How to Create a Sponge Paint Effect on Furniture

Using water based finishes to create a unique sponge effect on your furniture is simple and fun! Make your furniture stand out from the crowd.

Steps

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    Read the instruction literature available on the sides of the paint and stain cans and in the brochures provided by your furniture retailer.
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    Choose a well-ventilated area where the temperature is above 65 degrees.
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    Prepare workspace with a drop cloth, old newspapers, or cardboard.
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    Remove all hardware.
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    Tape over glass and mirrors when possible.
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    Fill nail holes with water base filler.
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    Wet the wood using a water spray bottle to raise the grain.
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    Allow the dampened wood to dry 30 minutes before the final sanding.
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    Use 180 grit paper to lightly sand to remove any shipping marks or skin oils from furniture piece.
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    Dust with an oil-free static cloth or vacuum.
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    Stir the contents of the paint can.
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    Apply a wet uniform coat of paint using a foam brush or paint pad to one section at a time.
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    Allow the first color to dry for 2 hours.
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    Apply one coat of paint using a foam brush or paint pad to one section at a time.
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    Allow to set up for a minute or two.
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    Sponge the surface, removing the top layer until you get the effect you want.
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    Allow to dry for up to 4 hours.
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    Stir the topcoat.
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    Apply the finish topcoat evenly in the same direction as the grain of wood. (A poly-acrylic topcoat is recommended).
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    Allow to dry for 2 hours.
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    Lightly buff the finish coat with 320 or finer grit sandpaper.
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    Dust with a clean cloth.
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    Apply second coat of finish.
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    Allow to dry for 2 hours.
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    Lightly buff.
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    Dust.
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    Apply a third coat of topcoat finish.
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    Allow to dry for 3 hours.
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    Lightly buff.
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    Dust.
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    Wash all applicators with water.
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    Allow the finish to cure for 7 days before using the furniture.

Tips

  • Use water based finishes because they are safer and more environmentally friendly, have a shorter drying time, and are easier to clean up.
  • To extend drying times in hot, dry temperatures, use an extender.
  • Wash clothing immediately if stain or topcoat has splattered onto them.
  • Break the Handi-Painter foam pads in half. Use one for staining and one for finishing.
  • When working with multiple drawers, number the backsides for easy reassembly.
  • If it is cold enough to wear a sweater, it is too cold to apply a water base finish; therefore, regulate the heat of the room.
  • To maintain the finish, simply clean the surface with a damp cloth and wipe dry.
  • Break in a new piece of sandpaper or 3M pad by lightly sanding with them.
  • Rinse the foam pads well to remove any loose fibers before starting the project.
  • A paper plate covered in foil makes a great paint container.
  • When closing paint and stain cans, place a paper towel over the top to absorb splatters before tapping the lid closed.
  • 3M sanding pads are long-lasting.
  • To finish drawer knobs, sand them and then secure them to a piece of cardboard or the bottom of a box.
  • A semi-gel formula is more topical and does not penetrate as deeply, creating a more even distribution of color on any type of wood.
  • The type of wood the furniture is made of will affect the final look. For example, Oak, when finished, will result in a deeply grained look. Alder has less grain and stains more evenly.

Warnings

  • Never use ammonia-based products on water base finishes.
  • Never use steel wool at any point in the finishing. Steel particles, if left behind, will rust after the topcoat is applied.
  • Do not use tack cloths that contain linseed oil because they will contaminate the finish.
  • High humidity can cause the stain and paint to take longer to dry.
  • Cleaners that contain silicon or vegetable oils are not recommended because they leave a dull residue on the finish.

Things You'll Need

  • 180 grit sandpaper
  • 320 grit sandpaper
  • Drop cloth, old newspapers, or cardboard
  • Water base wood filler for filling any nail holes
  • Rubber gloves to prevent colorants staining skin
  • Foam brush or Handi Painter foam pads
  • Lint-free cloths or paper towels
  • 3M long masking tape, which is designed for painting and staining
  • Small bristle brush, such as a make up brush, for pulling stain out of corners.
  • Small piece of natural sea sponge
  • 2 water based wood paints of your choice
  • Water based wood topcoat of your choice

Article Info

Categories: Decorative Home Paintwork