Painting Furniture with Benjamin Moore Advance Paint

This week I’m sharing how I tried using Benjamin Moore Advance for painting furniture. It’s an alkyd paint that doesn’t require a topcoat like a lot of furniture paint does.

So I’ve been really curious to use it!

Get more painted nightstands ideas here.

Matching nightstands before being painted

I’ll share my thoughts about it, how I used it, and how it turned out in the end.

So let’s dive in.

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Painting Furniture with Benjamin Moore Advance Paint

Supplies Used:

Benjamin Moore Advance paint can

Benjamin Moore Advance Paint Furniture Makeover

  1. Prep for Paint
  2. Prime
  3. Paint with Benjamin Moore Advance Paint
  4. Sand the Tops
  5. Whitewash the Tops
  6. Paint a 2nd Coat of Paint
  7. Add New Hardware

Before

This is what we started with.

Natural wood matching nightstands before being painted

I found these matching nightstands at our local thrift store for $35 each.

They were in really good shape other than some scratches on the tops.

But man, raise your hand if you think the original hardware on this piece has to go! Actually, I think just changing out the hardware on these nightstands would have made a huge difference. Haha

But, I’m a painter, so you know I had to get some paint on these too!

Step 1: Prep for Paint

First I prepped the nightstands for paint.

So first things first, I removed the old hardware.

Removing old hardware from nightstands

And then I filled in the old holes on the bottom drawers so I could put new hardware on.

Filling old hardware holes with wood filler

And then I cleaned the nightstands with Krud Kutter to remove any dirt, grease, or grime that was on the surface.

Read this post to learn more about How to Clean Furniture Before Painting!

Fixing the Tops

I thought I would be proactive and sand the tops down just a little bit to remove those scratches in the top.

So I sanded it down with 100-grit sandpaper to start with, and then I sanded it down with 150-grit sandpaper. And after that, I sanded it all down with 220-grit sandpaper.

Then I filled the scratches that were still there with some regular ole wood filler.

Click here to learn about the Best Wood Filler for Furniture.

Sanding Again

After the fillers were dry, I sanded the drawers down smooth and sanded the tops down smooth too.

Learn all about The Importance of Sanding Before Painting Furniture in this post.

And then I cleaned off all of the dust.

Step 2: Prime Before Painting

And moved them into my spray area to spray them with some clear shellac.

I used the clear shellac mostly to help the paint stick to the surface without scuff sanding everything down first.

If you’ve seen any of my other videos, except for the ones lately, you’ve probably seen me talk all about scuff sanding and priming before painting.

But now I’m on a mission to really test out this clear shellac to see if all of the paints that I use will stick really well with only this clear shellac to make it stick.

I love how easy it is to spray on, and how I don’t have to sand even after I spray it on, unlike some spray primers that are gritty when you spray them.

Plus, this clear shellac helps to prevent bleedthrough issues. So it’s my go-to for almost everything. Haha

So I sprayed both nightstands with 2 coats of clear shellac, letting it dry for an hour after each coat.

Click here to learn about The Best Primer for Painting Furniture (and How to Choose the Right One).

Spaying clear shellac on wood furniture

Step 3: Paint with Benjamin Moore Advance Paint

Then it was time to paint!

I chose a satin sheen of the Benjamin Moore color named Essex Green.

Thinning Benjamin Moore Advance

I poured the paint into my paint sprayer.

And then I added about 20% water, and mixed the paint and water together really well.

Learn more about thinning paint for a paint sprayer here!

Before I sprayed it onto the furniture though, I tested out the spray on some cardboard so I could make sure that I had the settings and thickness of the paint right.

Spraying Benjamin Moore Advance

And then I sprayed it on, all over the nightstands.

spraying benjamin moore advance on the nightstands with fuji q4 paint sprayer

About Benjamin Moore Advance

Okay, while I’m spraying, let’s talk a little bit about this paint.

So this paint is an alkyd paint, meaning that it’s waterborne.

So you can clean it up with water, you can add water to it, but once it’s cured, it’s like an oil-based paint.

And because of that, I’ve heard that it’s super durable!

I love that it doesn’t require a topcoat. Actually, you shouldn’t topcoat this paint.

And from what I’ve heard, you can brush, roll or spray it on, and get great results.

But, one big downside is that the can says that it has to dry for 16 hours between coats.

When I sprayed it, it did leave a slight orange peel texture behind, but I had heard from other painters that that was kind of normal, so I wasn’t too worried.

Here’s what the paint looked like after it had some time to dry. You can see that some of the orange peel stayed, but most of it leveled out.

Paint leveling out after the first coat dried on the drawers

Step 4: Sand the Tops

Fixing The Tops

After about 17 hours, I checked on the nightstands… and I saw a big boo-boo.

The tops of the nightstands had a lot of swirl marks in them, which is really weird, because I normally don’t get swirl marks with this SurfPrep sander.

