STEP 1: Lay the foundation
Before you can achieve a new look, erase all traces of the previous finish.
Strip and Prep: Remove old paint, rust, varnish, grease and dirt using a paint scraper, then scuff surface with 220-grit sandpaper.
Apply Primer: This special paint sticks to difficult surfaces, ensuring that your topcoat goes on smoothly. Keep in mind that latex paint works over oil-based primer, but not vice versa.
STEP 2: Pick a paint for the job
Choosing a color is important, but so is selecting the right formula.
Oil or water? Oil-based products are more durable, but they dry slowly, emit a strong odor and are less eco-friendly. Premium water-based products are nearly as tough as oil and easier to apply, and cleanup requires only water, not paint thinner. Check recommendations for the material you’re finishing; unless it specifies oil, go with water-based.
STEP 3: Tackle the project
Follow these tips and pointers to revitalize an array of household items.
- Use a paintbrush on flat surfaces, or a roller on large expanses.
- When refinishing an uneven surface, opt for spray paint. Work outdoors when possible. If working indoors, make sure the room is well ventilated, and wear a paper painter’s mask.
- Paint can be absorbed through the skin, so wash off smudges quickly.