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  • The L.A. Design Team

From Start to Refinish

Hello D.I.Y’ers!

Today we are going to cover basic furniture refinishing. We will be doing a very simple project and using one color. For or any of you who are just starting out this will be very easy to follow and give you some basics you can apply to your own project.

First off, I strongly recommend that you read the blog post under the paint section entitled "Be Prepared. A Surface Story". It covers surface preparation before painting. Every project you tackle should start with adequate surface prep. Without it, the chances of having future issues with your paint project increase dramatically. If you want to take the risk of cutting corners on your prep or leaving it out all together, that’s entirely up to you, just be aware that you might wind up with blistering and peeling paint.

Now on to the good stuff…

The Project: Refinishing a couple of simple wooden chairs for the Design Centre.

two brown wooden chairs

Initial Condition of Project: A basic stain and clear coat, in good condition other than a few chips, scratches and some general wear. No major repairs required to the surface or structure.

Jar of blue paint, Fusion Mineral Paint
Champness. By Fusion Mineral Paint

Chosen Product: Fusion Mineral Paint.

Perfect for do it yourself-ers. It is self leveling to help reduce brush marks which makes it super easy to use, and it has a built-in top coat so it’s very durable. Plus, it’s 100% acrylic, so even if the existing coating was oil based, I knew it would stick. And the matte finish is beautiful. The color the we chose at the Design Centre was Champness. It’s a classic blue that can added a pop of color to our showroom while still being soft and elegant.

Step 1. Surface Prep. I started by washing them with TSP, and since I was using the powdered version, I rinsed them with warm water. Then they got a good scuff sand with a fine grit sanding sponge. I then dusted them off and started on the first coat of paint. The original coating was sound (not flaking or peeling) and not a difficult surface to paint, like plastic or ceramic so I didn’t need a primer for adhesion purposes or to seal the surface. And since they weren’t too dark, and I was using a color that would cover well I also didn’t need a primer as a foundation coat.

If the chairs had been a high gloss, I would have used a bonding primer just to give the paint a little extra help sticking. A bonding primer is designed for those smooth, hard surfaces that nothing seems to want to stick to. Fusion’s Ultra Grip primer is exactly this. It is easy to use, reasonably priced, and like all Fusion products, a little goes a long way.

paint brush, Fusion Mineral Paint
2" Fusion brush. A cost effective alternative to expensive brushes.

Step 2. Application (1st coat). I applied my Fusion paint with one of their 2-inch synthetic bristle brushes. The Fusion brand brushes are inexpensive, easy to clean and soft. I prefer a soft brush, I find that it helps reduce brush strokes. Just be aware that these handy little brushes do lose a bristle occasionally, but nothing major. It’s never ruined a project or made doing a project difficult. And if you’re the type of person that forgets to wash your brush or doesn’t like to, these are cheap enough that you could just toss them afterwards.

For larger projects I like to use Nour brand Brilliant Finish brushes, they are a decent brush that won’t break the bank. If I am working on a high-end project or one that is really important I will purchase Wooster brand over anything else. The Wooster Silver Tip is a beautiful brush. It’s particularly good for applying clear coats. I have a selection of brushes for different projects and purposes. From inexpensive throw away ones to my Woosters that I keep in the best condition possible.

I dipped my brush into the paint so that one quarter to one half of the length of the bristles were covered, and scape any excess paint off back into my container. I don’t want to have too much paint on my brush because applying too much product can cause brush strokes and adhesion problems.

I used steady, even strokes across the whole surface, trying not to lift my brush until I have reached an edge or corner. And I maintain a wet edge with each corresponding brush stroke. Meaning I work quickly enough that the paint has not begun to dry and get tacky from brush stroke to brush stroke. A wet edge reduces brush marks and ensures there are no lap marks. When you’re working with Fusion be aware that it has a relatively fast dry time (recoat time is 2 hours) so the product starts to tack up quickly. If you brush back into it once it has started to dry it no longer has enough flow to level itself and you can ruin the nice smooth paint job you just did.

After doing the first coat I took a quick look to make sure I didn’t have any drips or runs, and no excessive paint build up in the corners.


Time for the second coat. And because Champness covered so well it was the last coat.

Along some of the edges I noticed a little bit of paint build up and a drip that I missed so I took a sanding sponge to those to smooth things out a bit. You don’t want to sand off all the paint you’ve just applied, just smooth out the drips and remove any excess. If you stop every so often and run your hand over the surface to feel if everything it smooth. You can also give the whole chair a quick once over. It helps get that final coat nice and smooth.

Then I applied my Champness again just as I did before. Back to the waiting game….

2 blue painted chairs, Fusion Mineral Paint, Champness
Touch ups.


Now that the final coat is dry I take a very close look for any rough spots or spots I may have missed. I lightly sand a couple rough areas and give them a light coat and I touch up any where I missed. I am careful to check corners or places that aren’t directly visible when the chair is in a normal position.

Because these are only for display for now I won’t be clear coating them. But if I was going to put them into everyday use I would apply a clear coat just for added durability and wash-ability. Fusion makes Tough Coat, a wipe on clear coat in a matte finish. Or if I wanted something with more gloss I could use a high quality acrylic clear coat from my local paint store. A satin gives a soft sheen or if you want more light reflection a semi gloss works well.

And now….

Voila! We’ve turned these shabby old chairs into something trendy and chic!

If you’d like to learn more about Fusion Mineral Paint check out their website If you want to see what others have been doing with Fusion products you can check out the Facebook page

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