Painting our furniture
Jali made-to-measure furniture is supplied as natural or primed MDF for you to paint in the colour of your choice. Here are some tips on painting.
Before you start
Most items will require very little preparation. Fill any small gaps with wood filler and gently sand any rough edges or excess glue using fine-grade sandpaper. Remove any dust with a soft damp cloth. As with all woodwork, please make sure you wear a mask and work in a well-ventilated area.
What sort of paint should I use?
Any acrylic (water-based) paint will be fine for the top coat. If you've opted that your product is completely unpainted (rather than ready-primed), you'll also need a base coat of primer which will make the top coat a truer shade and not be affected by the colour of the natural MDF. The primer itself can be water-based, such as an emulsion paint or a proprietary acrylic primer. Apply the first coat thinly as you do not want paint to build up at the edges.
What's the best way to paint?
For solid areas, brushes and paint rollers work very well. Rather than one thick coat, you can get a better result from applying two or more thinner coats and rubbing down with fine sandpaper in between. In addition, we recommend painting both sides, which helps to prevent bowing as the paint dries out.
With grilles and fretwork, it's best to use a spray paint rather than a brush. This covers the edges without excess paint building up on the front of the grilles. In addition, paint them separately from the rest of the unit if they're part of a radiator cover panel or a cupboard door. If you do use a brush rather than a spray, do all the edges of the holes first with a dabbing action and then finish brushing the face with long even strokes.
When painting edge trims and pelmets, work along the decorative edge first and then paint the front. These items can also be sprayed, or use a small roller for the flat areas.
Painting a radiator grille using a spray can (video)
Can I use special paint effects with Jali?
MDF makes a very good base for paint effects. Try experimenting on a spare piece of MDF first (or on a reverse side that will not be seen). Here's a few ideas:
- Stencils work extremely well on flat surfaces particularly on items such as pelmets, drawer fronts, plain cupboard doors etc.
- Create a sponge effect by using as small amount of paint on the sponge and applying the colour gradually.
- Stripes: use masking tape and paint stripes in contrasting or subtle colours.
- For an antique effect, use crackle glaze, which is a special paint that is applied over the finished surface. As the glaze dries it breaks up to reveal the colour underneath.
- The Victorian art of dcoupage: cut images from wrapping or magazines and glue them carefully on to pre-painted surfaces. Leave to dry then seal with a couple of thin coats of varnish.