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August 22, 2011



This is darling! Love it! I want to run out and buy something to paint - other than the tow projects we've got going on already (the bathroom and upstairs hall) - can you say plaster work? Ugh!

Enjoy your day!

Beth Leintz

That turned out so cute- I bet it was fun to paint.

I was going to say you could tape off the glass on the cabinet so you didn't have to scrape paint later, but at my house, its really a toss up between what's easier to find- tape or a razor blade- sometimes I can't find either.


What a precious project! I bet your fairy girl loved it. Great tips too. Have a wonderful day.

Karla Nathan

I always think razoring off the glass is quicker if you are painting with a brush. If I am using spray primer, its harder to get off, so covering the glass is better.

Sent from my iPad


Thanks Karla!!!!!


Good tutorial, Karla. I found out about something new yesterday. It is Annie Sloan chalk paint. It is expensive but will stick to anything and has limited colors but you can mix a custom color on your own. One of my friends told me about it. It says no sanding,etc. Google it, it's interesting. I'm sure Sugarwings will love having it in her room. With you, everything is a labor of love! You are such a great grandma!


Love this!!! The end result and the tutorial. :) I have a few pieces around here that can use a little freshening.


That's really cute. I am working on Lily's room & she would love a dresser like that. Too bad her Aunt Karla doesn't live close by. Good tip about the grey undertones for dark colors. I never would have thought of that. Lisa

Laraine Atherton

My grandaughter would love furniture painted like this. She loves the color purple. You are so talented....you never cease to amaze.


What a fun color! Thank you for all the tips -- especially waxing the drawers. I don't know why I never thought of that!


These make me happy, when I've not been very happy lately. And it's also a timely read -- I plan to kidnap Rick's guitar chair -- old wood, varnish peeled off long ago -- and do something fun with it when he's not looking. He'll hate it, all "cute" and girly. And me? I'll love it!


It turned out so cute! Thanks for sharing!

I love taking old pieces and repainting them. My husband and I have been married 18 years, and I can only think of one piece of furniture we have bought brand new. New is boring. I'd rather buy something inexpensive and ahve the freedom to make into whatever I want. I also think it's boring for all the wood grains to match. I can't stand for all the furniture pieces to be matchy-matchy. I'm sure my house just screams GARAGE SALE to people as they walk in! Lol!

Hmmmm....you've given me an idea. Maybe I should do a blog post about some of my painted pieces....

Karla Nathan

Yes you should post about it, that would be an interesting one!

Sent from my iPad


I was so excited to find your site! I have a dining set that has been in my family since the 40's. I wanted to paint it but read all the warnings about the lead~I have young children and didn't want to risk it I almost gave up hope! (heard about Annie Sloan but I wanted to paint it black and she doesn't have that color)Sooo when I found your site I found new hope! This will be my first DIY! Can't wait to try it !!Thanks for posting!!!!

Erika Szekely-Bakk

I found your blog on Pinterest recommandation wall and favourited this post in StumbleUpon :) Cheers and thanks from Hungary, Erika

Mary Thomas

i'd like to learn more about classes on how to do furniture art painting..Mary

annie patterson

Thank you for such a great tip! I have been wanting to repaint some dressers and nightstands, but have been dreading the sanding & stripping I always thought had to be done first. Now I can just get painting and finally finish these projects! I do have a question for you, though. When I was searching for the primer, I saw a primer and paint in one (the same brand as the primer you have shown) have you ever used a product like this and would you recommend trying it on piece of furniture similar to the piece you have shown?

Karla Nathan

I love the primer and paint in one for walls. It covers beautifully. But it is not a bonding primer that will adhere to glossy surfaces so is not what you need to use over varnished furniture.

Sent from my iPad


Shoot. Now I'm MAD at myself for getting rid of my mother's "blonde" bar. It was like an art deco style and would have looked great redone. BUT I thought you had to sand and sanding is NOT my thing. Next time, I'l know better. What an informative article. Thanks!!


This beautiful furniture would be a dream for any little purple fairy. (I happen to know a couple myself!) Will try the bonding primer. I share your no fuss philosophy and love of imperfection. Yes life is too short. Thanks for the fun!


Thanks so much! Ran out yesterday and bought some Glidden gripper. Went through half the can last night. Could only find it at Home Depo. Just FYI for anyone looking for it. They were out of dark primer so I have to go back. Love your site!

