How to seal newly painted furniture

Written by alison zirbel
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When you have a situation where the shape and size of the furniture is perfect but the colour is not, you may choose to paint it. A common mistake made after painting furniture is forgetting to seal the paint. If you don't seal it, you might see nasty water rings, nicks and scratches over time. Using a clear polyurethane to seal the paint will add years to the furniture.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Drop cloth
  • Paint brush
  • Cloth
  • Sandpaper
  • Clear polyurethane

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    Painting Furniture

  1. 1

    Sand the surface with sandpaper to roughen the wood, so that paint will adhere better.

  2. 2

    Wipe the furniture with a clean and damp cloth.

  3. 3

    Put the first coat of paint on the furniture. Once it dries, apply a second coat of paint.

    Sealing the Paint

  1. 1

    Wait several days before applying the sealer. Use drop cloths underneath the furniture to protect your flooring.

  2. 2

    Wipe the furniture with a clean and damp cloth to remove any dust and dirt.

  3. 3

    After it's dry, apply a thin coat of clear polyurethane with a paint brush. If the furniture has large pieces of flat surfaces, use a small roller to leave a smoother look.

  4. 4

    Allow the first coat of polyurethane to dry. If there are imperfections or bumps, lightly sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper.

  5. 5

    Wipe the surface with a damp cloth to remove sanding dust. After it dries, apply another thin coat of polyurethane.

Tips and warnings

  • When sealing white paint, use a water-based sealer because an oil-based one can turn the paint yellow.
  • When applying sealer on a vertical surface, do not have too much polyurethane on the brush. If there is too much, it might cause running streaks on the furniture.
  • If you have a small piece of furniture, such as a plant stand or side table, an aerosol spray sealer will be your easiest option. Aerosol sealers are available in matt and gloss finishes. They work well on ornate furniture to fit in the grooves and detailed areas.

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