A high gloss white finish on furniture can give it a modern and sleek look. Plus, it’s actually not hard to do! In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to paint furniture high gloss with just a few simple steps and materials.
Get more painting techniques for furniture here!
Seriously, painting high-gloss furniture can be a simple process that anyone can do.
We made a mistake that set us back on this project, but it still came out SO GOOD in the end!
Above is what the dresser looked like before. It was in pretty good shape to begin with, so we didn’t have any big repairs to fix or anything.
If your furniture has damage, here is a great resource for repairing old furniture.
Supplies Used to Paint Furniture Gloss White
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- Electric Screwdriver
- Krud Kutter
- SurfPrep 3×4 Sander (Use code RAY10 to get 10% off your order)
- 123 Waterbased Primer
- FLEXiO 3500 Paint Sprayer
- Wood Filler / Spackling
- Sanding Screens (80 grit – 220 grit) (Use code RAY10 to get 10% off your order)
- Contour Sanding Things
- Foam Sanding Sponges (Use code RAY10 to get 10% off your order)
- Shop Vacuum
- Tack Cloth
- BIN Shellac Based Primer
- Mohair Roller
- Paint Brush
- Plastic Wood Filler
- Rustoleum Gloss Paint
- White Woven Roller
- Zibra Fan Paint Brush
Preparing A Dresser for Paint
Alright, first things first, we have to prepare furniture for paint.
This includes things like removing the old hardware, cleaning the furniture really well, and scuff sanding so the paint can adhere better.
We used my favorite electric screwdriver to help us easily remove the hardware, but don’t you worry, I’m not getting rid of the hardware!
Then we cleaned the surface with Krud Kutter to remove all of the dust, oils, and grime.
All of these things can make it harder for the paint to stick, so we want to get rid of them. And Krud Kutter eats through grease and grime better than other cleaners do.
Here are more ways to clean furniture before painting.
Check out my post about sandpaper for furniture painting to learn more.
Learn more about the importance of sanding before painting furniture here.
And then we cleaned off all of the dust.
Primer for Gloss Paint
Here is where things went south for us.
Priming with Waterbased 123 Primer
We primed the dresser with waterbased 123 primer… but I thinned it out a little so we could spray it.
(I probably shouldn’t have thinned it out!! Ooops!)
Here’s a list of the best primers for painting furniture (and How to Choose the Right One).
It looked so good and we thought it was all going to work… until we filled the wood grain, sanded everything, and the primer started scratching off really easily.
You should also remember these five furniture makeover mistakes to avoid for a successful painting project.
So we set it aside and let it cure before deciding what our next move was.
But over a week later, the primer was still easily scratching off. It had gotten a little better, but it was still scratching. So we sanded all of the primer off.
We made use of it though and compared our sanders while we did that to find out which one is the best sander to remove paint.
But it still took all day to sand all of that primer off because we had to watch the kids, sand in the little groves, which these little sanding grips that you wrap sandpaper around, and a good ole flathead screwdriver came in handy for.
Check out this post for guides on how to sand in tight spaces.
Read through this post to learn more about the best tools for removing paint from wood.
And then Taylor sanded over everything, moving through the grits until he got to 220 grit to make the wood nice and smooth.
Priming with BIN Shellac Based Primer
So then we went back to the drawing board and did what we should have done in the beginning… we primed the dresser with BIN shellac-based primer instead.
Learn more about the best primers to stop tannin bleed here.
But this time I brushed it on a couple of test spots and let it dry for an hour or so, and it didn’t scratch at all. So, we brushed and rolled it on with a mohair roller and a round Zibra paint brush.
Both of these primers work with oil-based and water-based paints, by the way. I think the biggest mistake here was putting water in the water-based primer.
How to Hide Wood Grain When Painting
Then I repeated the process of filling in the wood grain texture. Since we sanded it all down to bare wood, there was a lot of wood grain to fill.
