How To Paint Wood [Comprehensive Step By Step Guide]

If you’re looking for a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to paint wood then you’ve landed on the right page.

Adding color to your home is always a difficult task, but painting wooden surfaces might be downright impossible for many. Before painting, it is necessary to perform certain additional preparations on wood surfaces to provide a smooth and tidy finish.

You’ve come to the right place if you’re wondering how to paint wood like baseboards, moldings, or any exterior wooden surface and give it a flawless finish like a professional. Unless they’ve been veneered, plywood surfaces typically have an uneven appearance.

When compared to other surfaces, they have a lower aesthetic value by definition. Plywood projects can be made more appealing with a simple coat of wood paint.

Painting wood has several advantages, however. It stretches its longevity, protects the plywood, and can be applied easily with the proper instructions.

A decent wood paint will easily cover up all the stains on plywood, allowing it to once again shine like the day it was first installed. When it comes to DIY projects, painting wood is one of the most popular options out there today.

So, instead of throwing out your old wooden things, consider giving them a makeover using the right coat. What kind of paints are available, how to apply them, their advantages, and some helpful painting suggestions are all covered in this article.

You Might Also Like To Read: Comprehensive Reviews On Epoxy Resins For Wood

How To Paint Wood — Step By Step Guide

Types Of Wood Paint

When you are investing in the work of painting a piece of wood, you wouldn’t want a messy finish or waste your money, right? Therefore, before starting with the preparation even, learn about the types of paints that can be used to paint a piece of wood or a wooden surface. You might also enjoy reading this buying guide on deck sealer that you may require in the future.

Oil-Based Paint

The high-quality finish and long-lasting nature of this wood paint make it a popular choice. Surfaces painted with oils have a glossy and lustrous appearance. There is no requirement for a topcoat with oil-based paints. It’s possible to use this paint either before or after the primer, depending on your preference.

Water-Based Paint

Water-based wood paints predominate in the marketplace. They are simple to apply and give plywood a refined appearance. Furthermore, water-based paint does not necessitate that the wood surface is prepped before application. People choose this wood paint because it dries quickly and is resistant to cracking or fading.

Latex Paint

Latex wood paint is the best option if you want to get a satin or matte finish on the plywood. Using this paint will give your wooden surfaces a remarkable brushstrokes effect. Soap and water are all that are needed to remove Latex wood paint.

Acrylic Paint

It’s perfect for painting little pieces of wood. An odorless, quick-drying paint that gives the wood an artistic appearance is what you’ll get. Acrylic wood paint, on the other hand, enables you to unleash your imagination. To get creative, you can use any color you want. Easy to apply and inexpensive, this wood paint is a great value.

Planning & Strategy

Every job needs proper planning to have the desired result. The first step in working with paint is to decide on a painting technique and the required materials and tools. The materials you select will influence the equipment you use.

Water-based (latex) versus oil-based products are two of the most significant considerations when making this decision. All three of these products must be compatible with each other.

The most frequent applications of paint are oil-based primers and sealants. You must understand how each product works. Shellac, for example, is the finest stain-blocker, but it has a strong odor.

Stain resistance may be compromised with water-based primers. The wood that will be painted also has a role. Take note of and follow the directions after you’ve made your selections.

Safety Measures

These are hazardous materials that must be handled with care. As a precaution, you should keep an eye out for yourself, others, and the environment in which you’re operating.

When painting, it’s preferable to do it all at once (priming, painting, and sealing). In the event that this is not possible, it’s best not to wait for more than 7 days before painting.

Preparing wood for painting might put your eyes, skin, and even lungs at risk. You should wear eye and ear protection and a respirator mask, as well as gloves to protect your skin from irritants when working with hazardous materials.

Surface Condition Of The Wood

Look at the wood’s surface if it’s older, even if it doesn’t need to be done. Does the surface appear to have any damaged nails or boards? You’ll need to fix or replace anything that’s broken or worn out.

  • Replacing damaged or missing screws with a like-looking one will keep the piece’s aesthetic integrity intact.
  • In the same way, boards that have been damaged should be replaced immediately with the same type.
  • Wood putty can also be used to fill up dings, dents, and scratches. Apply with a putty knife made of metal or plastic.
  • Caulking is an option. It may need to be redone for an outside project, and chalking can be used to create a more smooth finish.

Clean The Wood

Primer cannot be applied to unclean wood. When working with new wood, all that is required is some mild sanding to produce a smooth finish. Repair any damage to the surface before applying primer.

Cracks, holes, dents, and other flaws can all be repaired with the right supplies. A solvent or sanding the wood is required before painting. Don’t forget to unplug any devices connected to the computer. Tape can be used to protect areas that are not to be painted when painting.

