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Prepping Furniture for Painting with MudPaint

package of rad pad sanding pad

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

It’s not hard to realize that preparing furniture for painting is going to be key to ANY MudPaint project.   While it does go on smoothly, adheres better than just about any other paint and is thicker and richer than others, the key to refinishing furniture is prepping.  It is often as easy as a good cleaning with a slightly damp rag! But Follow these steps for furniture prepping before using MudPaint:


Sometimes, more than a cleaning is needed and a light sanding is recommended. You may decide to use an electric mouse sander, an orbital sander, our new Rad Pad Sanding product or a non-electric sander. The upside of electric sanders is that you can accomplish a lot of sanding very quickly. The downside of electric sanders is that you may take off more material than you wanted. We would recommend using an electric sander on large surfaces that need a lot of sanding. A handheld non-electric sander is great for smaller surfaces that just need a light sanding in preparing furniture for painting.

What Grits of Sandpaper Should I Use?

We recommend using 180-220 grit on the surface of the piece.  Then, 320 grit after the first coat of primer (if you are using a primer) or after the first coat of paint. For sanding the last coat, we recommend 320-400 grit sandpaper or even 600 if you like a really smooth surface. Our new RAD Pad Sanding Pads are a wonderful option and have 8 total abrasive pads — 2 each from Medium to Fine to Very Fine and Super Fine!

How Much Sanding is Needed?

A surface that has been waxed, treated with furniture polish or just has a slick surface that paint won’t adhere to should be well sanded. In preparing furniture for painting, it’s not necessary to sand the surface down to the wood, but to sand it to a point that the paint has something to adhere too. If you can’t get your surface sanded to a point that paint will adhere or just don’t want to do the extra work, consider using a coat of primer.

package of rad pad sanding pad

To Prime or Not to Prime

Our recommended brands of primer are water based primers, we’ve also had success using Cover Stain & Rustoleum’s All Purpose Primer.  We do not recommend BIN’s shellac primer with MudPaint. To save time, consider using the primer in a spray can. Spray from about 12″ away from the surface and do not overlap your strokes too much, in order to prevent dripping. Primer drips should be allowed to dry and then sanded smooth.  We recommend a light sanding over a coat of primer to maintain a smooth surface to paint on.

Laminate Surfaces

Paint will not normally adhere well to laminate surfaces without a coat of primer underneath. You can try a test area to see if MudPaint will adhere to your laminate surface. If it does not, we would recommend applying a primer before painting.


For plastic surfaces, always use a coat of plastic primer before applying MudPaint.  MudPaint will not adhere directly to plastic. Most paints will not adhere to plastic without a primer designed to adhere to plastic surfaces.

Post Sanding

Once your surface has been sanded and paint can adhere to the surface, you will need to make sure the surface is completely clean. We recommend a wet rag, wrung out.  Or windex and a rag. The idea is to make sure there are no oils, dust or residue left on the surface.  No paint or primer will adhere well to oils, wax or dust. Do a complete and thorough cleaning.

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