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How to get a smooth finish with brush-on polycrylic?

I got my black dresser painted and I'm satisfied, finally. I tried the spray-on polycrylic by Minwax, shook it for >1 m, and got a horrible, splattered finish. So I tried the brush-on version in gloss. I used a Wooster angled brush and brushed a thin coat from one end to the other without stopping. I see the instructions say not to over brush, and while I definitely made an effort to keep brushing at a minimum, I did some extra brushing where it didn't look even, and perhaps that was where I went wrong. The finish is ok - it's a little streaky in some places (I've done 3 coats). I get the impression that getting it really smooth takes practice, unless I did something obviously wrong (like over brush). Any feedback?
10 Comments | Add a Comment Displaying 10 of 10 comments
  • WallsTreat Studio/ Kass Wilson
    Is that a water based product? If so, I can give you some tips.
  • J S
    J S Austin, TX
    Yes. I'd love some tips.
  • WallsTreat Studio/ Kass Wilson
    I actually prefer Stays Clear by Ben Moore. Here are the tips: If the product is thick, thin it about 10% with water and stir. Never shake a top coat product because it produces bubbles. Apply it with a tight foam roller SLOWLY. Allow it to dry and
  • SheilaG, Plum Doodles
    Great tips, Kass. I will have to try the Ben Moore product for my next project.
  • J S
    J S Austin, TX
    Thanks Kass, why do you prefer the BM product?

    I finished today - it was as I thought and what you said, no pressure, just glide from one end to the

  • WallsTreat Studio/ Kass Wilson
    I have not used the minwax top coats but have used Stays Clear for years. I like the way it levels and keeps brush strokes to a minimum.
  • Abbey
    abbey Port Charlotte, FL
    i used minwax water based over modge podge i have coated and sanded and buffed so many times and it is still not smooth, i have deep grooves all over the table top still i don't know what to do. can i use a different top coat over the polycleric?
  • June @ Coffee Under the Umbrella
    Wow - I had forgotten I submitted this over 2 years ago. I even forgot I had this profile at one point. Abbey, I've never used Mod Podge, but after 2 years, I've learned a lot since submitting this question. One is that Minwax's water-based poly is crap.
  • Barbara Christensen
    Barbara Christensen San Diego, CA
    Gosh, I wish I had discovered the wisdom from all of you a week ago! Unfortunately I used the Minwax on a very hot day and it dried instantly...with BUBBLES all over the precious dining chairs I had worked on carefully for days. Will explore the other
  • Marilee
    Marilee Boxford, MA
    I just used Minwax polycrylic on my faux painted bathroom countertop. It has very poor (non-existent) leveling properties and dried with streaks and bubbles. My base was an off white and the Minwax turned it yellow. I'm going to sand the top and put

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