How to Paint Old Pine Furniture

Updated February 21, 2017

Old pine furniture can always be brought back to life with a fresh coat of paint, but undertaking and completing such a task requires more than just dusting off the chair or table and applying new paint. This is a job that you do not want to do twice, so it is best to be thorough with your prep work and choose a high-quality primer/sealer. With some lively colour choices for a top coat, your end product will last a long while and liven up your living space.

Scrape all loose paint by hand using a standard paint scraper or a special moulding scraper. Because pine is a soft wood, take care not to gouge the wood during this step. You don't have to remove every speck of paint, simply the loose flakes.

Strip and clean your furniture piece. This may be the most difficult and important part of the whole process. Use a semi-solid paint stripper and apply the liquid with a brush. Always wear plastic gloves and a paint-fume mask when applying a paint stripper. Let the liquid soak into the old paint to soften it (15 minutes to an hour). Then remove the paint with a scraper or special moulding cleaning tool. It may take several applications to remove all traces of paint.

Take the piece of furniture outdoors and hose it off with a garden hose and nozzle. Let the furniture dry.

Sand the pine furniture thoroughly with an electric orbital or palm sander. Start with coarse sandpaper and then move to medium-grade paper. If pine sap is still present in the wood, you may have to change sandpaper frequently.

Wash the furniture with a mild soap detergent and then rinse with cold water.

Make sure the wood is dry and clean and then apply a coat of shellac-based primer-sealer. Use a brush to apply the paint as evenly as possible, making sure to touch up any drip marks.

Let the paint dry for 24 hours.

Fill any nail holes with a plastic wood filler. After the filler has dried, sand the area smooth.

Apply a second coat of paint. Because most pines have a high oil content, apply a second coat of sealer-primer to keep the oils from bleeding through the primer and leaving a stain in the top coat.

Choose a paint colour for the top coat. For a durable, shiny finish that cleans easily, use a semigloss or high-gloss acrylic-latex enamel.

Stir the paint thoroughly (unless you just brought it back from the paint store, where it should have been mixed for you) and begin applying the paint with long, even strokes. This will be your top coat, so make sure you achieve complete coverage. Apply a second coat if necessary.


Use one thin top coat of enamel paint to create a stained effect. (This is not recommended for outdoor furniture.) Paint outdoor furniture with an oil-based top coat. Check for loose knots in the pine wood, as large pine knots have a tendency to come loose over time. If you can't successfully glue the knot, you may need to replace that section of wood.


Be sure to follow all local ordinances when disposing of any paper towels soaked with paint remover and old paint. Use a paint mask that is designed to filter chemical fumes.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint scraper
  • Moulding scraper
  • Paint remover (semi-solid)
  • Paper towels
  • Orbital or vibrating sander
  • Coarse and medium sandpaper
  • B-I-N primer-sealer
  • Wood filler
  • Putty knife
  • Polyester paintbrushes (3-inch, 1-inch and 2-inch trim)
  • Paint (acrylic-latex or semigloss enamel)
  • Rubber or plastic gloves
  • Paint fumes mask and respirator
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About the Author

Henri Bauholz is a professional writer covering a variety of topics, including hiking, camping, foreign travel and nature. He has written travel articles for several online publications and his travels have taken him all over the world, from Mexico to Latin America and across the Atlantic to Europe.