Preparing Your Wood For Painting

Preparing Your Wood For Painting

February 2013

I love to paint. I wake up on Saturday ready to paint a wood sign, a table top, or a small box and to my dismay I do not have a prepared surface! I must start from the very beginning – I must complete the surface preparation steps.

Preparing your wood

1. Fill any nail holes or dents with wood filler.
2. Sand smooth with a fine grit sand paper or pad. You need to sand the piece in the direction of the wood grain to prevent scratch marks. Be sure you sand the sides as well.
3. Wipe with a tack cloth or a slightly damp cloth.

You want to do these steps so that your piece will be nice and smooth when you are ready to paint. If there are dents, they will show up once you start painting.

Sealing your wood

1. With a sponge brush, ‘paint’ your surface with a clear raw wood sealer. This sealer is different than the varnish sealer we use after our project is complete.
2. Let your surface completely dry. Drying time will depend upon the product, humidity, etc.
3. Once dry, sand lightly again – in the direction of the wood grain. You need to sand this second time because the wood sealer will cause some of the wood grain to rise. You will have an uneven surface if you don’t sand.
3. Wipe with a tack cloth or slightly damp cloth again.

Why is sealing your surface important?

Unsealed wood will absorb your paint, create uneven coverage, and require several layers of basecoat paint. There is a protective barrier between your paint and your surface when you seal the wood. You will have a smooth, even layer of paint on the wood.

Basecoating your wood

1. Apply your basecoat color using a sponge brush or a larger brush such as the 3/4″ flat.
2. Allow to dry.
3. ‘Sand’ your surface (in the direction of the wood grain) with a piece of a brown paper bag.
4. Wipe your surface clean with the tack cloth or slightly damp cloth
5. Apply a second basecoat if needed.

You are now ready to paint!

Your surface will feel smooth as glass.
Your surface will be clean and dust free.
Your basecoat will be even.