Yesterday was a beautiful day with low humidity and it wasn’t too hot.  The baby was taking a nap, and my older son was at a play date (Thank You M.A.!). Things were lining up for it to be a perfect hour to work on one of my many furniture painting tasks.  I didn’t have the paint to finish the Chippendale headboard, so I thought I’d primer the Chippendale chair.

Be forewarned: this is not a blog post about how easy it is to paint furniture!  I am not a DIY queen, or princess, or duchess even.  But I can usually hold my own.  I’ve read so many blogs and magazines and talked to so many people about how anyone can paint furniture.    You all know that I’ve got a list of furniture that I want to paint (hello campaign dresser!)  Painting can really transform a piece.  I felt pretty confident about giving this a try.  Putting primer on the headboard worked out, so why would this be any different?

I started by lightly sanding it and then wiping it down.


I had done a little research, and decided that, because of the caning, I should use the brush-on version of Zinsser’s Cover Stain Primer.  I had used the same stuff, but in spray form, for the headboard, and was pleased with the results.


Well, time to channel Cher, because “if I could turn back time…” I would have sprayed the darn chair.

The chair has a lot of nooks & crannies.  Not as many as an English muffin, but still – have you seen all those angles and detailing?!


One of the biggest problems I had was that, because the parts of the chair are cylindrical, I would paint one side, and then when I got to the other side, the paint had gotten all drippy-droppy on me.  It had kind of pooled on the other side without my knowing (or seeing) and when I got there, it was starting to dry.  It was thick, and trying to smooth it out didn’t work very well.

DSC_0682  DSC_0686 DSC_0684

I’m sure the answer to this is to go back and sand those areas and then re-primer.  Sigh.

Another problem was that the primer was so thick, that I was scared it would start to pool in the caning holes.  I did this part last, and it probably has the least amount of primer on it because by this point I was running out of steam, and I didn’t want to plug up the caning with paint.

I believe I was running out of steam towards the end because I think I repainted several areas of the chair twenty times.  The primer was the same color as the chair.  I couldn’t tell where the chair ended and the primer began.  I did read on the back of the can that you can get it tinted (I guess the hardware store guys do that – I haven’t seen it pre-tinted).

On the plus side, it did dry quickly.  I probably could have sanded those problem areas and put more primer on, but wouldn’t ya know it, nap time was over!

This task presented its challenges, but hopefully my mistakes can help someone else.  I’m not giving up.  I know there are answers to these problems.  But I also wanted to keep it real with you and share my painting foibles.

I’m open to any suggestions on how to proceed.  Should I use a spray for the color instead of brush?  Am I going to have a lot of brush lines showing?  Will sanding smooth out my drippy-droppy areas?  It’ll probably be another few days before I can continue the project, so I’ll be doing some research!

In the meantime, Fear Not The Paint!  … Just approach with more appreciation for the craft than I did!



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