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Painting wood, do you use a top coat of some kind?


DawnM
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I have never done one of those painting classes where you paint on wood, nor have I painted furniture, etc...I am considering learning how.  I have watched several U-tube videos and some seem to show a top coat of some soft of protectant and others don't.

I am starting off small.  I am going to paint a couple of wooden trays and put some colorful designs on them.  Those would be in acrylic.

Then youngest wants a weathered looking gray wooden headboard and I told him we could do it together.  It looks like it will take a few coats of paint, whitewash type stuff, etc.....

Do both or either of these need some sort of protective topcoat or sealant?  

I know I could just follow the instructions online but if a topcoat would help it stay nice, I want to do that.  I just don't want the bed to be too shiny.  The tray I don't mind being shinier.

Thanks!  

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I painted our dining room table four months ago and used this wipe on poly. I used water based and satin finish. I chose that because supposedly it's a lot easier to work with than the poly that has to be brushed on, and water based is supposedly easier to work with than oil based. It was very, very easy to use. I had to do lots of coats but it dries fast. So far the table is holding up very well, but it's mostly just DH and me here and we're certainly not hard on it. I used chalk paint, so I could have put wax over it but I really didn't think that would have provided nearly enough protection for a dining table. For a headboard I really don't think you need any top coat, but if you'll be setting stuff on the trays, especially anything that might be wet, then a protective coat is probably a good idea. Wax would probably be fine if the trays are just for decoration. If you're going to be using them for food/drinks then I'd really consider using poly. The poly I used had to be ordered, I couldn't find it in a store around here.

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5 minutes ago, Pawz4me said:

I painted our dining room table four months ago and used this wipe on poly. I used water based and satin finish. I chose that because supposedly it's a lot easier to work with than the poly that has to be brushed on, and water based is supposedly easier to work with than oil based. It was very, very easy to use. I had to do lots of coats but it dries fast. So far the table is holding up very well, but it's mostly just DH and me here and we're certainly not hard on it. I used chalk paint, so I could have put wax over it but I really didn't think that would have provided nearly enough protection for a dining table. For a headboard I really don't think you need any top coat, but if you'll be setting stuff on the trays, especially anything that might be wet, then a protective coat is probably a good idea. Wax would probably be fine if the trays are just for decoration. If you're going to be using them for food/drinks then I'd really consider using poly. The poly I used had to be ordered, I couldn't find it in a store around here.

 

Thanks.  For now, my idea is to use the trays as decoration, although I want a narrow elongated one for the entryway for keys and such, but I may put a rubberized bottom on it and then just do the design/decor paint on the outside.  The rest would be for the area near the kitchen.....what do you call that area?  Butler pantry?  Cabinets and a counter off the kitchen where you can have drinks and such for serving?

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Yes, you would want to use a topcoat for anything that would get handled often.

You should also know that you'll need a base coat.  Either a primer for the raw wood, or a primer to make acrylic stick to what is likely already an oil based sealant on your current tray.  Otherwise the acrylic paint will peel off in sheets.

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6 minutes ago, Katy said:

Yes, you would want to use a topcoat for anything that would get handled often.

You should also know that you'll need a base coat.  Either a primer for the raw wood, or a primer to make acrylic stick to what is likely already an oil based sealant on your current tray.  Otherwise the acrylic paint will peel off in sheets.

 

Actually my husband made the tray I am going to paint.  He didn't use anything oil based on it, it is just raw wood.   He made it for me to make homemade soap in.....and then I didn't.....trying to repurpose it.  

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1 hour ago, mmasc said:

If the headboard is going to be started from raw wood, you could just stain it instead of painting and skip the top coat, IMO. 

 

Unless we find something that fits our needs, it will prob be made by my husband and we will paint it from raw wood (or prob painted first and then put together).

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I find it best to put some kind of topcoat on items that will be dusted or wiped off. To me, it doesn't feel like everything is coming off unless I can clean a surface. We have sealed a wooden rocker and a nightstand that way.

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8 hours ago, DawnM said:

 

Unless we find something that fits our needs, it will prob be made by my husband and we will paint it from raw wood (or prob painted first and then put together).

I’d probably use a top coat on paint since paint can chip. If you stain it, the stain soaks into the wood and there’s nothing there to chip (unless of course you take a chunk out of the wood). I have painted raw wood with milk paint before and that sinks into the wood and looks really nice, but that might not be the look you’re going for

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28 minutes ago, mmasc said:

I’d probably use a top coat on paint since paint can chip. If you stain it, the stain soaks into the wood and there’s nothing there to chip (unless of course you take a chunk out of the wood). I have painted raw wood with milk paint before and that sinks into the wood and looks really nice, but that might not be the look you’re going for

 

I have never even heard of milk paint.  Off to google.

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19 minutes ago, DawnM said:

 

I have never even heard of milk paint.  Off to google.

I used Miss Mustard Seed. It soaks in beautifully into raw wood. I used a white-ish color (I’d have to look up the exact name) and then I used the antique furniture wax over it. It kind of created a gray wash weathered look. It has held up well on bookshelves that were started with raw pine.

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