Prepping Your Project For A Makeover

Prepping Your Project For A Makeover

3 EASY Steps To Get Your Project Ready To Paint. 

Here's what I hear ALL THE TIME... 'I love the look of the furniture and home decor projects produced in the RootBound studio but prepping furniture for paint is too hard and I just can't." Sound familiar?

Too often women are dismissing their ability to even start a project because they're already convinced they can't do it. It drives me crazy every time I hear a customer tell me that she can't. I assure you she can, she just doesn't know it. I'm here today to dispel the myth that creating beautiful home decor and custom furniture is outside of your skill level. 

Here are three easy and foolproof steps to get your project ready for your special creative touch:

Clean your surface well.

Before you do anything get out your rag and some cleaners and get your piece shined up. Even if you can't see it, there are oily films, dirt and just general nastiness imbedded in the surface of your treasure. Just because something looks clean doesn't mean it's ready to paint. You don't want ANYTHING between your paint, ink or transfer and your project. 

Depending on the surface I'm working on, I lean on a couple of different cleaners:

  • If I know there is a lot to scrub off a piece I may start with something like Bar Keeper's Secret and a Scotch Brite scrubber.
  • I'll also drag out a little TSP based cleaner, vinegar or bleach if the situation warrants it. TSP is good at giving your surface a little 'tooth' for the paint to adhere to so if you have a really slick or shiny varnished piece of furniture this may be a good place to start.

Remember whatever you use as a cleaner needs to come off too so make sure you rinse everything with clean water once you've finished spit shining to a sparkling clean.

Repair your work with ease.

Don't let repairs scare you away. Some loose drawer fronts, peeling paint, chipped veneer, missing hardware and rough edges are no match for ya. You got this. Jump in and give it an effort. 

  • A few clamps and some glue get loose joints tightened up overnight.
  • Some light scraping and sanding can take care of a lot of peeling paint and rough spots.
  • Lifting veneer can be glued and clamped and if you're missing a lot of veneer, you can remove it with a blow dryer or a heat gun and a scraper. Often those great old pieces of furniture have water damage or gouges in the veneer and also have a beautiful wood below that veneer. Don't be afraid of what you'll uncover. Live on the edge. If it's awful you paint it. 
  • There are no less that 1 million options for hardware swap outs. If you find a hardware that you love that doesn't match the current hole pattern on your drawers or doors, fill those old holes in with some paintable wood putty, let dry, sand and drill new holes for your perfectly picked new hardware. Easy Peasy!

YouTube is your friend dear one. Someone (or 568 some-ones), somewhere has done the exact repair you need to make and they can show you in 10 minutes or less how to get it done. 

Give everything a scuff sand.

Now listen, I don't mean give it all ya got and get every last remnant of the existing finish off this piece, I'm talking about a light sand with a sanding block, some 220(ish) grit sandpaper, and your hand. No power tools required. Sanding gives your piece a rougher surface that paint loves! Don't overdue this and worry about being perfect. Just give it a once over and move on. 

Spray or wipe that dust away and you're ready to add the fun. 


Getting your projects prepped and ready to be your creative canvas is a great way to REALLY get to know your furniture. Even furniture that you have owned forever can feel like a whole different piece when you approach it with the intent of a makeover. New pieces become a part of the family with all the attention and love. 

Get out there and give it a try. Stop fretting and start creating. You got this!


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