WET Sanding-For a Professional Smooth Finish

Painting it Forward

Part 1-

 The Importance of a Great Finish and Building Long-Term Relationships with your Customers.

 (Not for Wax Finishes)


Yes Touch Me: I’m that lady who touches every finish I come across when shopping. While I’m running my fingers over these pieces I’m guessing if it is wax, how long it will hold up to the buyer’s daily life, is it rough like homemade, etc.  I really should stop doing this because I’m allergic to wax and usually end up with a rash. 😉 But there is a method to my madness, I do this because I want to view pieces like a potential buyer would. I’m not the only one who is going to touch and when a customer feels a sticky, waxy finish they tend to walk away.  Buyers are looking for more than just a pretty piece, they are looking for quality.  One reason customers walk past a lot of these waxed pieces is because they tend to feel rough, have a buildup of dust and they have started to yellow.  This is why VAX is such a great choice when you are painting to sell and trying to build long-term relationships with your customers.

Why VAX=No wax, No need to reapply, No sticky buildup, Non Yellowing, No buffing, and Non-toxic.

Long-Term or Short-Term Goals: Have you set your Paint Business goals?  Are you looking to do quick furniture flips? Do you care if the person that buys a piece from you ever purchases from you again?  Is this just a hobby or a dream job in the works?  For me, my goal is to give my customers a piece that will last a lifetime and that is not what I’m seeing while I’m out shopping/touching.  Flipping for a quick buck is all around me, but we don’t have the same customers.  My customers want quality, non-toxic finishes.  I want to keep my customers forever; I never want to receive a call that my finish didn’t hold up even if it is 4 years down the road.  So set your goals for Long-Term relationships and watch your business change.

Your competition: This is not a hobby for me, I’m in it for the long haul and the ones that flip for a quick buck come and go. They don’t charge enough, they flood the market with low quality pieces, they get complaints and they will eventually have a reputation of selling pieces with bad finishes.  They are usually gone within a year or two.  They are NOT your competition, so don’t give them a second thought.  I hate hearing flippers complain about someone selling too cheap down the road, talking ugly about their style, etc.. Either help that person with what you have learned or let them do their own thing.  It will always work out in the end.  Only the strong survive!  Yes, I charge more for my pieces because I put a lot of work into them and finish them to last.  My customers over the years have come to appreciate this and give me glowing referrals!

Long-Term Customers and Long-Term Care: One way to make sure your customers are happy and they don’t damage all your hard work, is to supply “Care Instructions” with all your painted pieces.  If your customers are using Windex to clean your furniture it will eventually fail, and this makes us all look bad. It is up to you to make sure they know this, and customers appreciate the extra steps you take in making a part of their home perfect and will help establish that long term relationship that will help make you successful at furniture flipping.

Water & Painting??: There are lots of reasons to use water while transforming furniture. For example; to temporarily weaken the paint’s adhesion for more control while distressing or layering, to store your paintbrushes in between coats, and it is also great for keeping the dust down while you are distressing. We will go over all these techniques at another time, today we are creating a smooth professional finish.

Comment below with painting technique’s you would like to see in our next “Painting it Forward” post.

So back to the Wet Sanding, it is a little extra work, but so worth it, when you are doing a piece that will get heavy use, you should absolutely try this.  If you are doing a very rustic…chippy…distressed piece that you want to have a shabby look and feel, this is not necessary.  I do it on kitchen cabinets, dining room table tops, counters, flooring etc.  Anything that will get touched a lot!  It looks and feels like a million bucks while strengthening the finish.  Doing this makes my pieces stand out from everyone else’s, and the touch speaks for itself.

  1. Okay, first go buy some fine grit sanding sponges and have an old nail brush handy to keep them clean so they last. I use them for everything. One sanding sponge will last me a few weeks if I don’t let the paint dry on it.
  2. Clean your piece!!!!! Be thorough, if you miss a spot with pledge on it or old oil, your paint could possibly peel. This is the fastest, easiest way to achieve a clean, ready to paint surface and avoid possible heartache later on.  Wet the sanding sponge and lightly ring it out, then mist your piece with your non-toxic cleaner. (50/50 water/vinegar one drop of dawn) Scrub clean then rinse with a wet rag, let dry.
  3. Rinse your sanding sponge with water to remove any leftover vinegar.
  4. Now you are ready! Paint your first coat and let dry.
  5. Wet Sanding: Wet your sanding sponge and mist your painted surface with water. Lightly sand keeping your sanding sponge level, don’t get to aggressive around edges unless you are wanting to remove paint for a distressed look. Be gentle with your paint while it is wet, once it dries it will be strong again.

  1. Wipe down with a slightly damp lint free rag. (I like old washrags)
  2. You can wet sand after every coat if you like, I usually do it on the second coat of paint and after the first coat of VAX or Shabby Varnish. If I’m doing Kitchen cabinets or an ultra-modern sleek finish, I do it after every coat.


Now touch it…yeap I told you it feels awesome and your customers are going to love it!

Don’t stop learning and I won’t stop sharing what I learn (usually the hard way)

Take your skills to the next level, take a class from your local Shabby Paints Stylist!

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Comment below with furniture flipping topics you would like to see in our next “Painting it Forward” post.