Stocking Your Prep Pantry

Posted by Jayne Belk on


Stocking Your Prep Pantry


It’s a rainy day in Hiawassee and while we’re waiting for the septic guy to come locate fill lines, a step in the process of procuring a building permit, I thought I’d share with you a few of my favorite things for prepping dirty furniture projects.


Let’s start at the top:


For small repairs to furniture (the only kind I do)

  1. Wood glue
  2. Wood filler
  3. Clamps
  4. Sand paper
  5. Sanding blocks


I do not re-purpose furniture that requires a lot of repair. I have a few power tools and some glue! There are plenty of project pieces out there that don’t need a lot of repairs. Unless you enjoy or have the skill set required to restore furniture, know your limits.



For cleaning dirty furniture or other projects I am painting:

  1. Vinegar and water 50/50 with a few drops of dish-washing liquid.
  2. OR for extreme cases-denatured alcohol
  3. Old rags
  4. Old paint brush
  5. Paper towels
  6. Gloves
  7. Shop towels (the blue kind, they’re lint free)
  8. Vacuum cleaner


Cleaning your projects before you paint is extremely important to the furniture painting process. My first goal is to remove the dust, cob webs, etc. with a vacuum cleaner and the brush attachment is my favorite tool for this step. Be sure to vacuum the entire piece; underneath, inside the drawers, everywhere. Once I’ve removed as much dirt as possible, I use my old paint brush to get in the cracks, crevices and places I couldn’t reach with the brush. After this process, I evaluate the piece to decide if I need to use denatured alcohol or if I think the vinegar and water solution will be enough. I try to remember to wear gloves during this process. If I’m using denatured alcohol, I will pour it onto a terry cloth rag and wash my project down thoroughly, let it dry, and evaluate. If it seems like I’ve removed a lot of grime and the piece was especially dirty, I might go over it once more with the alcohol…just to be sure. On pieces that are not too dirty I will use the vinegar and water solution and then I will wipe it down with a damp cloth, just to make sure I’ve not left any soapy residue behind.


Believe me, PREP is the foundation to a successful outcome with painted projects. Furniture polishes or waxes build up on furniture over the years and must be removed completely to avoid the possibility of paint not adhering to the surface. Sometimes the “lifting” will not show up until you start to apply your final coat of sealer or wax, which is not the best time to find out you didn’t prep correctly.

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