How to Seal Handpainted Furniture

Updated February 21, 2017

In today's economy, many people are turning to unfinished furniture as a budget friendly alternative to expensive pieces. Some are rehabbing older items found at garage sales or thrift stores. This can be a fun and exciting way to redecorate your living space. Budget on a dime connoisseurs know the best buys are not in expensive furniture stores. One common mistake made, after hand painting furniture, is skipping the sealing. Providing your masterpieces with a sealant will protect them from water stains and mars in the paint.

Give the new paint on your furniture several days to dry. The sealer will smear paint if it is still wet.

Clean the piece to remove any dust that may have built up in the few days since painting. Use a damp cloth to wipe it down.

Use a paintbrush and apply a coat of clear polyurethane. Keep the coat thin so it doesn't glob up. Large areas may require a roller for application.

Sand down the coat of sealer to remove any bumps that may have formed. Use a fine-grit sandpaper and light pressure. Wipe it with a damp cloth to remove any residue from the sanding.

Apply a second coat of the clear polyurethane using the same method. If necessary, sand away any imperfections on the second coat. Then wipe the piece down again.


Make sure to protect the area around you with dust sheets. Do not put to much sealer on your brush at one time. This will result in drips and streaks.

Things You'll Need

  • Dust sheets
  • Clean cloths
  • Water
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Clear polyurethane sealer
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About the Author

Writing since 1999, Darla Ferrara is an award-winning author who specializes in health, diet, fitness and computer technology. She has been published in "Mezzo Magazine" and Diet Spotlight, as well as various online magazines. Ferrara studied biology and emergency medical technology at the University of Nebraska and Southeast Community College.