How to Avoid Drips and Lines When Painting Furniture

Perfect Plum Dresser Twice Lovely

Painting furniture is perhaps the most easy, fun, and economical ways to achieve a room makeover quickly. However, regardless of how careful and meticulous you are with your paint brush, there are times when when drips, streams, and lines ensue.

Whether you’re painting 20-year-old kitchen cabinets, a found dresser that had been kicked to the curb, or an unfinished piece from your local Amish store, the best way to avoid drips and lines when painting furniture is to take a few moments to learn the best techniques for painting furniture.

Preparing the Furniture

Don’t skimp on proper preparation. The important point here is to do everything you can to make the surface the best it can be to accept new paint. The smoother the surface is, for example, the less likely you’ll see lines and streaks on your finished piece. Proper prepping also helps the paint last longer by resisting peeling and chipping.

First and foremost, remove all hardware, like knobs, handles, and hinges, in addition to drawers. Clean the furniture using slightly soapy water to remove dust, dirt, and debris. Murphy’s Oil Soap is another great product that gives a good cleaning, and it is safe to use on furniture.

Next, you’ll need to sand your piece. While good old-fashioned hard work with a piece of sandpaper will do, Bob Villa says he loves a small hand sander because it’s easier to get into those hard-to-reach corners. Be careful, though, to not go beyond the tip top layer of wood.

Sanding is absolutely necessary if you’re working with a glossy piece of furniture. In some cases, you can skip the sanding if the piece is smooth and dull.

After the furniture is dust-free, clean, dry, and sanded, it’s time for primer. Primer helps the paint adhere better to the furniture, covers discolorations, and helps to avoid drips and lines when painting. Spray primers work well, as do oil-based primers for furniture.

Painting the Furniture

Painting furniture without having lines and drips takes experience. However, if this is your first piece of painted furniture you’re tackling, follow these techniques.

    • Use good, quality paint brushes. Inferior-quality paint brushes often results in an inferior-looking finished product, and can end up with non-uniform coverage and loose bristles coming off and sticking to the paint.
    • Paint thin coats.One of the best ways to avoid lines and drips when painting furniture is to paint thin coats. If you put too much paint on your paint brush or roller, you’ll almost certainly have lines and drips. Instead, put just enough paint on your paint brush or foam roller to paint a small area. Yes, this will take more time, but Rome wasn’t built in a day either.In addition, plan on painting at least two to three “thin” coats, allowing each one to dry in between. Using the thin coat method applies to when you are cutting edges and corners, in addition to larger surface areas.


    • Paint from dry areas to wet. Another tip to help avoid lines in painting furniture is to always paint from a dry, unpainted area to a newly wet painted area.


  • Paint in a zigzag “M” pattern. While it may seem natural to paint in a straight line and up and down, that can actually create lines and lap marks in your painted finished product. Instead, paint as if you are writing a capital “M” on the piece, using a zigzag pattern.

Protecting the Furniture

While protecting your furniture isn’t a necessary step for avoiding lines and drips when painting, it’s an important step in extending longevity of your hard labor.

After your last thin coat has dried for a full 24 hours, it is time to seal it. Not only does sealing your freshly painted piece help to protect its finish, but it makes it easy to clean. While you may be tempted to use straight polyurethane to seal your painted furniture, keep in mind that it can yellow over time. A better choice is a blended polyurethane product or a finishing wax. Looking through negative review advice will help you avoid a product that other people refinishing furniture weren’t happy with.

Painting furniture is a fantastic way to renew garage sale finds, mismatched pieces, or furniture you’ve grown tired off. More than that, its a great way hobby to get into, whether you’re furnishing your first apartment, vacation cottage by the sea, or guest bedroom in your new home.

Freelance writer Elizabeth Magill is an author who writes articles, blog posts, news stories, guides, and ebooks on a variety of topics, including health, medical, and many business topics.

Samantha Lyman – Gorgeous kitchen with chicken wire gray antique armoire

House Beautiful

Painted Chest of Drawers

Gray Painted Furniture From Chrissie’s Collections

Gray Painted Furniture From Chrissie’s Collections

Gray Painted Furniture From Chrissie’s Collections

Antique Repainted Chest of Drawers Seller English Country Antiques

18th. Century Italian Piedmontese Painted Console Seller W. Gardner Ltd

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in my dining room… – Chalk Farm

Louis XVI style console Seller Daniel Barney

Antique Painted Furniture – Visit

Painted Furniture From Ballard Designs

Antique Blue Painted Furniture From

Decorating By Color Martha Stewart

French Painted Blue Commode-

Painted Furniture From Ballard Designs

Painted Furniture From Ballard Designs

This two toned dresser with hepplewhite pulls is such an inspiration. Martha from Leone Design striped the dresser, and painted the entire dresser except for the drawer fronts.

Painted Furniture From Ballard Designs

Painted Furniture From Ballard Designs

Hand Painted Jewelry Box, French Provincial, Pink Shabby Chic-Etsy

Pair Of Italian Style Two Drawer Painted Bedside Commodes With Faux Marble Tops.

J & M Antiques

Lily’s Dresser Before & After {Chalk Paint® Decorative Paint

Better Homes and Gardens March 2013

Martha Stewart Martha Stewart Living, June 2006 Painted Furniture

Painted Interiors Using Lilac

Spindle Beds- Cream Painted Bed From Phoebe Howard

Amy Chalmers on Facebook

Better Homes and Gardens Paint Colors

Babs Watkins Seen In Veranda

Ethan Allen American Colors

Interior design by Podge Bune


Distressed Furniture –

Jeanne Oliver Blog

Apothecary Cabinets

Jenny Haas

Maison Jansen Painted Trumeau Mirror Greenwich Living

Beautiful Bronze Lamp with Fish Ornaments & Toile Shade Greenwich Living

Be Sociable, Share!