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How To Prime Furniture Video Tutorial | Vintage Bed Makeover

The answer to why prime furniture, the type of primer to use, what color the primer should be and how to prime furniture are here. I used to say it wasn’t necessary to prime furniture but I’ve changed my tune. I don’t think you need to prime all pieces before you paint but there are some instances when a coat of primer will make the paint job a lot easier.

I made a video while priming the vintage bed I showed you guys a couple of weeks ago. Yep, in front of the camera again. I talk you through the process of priming the bed. It’s really the best way to show you the process. Still photos and my step by step instructions just don’t tell the story like a video does. I share why I primed the bed and the best primer color for the job. I slipped up and told the color of the paint in the video, darn. Video at the bottom of post.

The answer to why prime furniture, the type of primer to use, what color the primer should be and how to prime furniture are here.

Vintage Bed To Prime and Paint

This is the vintage bed I bought at my favorite junk shop for $25.

antique bed from the junk shop

I asked you guys for ideas on paint colors and even shared a few inspiration photos I found online. I was thinking blue and most of you guys agreed. Well, I changed the color and I’m really happy with the outcome. The bed is finished but I’ve been in Arkansas visiting my parents for the past week and didn’t have time to get photos and videos edited.

I have a video of the paint process and the special technique I used coming up soon. I still have to edit that video.

veneer damage to antique bed

The veneer on the back of the footboard was in bad shape but I just primed over it.

antique bed with veneer damage

There were areas on the headboard and footboard where the veneer was chipped off. I left those as they were with plans to distress those areas. That’s not what I did. You have to wait for the paint reveal for all of the details.

holes and badly repaired furniture damage

One leg of the footboard was a mess as you can see in the photo above. I filled the holes the best I could with wood filler and I did a great job if I say so myself.

how to use wood putty to repair holes in furniture

This is the first coat of wood filler. I always apply the wood filler, wait for it to dry, sand it smooth and flush, then fill any places where the wood filler shrunk up and go through drying and the sanding process again.

furniture repairs made with Elmer's wood filler

The above photo shows how the wood filler looked after the first coat of filler was sanded smooth. The top corner of the leg was really eaten away and I had to fill with wood filler and sand 3 times.

The answer to why prime furniture, the best primer to use, what color the primer should be and how to prime furniture are here.

The primer is my favorite Glidden Gripper that I have tinted gray. Gray works better than white under most colors of paint.

The bed project with gray primer in preparation for painting.

Why Prime Furniture?

The furniture finish is uneven in color.

This is the reason I primed the bed. As you can see from the photos the veneer was peeled off in places and the stained finish was rubbed off in places. It’s best to start with a uniform color when applying the coat of paint. The lighter areas on the bed would require more coats of paint to cover them than the darker areas.

The original furniture stain is mahogany or reddish in color.

Reddish tone stains tend to bleed through paint. Applying one or even two coats of primer should prevent bleeding.

The furniture was painted with oil based paint.

When using latex paint over oil based paint the paint may chip. It used to be a hard and fast rule that you have to prime when applying latex over oil based paint. The improvements in latex paint the past few years and the addition of primer to the paint may mean you don’t have to apply a coat of primer before you paint. It’s your call. I would definitely sand the oil based paint lightly if you choose not to use a primer.

As I mentioned I don’t always prime the furniture. I take several things into consideration including the furniture finish, the type of paint I’m using, and the final look I want to achieve along with other things.

Ready to see the video? If you listen closely you can hear where I accidentally reveal what color I’m painting the bed. …

(if you have an ad blocker on your browser you have to turn that off to see the video. Thanks)

How To Prime Furniture Video Tutorial

Find part II of this makeover here……How To Make Painted Furniture Look Old | Video Tutorial

What did you think of the video? Leave a note and come back tomorrow to see if I get the paint video edited! As always thanks for being here and have a great day, Kathy

Kathy Owen founder of Petticoat Junktion
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Author: Kathy Owen
Kathy Owen is the founder of the home decor blog Petticoat Junktion where she shares tutorials on painting furniture and upcycling thrifty finds into unique home décor. Her DIY projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Kathy’s newest website is HappyHomeDIY.com

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  1. I did just leave it alone Christine. I guess gluing it down would have been a good idea!

  2. Hello, Kathy!
    Can you explain how you addressed or not addressed the peeling pf the veneer on the foot-board. Did I understand that you just left it alone? I was just wondering why you didn’t glue it down.

    Thanks! Love y our blog! you are so creative 🙂

  3. My video guys says you may have an ad blocker enabled on your browser. You have to turn that off to see the video. Thanks

  4. My video guys says you may have an ad blocker enabled on your browser. You have to turn that off to see the video. Thanks

  5. Hey Linda, Can you tell me what browser you use. The guys say it will not work if you have an old version of Internet Explorer. Thanks

  6. Hey Gloria, My video guys say if you use Internet Explorer and have a really old version the video will not play. It plays fine for me on Chrome. What browser do you use and I will send the info in the the video people again? Thanks for letting me know. I hope you aren’t disappointed when you find out the color but the bed turned out even better than I hoped!

  7. That bed frame is fantastic. I can’t wait to see it when it’s done. I’m not sure about the color you’ve chosen, though!

  8. Am I just stupid or what? The is a line that reads “See Video Here….” but I can’t click on it and there is no other video indication…….. What the hell? I want to see the paint color! lol

  9. They have never told me this at the store and I don’t have any issues after tinting. My gray is between light and medium. They were giving their opinion. I would tell them to tint it anyway. I hate that you had this issue. They would probably tell you the same thing with whatever brand you chose. Also a quart goes a long way. I get the gallon size because I use it often.

  10. I found your video extremely helpful. I immediately decided to buy a gallon of Glidden Gripper and have Home Depot tint it gray. I had my husband go to purchase it as it was a 40 mile drive away and he had reason to go. He called me back and said the sales person said this paint is not like other paints and when the black is added to tint it gray he could not guarantee the color would be what we wanted. What??? Apparently the characteristics of the primer react differently with tinting. I found this extremely disappointing. Can you tell me anything about this. I have not had good luck using Kilz, water base or oil base primer. Nor Zinzer. I wasn’t asking for a weird color, just a medium gray. I still may search out a Glidden store to see if they can help. To be correct, you had the store tint for you, not you tinted with other paint, right?

  11. Kathy,
    I have a piece of furniture that has a plastic trim. Can I use the gripper primer on the trim also?

  12. Hi Kathy, First of all what a great tip about tinting the primer gray, covering white primer can certainly be a pain sometimes. This bed is going to be a stunner in the color you revealed, but I won’t mention here, lol!!