The manufacturer’s recommended TSP solution and warm water proportions should be followed. To remove any oils, dirt, and filth from the wood, soak a cloth in water, squeeze it dry, and then wipe it down with a clean towel.

Using a clean, dry towel, wash the surface with warm, soapy water. Completely dry out the wood. Once the wood has dried, look for any significant dings. Use a putty knife to apply wood filler if necessary.

TSP: TSP has long been used to prepare surfaces for painting with its combination of cleaning, degreasing, and de-glossing properties. A TSP alternative can be used in place of phosphates, which local governments often prohibit.

Sand The Areas

Using random 180-grit sandpaper, sand the flat, smooth surfaces of wood. Sanding in between phases is critical for removing stray particles. To protect your eyes and ears, wear a mask and earplugs.

If an item needs a lot of sanding or stripping, 40- to 60-grit sandpaper is needed. Surfaces with small defects benefit from the use of 80- to 120-grit sandpaper.

Paint, primer, and sealant all require a smooth surface, which is why fine sandpaper in the 360- to the 600-grit range is so commonly employed. Each coat must be sanded with fine sandpaper after it is applied for the best effects.

Simply smoothing the wood’s surface and adding some “tooth” or minor scratches is all that is needed for a successful paint application. If you’re sanding furniture with uneven surfaces, you’ll get better results if you use hand sandpaper.

Wipe Off The Dust

Removing any and all traces of sanding dust is an absolute must. Use a vacuum that comes with a brush to get the job started. Never use a blower to remove dust from the surface, as this will merely spread it about.

To reduce the amount of dust in the air, use a shop vacuum with a filter and a bag. Tack cloths or cotton cloths that have been entirely squeezed out of water can be used to remove any remaining dust after using the shop vacuum to remove most of it.

Check If There Is Mold & Mildew

When mold and mildew are damp, they turn black. Any mold or mildew that you observe can be prevented by purchasing special anti-microbial products from a local hardware store (they’ll be able to assist you in finding the best one for your project).

When water dries on wood, it is called a mill glaze. For the uninitiated, this means that primer and paint will not be appropriately applied. Make sure that water can get into these spots by resanding. Before applying primer, leave the wood to dry sufficiently.

Apply Primer

Prepare the wood surface you plan for painting by applying a primer. Stains, smoke damage, and more all be hidden using primer. Wood absorbs paint unevenly because it is porous.

The grain of the wood is smoothed out by applying primer. See which wood primers are the best before making a decision. As another benefit, primers prevent bleed-through, which is an additional benefit.

When the wood’s tannins rise to the surface, bleeding happens. Acidic compounds, known as tannins, are found in the liquid sap of plants. Wood has a variety of colors because of them.

However, they might harm the paint if used incorrectly while staining wood. If you’re painting furniture, an undercoat is preferable to a primer. This will protect the fresh paint from being harmed by any leftover old paint.

The primer will conceal any repairs you’ve had to make. A prepared surface should never be left unpainted.

Sand After Applying Primer

In order to ensure that paint adheres to the wood, sand the primed wood once more and repeat the dust and debris removal process.

Knowing Various Tools To Paint

Painting is a skill that can be learned and honed based on the medium and materials utilized. In order to avoid shedding bristles, get a high-quality brush. It is preferable to use furniture that has bristles that aren’t too rough.

Make sure you get the right size and one that’s easy to hold. Smaller tools that are easy to use while painting is worth the investment. There’s no denying that the best wood paint is essential if you want the most outstanding results.

While painting, the first tool that comes to your mind is the brush. But if you want to paint a surface, there are other tools that can be useful too that you can use.

Let’s take a look at all the tools that you can use and how they can help in what requirements.

Using a Brush

The brush should not be overloaded with paint. When possible, brush from edge to edge, brushing, in full strokes, whenever possible. Brush in a single direction at all times.

Brushstrokes are less noticeable when they are applied with a light touch, so go easy on the pressure. Two single coats of paint are preferable to one heavy coat in order to save time.

If your brush is too dry, you can spray it with water and start painting. A watered-down dry brush might assist you in getting started. If you’re painting using oil-based paint, use paint thinner. Brush cleaning will be made easy by this.

Remember to reshape a brush after cleaning it. When brushes are not in use, they can be stored by hanging them with their bristles down.

Using a Roller

A roller is another option for applying paint. When painting furniture, smaller rollers are available. If you get a cheap roller, you will have issues. A decent roller, such as a wool one, is well worth the investment.

Anything can be thrown away. Masking tape can be used to protect the roller from damage. Most of the extra threads can be removed by just pulling it out. Roller marks can be minimized with a soft touch.

