Nitty Gritty, Touchy Feely

 One question I hear all the time is, “How do you get such a smooth finish on your furniture?”

How something feels is, for me, just as important as how it looks. It’s probably why I could never buy a sofa on-line. And it’s also why my pieces are never finished unless every part of them feels good. After painting a piece, there is a bumpy, rough residue. You know what I mean, right? Well, that residue has to go!

For me, it all begins with prepping a piece. I know there are a lot of people who say that if you’re using chalk paint there is no need to sand your pieces.  But for me, sanding is key. First of all,most pieces I find are old…and yucky. After washing, sanding takes years of that yuck off and gives me a much cleaner surface to paint. So, yes, I sand almost a 100% of my pieces. This includes chairs. Ugh! Don’t even get me started on chairs!

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 I’ve got several different sanders, but this is my go-to one. It’s not pretty, but it gets the job done. For that initial sanding, I use between 150 and 220 grit paper.


On chairs and spindled or contoured pieces, I love these 1/2″ thick foam sanding pads. I usually order them on-line as I can’t always find them at Lowes or Home Depot (just make sure you’re getting the 1/2″). I use a medium grade on unfinished pieces and a fine grade on finished.


After that initial sanding, sometimes I prime pieces. It depends on the look I’m after. But if I do prime, guess what? Yuppers, I sand between coats. After a coat of primer, I use a 220 grit. And this is a very quick sanding. I’m literally going over something only once or twice.

Sometimes I sand between coats of paint and sometimes I don’t. It depends on how impatient I feel.  However,  I always sand after my final coat of paint! Always!!! The key is to use a higher grit (and to let the piece fully dry!).

  I’m not talking about the distressing part. I use a courser grade paper or sponge sander to distress, but when I’m finished distressing, I go over the entire piece again with a fine grit sponge/sand pad or paper. I sand, stop, and feel. Sand, stop, and feel. Sand, stop, and feel… trust me, you get to know your furniture very, very well!


On the flat surfaces, I use my trusty sander again and a 400 grit extra fine paper.

400 grit

Only after all of the nitty gritty, touch feely sanding and making sure everything feels smooth, do I wax or poly, which is a whole other post!

But that’s what I do to get that buttery-soft, silky smooth feeling.

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