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How to Paint Your Piano!

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Ah, the old piano. That big, brown, I'm-doing-nothin-for-ya furniture piece that's sucking the design right out of your living room (shrieking in the background). And while it seems to be a good decoration piece with it's doily and all, think how amazing it would really be when you ditch the blah brown and transform it to be yellow, emerald green, or even teal! 

I wanted to paint my piano for 5 months and finally mustard up the courage (you know I love my puns). Now, it's my absolute favorite accent piece. So, if you're all keyed up (couldn't resist), don't be. Stop and think, what's the worst that could happen?

This tutorial will teach you how to prep, paint and transform your piano the best way I know. And though there are many ways to paint your furniture, this worked out excellent for me. Now, go on and paint your own!
 
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Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Prep Work Supplies

  1. 1" painter's tape
  2. Electric sander
  3. 60 and 150 grit sandpaper
  4. 1 gallon Zinsser BIN primer
  5. Tack cloth (1-2 packges)
  6. 1 Large brown roll of craft paper
  7. Two foam brushes (2" and 3")
Painting Supplies

  1. 1-2 qts of Sherwin William's interior acrylic latex satin finish (the yellow color is "Gambol Gold")
  2. Miniwax polycrylic protective finish
  3. Two foam brushes (2" and 3")
  4. Tack cloth 
  5. 220 grit sand paper

Step 2: Prep Work: Taping and Sanding

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To begin your prep work, first get your piano ready:

  1. Move your piano downstairs and outside after making your nice neighbors haul it up two flights of stairs a couple months ago.
  2. Remove the "music desk" on your piano (this holds the sheet music).
  3. Remove any hardware, like the pulls for your lid.
Next, you'll tape everything off, sand, and then dust.

*For an amazingly smooth and lovely piano finish, don't ditch a good prep job. This includes taping, sanding, dusting, and priming. I know some tutorials ditch sanding as prep work at times, but I sand because I care :) It also creates an unbeatable smooth finish.

Taping Off

Using the brown craft paper and painter's tape, tape off and cover anywhere dust can get into, or anywhere you don't want painted. This includes:
  • Inside the top of the piano
  • Covering the piano keys
  • Covering the piano foot pedals
  • Covering the metal hardware for the music desk
Sanding

Remind yourself that any color is better than a beat up color, and then begin to sand with 60 grit sandpaper. You don't need to sand until the brown finish is off. Just do a nice sanding over the whole piano. Sanding is used for two main reasons here, to (1) help the paint adhere better to the piano and (2) create an ultra smooth finish.

Dusting

Wipe off most of the dust created by the sander initially with a dry rag, then use tack cloth to wipe the rest off. Using a tack cloth makes the finish super smooth and bump free. Wipe until it's smooth and without dust.

Step 3: Prime Time

Next, you'll prime your piano a couple times over. Here's the supplies you'll need, which are part of the prepping process:

  • 1 gallon Zinssser Primer (found at Lowe's)
  • 2" foam brush
  • 150 grit sandpaper
After using your tack cloth from the initial sanding, prime everywhere on the piano you want your color to be with Zinsser Primer, using a foam brush to get a smooth finish. This primer sticks to anything and covers great.

Dry, Sand, and Prime Again

Let the piano dry for the recommended time, then sand all over with 150 grit sand paper. Tack cloth if off then prime and sand again. Priming a couple times makes it so you don't have to paint 8 coats of color. Worth it! Repeat the process again if needed.

*This primer also states that you don't have to sand between coats, but I sanded because of reasons mentioned before.

Step 4: Paint!

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It's now time to paint! Yes! Here again is the paint supply list:

  1. 1 qt of sherwin william's interior acrylic latex satin finish
  2. Miniwax polycrylic protective finish
  3. Two foam brushes (2" and 3")
  4. Tack cloth
  5. 220 grit sand paper
To paint your piano, make sure the keys and pedals are taped off. Then you can paint. Make sure to sand in between coats.

Paint

Pick your favorite most bright color and go to town, using a foam brush to make it smooth. Use the different sizes of your brushes to cover the areas you need. You could use a high gloss paint, but since high gloss paint is hard for me to control I used an acrylic latex satin finish, and then finished with a glossy protective coat (step to come).

Sand

Sand with with 220 grit sand paper in between the color coats, while using tack cloth each time. Wait for it to dry. Do 3 coats, or as needed to get a solid color.

*To paint right above the keys, make sure the back of the keys are taped off. Then, smash the keys down with your arm and use a small brush.

Step 5: Finishing Up

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Finish the painting process with 2-3 coats of shiny protective finish in clear satin. As you add a coat onto another, the more shiny and less matte it becomes.

Wait the full dry time that's suggested between coats without sanding between. Make sure to wait. My piano has been in the garage for weeks people!

All Finished

Your piano's ready to bring inside! Remove all the tape and make sure it's good and dry.

This bright yellow piano is now my favorite accent piece in my house. It's so shiny, new and smooth. I absolutely love it. I even showed someone and they joked that they wanted to take their senior pictures next to this bad boy (see, I told you it was good).
dpno2nr5 months ago
Only paint it this way if you never plan to have it tuned or repaired again. If you do, be sure to disassemble the case parts first and only reassemble them when the painting is finished and fully cured.
carrielynneh (author)  dpno2nr5 months ago
(removed by author or community request)
carrielynneh (author)  carrielynneh5 months ago
Thanks for your idea, but why is it needed to disassemble your piano before you paint it in order to be able to tune it in the future? My piano can be easily tuned and sounds great!
Tummygirl777 months ago
Wow, I looooove it!! I am going to do mine, am totally inspired by yours, it looks so well done. I live in Australia so will see how I go with finding all your gear over here. Thank you. Ele
ii wanna but that beautifull thing
it certainly draws you toward it...maybe result in more playing? Well done!
carrielynneh (author)  paganwonder1 year ago
Yes, exactly! It's been fun.
Very nicely done! Thanks for sharing.

GM
seamster1 year ago
That looks awesome. It's such a bold commitment--I don't know if I could do the same to my piano!

But I like it a lot. Good work, and thanks for all the great painting tips.
carrielynneh (author)  seamster1 year ago
Thank you :)
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