Friday, December 28, 2012

Getting Started: Sanding

A recap:
Getting Started we looked at mixing the paint properly, cleaning your surface, and creating the French look.
Getting Started: To Prime or NOT to Prime
and this week is
Getting Started: Sanding

Tip #4 Throw out traditional ideas/processes about furniture prep, especially when it comes to sanding.

Now when most people think sanding in the traditional painting furniture sense, they grab their orbital sander and sand down to the wood.  EEK! DON'T DO THAT!  When we chat about sanding for use with Chalk Paint®, it really means to give the high gloss finish a haze.

Also, most people use a too aggressive grit sandpaper when prepping the surface.  Just because it's a poly finish doesn't mean you need a 75 grit sand paper.  It is very easy to actually scratch the surface by using the wrong sandpaper.  When a scratch results, it can be very laborious to correct, and though paint covers a multitude of sins, it may not cover deep scratches.  I typically only use 220, by hand when prepping my surface.  It's quick, easy, and I have full control of how aggressive I haze my piece.

Here's what Annie has to say about sanding:

There will be times when you will need to sand your piece of furniture or other object:
  •        Use 100-220 grit sandpaper to get rid of loose paint and other debris.
  •        Use 220 grit sandpaper on shiny or glossy surfaces (these can include melamine and laminates)
  •        To remove rust, sand the surface with 100-220 grit garnet sandpaper; wash the surface with soap and water, rinse well and quickly and thoroughly dry the surface (a hairdryer is useful): use a metal primer to seal.
 Here's a quick guide of the different types and uses of sandpapers I use:

220 grit- it's your new best friend!
  • To haze a glossy finish
  • Knocks off loose paint and dirt
  • Gently distress the edges of a finish
  • When using a circular motion, flattens out the brush strokes and other imperfections in the paint
350-1000 grit

  • Prior to using wax, further enhances a modern finish
  • Buffs the paint on frames so no wax is needed

I almost never use any sandpaper with a more aggressive grit than 220.  In addition, I almost never use 600+ on pieces I sell in my shop.  Most people will not be able to tell the difference for the increase in price using a higher grit sandpaper will require. 
On a side note, 600+ grit sand papers are:
 1. More expensive
2. black, which will not affect the paint
3. clog up quickly

Tip #5 use a dry paint brush to dust your surface after sanding/distressing. 
If you typically use a damp towel, don't!  The paint can reconstitute itself and may alter your finish.

This pretty much wraps up the Getting Started series.  Next we will look at distressed finishes
Until then, 220- your new best friend!


  1. Thanks for the very useful post! I find myself standing in front of the sand paper mystified as to which one to buy.
    I also use a dry brush to dust things that have lots of nooks and crannies like antique frames, works like a charm :)

  2. This will definitely help me next time I'm going to sand. I've often wondered which number I'm suppose to be using for different jobs. Thank you!
    Debbie :)

  3. Thanks for those detailed tips you have shared in your blog post. It has helped me a lot. This week we are planning a makeover at our kitchen cabinets. We need to do a little re-painting over the cabinets and drawers. Good thing I’ve passed by and read your tips.

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