint6hard to paint5

Lots of surfaces
hard to paint7hard to paint8

Now that you’ve picked out what you’re going to paint, you need to decide what paint you will use.  Stay Tuned

How to Make Furniture Rescue Paint

Furniture Rescue Paint
DIY Chalk Paint
Recipe for Furniture Paint


There are lots of recipes out there in the blogosphere. I’ll just add mine to the mix. (Get it, mix…) I have used this for years, and it has served me well. Customers have come back years after I painted furniture for them and consistently say that it’s holding up well. I have detailed making a quart, but will add amounts for a gallon at the end – the process is the same.

Here’s what you need:

1 Qt. Behr Premium Plus Ultra

behr ppu gal

¾ cup Plaster of Paris

plaster of paris

½ cup of cold water


Disposable plastic bottle with screw on lid – the wider the mouth the better.

gatorade bottle

Here’s what you do:

  • Remove about a cup of paint from the quart. If you store this extra it in a disposable plastic container, you can add it back later. The reason for removing a cup of paint is to make plenty of room for the plaster of paris and water mixture and still leave room to shake the can later.
  • .Add ½ cup of cold water to the container.
  • Add ¾ cup of plaster of paris to the water in the container. Use a plastic funnel if necessary
  • Screw on the bottle lid very tightly
  • Shake, then keep shaking. This is the most important step. The plaster of paris needs to be completely dissolved, not just suspended. Wait at least 5 minutes from the time you add the plaster to the water, and shaking often. (Did I say keep shaking?)
  • Add the dissolved plaster of paris to the quart can of paint.
  • Recap the disposable plastic bottle and throw it in the trash. Do not rinse the contents down the drain and do not put it in the recycling.
  • Replace the top onto the quart can of paint and shake well. Let the can sit for a bit after you shake to reduce the amount of paint on the underside of the lid.
  • When you open the can, stir well with a stir stick. After subsequent uses, you should stir the paint rather than shake it. This reduces the build up on the top and saves paint.

Modification for a gallon
Buy a gallon of paint
Remove three cups of paint
Add 2 cups of cold water to the water bottle
Add 3 cups of plaster of paris