Bella Michelle

OK, now you have explained why our previous primer wasn't working!!! Thanks for sharing and btw, the pieces turned out darling! Found your great blog via Pinterest!

Linda Lyons

Karla, Thank you for the wonderful tips you gave me here. I have a buffet that I want to paint black and someone talked me into buying harsh chemicals to remove the paint and yet I've seen others not remove paint for other projects around here. So I now understand how to go about doing this myself. Thanks, again.


I am wanting to paint my crib. It is a light stain color. Do I need to sand or would this primer technique work? THanks


I love this information! I, too, hate to sand and will avoid it whenever possible. And I agree about quality paint. Behr is THE best paint. Also found that cheap primer isn't worth bothering with on walls that really need something covered that won't bleed through. Wasted my time with a cheap primer after I didn't have enough Kilz to complete the job....had to go back and buy more Kilz anyhow. Will never do that again. Thanks for the tutorial!

I just started a project painting old plastic garage storage cabinets. I found a Zinzzer primer that was made for bonding over plastic. I'm really hoping it works, as these ugly cabinets are going to be white and fresh and go in my sewing room where I'm in desperate need of more storage. The primer covered well...now we wait and see if the semi gloss adheres like it supposed to!

Karla Nathan

Primers are really worth the cost, they make any job go better!

Sent from my iPad

Sara Sue

I wonder would this work on kitchen cabinets?

Karla Nathan

I have another tutorial about kitchens too.

Sent from my iPad


Thank you for this! We just found out an appraisal didn't come in on a house we want to completely remodel, so now I am back to the drawing board of finding some fun cosmetic repairs. So excited to try some of this on the furniture I already have!

gail hauman

I'm concerned that there is lead in the flea market stuff I have and I want to paint it and put in daughters room. What do you suggest?

Linda Green

I live in a doublewide mobile home and the walls are like wall paper on sheetrock, or you could say the walls are very slick like plastic. Would the primer you used do well on these walls, I want to paint them so badly, sooo tired of these walls. When we purchased the home we could have gotten tape and bedded walls but was afraid when it was moved it would crack, silly us did not realize it would not. Thank you for any help

Karla Nathan

I have painted panelling walls this way, they were a cheap, fake wood, and shiny. You should be just fine! Make sure you get a good primer, that is always the key.

Sent from my iPad

Marleen Frye

I was given a china cabinet that is made of fiberboard with what looks like a woodgrain over it to make it look like it is wood. My husband thinks it is paper. He said it could be a thin veneer mica. Don't really know. Can I still paint over it? I want to paint it white with light blue showing through. Can't decide whether I should do a crackle or stress it. Have everything scattered around my livingroom. Any help you can give me would be very much appreciated

Karla Nathan

Yes, its a paintable finish, a bonding primer will adhere to the surface and you can paint over it. Just be careful with distressing, if you try to sand fiber board, it gets torn up.

Sent from my iPad


what wax do you use on the drawers? i'm about to paint a dresser for my daughter, and that tip sounds like a great idea, but i'm so new to diy projects that i need a little more information on how to do that.



Due to my kids allergies, I have to rip up all the carpets and lay down floating laminates. I have wall molding that are brown along the foot of the walls. We want to paint them over to white but do not want to sand. What is the best product to use before painting them?

Thanks for your help!

Karla Nathan

A good bonding primer before a coat of paint will work fine for your baseboards.

Sent from my iPad

Marilyn Krehbiel

Hi Karla,

Love this project and great information!

Karla Nathan

Thanks, Marilyn!

Sent from my iPad


Gripper is an amazing primer!! It will stick to almost everything. It is great for saving the sanding step on furniture, but also will stick to metal, glass, brick, even ceramic tile! So glad to see one of my favorite primers (and Behr paints- they really are woth the money) getting some love!

Trudi Cook

I'm chuckling because just this weekend, I sanded furniture, but still used a wood primer because I'm painting over very dark wood. Guess I could have saved a step! Oh, well, I probably didn't do a very thorough job of sanding, anyway! Do you paint the top of the drawer, along the top of the front wood? I don't want it to stick, but the wood is so dark, seems like it may look funny.

I love your comment about liking old furniture to look like old furniture. I am a perfectionist about some things, but not when it comes to refinishing a Salvation Army dresser!


What type of wax do you use? ...and what about the runners?

