How to paint a piano with a black finish

Updated July 20, 2017

The modern piano, invented in the early 1700s, has undergone many transformations in form and appearance. From its humble beginnings as a harpsichord with keys, the piano has become a symbol of culture and elegance. Designers create rooms around prized pianos to highlight the pieces' forms as much as their ability to create music. A piano's shiny black finish epitomises the ultimate in expensive, finely crafted wood. To refinish a piano that's lost its lustre requires a wet sanding technique that ensures a polished finish.

Position the piano over the dust sheet.

Sand the piano using a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. Wipe the piano down afterward to remove debris.

Pour the black paint into the tray.

Roll the paint roller into the paint; remove the excess paint on the tray's treads.

Roll the paint onto the piano until you've coated the entire piece. Let the coat dry overnight.

Wet the 440-grit sandpaper with water and spray down the piano with a water-filled spray bottle. Gently sand the piano. Wipe the piano down with a clean, soft towel to remove any debris.

Apply another coat of black paint. Let the coat dry overnight.

Pour the clear lacquer into a paint tray.

Dip a large, flat paintbrush into the lacquer. Remove excess lacquer from the brush by gently wiping the brush bristles on the side of the tray.

Apply the lacquer onto the piano. Coat the entire piece. Let the coat dry for 2 to 3 hours. Apply another coat of the lacquer, and let the coat dry.


Work in a well-ventilated area when using oil-based paints.

Things You'll Need

  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Dust sheet
  • High-gloss oil-based black paint
  • Short-nap paint rollers
  • Paint tray
  • Spray bottle filled with water
  • 440-grit wet/dry sandpaper
  • Clean, lint-free towels
  • Oil-based lacquer
  • Large, flat paintbrush
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About the Author

Amy Rosenstein has been crafting copy professionally since 2000. She is the former managing editor of two national home-decorating and how-to magazines, and her work has appeared in "Decorating Ideas," "Decorate with Paint" and "Country Sampler" magazines. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Northern Illinois University.