HOW TO THIN PAINT FOR A SUPER SMOOTH FINISH ON YOUR FURNITURE | THRIFT STORE NIGHTSTANDS
Back in January, my sister scored big at a local thrift store. I feel very VIP (I guess that would be VVIP) having Andrea and a handful of other friends’ shopping for me. I can’t wait for the Thrift Stores to re-open! To all of you who keep your eyes peeled for me (and you know who you are) THANK YOU!
Speaking of friends, it’s one of my favorite days of the month. Today we’re joining my talented Furniture Fixer Upper crew for five times the fun! I’m sharing their makeovers and DIY tutorials at the bottom of today’s post.
So let’s get right into it! Thinning paint may not sound exciting. But, believe me, it can make a **DRAMATIC** difference in your finish whether you’re spraying OR brushing.
To demonstrate, check out these heavy-duty twin nightstands. They were on sale for $11.99!
It never ceases to amaze me what a gorgeous color and super smooth finish can do!
THIS POST IS SPONSORED/CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS TO PRODUCTS I USE. YOU CAN SEE MY FULL DISCLOSURE HERE.
- Nightstands – SALVAGED
- Container | Stir Sticks | Water
- Paint Gun Sprayer
- Sandpaper | Tack Cloth
- BIN Shellac Primer
- Antebellum Blue Chalk Mineral Paint
- Satin Clear Coat
HOW TO THIN PAINT
So many of us use chalk-mineral paints for our furniture makeovers and these are typically thicker paints. This is amazing but if you’re new to these types of paint — it can feel TOO THICK.
Newbies often over brush, use too much paint/and or don’t thin down the paint… and I know this because that’s EXACTLY what I did.
I used all my paints straight out of the can. It’s not that I hadn’t heard about the benefits of thinning paint, but I was confused about how, why, or when I should do it.
For the first few years, I sprayed and brushed my furniture without thinning. After sanding, they turned out well. But NOT as smooth or professional as when I thin my paint with a little water!!!
Thinning paint is the simplest and easiest thing in the world to do. And it makes SUCH a difference.
I’m sharing because for those of you just starting out, I don’t want you to feel intimidated like I was. If you can turn on a tap and use a stir stick – you’re already a paint thinning master! 😉
Benefits of Thinning Paint
- Smoother finish when spraying OR brushing
- Saves money extends paint
- No brush strokes because the paint doesn’t dry as fast
- Creates a professional spray paint finish
STEP #1 – Mix Paint
STEP #2 – Add 10-15% Water To Thin
Using a separate container large enough to hold all the paint, start by adding 10% tap water. I usually mix my paint/water mixture in a Dixie Belle Paint container. It’s best to start with a smaller amount of water. You can always add more. 10-15% ratio is a good amount for thinning. Add any more and the paint may not adhere or cover your piece properly.
STEP #3 – Mix Thoroughly
STEP #4 – Test
Thicker paints often cling to the stir stick and ‘droop and gloop’ off the end – like this pic below.
The best way I can describe the consistency I like best is when it behaves like a creamy melted milkshake. I use my stir stick as a gage. If it runs off the corner of my stir stick in a continuous stream, it’s thick enough for great coverage yet thin enough for a sprayer or a brush. The paint still has body but is much thinner than the pic above.
STEP #5 – Paint
I used my spray gun for this project but a thinned down paint works just as well when brushing on. Here are some more tips on getting a brushstroke free finish when using a brush.
And now for some FURNITURE FIXER UPPER FUN!
I know you’re going to LOVE what this creative team of ladies do. Below are their BEFORE photos – visit the links underneath to see the amazing AFTERS and to learn how they did it! I’m heading over to take a peek right now myself!
1. Girl In The Garage
2. Confessions Of A Serial DIYer
3. Petticoat JUNKtion
4. Just The Woods
5. Salvaged Inspirations (so happy you’re here!)
LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF THIS MAKEOVER… OR FEEL FREE TO ASK ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE. I ALWAYS LOVE HEARING FROM YOU. IT MAKES MY DAY! 😊
Happy furniture painting my friends!
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Stop Bleed Through When Painting
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PIN AND SHARE!
Jerry Oram says
After you think the chalk paint and spray do you put any type of clear
Yes, I use a poly topcoat to protect. If I don’t use a poly, then I’ll use wax.
Did I miss where you gave the name of the paint and color?
