DIY - Furniture Painting

How to Seal Chippy Painted Furniture

Welcome back! Last week I shared with you the tips and tricks to distressing chippy furniture. If you missed the prep paint and distressing steps for this particular piece of furniture or want to catch up on any posts from my introduction to furniture painting series, you can find all the past posts HERE. Today I am going to share with you my holy grail furniture finishing product. Today we will be discussing how to seal chippy furniture.

*Disclaimer this post contains affiliate links.

How to Seal Chippy Painted Furniture

How to seal chippy furniture can be little more challenging than other types of furniture. The paint on this dresser I painted is literally chipping and flaking off. Even though we distressed it last week, because the milk paint distresses on its own it can be a little difficult. Today I am going to share to to tackle some of the issues that arise when you try to seal chippy furniture.

How to seal chippy furniture-Step One

The first step to seal chippy painted furniture is to start with a clean surface. I like to blow all the dust and debris off of the furniture. The furniture gets very dusty in the distressing process so this is a key step before you start sealing chippy painted furniture.

I’ve mentioned many times that. my favorite way to do this is with my leaf blower. This gets a little tricky with such a chippy piece of furniture though. The trick is to just stand far enough back when you’re blowing that it doesn’t fully blast the piece of furniture. If chips of paint are really flying off step further back. It should be gentle enough to blow off the dust but not too forceful that its blowing all the paint off with it.

Drawers and Hardware

At this point in the process I remove the drawers. Place them face up on the ground and remove the hardware. This will make it much easier to apply the poly top coat if you don’t have to work on a vertical surface. Taking the hardware off will also eliminate build up and pooling in the tiny details and around the handle. You can paint them separately on a hard surface if you choose too. I opted not to.

Step Two- How to Seal Chippy Furniture

Next you want to finish cleaning the surface by wiping everything down with a damp cloth. Try to avoid the chippy areas if you can. Wipe all other surfaces inside and out so that all the left over dust is completely wiped away. This is a crucial step before trying to seal chippy furniture. Your top coat will be lumpy and bumpy and even look dusty if you don’t thoroughly clean the surface before trying to seal chippy furniture.

Step Three-Your Products & Tools

The tools you use to seal chippy painted furniture are just as important as selecting the right products.

I learned after applying my first polyurethane coat to a piece of furniture that a paint brush is NOT the way to apply it. I ended up with obvious brush stokes, an un-even application and drip marks that dried into place. The key tool for applying a top coat to seal chippy painted furniture, is to use a foam paint roller.

Tools Needed to Seal Chippy Furniture :

Foam paint roller will help ensure a very even and beautiful finish. It will eliminate those dreaded brush stokes and leave a beautiful finish on your furniture.

Foam paint brushes are important for brushing away those drips and getting into the tight corners and crevices, Don’t under estimate the importance of such a simple tool for this process! It will also be helpful ?in softly applying the top coat to the areas that are chipping.

My experience is that once you have used a polyurethane top coat on any brushes, foam rollers etc. you’ll need to throw them away. Its nearly impossible to get the oils out of your tools once you’re done sealing chippy furniture. ?Even with my holy grail brush cleaning solution. Be sure not to use your favorite paint brush for this project or expensive tools you’d be sad to ruin.

Unique Soft Touch Polyurethane Matte Top Coat by Varathane-?

This white dresser was the first time I had used this polyurethane top coat to seal chippy painted furniture. Or any furniture for that matter. It was a jewel of a discovery. In the past I have tried to pair other polyurethane top coats that were labeled as “matte” on chalk or milk painted furniture. I was discouraged to find that the finished products weren’t truly matte and still had a small shine to them.

How to Seal a Chippy Milk Painted Dresser 3

This product is the first truly matte poly top coat that I have used! I was impressed by it in every way! Here are the things I discovered after using it!

  • Low Voc not as potent and smelly as other polyurethane products
  • Its a thiner and more pliable product making for a very easy and forgiving application. It goes on smoothly and applies very evenly as well!
  • It has such a beautiful truly matte finish making it the perfect top coat for chalk or milk painted products
  • It’s very durable. This makes if perfect for high traffic pieces of furniture
  • Since it isn’t as thick as other polyurethane top coats a little goes a long way! Meaning you’ll get more projects out of one can!
  • Its easy to find! I hate falling in love with a top coat that I can only order online! This you can find at nearly any local hardware store making it easily accessible. I got mine at my local Ace Hardware!