But the sheen also looked splotchy from the areas that I had sanded down more.

Sanding the Tops

So, I went back to the drawing board and I sanded the tops completely down to raw wood.

Check out the best sander to remove paint here.

Sanding the tops of the nightstands back down to bare wood

While I sanded them down, I had plenty of time to think about what I wanted to do now. I could either paint them again, or I could leave them wood.

What would you do at this point?

Painted nightstand with a bare wood top

Step 5: Whitewash the Tops

I decided to go with it and whitewash the tops.

Learn more about how to whitewash wood here.

So first I applied a coat of poly, and let it dry.

And then I brushed on 2 coats of this Lime Wash Glaze from Paint Couture Paint.

And quickly wiped it back off.

After a few minutes, I wiped that dirty rag back over it to wipe a little bit of the glaze back onto it.

Check out the “after” on the right side, and the “before” on the left side here.

Bare wood top nightstand on the left with a whitewashed top nightstand on the right

A couple of hours later, after the whitewash was dry, I applied a couple more coats of water-based poly by hand.

You can also spray polyurethane with a paint sprayer too, but since this paint does not require a topcoat, I decided to play it safe and just apply the poly by hand to the wood tops.

I let each coat dry for a couple of hours between each coat, and sanded with a fine pad before the last coat.

Step 6: Paint a 2nd Coat of Paint

I also took a minute to lightly sand the green paint to make sure it was smooth before I painted another coat of paint.

And before I painted again, I taped off the tops so I wouldn’t get any paint on them.

Click here to learn more about How to Prevent Overspray When Painting Furniture.

Then I sprayed a second coat of paint.

The next day I removed the plastic and started trying to figure out what hardware to use.

Step 7: Add New Hardware

I found these drawer pulls in my stash of old hardware, and I thought they might go well with the nightstands.

gold painted hardware

So I cleaned them up, and then I decided to paint them.

Learn How to Paint Drawer Pulls here!

After

So here’s what they look like now.

closeup shot of the green painted nightstands
whitewashed wood tops
full shot of green painted nightstands with whitewashed wood tops and gold painted hardware

Benjamin Moore Advance Paint Review

Alright, now for my final thoughts on Benjamin Moore Advance Paint.

I love that you don’t have to topcoat it. But overall, with dry times, it took longer than normal with other paint.

I’ve heard that these dark colors of alkyd paint take a really really long time to cure… and it’s so true.

I’ve had these nightstands painted for a couple of weeks, and I had to be SO careful when putting the hardware on.

Just using the tape measure left marks!

With other furniture paints and water-based poly, I don’t have issues with light use even after a day or two.

The clear shellac primer seems to have worked well. I tested an area on the inside of the legs without any shellac. And the paint scratches off so easily there.

Where the shellac is, it doesn’t scratch as easily.

I think that after the paint cures, then it won’t easily scratch where the shellac was applied first.

Check out this video to watch the full nightstand makeover with Benjamin Moore Advance Paint.

FAQ

Do you need primer with Benjamin Moore advance?

Yes! You’ll want to use a bonding primer at the very least. But a stain-blocking primer and a good bonding primer is the best.

BIN Shellac Based primer is the best option as it has amazing bonding properties and it blocks stains.

I used clear shellac and had great results with bonding and no stains.

STIX is another great option, though it doesn’t block bleed through.

Do you need to sand between coats of Benjamin Moore advance?

You don’t have to sand in between coats.

But you’ll get a smoother finish and possibly better durability if you do.

A light sanding with a very fine foam pad is the best.

Does Benjamin Moore Advance paint need a top coat?

No. Actually, you shouldn’t topcoat Benjamin Moore Advance paint. As the alkyd paint dries, it may cause the poly topcoat to crackle.

Instead, buy it in the sheen that you want the final finish to be in.

How do you brush Benjamin Moore advance?

It’s best to use a synthetic, nylon paintbrush.

Zibra paint brushes are a great option for brushing Benjamin Moore Advance paint.

Click here to learn about The Best Paint Brush for Painting Furniture!

Keep an eye out for drips as you brush the paint on, and brush it on in thin coats to help avoid any drips and sags in the paint.

Can I spray Benjamin Moore Advance paint?

Yes! That is how I painted these nightstands.

I thinned the Benjamin Moore Advance paint with 20% water and used my Fuji Q4 paint sprayer.

I am very happy with the final finish (and I’m pretty picky about texture and brush marks in my finish.

closeup of green painted nightstands

More Nightstand Makeovers:

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3 Comments

  1. Love you painting! I have a question I am changing an old dresser into bathroom vanity. It has a Formica top so I was going to leave it. Thought it would be great. Would just paint front and sides in black with the general finishes. The original color is an antique white, should I still use shellac?
    Thank you ,
    Pat

    1. Hey Pat!
      Yeah I would still shellac. Mostly to help the paint stick better.

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