1. HIGH QUALITY PAINT
The most important tool you need for restyling and painting furniture is a high-quality paint. I prefer a paint without any acrylic or latex as it behaves differently and creates a more professional look in the end. I use CeCe Caldwell's Chalk + Clay Paints because I find the product to be superior to other decorator paints and because it is 100% natural, non-toxic and safe to use indoors--even around children and pets. I also use it because it is 100% sourced and made in the USA. I won't get on my soapbox but it isn't easy to find anything made in the USA and nearly impossible to find things sourced and made in the USA. Supporting American businesses and manufacturing is important to me and this paint makes it possible for me to do so--making my business American as well! This paint comes in a variety of gorgeous colors--even a deep, rich black--and when applied with a high-quality synthetic brush, makes the painting part of the project as enjoyable as the finished product.
When painting I like to use a high-quality, synthetic brush designed for painting furniture but if you are looking to achieve a heavily distressed, left out in the rain, chippy look--you may want to find a couple of cheap chip brushes. I prefer a more smooth, perfect finish and when I distress, I tend to be more subtle, only rubbing off the paint in the places I think would have been touched the most. I like my projects to look more 'loved' and honored and less 'neglected' and rustic. When using a Wax or Cream Finish to seal your project you definitely want to invest in a wax brush and Chalk Supply is a great brush. They have various sizes and bristles but I recommend a white boar bristle round brush with a stubby handle to make it easy to get into tight spaces. Everyone has their favorite brush, though, so find one you like and take good care of it. It will be there for your for years!
3. FINE GRIT SANDPAPER (320 AND UP) OR BROWN PAPER SACK
After your project is painted it is a good idea to treat your finish to a little extra love before sealing it with a brush on or wax finish. I like to use 400 grit sandpaper and using a circular motion I go over the entire piece. This smooths out most of the brush strokes and makes the piece look more professional. If you don't want to sand you do not have to--you can cut up a brown paper sack or use kraft paper and burnish the paint, it actually will shine up if you do this--leaving the brush marks.
4. LINT FREE CLOTH AND/OR CHEESE CLOTH
After you have the desired finish to your paint and any enhancements you are interested in adding to achieve your look you are ready to seal your piece. If you use a brush-on seal you will not need this tool but if you are using a wax or cream seal for your project you will need a lint-free cloth or cheesecloth to buff your wax. Remember--the more you buff the wax or cream the harder and more durable your seal becomes so be generous and show your project lots of buffing love!
The above tools are the must-haves for painting furniture but I am continuing the list to include the other tools I use. These aren't necessary to the process but often times these tools save me time and/or make it even more fun!
- Tack Cloth--this is available at hardware and paint stores. It is basically cheesecloth with a glue all over it. I wear gloves when using tack cloth but I like to use it to wipe down my projects just before applying the final finish or seal. The glue literally grabs all the dust and hair and particles from the nooks and crannies ensuring your finish is perfect. (Swiffer has nothing on these cloths)
- Detail Sander/Mini Mouse--when I really want a perfect finish with NO brush strokes I use these tools to achieve it. They are fun to use and make everything go much much faster. Be careful and use a fine sandpaper when sanding your painted finish, though!
- Paint Can Key--just handy for obvious reasons.
- Popsicle Sticks--perfectly sized for stirring up the quarts of paint, stain and finishes.