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TOTALN00B 02-19-2011 08:19 PM

Hand Painting & Lacquering Thrift Store furniture?
I'm used to painting with acrylics on canvas, but I've always wanted to make a modern update on Asian hand-painted furniture. is this a terrible idea? What sort of paints would I have to use? And should I then lacquer the furniture? I thought I would start with something small and work my way up to an ugly thrift store dresser. This is the sort of thing I'm talking about, only the decorations would be more modern and stylized and less ornate:

Any ideas of the best way to go about this, as far as materials, medium?

jsheridan 02-27-2011 07:04 AM

I'll take a shot at this. I think what has kept people away is the term "lacquer". Lacquer is something only people who work with lacquer know about, in general. It's fairly specialized, not an everyday product for most painters. What can go over it and what it can go over is not cut and dry, in my understanding from my limited experience. I would suggest some intensive googling on lacquer, there may even be a forum. If you have some old timers in any local paint shops or auto body suppliers talk to them as well.

oh'mike 02-27-2011 08:00 AM

One of the biggest difficulties with lacquer is its compatibility with other finishes---often lacquer will lift the previous finish (just like paint remover) --

Do a sample board using your favorite paints--then coat with your lacquer--see if they work well with each other.

Lacquer is best applied with a sprayer---either canned or a compressor with a spray gun.
It can be brushed--however, the practice involved to get a top job might take a while.


TOTALN00B 03-10-2011 01:37 PM

Thanks! Maybe I should use something other than lacquer to go over the painted designs, like polyurethane.

lucknow 03-10-2011 04:36 PM


Originally Posted by TOTALN00B (Post 606777)
Thanks! Maybe I should use something other than lacquer to go over the painted designs, like polyurethane.

I would use the lacquer. I have done quite a few pieces with it and they came out awesome, better than any other clear gloss that I have ever used by far. Using waterbased paints I create whatever effect I want and then I have just applied the lacquer with a brush. I did one buffet that I wanted to look Chinese and I brushed on about 20 thin coats. IT'S BEAUTIFUL.

I always had problems with clear finishes. Dust seems to always settle on the piece while drying. Not with the lacquer though. It dries so fast the dust is very minimized. When I'm finished with the lacquer coats I sand the piece with 2000 grit polishing wet emery paper. I'm just in the process of doing my wife's grandfather's desk right now. It's primed and painted so tomorrow is lacquer day.

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