Hi Candi! I included the color and direct line under the “Source List” for you. 🙂
Oh, Denise, that color is to die for! I need to find out if Dixie Bell paints are sold in Europe. I collect pieces of sari fabrics and soooo many of them would look wonderful with this color. I like to paint a piece and then decoupage parts of it. The two tables you painted would look fantastic with the centers’ decoupaged. OK, I’m an old hippie so my house is very BoHo!! 🙂
Great job, love your posts. Stay well.
Hi Lisa! I’m in LOVE with this blue too and I think decoupaged sari fabric would look stunning! Dixie Belle Paints HAS expanded overseas. I’m just not sure exactly what countries have retailers right now.
I’m finally catching up with visits to your furniture fixer upper projects this month, I miss you guys! Great tutorial Denise, and yes, what a difference thinning the paint makes. I love the pretty color you painted your nightstands! Pinned 🙂 Thrift stores opened last week here in the west and I couldn’t be more excited.
Your Thrift Stores opened!!! I’m EXCITED FOR you! You know how the saying goes, have a drink for me… well do a little shopping for me, my friend! And WE MISS YOUUUUUU MARIE!!! hugs XOXO
Judy Herron says
i love this color! I have some bedroom furniture that I had painted with chalk paint awhile back but want to change to this color. My question for you is, do you have a post about taking the paint off the top and just staining it. I love the look of a stained top but have never removed paint before or restained. Any suggestions you can lead me to? Thank you – I love reading and seeing all your beautiful pieces.
Hi Judy! For sure. If you’re into using a stripper to remove paint here’s a detailed tutorialstripper to remove paint here’s a detailed tutorial… and this stripper can be used indoors because it doesn’t have an intense chemical odor. If you’re into using a sander, here’s a tutorial on prepping for stainhere’s a tutorial on prepping for stain. Hope they help and have fun with your bedroom furniture. A stained top always looks elegant imo. 🙂
Lovely! What a GORGEOUS color!!!
Thanks Becky! I hope you’re enjoying your weekend. 🙂
Jen @ Girl in the Garage says
What a huge different some paint and TLC can make! Those tables are so pretty now Denise, especially in the fab new color! xo
Thanks Jen!! 🙂 I’m always amazed at what a little color can do!
Larissa ~ Prodigal Pieces says
Love the spunky new look, Denise!
Thanks so much Larissa! XOXO
Linda H says
The nightstands turned out beautiful!
A friend taught me years ago to thin the second coat of paint down to brush on a smoother finish.
I do occasionally use a water bottle which I picked up at Hobby Lobby 😉
It really makes such a difference, doesn’t it? 🙂 Thanks so much Linda!
I have to agree with your other comment. They were very unattractive but you turned them into beauties. Thanks for the tips. I bought the mister you recommended so I’m looking forward to trying. ~ Nicki
Thanks Nicki! And I’d love to hear how the water-mister works out for you! x
Thanks for this. I have been thinning my paint because, like you said it’s easier to work with. I have not seen another blog post about this, so thanks for talking about it. Here’s to thrift stores opening soon!
Way easier to work with, right?! And I can’t wait to get salvage hunting again myself. 🙂
Sue H Mellette says
Very lovely makeover. I love the blue. It really updates the end tables! Thanks for the tips on thinning paint. I will use these tips when I tackle some our dated furniture. Thanks for sharing.
It’s pretty amazing what color can do, eh!? Thanks Sue! XOXO
Cheryl Atkinson says
Hi Denise! Such a pretty color. This was a good tip. Thank you.
Thanks, Cheryl! Hope you and yours are well! XOXO
that color is amazing! I love the simplicity of it without distressing too!. Great makeover
Thank my friend! XOXO
Christy James says
I love this gorgeous color!! I wish I had an area indoors to spray here…it is SO incredibly windy here so I don’t do it nearly as often as I used to! Great tips as always!! XOXO
Thanks Christy! I like to get my ‘spray therapy’ in every once in a while. 😉
Maybe buy a tent for spraying…..I’ve seen people do that for varnish!
Maryellen Webber says
The nightstands look amazing! I love the color you chose. Thanks for the tips on thinning the paint.
Thanks Maryellen! XOXO
Hi Denise. Wow…just WOW! Those night stands were sooo dated and UGLY. I never would have thought they could become so updated, colourful, and downright beautiful. I’m in love with this color. It’s bold yet classy. Gorgeous makeover. Think I need to go thrifting:)
They were pretty ugly… LOL. I’m a fan of this Antebellum Blue too. I’ve used it on a few pieces and it never disappoints. 🙂