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Spray paint over stained dresser

I have a dresser which was refinished about 10 years ago, meaning is was stained and fortunately not varnished. We are having our first child in about a week and my wife wants me to finish the dresser to use in a spare bathroom for storage. "We" want a black lacker finish. I dont have a lot of time but I want to do it right. What is my best option? I was thinking that I will need to do a quick light sand, prime with a spray paint and finish with 2 coats of high gloss black spray paint. I am concerned with using a brush since it may show brush marks, which is not great. Is spray paint going to chip/be a crap idea? Let me know your thoughts.

Re: Spray paint over stained dresser


Probably about the smoothest finish a newbie DIY'er can get is by using a wiping polyurethane.

If you can convince your wife to let you simply put a clear coat over the dresser you have now, then it's simply a matter of taking a white cotton rag and wetting it with Minwax's Wiping Polyurethane (or competitor's equivalent):

This web site replaces certain character strings with stars if it finds them to be offensive. In this case, the six stars in the url above replaced the character string: o n l i n e

You'll need to apply multiple thin coats of wiping poly, and I think it would be smart to give the dresser a sanding with 400 grit sandpaper before the final coat. Keep the rag wrapped in a clear plastic bag with a minimum of airspace in the bag between coats. That will prevent the polyurethane from curing and hardening.

If you can take the fronts off the dresser drawers, I'd do that. If not, simply mask off the dresser fronts with masking tape.

Wipe-on polyurethane uses smaller alkyd resins than conventional brushing polyurethanes, and it's thinned with more mineral spirits, so it self levels much better than brushing polyurethanes. You don't get as thick a film as quickly as with brushing polys, but you don't get brush strokes either. And, of course, you can simply apply more coats of wiping polyurethane to get the same film thickness as a brushing poly would provide.

Another option would be to use a brushing poly thinned with Penetrol:

Penetrol is simply petroleum distillates, similar to mineral spirits, but a heavier fraction that's both more viscous and slower to evaporate. You can increase the drying time of any oil based coating by adding mineral spirits to thin it more, but the problem you introduce is that the coating will run down vertical surfaces as it dries, creating that ugly paint "sagging" effect. Because it contains heavier distillates, Penetrol is more viscous than mineral spirits, so that you don't reduce the viscosity of the coating by thinning it with Penetrol, and thereby avoid the problem of the coating sagging as it dries. It's primarily the longer drying time that allows coatings to self level, and it's that self leveling that eliminates brush strokes. Penetrol is made by the Flood Company, and you can buy it at any paint store or home center paint department.

Re: Spray paint over stained dresser

Spraying will look far better than any finish you can obtain with a brush. If you have spray equipment,this would be the best option. You can spray either a lacquer or oil finish. Lacquer is much faster drying. Oil is generally more durable. Either will require the appropriate undercoater.

Should you not have spray equipment, a surprisingly good finish can be gotten with spray cans. Again, use the compatible gray spray primer. The primer will seal the wood and also give "tooth" to the surface which will help keep the finish spray from running. I like to heat the spray cans in hot water from the hot water tap for about 5 minutes. The heat will raise the pressure in the can and also make the paint more viscous. It flows better when warm.

You will want to use long, straight , overlapping strokes. Overlap sufficiently so that the paint flows together. A "stripey" look when wet will look even more so when dry.

Black paint is available in all sheens, including high gloss. No additional protective coating is neccessary.

A. Spruce
Re: Spray paint over stained dresser

I've not tried Minwax's wiping poly, but I can say without a doubt that their brushing top coats are utter garbage! They make great stains, it's the top coats that are in question. My preference is McKloskies top coats, which are very easy to work with and produce excellent results. Others around here have highly recommended General finishes.

Re: Spray paint over stained dresser
A. Spruce wrote:

I've not tried Minwax's wiping poly, but I can say without a doubt that their brushing top coats are utter garbage! They make great stains, it's the top coats that are in question. My preference is McKloskies top coats, which are very easy to work with and produce excellent results. Others around here have highly recommended General finishes.

Neither Minwax nor McKloskie nor General make their own alkyd or polyurethane resins; they buy them from companies like Viverso, which is a subsidiary of Bayer (the same company that makes Aspirin). So, the difference isn't who's name is on the can, but how much and what kind of thinners are in the can. Thin crappy polyurethane and you'll miraculously get excellent results.


Because of the environmental laws restricting the amount of VOC's that can be released from coatings as they dry or cure, some companies have their backs up so tight against the wall that they've resorted to simply putting in less thinner at the factory and applying a sticker saying "Do Not Thin" to the product. That's about the only way they can legally sell their products. The less thinner you put in at the factory, the less thinner (and hence VOCs) evaporate from the coating as it dries.

Other companies have resorted to replacing some of the mineral spirits in their products with acetone. Acetone is not on the list of official VOC's, and so you can thin oil based coatings with acetone and promote the product as "Low VOC" cuz the stuff that evaporates from it isn't officially a "VOC". The problem with acetone is that it evaporates very much faster than mineral spirits, so that after working with the product for half an hour, so much of the acetone thinner has evaporated from the can, the product is as thick as porridge, and you get pitiful results.

It's insufficient thinner or the use of acetone that evaporates too rapidly (leaving the poly with insufficient thinner) that causes most of the problems with oil based coatings nowadays.

So, when you buy a can of oil based polyurethane with the wording "Do not thin" or "Low VOC" on the can, ALSO pick up a quart of mineral spirits to thin it with.

Re: Spray paint over stained dresser

your best bet is to use parks waterborne poly sold at h/d they bought out the original company culver tripp the first & best to make poly & stains you can apply 2 coats in under 2 hrs with ease just a light sanding between coats if you still want to paint buy direct to wood paint by b/moore you will also need to apply 2 coats remeber to put on thin coats for best results use a wizzer roller 4' with the shortest nap levels out very good why paint thought when a stained piece of furnitue is much better looking good luck

Re: Spray paint over stained dresser

Whereas the dissertations on polyurethanes is not without interest, Lots-o-work was asking how to spray paint is piece of furniture high gloss black. :)

I am sure that I am not alone in having pulled out the mineral spirits and Penetrol even as the Feds mandated less volatiles in later day paints and finishes. Kind of like the mail order firearms dealers who sell disabled machine guns and right next to them kits to make them fully operable. :)

Re: Spray paint over stained dresser

The spray bomb of lacquer is probably your best bet, because no matter how drippy or orange-peel you spray it on, it can be color-sanded and buffed out. And if you wish you can clear coat it with clear lacquer. And in the case of a total FUBAR, it's easier to strip than a poly.
For myself, brush marks, if subtle and uniform, are not really that bad, and a paint from Fine Paints of Europe who make the shiniest black enamel you'll ever see anywhere, would make a really good job of it, IMO.

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