The Holy Grail of Polyurethane Top Coats

Those are some of the many reasons I love this product! I have since used it again on a different project that had a much different finish and the results were just as beautiful! Also this is not a sponsored product. I just happened to randomly pick it up one day and I’m so glad I did!

Step 4 How to Seal Chippy Furniture

Now that we have prepped our furniture, and you have all the right tools and products its time to get to the good stuff! How to seal chippy painted furniture. I start by mixing up my poly top coat really well with a paint stick. Then I just dip my foam paint roller right in!

I don’t like to use a paint pan for top coats for a few reasons. I think it just beckons for dirt and debris to fly into it. Keeping it in the can keeps it more protected. I also find that if I pour it into a pan it starts to quickly form a film and changes consistency in the heat outside. For these reasons I just use the can. It takes a little more practice and effort to keep it from splashing and dripping but I still prefer keeping it in the can.

Applying the Top Coat

Using your foam paint roller begin painting the top coat on the top surface of your furniture. Apply very light even layers eliminating roller strokes as you go. Make sure you have enough product on your roller to saturate the surface as you roll it on. But not too much that it begins to start flying and dripping all over. You’ll get a hang of the right consistency as you go!

Don’t use too much force to apply the roller to your furniture. Easy does it. A soft touch will mean less roller marks.

I prefer to start at the top and work my way down. This way if any of the poly coat drips I’ll have a chance to catch it as I work my way down. This product dries pretty quickly so eliminating drips before they dry is ideal.

Use your foam roller for as much as you can then follow up with your foam paint brush in the areas the roller couldn’t reach. I like to keep my roller on hand as I use the foam paint brush. I’ll apply some poly with the foam paint brush and then immediately follow up behind it with my roller. This ensures an even and smooth application.

How to Seal a Chippy Milk Painted Dresser 10

How to Seal the Chippy Areas of Furniture

When you reach the areas that are very chippy go slow and you may even wan to use your foam paint brush to lightly paint the top coat on. The key is to not lift up more of the chippy paint but keep an even coat of poly thats not bumpy or lumpy.

If paint chips begin to start tracking on to the un chippy surfaces of your furniture simply lift them up with your finger and quickly roll your paint roller over the area so the indention doesn’t dry in place. You may want to add more product to your roller as you do this.

Applying Additional Coats

I applied 3 coats on the top of my dresser and 2 on the bottom drawers, sides and bones of the dresser. This was the perfect amount of coverage for a tough finish. Be sure to let the polyurethane completely dry between coats. I also would suggest using a foam sanding block to smooth out the areas where the paint chipped or any other imperfections between coats. Be sure to just wipe them with a lightly damp rag and then wait till they are dry before going in with more coats.

Trouble Shooting Tip

I realized too late that I had a piece of hair dry onto to one of my drawer fronts ?under the poly top coat. So I scraped it out gently and then used my foam sanding block to smooth out the imperfection. I just added an additional coat of poly and it was good as new! this trick can be used for drips that dry in place too! No matter how careful you are sometimes little things like this happens! This is a simple and effective solution.

In Conclusion: How to Seal Chippy Painted Furniture

This particular polyurethane will really make this process a breeze! I have yet to use a product that worked and applied so seamlessly! I hope you will find that to be true for you as well! Once again if you missed other steps of this project be sure to head HERE!

Im so happy you joined me today! thanks for being here! Next week we will be starting a new piece of furniture! Its going to be a fun color you won’t want to miss!

XO Haley





4 Comments on “How to Seal Chippy Painted Furniture

  1. Hello,

    Thank you for posting these awesome videos! I had a project that I had issues with the poly turning the piece yellow. So after watching this video, I order this type of poly right away and was excited to use it. Now applying my first coat, I can see yellowing, but I can’t tell if it is bleed through or from the poly. Any advice for this certain problem I am having? Should I try use a sealer first to see if it would help, then apply another coat of white?

  2. I am having a hard time finding the brand of top coat you are using. I don’t see it in your blog and I can understand what you say in the video. Is it Varathane?

    Many thanks,

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