How to Prep Furniture for Painting |Hope Chest

Cindy Rust
by Cindy Rust
3 Materials
5 Hours

Wondering how to prep furniture for painting in just a few simple steps? We’ve got that covered in this post!

You remember the 1980s hope chests, don’t you? Sometimes they were called a blanket chest.

1980s Lane Hope Chest

As a hope chest, it would have been a piece of furniture that was used to collect household items that a young woman would need to start her home after marriage.

Some may think it is old-fashioned, but I still like the idea of collecting items that would be used to set up homemaking.

It’s a dying art it seems. But we move along with the times, don’t we?

You might remember this chest from another post. It was in the background of another project that y’all loved. The chest was standing on end behind a beautiful dresser.

The dresser and the chest belong to sisters. They both had custom work that needed to be done so I told them to bring them at the same time!

how to prep furniture for painting

Our client wanted this hope and blanket chest brought into the 2020s and we accommodated her request of course!

how to paint furniture at home

This is the perfect kind of project for painting at home. The supplies are simple and you only need a couple of tools!

Here is a list of supplies and tools:

  • 3M Respirator
  • Dewalt Orbital Sander
  • 120-150 & 220 grit sanding discs
  • shop vac
  • Simple Green
  • microfiber cloths
  • stool on wheels
  • Zinsser Shellac
  • Zinseer Shellac Stain Blocking Primer
  • Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint – Mora
  • Miss Mustard Seed Wax
  • Zibra Palm Pro Paintbrush

The first step is to sand the piece. If you have a lot of scratches like the top of this chest had, keep sanding until the scratches are removed. I started out using a 150 grit sanding disc on my orbital sander and then finished off using a 220 grit on the whole piece.

All that sanding creates a fair amount of dust. The shop vac takes care of that! I used the shop vac on the outside, the inside and underneath.

Next, I cleaned the whole piece with a solution of Simple Green and hot water. A micro fiber cloth helps to clean this blanket chest.

Two coats of Zinsser Shellac in Clear will seal any stain and will prevent bleed through. I used an inexpensive chip brush to apply the shellac and then tossed the brush when both coats were finished.

Shellac dries quickly so this step was fast!

You can see in the image that I also used Zinsser Shellac Based Synthetic White Primer on the decal. I wanted to be sure that the decal wouldn't show through to the light paint.

My client chose Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint in Mora for the paint finish. It took two full coats and a light third coat.

quick video

Barkly wants you to know we made a quick video of the process. He’s very thoughtful like that 🙂

Wasn't that easy? And the results are amazing! Gone is the 1980s and welcome to the 2020s!!

storage solutions!

These blanket chests have so much storage!

Let’s think of some ideas for using it!

  • blanket storage at the foot of the bed (obvi!)
  • Toy chest in a child’s room
  • bench and shoe storage near the back door
  • coffee table and board game storage
  • wood storage near a fireplace

It could even be used as a side table between a couple of chairs!

crackling goodness

The crackling on the chest brings a nice aged look to the paint.

Let’s take a closer look…..

… aaahhh, be still my vintage lovin’ heart!

That’s just the kind of look I love!

painting wood furniture

I hope you enjoyed this post and video! Learning how to prep furniture for painting is a valuable skill.

Think of all the thrifted and vintage finds that you can use these techniques on!

It makes me want to go shopping!!

Be sure to pin any of the images you see so that when you find the perfect piece to paint, you’ll have this post as a reference!

join the journey!

We would love you to join our journey over on Instagram and Facebook! You can also find more inspiration on our Pinterest page! We’re always pinning fresh ideas!

more makeovers:

Dresser Makeover in MMS Milk Paint | Mora

Suggested materials:
  • Thrifted hope chest   (thrift store)
  • Zinseer Shellac   (Home Depot)
  • Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint   (online)
Cindy Rust
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
Join the conversation