Top 5 Tips for Beginning Furniture Painters

When I first started painting furniture, teaching was scarce, techniques were considered very proprietary, and information took much digging. Her are my top 5 tips I wish I knew when I was just beginning furniture painting.

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!

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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.

5 tips for beginner furniture painters
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.

5 tips for beginner furniture painters
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.

5 tips for beginner furniture painters first custom painted
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.

5 tips for beginner furniture painters Brushed by Brandy Master the Art!
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.

Follow Brushed by Brandy on Youtube!

5 tips for beginner furniture painters First Dixie Belle LIVE
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.

5 tips for beginner furniture painters Blended Rocker
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.

5 tips for beginner furniture painters

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!

This Post Has 28 Comments

  1. Bernadette

    I love this. Thank you so much.

  2. Janell

    Thank you a million times for taking the time to share your experience and your knowledge!!

  3. Gayle

    Hi Brandy, I’m loving all your peices.. i would love to see a blended coral peice. I do love the blues but coral is my color. I’m a newbie and my first piece was a kitchen table with 6 spindle backed chairs!!!!! What was i thinking???

  4. Jo bryan

    I’m so grateful to all the helpful artist on Instagram. I am blown away by how much work it takes to prep and paint a piece of furniture. Maybe it’s my age but it’s hard work! Bravo to you and the other hard working talented furniture artist Thank you this post

  5. KAREN

    I am just starting out and received my first order of Dixie Belle yesterday. I can’t wait to start and I thank you so much for all this information

    1. Karen Davies

      The first piece I saw of yours was a cabinet with sunflowers 🌻 on it. It’s so beautiful! I’ve been painting furniture all my life. Lol. I even painted my aunts’ hardwood floors. My parents hid the paint from me. They put paint brushes in a different spot. I even painted my swing set when I was four. I love your work. Thank you for inspiring so many of us!

  6. Donna Sarbacker

    Thank you for sharing your time and knowledge in helps us newbies. You are wonderful, and your work is spectacular!!!

    1. Brandy K.

      Thank you, what a compliment!

  7. Tracy Johnston

    Brandy, not only are you an awesome artist and teacher, but also an awesome human being for giving us your knowledge and wisdom so freely. Thank you!

  8. Joy Peterson

    Thank you so much for taking the time to explain things very clearly and to illustrate the explanations with all of your tutorials. They are incredibly helpful and remove a lot of the intimidation felt when starting a new project. I am learning so much from you. Please don’t stop!

  9. Gabrielle

    I love your projects and am just starting out to paint some pieces to enjoy for myself. I need some advice on best sources for hardware. For my first piece I’m looking for smaller brassy drop pulls. I just can’t find the right links with good variety of vintage looking handles or pulls. Thank you for any suggestions!

    1. Brandy K.

      Vintage vacancies be a needle in a haystack. Check Dlawlesshardware.com for reproduction

      1. Cynthia Garnett

        Such beautiful work and great teaching. Thanks so much!

      2. Brandy K.

        Thank you so much!

  10. Cheryl Atkinson

    Brandy, thank you so much for your tips. I have been watching you for about 3 years now and i have seen you grow as an artist and a social media expert. I cannot thank you enough for your kindness and for sharing with us.

    1. Brandy K.

      Thank you for sticking by me all this time!

  11. Sara

    Hi Brandy. Love love your work. Wanted to start blending my own furniture but I’m stumped. I live in Italy, a place where you can’t get any Dixie Belle or any other American brand product really. (Shame- sooo gutted!). Decided to opt for an Italian brand of paint -novecento paint. It’s so thick almost difficult to paint with. When blending it leaves streaks. You can see the paintbrush strokes. I spray continuously with a mister and I’m not really sure it’s helping. After forty minutes on a side I decided to take a break and ask you for extra tips. I guess it’s difficult for you to evaluate my mistakes since you don’t use the same products. In Italy they don’t really use the blending technique so it’s difficult to get help. They tend to try steer u in the only direction known. I can’t attach photos for you to have a critical eye on what I’m doing wrong. Much love from this part of the world!
    Sara

    1. Brandy K.

      I can definitely say, not all brands are created equal. Different formulations will yield different results. Even among US brands, I choose dixie belle because blending is style and it is a highly blend able paint. Don’t get too frustrated with yourself, it is likely the different paint.

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