Karla Nathan

I use Johnsons paste wax on the runners or sides of the drawers so they open easily. I ve heard of using a bar of soap or a candle too.

Sent from my iPad

charlotte gamar

Great tips, thank you. Your furniture looks great.

tlf 4ev



I make my own Chalk Paint and love it I have great results..

Office Desk

Using colors in furniture is definitely a smart idea it may prevent the wood from termites and make your furniture life more longer and flexible, and also colored furniture are looks more beautiful and stunning.

Anu Huhtala

Painting furniture are always impressive and very fit for every home.In Finland most of the design of their furniture are really simple specially from color which they maid if for office and i am also impress to different kind of concept for their office furniture.Well you really got a good one also.


I just inherited a beach house. The bedroom furniture is miss matched. I can't wait to try this out and make the furniture bright and beachie!

HarriDec London

Nice article here, I like to use Zinsser Cover Stain when painting furniture, this also requires no sanding although it is oil based. I also like to use Dulux Supergrip for laminate/veneer furniture, although you should only use oil topcoats for this primer. Not sure if these paints are available on the other side of the pond, I know that you guys in the US are streets ahead in terms of latex and acrylic paints compared to us in the UK.

I also like the S-Type Jag in your garage!

Karla Nathan

Thanks, Harridec, weve had that car over ten years, it has been a good one. Runs beautifully and ages well.

Yes, Zinsser has some good products and the oil based ones are great over veneers.

Sent from my iPad


Painting furniture without sanding is for me. I hate the sanding part and to get it done professionally is so expensive. So I am really glad I found your site
Thanks for sharing


Hey Karla! I saved the picture of the Glidden Gripper to Pinterest. This morning when I clicked on it to view the directions and make sure it was what I needed, I got one picture and now it's taken me to a different posting! Can you direct me back to the one connected to the picture originally? It seems that it was painted white with the decorative groves in brown...HELP!


I found what I was looking for! May 8, 2009! I can't wait to try it! :)


Just came across your blog while looking for paints info and wanted to say that was very helpful, thank you very much, nice job too on your furniture :).


Do you use a clear top coat to seal the paint? LOVE your work!

Karla Nathan

If I am painting something that will be in heavy use, or a flat finish, I do seal it, usually with Minwax Polycrylic. Its water based. And comes in different finishes.

The higher the gloss is for paint, the tougher the finish is. So, a flat paint is easily marked up. If I want a non shiny look, Ill use flat paint, then will for sure top it off with a clear top coat, in a flat finish. The top coat is durable and will protect the paint.

I just about always do top coats on any table top, for extra protection against wear and tear.

You can paint over polycrylic again later when you want a change without priming again, since it is water based.

Karla Nathan

Christin Rexrode

I can just imagine the wide smile of your Hippy Chick seeing her furniture! She's lucky to have a cool and talented mom like you! Anyway, I believe you did well in applying a bonding primer prior to painting it. This helped increase adhesion, so the paint will surely stick easily and cleanly to the wood's surface, causing it to look smooth.

Linda McDonough

Thanks for all the posts. I'm getting ready to paint several pieces of furniture for my new sewing/guest room. Husband will be very glad he doesn't have to sand!


You can protect the glass with damp strips of newspaper. Just peel them off when you've finished. Much quicker (and cheaper) than fiddling about with masking tape.


Impressive! I love this been wanting for years to re-do furniture but like others didn't care much for the sanding stage. Thank you so much for posting this.

Marcella de la Cruz

Thanks for sharing. I am getting ready to paint my Gammy's bedroom furniture. I was fortunate to have inherited this, as I am the eldest grandchild and was so close to her. I am so happy I do not have to sand.

I am torn with the color to paint this 'Asian inspired' furniture from the 60's (she bought it with her own money she earned while selling AVON). It is mustard and not very tasty looking. I want to paint it a nice happy yellow to brighten up the room. She would be so happy with my choice. I will post before and after pictures. I am so excited!


