Easy Way To Paint Chair Spindles When You Can't Spray

Painting wooden chairs with all those spindles can be very time consuming and the quickest way to get the job done is with a paint sprayer. But if you're an apartment dweller or your only option is to paint indoors then here is an easy way to paint chair spindles when you can't spray. Also included in this tutorial is what to do when sanding isn't an option either.

An Easy Way To Paint Chair Spindles
...and what to do when you encounter a challenging chair like the one in this makeover.
Easy Way To Paint Chair Spindles

Easy Way To Paint Chair Spindles Without A Paint Sprayer


Easy Blue Painted Chair Spindles
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Painting spindles without a sprayer

It's all about using the right brush and controlling the paint. How? By using a round synthetic paint brush like this one. I'm not trying to sell you paint brushes here, I'm sharing how when I switched to using this brush, it rocked my spindle painting world! The silky fine bristles glide over the spindles with uniform coverage and leave no brush strokes behind.


But the next thing that makes all the difference when painting spindles is brushing the paint in thin coats. I don't mean thinning the paint but rather putting less paint on the brush and moving the paint over the spindles before redipping the brush. It eliminates the build-up of paint in the tight ridges and helps prevent dreaded paint drips.

This is the chair after the first thin coat of paint...
Chair Spindles After First Paint Coat
The chair was painted with Annie Sloan Old Violet, a pretty cornflower blue. The photo below doesn't capture the true paint color seen in person.
Chair Spindles Painted Old Violet Color
Here are the spindles painted and after a matte topcoat, which we'll discuss further down in this post.
Paint Chair Spindles The Easy Way

What to do when sanding furniture indoors isn't an option

Many chalk paint brands say their paint doesn't require sanding but I ALWAYS err on the side of caution by going over the piece lightly with a sanding pad first. I want to give the paint that extra bite, especially considering I sell my pieces.

BUT having said that there are a few situations where sanding first isn't an option.
  • Require a dust-free zone when painting indoors
  • Wood is mahogany or cherry and opening the pores guarantees paint bleed
  • Has a glossy paint, lacquered, or melamine finish
  • Possibility it could have been painted with lead-based paint

In these cases always prime the furniture instead. I've tried several primers over the years and this is my go-to Primer.
Chair Spindles Primed
This particular old chair was made in the former Yugoslavia. It had been painted a glossy white that was chipping in some areas. Because I had no idea whether it had been painted with a lead-based paint, I was not taking the risk of sanding.
Wood Spindle Chair Furniture Makers Stamp

What to do when there is paint resist

Like humans, some furniture can be more stubborn than others. Such was the case with this chair and for the life of me I couldn't figure out why. I've never had this problem after priming a piece. I knew it wasn't the paint because I've used the Old Violet on this Vintage Farmhouse Cupboard and Art Deco Waterfall Sideboard.

After applying two coats of paint there was some paint resist on parts of the chair. The only thing I can think of is that when thoroughly cleaning the chair I found candle wax drips in some areas. Despite removing the drips with a razor blade scraper perhaps there was still an ever so slight waxy residue left.

Regardless, if you ever come across this problem brush more primer over the paint and try again. Priming over the paint sealed whatever it was and I was able to get good coverage after that.

Topcoat for painted wooden chairs 

Wood chairs in a kitchen receive a lot of wear and tear, are prone to spills, and get wiped often and so I prefer protecting the paint with a durable water-repellent top coat. Dixie Belle Gator Hide is my go-to clear finish for chairs, table tops, and children's furniture. I also love it because it provides a beautiful matte finish over chalk paint.
Easy Painted Chair Spindles Topcoat
Once the chalk paint is completely dry, apply gator hide in two or three thin coats, waiting about 2 hours between each coat. It can be applied with a sponge applicator but my preference is using the same round synthetic brush used to paint the spindles and the synthetic brush pictured below for the seat.

The gator hide should cure for at least 48-hours before using the chair.
Painted Chair Spindles With Topcoat
I hope you found this post helpful and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask in the comment section below or press the Contact Me button at the top of the blog to send me an email.

Easy Way To Paint Chair Spindles
An Easy Way To Paint Chair Spindles
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