How to paint wood furniture black successfully

To successfully paint wood furniture black is difficult. Top coats often turn out streaky. Fortunately I found a way to get a great result.

Black and white are some of the hardest paint colours to finish well.

Many thanks to Dixie Belle for sponsoring this post.

This post includes gifted products and affiliate links so you can easily find the products I use myself and recommend to friends. If you purchase these products, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

How to paint wood furniture black successfully

The wooden cabinet

My friend saw this cabinet on Facebook Marketplace. The owner had been trying to sell it unsuccessfully and eventually listed it for free, saying it would go to the dump the next day.

It would have been such a shame if this had been thrown away.

The original cabinet

It was in great condition, although, it did have some rather adorable artwork on it, which you can see in the Youtube video.

If I kept the cabinet, I would have left the drawings, as they were sweet and add to its story. But I don’t expect a buyer to want to see a child’s drawing on their new furniture.

The inside of the original cabinet

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Prepping for paint

I cleaned the whole piece twice with White Lightning, and it needed it. The water was black after the first clean. That’s the downside of ornate pieces, dust settles in them so easily.

As I planned to paint the wood cabinet black, I used my sander to take the shine off the previous finish. The triangular sanding head is great for getting into corners.

The dust extractor attachment also means that I can sand in the house without making a mess.

Much better than working in a cold shed at the moment!

Sanding the cabinet

For the first time, this piece came to me with a slightly musty smell. It’s a common issue so I knew some ways to help remove it.

It’s always interesting to have something new to tackle. Well, when there’s an easy solution, at least!

To help the musty smell, I used BOSS primer in clear. BOSS is designed to block the smell in and it worked perfectly.

Primers often come in white or grey but I wanted clear in this case as I was painting a dark colour. Brown to black is a much easier transition than white to black.

Painting with Black Sands

As painting wood furniture black can be hard, I started with a paint range that I already knew had good coverage.

This paint is Black Sands from Dixie Belle’s mineral paint line, Silk. It’s a lovely grey-black. Not as heavy-looking as some true blacks can be.

I needed two coats of Black Sands, which is what I’ve come to expect of the colours in the Silk range.

If you like black, this bumblebee makeover sold lightning fast!

Using a brush on the top to paint wood furniture black with Black Sands

I used the same flat brush to paint the ornate area but a round brush would have worked better to get into the details. So, I went back over it with a tiny detail brush before the second coat.

Using a brush on the details to paint wood furniture black

After two coats of paint, one of the doors kept catching on the base. There are two solutions to doors catching. Either adjust the hinges to pull the door up or sand back some of the wood.

I chose to sand back the base of the door a few millimetres, which made it just thin enough so that it didn’t catch.

Sanding the bottom of the door

The advantage of having the piece upside down to sand the door was that it gave me a great view of the piece from other angles, to touch up any imperfections.

It’s something probably no one would ever notice but still a good opportunity to look it over.

Sealing the black cabinet

I’d been recommended hemp oil as a good sealer over black. Black is often tricky and lots of sealers leave streaks.

I used an old T-shirt to apply a small amount of Howdy-Do hemp oil. It was really easy to apply which was great. I do like an easy life.

After a day, I wiped off any excess which hadn’t completely absorbed into the wood. As I haven’t used hemp oil before, I did two coats for extra durability.

Adding hemp oil to seal the paint wood furniture black

New (old) handles

The handles were a bit too heavy-looking for my taste so I decided to change them.

I still had the original handles from the beautiful bird cabinet I made over. Those intricate handles would match the floral, ornate details of this cabinet nicely.

I used 180 grit sandpaper to rub off some tarnishing on the handles and create some shiny detailing.

Comparing the new handle to the ornate details

Adding wallpaper

I chose to cover the back of the cabinet with wallpaper. This is called Japandi and is from B&M.

The pink and white leaves have gold edges that subtly complement the metallic handles.

Adding wallpaper to the cabinet

To cover the back, I needed four pieces of wallpaper and lined them up so the pattern matched both horizontally and vertically.

I attached the pieces with wallpaper paste and used a wallpapering brush to smooth the paper flat.

Transfers are another great way of adding a nature theme. Such as on this magazine rack.

The finished wood cabinet

I like that the texture of the wood grain is still visible, particularly on the doors. It adds to the character and you can tell that it’s not just MDF. You can see the texture even better in the photo with the new handle, above.

I’m also really happy with the handles. As they’re smaller, they’re a bit more delicate and allow for the focus to be elsewhere on the cabinet.

Finished piece showing how to paint wood furniture black

The cabinet could hold books or even bottles and glasses. The update makes it more of a statement piece.

Finished piece with an open door

I couldn’t resist including this photo. My dog, Puzzle, was missing out on fuss when taking photos, so came to claim a spot on the rug.

I couldn’t have found a more beautiful accessory to the cabinet!

Finished piece with my dog as an accessory

Have you tried to paint wood furniture black? Did it work well? Please share your experiences in the comments.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy this one using pink paint


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Libbie Burling
Libbie Burling
6 months ago

This was a GREAT find! I love the new color and that wallpaper!

Christin
6 months ago

Looks beautiful! I love the print inside!

Elizabeth@pineconesandacorns
6 months ago

This looks beautiful! I love the wallpaper! And your sweet pup, the perfect model to showcase this wonderful piece.

Paula@SweetPea
6 months ago

You did an amazing job making over this cabinet. I absolutely love the end result.

Donna
6 months ago

Such a dramatic makeover! I love how it turned out, the color is beautiful and the wallpaper looks amazing! Great job, Donna

Katherine Elder
Katherine Elder
6 months ago

I love this 😍If only I had a bigger flat…

Rosemary
6 months ago

I so agree, black and white are sometimes tough. I love it though. Great job.

Cindy
6 months ago

Black is one of my favorite colors for furniture and I have painted several pieces using it. Great tutorial on this piece! Pinned 😊

Kim
Kim
6 months ago

You did a great transformation. Love the wallpaper you used.

Linda Johnston
6 months ago

Love this cabinet!

Pam
Pam
3 months ago

Beautiful! And I don’t usually like black furniture!

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