Amazing. ! I want to paint my bedroom set but I am concerned about the paint/primer smell. I suffer from migraines and one of the triggers is strong smells. Do you know if the primer and paint you are suggesting for the job are available in a Low odor version? Thanks


Just painted top of my dresser with chalk paint....it was very humid and the paint got very thick as I was working resulting in all the brush strokes showing, it looks terrible. This week I'll go to Home Depot and get the primer and paint and start over after lightly sanding to get rid of the brush stroke "tire tracks". THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU ! All I wanted to do was avoid sanding, expensive mistake ! Any certain brush I should use? China bristle? I want a smooth finish this time ! Love your work !

marie fitzgerald

bought an old desk from a flea market, now I want to paint the easy
way. How do I go about cleaning the desk before I paint it?

Karla Nathan

Ive heard that most painters use TSP. Personally, I just wipe it down, and if its extra dirty or greasy, Ill use a cleaner appropriate to the mess. Winded or vinegar quite often.


Great article, and I LOVE how the two-piece set came out!! BEAUTIFUL!!!.. However... I recently painted an old kitchen chair (meaning maybe made in the 70s or 80s), but I didn't use a primer FIRST. Now I'm worrying if it will hold up. I've done a few coats of paint on it (Disney's chalkboard paint, because I mistakenly thought I was buying chalk paint. Haste makes waste, and I didn't really read the label carefully enough) SO-oooooo, now I'm wondering if even maybe some kind of sealer or varnish or shellac, or something would help at this point??? Any advice? I'd really appreciate it if you have any. ~tina

Karla Nathan

Oh, gosh, Tina, Ive never used the chalkboard paint, so I dont know. I think that chalkboard paint includes something that gives it teeth, so you might be ok. But it might require a top coat, just like chalk paint does so it doesnt get all marked up. Id make sure it isnt going to just peel away before top coating it though. Sorry I dont know much about this kind of paint, it isnt what I use.

Sara Vance

what is a good color to help with adding energy, which you really need in a craft/sewing room ?

Karla Nathan

I always lean toward light and bright, Sara.


I recently purchased a suggested primer for the metal/wood paint I was going to use, primed the piece of furniture started to paint it and the paint will not adhere to the wood. Help!! I do not want to have to strip and sand. Suggestions desperately needed, including type of paint. The paint I purchased was Rustoleum metal/wood and even after stirring it is like think liquid rubber.

Karla Nathan

Gosh, Denise, I dont know what to tell you. Ive used Rustoleum spray paint on outdoor furniture but never painted I to wood. I stay away from oil based paints. Water based are so much easier. Sorry I cant help. You probably will need a stripper or a heat gun to get it off.

Anne Jende

I think I put my primer on too thick. What should I do now! Help!

Anne Jende

Oh, and I used Sherwin Williams Multi purpose Latex Primer. Thanks for your help. ( I'm the one with the thick primer prob)

Karla Nathan

Hmmm, Im sorry, Anne, Im not sure what to tell you. Is it gloppy looking because you put it on too thick? Or dripping? Or just not drying quickly? Time will solve the drying part, youll have to be patient. If it is gloppy or has runs, you might have to sand them off. That is better than stripping it, I guess.

Anne Jende

It appears dry but I can scratch it with my fingernail. So give it some time and if it doesn't dry, I'm sanding? No drips or glops, though....
I have no idea what the finish is underneath, maybe wax, and I didn't sand at all. *sigh*

Karla Nathan

Im not familiar with the primer you used, Anne. And Im not familiar with painting over wax either. I worry about the huge trend if using chalk paint and coating it with wax, though. I have a feeling there are going to be millions if pieces of furniture with waxy top coats that will be hard to repaint! Good luck with your piece. And yes, primer does need time to cure. I used to paint pieces for resale, and would wait a week to ten days before transporting them to the antique mall, so the surfaces werent damaged before curing.

Anne Jende

No chalk paint and I'm not using the wax either...just a guess. I bought it from a resale store so I have no idea. The primer was recommended. I guess I'll wait and keep my fingers crossed because I'm naturally lazy! 😉
Thanks for your thoughts! Have a good one!

Jolie Wang

No painting looks cute in purple color. I hate sanding too. I feel it waste too much time. So thanks for great sharing post


I have a very old oak dining room set, can I paint this to a similar finish, such as


golden oak


Does your bonding primer technique work on ikea furniture? I have the best bookshelves in white and one in brown black and I want them to match (being the same white). Any suggestions?

Karla Nathan

Ive painted laminate this way. You could rough it up a it toe with sandpaper if youre worried, Susannah. And use a. Very good primer, maybe an oil based bonding primer.

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About Karla Nathan

Creating Art Journals

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