I added some water to some plastic wood filler, and then I brushed it on the dresser, all over to fill in the grain.
Learn more about how to hide wood grain when painting here.
Then I let that dry for 4 hours. And then I sanded everything again with 220 grit sandpaper. And brushed and rolled another coat of BIN Shellac-based primer onto the dresser.
Can you guess what I did next??
Painting a Dresser with Gloss White Furniture Paint
Alright, we’re finally ready for the glossy paint! We used this oil based Rustoleum Protective Enamel in gloss white.
Read through this post to learn more about painting furniture with enamel paint.
I used the spray can version of this paint last year, compared to other spray paints, to find the best spray paint for wood furniture, and it ended up being one of the most durable options!
So, if you don’t want to brush and roll this on, you could totally use the spray can version!
Check out my comparison between Krylon vs Rustoleum Spray Paint here.
It is oil-based paint, so everything has to be cleaned with mineral spirits… and it’s a pain, so I just threw away the brush and roller afterward.
You might want to keep your brush so here’s my guide on how to clean paint brushes.
And it smells really strong. So I wore my respirator the whole time, and I would only recommend using it outdoors. Because the smell lingers for a long time.
The awesome thing about oil-based paint is that it levels out really well even when you brush and roll it on. And it’s pretty darn durable.
I found that it dripped more than water-based paint does, so I had to keep looking everywhere for drips.
And then I left it to dry for 24 hours. It was dry to the touch after 4 hours, but it says to wait 24 hours before putting the next coat on.
The next day, I filled in the crack on the side of the dresser with some paintable caulk, and with 400 grit sandpaper, lightly sanded any spots where dust landed in the paint while it was drying.
I cleaned up the dust and painted another coat of paint on. In total, it took 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of glossy paint to get full coverage.
We left it to dry over the weekend, and then put the hardware back on, and here’s what our DIY glossy white dresser looks like now!!
Get more white painted dresser ideas here.
Here’s a list of the best white paint for furniture to give you more options.
Watch the full video of this makeover below…or scroll down for the after photos and additional tips on how to paint furniture in high gloss!
Oh, I don’t know that I could love it more! I hate painting with oil-based paint, but man, that gloss white paint looks so good!!
Get more white painted furniture ideas here.
Gloss Paint for Furniture
Rustoleum Protective Enamel isn’t the only gloss paint for furniture out there! There is a spray can version available as well.
Here’s what spray painting furniture in gloss paint looks like.
There are also boutique, high-end gloss paints available elsewhere. Benjamin Moore Advance comes in a high gloss sheen, and it’s water-based. I want to try that out now!
Rustoleum Gloss Paint Colors
Right now, Rustoleum Protective Enamel in Gloss comes in 18 colors, but there are so many more options in the spray cans.
The colors are pretty basic, but they at least have the primary colors so you could mix together some colors to make your own color.
Best Paint for High Gloss Furniture
The best of the best paint for high gloss furniture is Hollandic Bright Paint from Fine Paints of Europe. I haven’t personally tried it, but my friend Kayla paints furniture in high gloss paint, and that’s what she swears by.
They will tint it whatever color you want and ship it to you!
- Prepare the dresser for paint by removing the old hardware, cleaning the furniture really well, and scuff sanding so the paint can adhere better. Then clean off all the dust from sanding.
- Prime the dresser with 2 coats of primer. To hide any wood grain, add some water to plastic wood filler and then brush it on the dresser, all over to fill in the grain. Sand the primer to smooth it out then vacuum all the dust.
- Paint the dresser with Rustoluem Gloss Paint. Leave it to dry for 24 hours before putting the next coat on. Apply 2 coats of glossy paint to get full coverage.
- Let the paint dry then put hardware back on.
More Gloss Painted Furniture
- Stanley Faux Bamboo Dresser in White Dove
- Painted Dresser In Benjamin Moore Salamander
- High Gloss Painted Furniture
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