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My Top tips for super smooth, brush stroke free furniture painting

    Top tips for furniture painting with Done up North


Have you struggled with brush marks or unwanted texture on your furniture painting projects? Maybe you're just not sure where you're going wrong? Maybe it's nearly perfect but not quite how you'd like it to be?

Or perhaps you're actually putting it off completely because you don't want to mess it up!

I've been there and I know how frustrating it can be.  It can totally take all the enjoyment out of painting when you feel you are battling to get the finish you want or daunted to even start!

1. Always use a synthetic brush

    For water-based paints always choose synthetic brushes. Synthetic filaments are far softer and finer than bristles of natural brushes and, as lovely as they are, natural bristle brushes WILL leave more texture in your painted surface. You don't need to buy expensive brushes - just soft ones and make sure to keep them well cleaned & free of paint build up.  

    2. Use the right size brush for the surface

    In order to keep the brushstrokes to a minimum you literally need to do less passes of the brush so that means the larger the area, the larger the brush. Conversely, using too large a brush for a small area will make it hard to smooth the paint down nicely. I show you the brushes I use in my Furniture Painting video as well as the Roller and Laying off method which I find an essential technique for large, flat surfaces.

    3. Apply the paint thinly and don't brush over it too much
    Don’t worry about being able to see through your first or even second coat, always apply in thin coats and build up in layers once each is dry. Don’t be tempted to try and cover in one coat or add more over drying paint or brush over it too many times as you are more likely to create brush marks trying to get that smooth. If you choose a paint like Fusion Mineral Paint it will level out on drying much better too!

    4. Lightly sand between coats
    Lightly rub over after each coat with a fine synthetic sanding pad to remove any little gritty bits and smooth out any unevenness in your painting strokes before starting to painting the next coat. Remove the sanding dust before painting the next layer with a Tack Cloth to get a finer finish. 

    5. Watch out for paint drying too quickly 
    If paint dries too rapidly you will see more texture while you are still applying it and will tend to make visible brush strokes as you try to smooth over it with your brush. That can happen in warm weather but also centrally heated houses! Warm temperatures affect the drying time of paint as the water in the evaporates out much more quickly. Also watch for older pots of paint or pots you have dipped in and out of a lot as they paint may have already thickened up due to water evaporation so it will dry much more quickly when painting. It's best to decant in small quantities to work with.

    If you still need a bit of help to keep your paint fresh and flowing well and to eliminate those dreaded brush strokes add a little bit of paint extender / conditioner to give you more 'open time' to allow you to get it lovely and smooth.  I use General Finishes Extender 

    Do you want to find out more?

    If you’d like to learn in more detail how I get a super smooth finish and what tools and techniques I use as well as even more of my favourite painting tips for getting a fantastic finish check out my  Painting Furniture video

    Or if you would like to learn the whole process from Prep to Finish, tried-and-tested techniques and products to save figuring it all out yourself, have a look at my Online Furniture Upcycling Course 

    I also run workshops at my Studio in Leeds if you'd like to come and paint with me! Check out the upcoming dates

    If you would like any a little advice with your furniture painting projects just drop me a line at

    Nicky x

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