Be wary of using excessive force to remove the last paint from the roll. However, if you use a nearly dry roller, you can decrease the marks and remove excess paint from the surface.

By storing a brush or roller appropriately, you can avoid cleaning every day. In a sealed plastic bag, place the brushes and rollers and put them in the refrigerator to keep them moist.

This is especially helpful when painting with oil-based paints, which are more complicated and time-consuming to clean.

With Spray Paint

When a brush or roller isn’t available, spray paint can be a viable option. Once you’ve mastered the appropriate technique, markings of brush and roller disappear. It’s essential to have adequate air circulation. It’s also a lot simpler to remove the waste.

It’s critical to select the right kind of paint for the job. Paint designed for metal will not adhere to wood and vice versa. For exterior painting, you’re better off going with something else.

A semi-gloss or a satin finish is ideal for wooden furniture. It will be easier to clean if it has some sheen to it. Every blemish and speck of dust will be visible on flat paint.

Stay away from heating vents and avoid painting in areas that have a fan or direct sunlight. The unused paint will thicken in such a setting. The moisture level in the paint on the pan and the brush can be maintained with the help of a spray bottle or airless paint sprayer that produces a fine mist.

Start Painting With The First Coat

You’ve made it to the last stretch of the race. Begin by painting your hardwood surface with a roller or a brush, depending on the area that you like to paint. No matter whether you use a brush or roller, the strokers should be aligned with the grain for a more authentic and smooth appearance.

Sand The First Coat

If you decide to paint a second time, you’ll likely get a better finish. During the first coat’s sanding process, inconsistencies and imperfections generated by the brush or roller are smoothed out.

Sand with 220-grit sandpaper by hand or attach it to a sander and run it softly across the surface. Avoid applying pressure on the sander.

Then, after sanding, spread out the tack cloth and softly run it over the finished surface. The wax embedded in the cloth will stick onto the surface if too much pressure is exerted on the tack cloth.

Apply The Second Coat

If you follow the same technique for your second coat of paint as you did for the first, your painted hardwood surface will look fantastic.

Age Your Wood

A piece of wood can have a variety of finishes and methods for “aging.” It is possible to achieve a wide range of treatments, from whitewashed to stenciled to raised stenciled to aged copper to faux verdigris to faux marble.

An internet search for these terms will bring up various creative ideas that will allow you to construct a truly original piece of furniture. The appearance can be improved with multiple coats of paint. Before using a sealer, allow the paint to dry thoroughly.

Seal The Wood

Finally, it’s time to put the finishing touches on your woodworking project. Protect your wood with a final layer of finish or topcoat. If your wood is not going to be exposed to a lot of sunlight, you can omit this step. Let’s see if there’s anything more you might want to consider.


There are no solvents in Polycrylic. Its low volatile organic compounds make it helpful in safeguarding children’s furniture. Don’t worry about the sealant’s yellowish appearance when it’s wet.

When it dries, it becomes evident what is going on.
Artistic decoupage can be applied to small items such as picture frames, prizes, or jewelry boxes to achieve a unique touch.


Paste waxes are not applied with a brush. They are applied with a rag and rubbed into the wood. When applying wax to a surface, make sure you don’t leave any residue.

When buffed, it takes on a lustrous sheen. Because they come in a variety of hues, they can be used to create a one-of-a-kind look. Because they’re so pliable, they’re unable to handle the heat.

Wax-coated furniture should not be exposed to direct sunlight. This type of sealant should be reapplied at least once a year, if not more frequently. A polyurethane sealant can be applied to achieve a warmer look with this product.


Polyurethane can be applied with a brush or a spray can. In addition to painting, it can also be used to give raw wood a complete appearance. An oil-based product has a strong smell that necessitates a well-ventilated space for its use.

If an item needs to be refinished, this can be an issue. Using a solvent to remove it is not an option. It must be sanded or scraped off by hand instead.

Final Verdict

We hope this guide on “how to paint wood” was informative & helped you solve your queries. Many people enjoy painting as leisure, which can be both calming and satisfying. We all want to enjoy the fun part as soon as possible, but the preparatory work must be done carefully before the paint can be put on.

If you don’t, your paintwork may have blistering, peeling, or uneven coats. The paint may have to be scraped off and a new coat applied if that happens. Preparation is the key to avoiding unneeded stress. All the best!

Leave a Comment

Explore Us

Follow Us On:

About Us

House Whirl Logo White has a team of professional industry experts to help you find guides on painting, finishing, flooring, bathroom & kitchen to make your home look stunning. We have tested, researched & written hundreds of buying guides to help you select the top-notch & affordable products out there!

Disclosure is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to