Tips on painting sewing machine cabinet?

I’m in the process of starting to paint my mother’s sewing machine cabinet. Any tips would be appreciated!

  8 answers
  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Sep 19, 2018

    Hi Nancy,

    What a beautiful sewing machine!

    I have a Singer from the turn of the century which had a painted cabinet, I had it stripped and found gorgeous oak under it. Are you sure you want to paint?

  • Ana Bacallao Ana Bacallao on Sep 19, 2018

    What a beauty you have! I would begin by removing the drawers. Cleaning everything really well and if you like, give it a light sanding and paint with chalk paint. Paint and repair the drawers as needed. You can distress or not as preferred.

    Here's an example of one:

  • Ken Erickson Ken Erickson on Sep 19, 2018

    I would NOT paint this. I would clean up the wood, fix the drawer, and re-stain. Painting will destroy the antique value.

  • Kim Kim on Sep 19, 2018

    Beautiful!!!! You want to remove all of the metal parts. You will need to remove the knobs and sand them (If they are wood, otherwise put them with the metal parts.)

    The drawer will need repaired and all of the wood needs sanding and filled. Any lumps, bumps, scratches, or holes will show up through the paint.

    Clean all parts of any dirt or grease.

    Once you have prepped your surfaces, you will prime the wood. Allow to dry and see if you need a second coat. Using a foam paint roller will give you a smoother finish. Once you are happy with the primer, it’s time to paint! Allow for complete drying between coats.

    Once all the paint is done you will want to protect your finish with a clear polyurethane. Follow directions on can. Once first coat is dry, lightly sand with a 400 grit sandpaper, completely wipe off all dust, and do a second coat.

    ** Note- the inside edges of cabinet where drawers slide in need to be left unpainted. Paint build up makes the drawers stick. You can put mineral oil on those edges once the job is done and before reinstalling the drawers.

    *If you don’t want to do all of the disassembling, you can tape off the metal parts. I feel like it’s harder to prep and paint with all that stuff in the way and the cabinet never looks quite as nice but no one should be inspecting the edges of your metal bits so only you will know!

    I hope that helps


  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Sep 19, 2018

    Do not paint, restore. Look on EBay & Etsy for what the price difference is on painted vs restored. Paint is not forgiving and stein is.

  • Emily Emily on Sep 19, 2018

    I am in the "don't paint" camp. The sewing machine case will never be the same again. However it is yours . . . but I would still avoid fads like chalk paint and anything like sponge painting etc. To do a thorough job of painting you should remove all the metal parts, the treadle, the metal supports, the machine itself etc. Your machine is probably over 100 years old. Enjoy it for the antique it is.

  • Birdz of a Feather Birdz of a Feather on Oct 18, 2018

    Hi Nancy - I am working on a similar Singer table and I did paint it. It looks spectacular with paint but mine was much rougher to start. As soon as I have it finished, I'll link to it or attach a picture. In the meantime, if you have to replace missing or bubbled veneer, check out my post here:

  • Birdz of a Feather Birdz of a Feather on Oct 18, 2018

    I Forgot to mention that if you want to paint it with regular paint, you will need a good primer. INSL-X and Fresh start (Benjamin Moore) are both good for general use. We actually had bleed through and had to use a primer to block that (an alcohol based INSL-X product).