How to Paint Pine Wardrobes

Updated February 21, 2017

Many traditional wardrobes, as well as other pieces of fine furniture, are made of natural wood such as pine. However, not everyone likes the deep colours of traditional pine, and owners of pine wardrobes may choose to paint over the wood. Preparation is key to ensure a smooth, evenly painted finish that will hide even the darkest knots in your pine wardrobe.

Wipe down the pine wardrobe with a rag dampened lightly in white spirit to remove dirt, dust, oil, wax or grease. The surface must be completely clean for a properly painted finish.

Roughen the pine surface with medium-grade steel wool or sandpaper. Rub across the grain, and then with the grain, to open the pores of the wood and make it accept paint. Remove residual sanding dust from the surface by wiping with a tack cloth.

Repeat the sanding process with fine-grade sandpaper and wipe again to remove all dust.

Paint on a coat of white shellac as the base coat for your painting project. Use a paintbrush and smooth, even strokes, overlapping strokes by ¼ to ½ inch to avoid brush marks. The shellac will seal in the pine's sap and moisture, preventing it from leaking through your paint. Allow the shellac to dry completely before continuing.

Coat the wood with a layer of filler, which will close the pores of the wood, creating a flat, smooth surface on which to paint. Thin out the filler per product instructions, then spread the filler in a thin, even layer across the entire surface of wood with a paintbrush.

Observe the filler as it starts to dry. When you can see the filler begin to look flat or dull in some areas, wipe across the grain, and then with the grain, with a clean rag to remove excess filler that has not been absorbed into the pores. Allow the filler to dry completely for 48 hours before continuing.

Pour enough paint to coat your pine wardrobe into an empty can or bucket and thin it with one part turpentine for every 10 parts paint. Brush this mixture onto the wardrobe in a smooth layer, coating the entire piece. Allow this coat to dry completely before continuing.

Sand the surface lightly with extra-fine sandpaper and wipe away the residual dust with a sanding cloth. Apply a second coat of paint directly from the can, without thinning. When this coat has dried completely, sand again and apply a third coat. Apply more coats if necessary to achieve your desired colour.

Finish your pine wardrobe by brushing on two coats of enamel paint, either clear or matching the colour of your base paint. This will protect the finished wardrobe from staining and damage. Sand with extra-fine sandpaper and wipe down the surface between coats. Allow the final coat to dry completely before using the wardrobe.


Work in a well-ventilated area, with newspaper or protective sheeting covering the area around the pine wardrobe. This will prevent the build-up of fumes from the paint products and ensure that you don't splash or spill paint on any other surface.

Things You'll Need

  • Rags
  • White spirit
  • Medium-grade steel wool or sandpaper
  • Fine-grade sandpaper
  • Extra-fine sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Paintbrushes
  • White shellac
  • Wood filler
  • Base paint
  • Enamel paint
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About the Author

Samantha Volz has been involved in journalistic and informative writing for over eight years. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with a minor in European history. In college she was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and completed a professional internship with the "Williamsport Sun-Gazette," serving as a full-time reporter. She resides in Horsham, Pennsylvania.