14 September 2010

PIY Pointers: Painting Spindles

Hello everyone!  Hope you're having a great day!

Ever pick up a piece of furniture think 'drat...spindles!'?  I know, they're daunting little things, not like a smooth flat surface you can just roll your brush back and forth...but enough about that - let's talk spindles.  Don't be afraid, it just takes a little patience and the right tool.

You'll need:
a piece of furniture with spindles
an extra fine sanding sponge
primer (I prefer water-based)
paint (I prefer latex/water-based)
a 2 1/2 inch thin flat paintbrush
finish (I prefer water-based either spray or regular)

Many folks stick to spray primer and spray paint for this type of job but I've found the colour selection of spray paint to be quite limiting so I've switched back over to latex paint for this type of project.  Spray primer is much more expensive than regular primer so it's an economic decision as well.

1. Pick the right tool
Everyone has their own way of doing things so keep in mind this is just what I have found to work best for me.  My tool of choice is a 2 1/2 inch flat brush.

When I first started I just used any old paint brush and it looked so sloppy and left excess paint in all the nooks and crannies.  One day I dug into my old watercolour supplies and started pulling out all my smaller paint brushes.  What a difference they've made on precision, finishing and tight spots.  This particular brush I picked up at Walmart in the arts and crafts section for under $7.  I call it the spindle master!

2. Prep your piece
To get started, do a light sanding of your spindles.  I use a sanding sponge that I wrap around the spindle and rotate as I move up and down.  This should rough it up enough for the primer and paint to adhere.

3. Prime your piece
Starting with primer (sorry I did the primer at night so the pics are dark, forgive me!) put a small amount on your brush and start working from top to bottom or vice versa holding your brush in a horizontal position (opposite the spindle).  Using the flat part of the brush, apply the paint brushing back and forth with the direction of the spindle.  The end of your brush can be rotated to get into the spindles grooves, keeping the same horizontal motion of the brush. Continue rotating the furniture or move around it to get all angles of the spindle.

It will look terrible but that's okay, primer always does!  The main point is to use as little paint as possible while covering the wood.

4. Paint your piece
After a few coats of primer and a good overnight drying, you can move on to your paint.  You will basically repeat the process until you have full coverage of the spindle (usually 2-3 thin coats).

5. Finish your piece
To complete the project, I either repeat this process using a water-based polyurethane finish or I take it outside and use the same finish in a spray form.  Again, this is a more expensive option and if you take it slow with your flat brush, you can conquer any spindle!

How do you paint your tough little areas?  Have you found success with spindles?


  1. I am really bad with all the painting but I am learning so much from you,darling:)
    It looks great

  2. Thank you Lenore! I think the bed frame might have to stay unpainted, I'm not sure if I have the patience for such a detailed project...

    Thank you for all the info.


  3. I do it exactly the same as you, except I always skip the prep sanding and choose to use an adhesion primer instead...magic stuff! :)
    xx Karen

  4. Nice pointers L!

    Love the color too-
    or since I'm writing to a fellow Canadian-

  5. that's how i do it, too, but i find sometimes an angle brush helps reaching into all those little narrow parts of the spindles. this is why i don't do many chairs- i hate all the spindles! :)

  6. Great tutorial! I've recently gone back to using brushes instead of spray paint, and I'm loving just 'getting to know' each piece instead of rushing thru it.

    Just stumbled on your blog, enjoying it, and following :)


  7. I do the same as you using smaller flat brushes. I also have a fairly large lazy susan that smaller tables will fit on and it makes it so much easier just spinning my way to each spindle! Spindles are a pain but I love pieces that have them :)


Thanks so much for stopping by, I love reading all your comments! If you have a specific question, please email me at lhume1@mts.net. XO Lenore