If you’ve tried hand painting a piece of furniture, you’ve probably run into a common problem: unsightly brushstrokes that ruin your paint job.
Unless you’re intentionally going for a rustic or “outsider art” vibe, big garish brushstrokes just won’t cut it. Painting isn’t easy, and getting that perfectly smooth professional finish can be quite challenging.
Even if the brushstrokes are small enough that they’re not readily visible, they can still produce an unpleasant texture.
If you’re going for a smooth, glossy finish, you’ll need the right paint, the right tools, and the right technique. In this post, we’re sharing our professional method for a perfect paint job every time.
With practice and patience, even a novice can learn how to paint without leaving brushstrokes, and we’re about to show you how.
Prep for Success
If you want a perfectly smooth finish, the first step is prepping the surface. Whether it’s a piece of furniture, a door, or any other wood surface, preparation is key for achieving a silky smooth finish.
Start off by applying sandpaper to smoothen the surface of the wood. For best results, begin with 150 grit sandpaper, and as you sand, gradually work your way up to 220 grit (which is finer)
. After you’re done, the wood will be silky smooth to the touch– perfect for painting without visible or tangible brushstrokes ruining the finish.
Once you’ve achieved the right surface texture, you’ll need to apply a primer. You’ll want to use a primer designed for this kind of application, not one designed for other things like painting interior walls.
Priming before you paint helps the paint adhere more securely to the surface, making it more durable and less likely to flake and peel over time. It also prevents the porous wood from absorbing the solvent from the paint, which causes it to dry out prematurely.
Not All Paints are Equal
Walking into the paint section of your local hardware store can be overwhelming. There are so many brands, colors, and finishes to choose from that it’s hard to figure out where to begin.
Some people swear by a particular brand of paint, while others insist that they’re all roughly equivalent. For a smooth finish without brushstrokes, what matters in paint is it’s flow characteristics. This is the amount of settling and flowing the paint is going to undergo after you’ve applied it to the wood.
A thin, loose paint will settle out and dry slowly, while a thicker paint will be more likely to develop ridges and bumps.
Oil-based paints, in particular, tend to be especially smooth, making them ideal for high-gloss finishes.
How to Paint Without Leaving Brushtrokes: The Method
Once you’ve primed your surface and chosen the right paint for the job, you’ll need to approach the painting with the right techniques. It’s hard to paint without a single brush mark, but as long as they’re small and consistent, and they follow the direction of the wood grain, it’s not that big a deal.
For brushstrokes that don’t turn into tiny mountain ranges, a high quality brush — preferably made from natural hair– is ideal.
Paint rollers are also an option, but they have a tendency to leave a stippled “orange peel” texture that isn’t perfectly smooth. If you sand properly between coats, and apply multiple layers of paint, you can mitigate this effect. Unfortunately, this might require too many coats.
One way to smooth out roller-applied paint is to vacuum the roller before using it, and clean it carefully during the painting process. This removes lint, dirt, and other particles that can leave marks in the paint.
Paint Spraying – Not as Affordable, But Super Smooth
There is one way to get a super-smooth coat of paint, but it’s not that accessible for most homeowners: an automotive style paint sprayer. If you’re really serious about a smooth finish, and you’ve got some available cash, you can certainly invest in one.
Painting a perfectly smooth surface, without leaving a single brushstroke, is easier said than done.
But with the right paint, the right tools, and the right techniques, it’s definitely possible.