ALWAYS DO A SCRATCH TEST FIRST. Our product will adhere to most surfaces without any preparation other than a simple cleaning with soapy water. Don’t use TSP or any other commercial cleaners. Make a solution using regular dish soap and water with the same ratio of soap to water as you would use to wash dishes. Wipe down the piece removing all the dirt and grime. If there is any mold or mildew present, make a solution of household bleach and water, about two capfuls of bleach to a gallon of water and wipe down the affected areas. Allow to dry thoroughly prior to painting. Also, some old furniture has dye in the wood and it can bleed through and cause discolouration in your finish. So, very rarely, there are some surfaces that need prep. Here’s how to find out if your piece is one of those cases: (Bleed through is not discussed below, so make sure you test for that – sometimes, you have to let those surfaces dry for a few days before you see any bleed through)
Find a fairly discreet place to conduct your scratch test – the side of the chair or the apron of a table. But, don’t select the underside of a table or chair because that area may not have been subjected to various cleaners or chemicals that the top and sides may have been that will inhibit adhesion. Paint about a square inch of van Gogh Fossil Paint and allow it to dry overnight. The next day, scratch the paint with your fingernail. Don’t scratch at the edge of your test patch, scratch in the middle. If it doesn’t come off, you know our Fossil Paint will adhere to your surface. If it comes off but you have to work at it a bit, then it’s still Ok because it takes 30 days to cure and the adhesion increases over time. However, if the paint comes off in FLAKES when you scratch it, or rubs off easily, you know you need to do some kind of preparation to the piece prior to painting.
If you do need to prep, start with a very quick sanding with 220 grit sandpaper. Scuff, scuff, that’s enough! You don’t want to sand it smooth because that would make the surface very slick, and inhibit adhesion, you just want to create some tooth for the Fossil Paint to hang on to.
Repeat the scratch test. If you still get poor adhesion, bump up your prep to the next level: PRIMER. Do another scratch test but with the primer. Purchase a good quality primer and paint an inch somewhere on the piece and try to scratch it off the next day. If it sticks, then you can prime the whole piece and allow to dry according to the instructions on the primer. Then paint with Fossil Paint as usual.
If the primer does not adhere, you have two choices, strip the piece or walk away from it. Personally, I do not want to strip furniture, that’s why we have van Gogh Fossil Paint! So we don’t have to do all that hard and nasty work. I would walk away from the piece at that point.
Other than that, I would avoid raw pine that is freshly hewn. A lot of new pine resin can seep out and cause tiny raised bumps in your finish. Also, red mahogany often leeches dye into your paint and causes unsightly stains as mentioned above but other pieces might have this problem as well.
Make sample boards too! You’ll be glad you did before you attack the piece of furniture. It’s a lot easier to change you mind on a small sample than on an entire piece of furniture.
Good luck! Send us pictures!