When I first started painting furniture, teaching was scarce, techniques were considered very proprietary, and information took much digging. It was hard to find much information at all for beginning furniture painters. I’m grateful for how this world has been blown open!
My first piece was from furniture left behind at one of our rental homes. I couldn’t bear to put it to the curb, but it had cosmetic issues, so I read everything I could find about “chalk painting”.
My first supplies were inexpensive options from the craft store. I graduated through trying different brands, the expensive ones, playing with techniques, started getting custom orders, and created social media pages on the advice of a customer.
Playing with techniques and different brands to find my match
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About a year in, after one piece in their products, I was contacted by and asked to help start a “Brand Ambassador ” program, which was not a thing at the time. I was just clueless enough to say yes! Their products are perfectly suited for my blended style, so it has proven to be a perfect match.
An early on piece done in Dixie Belle
Several years and a few hundred pieces in, I wish I could go back and give my beginner self advice, here’s what I would say:
1. Investing in the right tools makes a huge difference.
Quality tools DO make a difference! This includes investing in the proper paint, brushes, and other tools. Every paint brand has its strengths and weaknesses, don’t hesitate to pick up different brands and know the differences to see what works best for your style. The proper paint for your style and look will make your job so much easier!
I wrote a blog all about Selecting The Best Brush For Your Furniture Painting Project that is full of great tips for beginning furniture painters to find the right tool for the job.
One of my first real customs in its home
2. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, share your work, and ask questions.
The painting community is a very supportive one. Everyone has an opinion, and thanks to social media, they are eager to share it. Take that feedback, positive or negative, (negative feedback can be valuable too!) and use it to become a better furniture painter. Let them tell you what you do well and expand on that.
An early piece that showed up in marketing materials, that was a WOW moment!
Check out my Blended Blue Buffet full painting tutorial HERE!
3. Immerse yourself in learning.
There are so many resources available out there, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, etc, and plenty of painters willing to share. Watch videos, read blogs, study photos, and most importantly, experiment!
There is no point you cannot recover from with a new coat of paint.
The first finish I taught live on camera for a btand. I was soooo nervous!
4. Don’t try to paint like someone else.
Take those techniques and adapt them to your style. Do what you do best, and perfect that. I think of it like putting an outfit together. We are all given the same basic “wardrobe” of techniques. It’s how we combine them and wear them that sets furniture painters apart.
Blending showed up early in my style. This chair was a gift for my sons teacher.
You can find how I painted a similar rocking chair in one of my blogs Color Blending on a Relaxing Rocker!
5. Your finish is only as good as your prep.
Learn how to “read” your piece, analyze what it needs before laying paint on. Create a mental flow chart, “if this, then that.” Know what products are available and when you need them.
I created a Roadmap to Painting Furniture with paint that will help beginning furniture painters (you don’t have to be a beginner😜) determine which order of steps to take when painting. Download your own copy so you can reference it anytime!