How to paint a piano with a black finish

Written by amy rosenstein
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How to paint a piano with a black finish
High-gloss paint finishes make a piece of furniture look pricey. (monochrome piano image by Paul Moore from

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.

Skill level:

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Things you 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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  1. 1

    Position the piano over the dust sheet.

  2. 2

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

  3. 3

    Pour the black paint into the tray.

  4. 4

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

  5. 5

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

  6. 6

    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.

  7. 7

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

  8. 8

    Pour the clear lacquer into a paint tray.

  9. 9

    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.

  10. 10

    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.

Tips and warnings

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

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