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 are an apartment dweller or your only option is to paint indoors then today I'm sharing three tips for 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



Easy Way To Paint Chair Spindles Without A Sprayer


...and what to do when you encounter a challenging chair like the one with peeling and scratched paint plus a glossy finish.

Paint Chair Spindles The Easy Way

This is the same chair after the makeover using the techniques I'll be sharing in this tutorial.

Easy Peasy Blue Painted Chair Spindles

This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend for this project. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

Three Tips For Painting Chair Spindles Without A Paint Sprayer

It's all about using the right brush, controlling the paint, and the brush stroke direction. Say what?

Tip 1 For Painting Chair Spindles

What type of brush you use makes a BIG difference. A round synthetic paintbrush like the one pictured below is a game-changer. I'm not trying to sell you paintbrushes here, just 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.


Tip 2 For Painting Chair Spindles

The next thing that makes all the difference when painting spindles is thin coats. Less paint is more and moving the paint over the spindles before redipping the brush. Start with a damp (not soaked) brush because it helps the paint glide over those spindles. I mist my round brush with a misting spray bottle first before dipping it into the paint and I spray it again before redipping the brush. It helps both thin and moves the paint over the spindles, getting more coverage per brush stroke.

Thin coats of paint eliminate the build-up of paint in the tight ridges and help prevent dreaded paint drips. In the photo below you can see the chair after the first thin coat of paint.

Painting Chair Spindles After First Coat

Tip 3 For Painting Chair Spindles

Move the brush from side-to-side rather than in up and down motions. Seriously, it makes all the difference in eliminating brush strokes plus prevents the paint from building up in the ridges.

The Wooden Chair Makeover Using This Technique

Here you can see the painted chair after using the tips above. It was painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in the color Old Violet, a pretty cornflower blue. I always lightly sand between coats with 220-grit sandpaper for a smooth finish.

Chair Spindles Painted Old Violet

The photo below is after the chair was protected with a clear matte topcoat, which we'll discuss further down in this post.

Chalk Paint Chair Spindles The Easy Way

What To Do When Sanding Wood 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. It just gives the paint that extra bite for a lasting finish.

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

In these cases always prime the furniture instead. I've tried several primers over the years and this is my go-to Primer.

Primed Chair Spindles The Easy Way

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 lead-based paint, I was not taking the chance by sanding the chair.

Wood Spindle Chair Makers Stamp

What To Do When There Is Paint Resist

It's important before you prime that you give the furniture a good clean to remove any grease, grime, and furniture wax build-up. One part vinegar to two parts water with a drop of Dawn dish soap is my most used method for cleaning the furniture but Simple Green or a degreaser also works well.

But like humans, some furniture can be more stubborn than others and such was the case with this chair. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why after priming first, the paint was resisting in some areas. I knew it wasn't the paint because I've used this can of Old Violet chalk paint on the Vintage Farmhouse Cupboard and Art Deco Waterfall Sideboard.

When cleaning the chair I found candle wax drips in some areas and I removed the wax with a razor blade scraper. Obviously, that wasn't enough because the ever so slight wax residue left behind caused the paint to resist in those areas.

If you ever come across this problem where paint resists in some areas, simply brush more primer over the paint and that should do the trick. It worked for my chair.

How To Protect The Paint Finish On Wooden Chairs 

Kitchen chairs receive a lot of wear and tear, prone to spills, and get wiped often and so I recommend protecting the paint with a durable water-repellent top coat. Gator Hide is my go-to clear finish for chairs, tabletops, 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 three coats of the topcoat about two hours between each coat. It can be brushed on with the same round paintbrush used to paint the chair or applied with a sponge applicator.

I should mention that the topcoat should cure for at least 48-hours before using the chair.

Easy Way To Topcoat Painted Chair Spindles

I hope you found these tips helpful. If you have any questions about this furniture painting tutorial, please leave them in the comment section below or the Contact Me tab at the top. I love hearing from you!

If you enjoyed these paint wooden chair tips, I'd be so thankful if you shared it with a friend and pinned it to your Chair Makeover or Painting Furniture Tips board on Pinterest.


An Easy Way To Paint Chair Spindles

Easy Way To Paint Chair Spindles Without A Sprayer

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22 comments

  1. This was very helpful. I am new at painting and found these tips great.

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    1. So glad you found them helpful, Jackie! Have fun on your furniture painting journey. 😊

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  2. Loved reading your tips on painting spindles. Very helpful as I'm in the process of painting my stairs banisters and spindles with Frenchic chalk paint. Thank you

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    1. You're welcome, Marie (great name by the way) 😉 Good luck with your stair banister & spindle painting and I'm so glad you found the tutorial helpful!

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  3. I'm painting an old rocking chair that has spindles, enjoyed the tips. I'm using benjamin moore advance paint have you used it and does the tips still apply? Also do you paint the bottom of the rails?

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  4. Absolutely! I've never used it for painting furniture because my preference is always chalk paint but the tips I share here would still apply. Yes, I always paint the underside of the rails and the chair seat for a finished look. I hope this helps!

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  5. if you dont sand, how do you get an even finish over the chipped paint areas? Also, is gatorhide suitable for an outdoor rocking chair?

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    1. Hi Elysia, well there are a couple of ways to even the chipped paint. You can get a lead test kit and if it comes back negative, then you're safe to go ahead and sand. Otherwise you could fill the grooves with a non-shrinking putty compound OR just go with the chippy paint for a more shabby chic look. As for Gator Hide being suitable for outdoors, I'm not 100% certain but after three coats it is a water-repellent clear coat. You may want to use an outdoor rated clear coat to be safe. I hope this helps!

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  6. Very helpful, never heard of Gator Hide and I've been painting a long time. Thanks

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    1. Awesome, I hope trying this topcoat is a game changer for you!

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  7. You shared some excellent points that I need to remember when painting thrift and vintage items. You should share this on the tailwind tribe!
    RR

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  8. Glad you found the tips informative Rachelle!

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  9. Thank you so much for the painting tips Marie. I actually have this paint color and haven't used it yet. Thank you for the inspiration! And thank you for sharing with Charming Homes and Gardens.

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    1. You're welcome, Kim! It's such a pretty color, you'll love it.

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  10. Great tips! I wonder if this would work on metal stair rail spindles? They are twisty and we need them painted. Not sure why the previous homeowner painted them in the first place but alas, now we have to do it. Bummer.

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    1. Dang Cindy, you definitely can't spray those without making a huge mess. A round brush would definitely do the trick for no brush strokes but what paint you use is a good question. You'll probably have to start with a metal primer. Good luck!

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  11. Thank you so much for sharing, I have a few chairs like this I've been stalling on. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. You're welcome Chas, I hope this inspired you to get those chairs painted!

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  12. Great tips and tutorial. Thank you!

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  13. ********************************************************
    Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
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    1. Thanks for the pin and share, Marilyn, and have a great week!

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