How to Paint Your Piano!




About: I'm a mom of two boys, an adorable girl, and have a handsome hubby to boot.

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!

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Prep Work Supplies

  1. 1" painter's tape
  2. Electric sander (If available)
  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

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.

EDIT: * You can sand your piano indoors too. Just wear a mask if you have one, and vacuum and dust when you're finished!

For an amazingly smooth and lovely piano finish, don't ditch a good prep job. This includes taping, sanding, dusting, and priming. If you skip sanding it just won't look as professional as other paint jobs. 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


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.

EDIT: If you don't have an electric sander that's ok! Just sand by hand real quick across the piano as best as you can. It will be better than not doing any sanding.


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 (I 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. Repeat the process again if needed.

*If you don't want to sand between coats that's really ok, your end result will just be different than what these pictures show. The primer states you don't have to sand between coats, and you don't, but I sanded to get it extra smooth. The paint creates a little texture with each coat, and I also sanded because of reasons mentioned before. You don't have to take an hour to sand between coats. Just a quick sanding across the piano will suffice :)

Step 4: Paint!

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.


Pick your favorite most bright color and begin painting, 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).


Lightly 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. Y

*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

Finish the painting process with 2-3 coats of shiny protective finish in clear satin. Don't sand in between coats with this step. 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!

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).



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    26 Discussions


    5 years ago on Step 5

    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


    11 months ago

    This was so helpful! I wanted a nice, bright, glossy white, so based on the comments, I did not go the paint + polycrylic route, but rather painted with a high-gloss enamel paint right on top of the primer, as I was worried about yellowing. I sanded with 60 grit, primed twice, and then painted FIVE coats. I only sanded between one of the coats of paint (with 220 grit), I just didn't have it in me to sand between all of them. I definitely did not get the smooth, glass finish, it's far more textured, but I'm still very happy with the results. The piano technician has many pieces of the piano and all the keys are off right now, so I took the three removable pieces outside, covered the strings and keyboard area with drop cloth and taped it off, and painted the body of the piano inside. This took 2 full days of work. The tack cloth tip was hugely helpful! I mostly used a 4 inch foam roller and a 1 inch foam brush to get in the little corners.


    2 years ago

    Followed your instructions to the letter! Came out amazing! Thanks


    2 years ago

    I'm excited to try this but have a few questions. I definitely can't move my piano outside. should I forgo sanding maybe? I'm not a perfectionist so could live with a few flaws. Also is it super stinky paint as to be harmful to breath if I do it indoors? Lastly, when you say sand in between coats of paint, do you let the paint dry, sand gentle or hard? I've haven't painted anything before! thanks!! super excited!

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    You can sand indoors if you'd like! Just wear a mask and then vacuum and dust when you're finished. You can sand as little or as much as you want, too. Even sanding by hand real quickly on the piano will be better than nothing. It helps the paint adhere to the piano, and takes off any dirt you may not see just looking at it. You can forgo sanding. It just looks and is a more professional way to do it :)

    All the paint I used is water based (not oil based), so it won't smell too bad or be that stinky. Keep the room ventilated with a window open if you'd like, and a ceiling fan if you have one. It's like painting a room if you paint it indoors. It will smell a little, but not too bad!

    When you sand in between coats you do have to let the paint dry. The sanding is done with a really fine sandpaper and done really quick and lightly. This is just to make it really smooth. Some people will skip this step which is fine too. Just won't be as good, like I mentioned before :)

    Thank you for your questions! Let me know if you have any other as you go! Good luck!


    2 years ago

    Would love do try this in teal. Any specific teal paint color suggestions?


    3 years ago

    Is your piano an actual working piece or just for decoration?

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    It's an actual working piece! I practice and play on it tons!


    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    I would love to hear how it turned out with the clear gloss polycrylic. I am almost done painting and trying to decide on the best protective finish to use.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Hi there! So far, I am happy with the finish I used; it is holding up well to my three kids and I haven't noticed any problems. If you are thinking about using a different finish, however, that would be fine too!

    That would be fine! The finish will be a little more shiny than a satin finish, but still look great. I just like the look of a flat or satin finish with any paint, but I'm not the norm. Good luck!


    3 years ago on Introduction

    I love this tutorial, thank you! When I went to purchase the Miniwax polycrylic protective finish, the salespeople at my local store were convinced it would yellow over time and ruin the color. (I painted my piano a light blue, not yellow.) Some of the reviews for the product on Amazon suggest the same thing. Have you ever heard of this? Have you used this product successfully with other colors before? I just don't want to ruin the hours of hard work I've put into this project!

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Oh no! I haven't heard of the possibility of the finish turning yellow, but based on the reviews you read and those salesman, I would try a different finish just to be safe!

    Has the painting effected the tone/ tuning of the piano at all? I'm about to buy a second hand piano which will need tuning but have heard painting them ruins them?

    It looks amazing though, I've always, ALWAYS wanted a green piano!

    1 reply

    Good to hear! I haven't heard any difference since painting my piano, and haven't even tuned it yet because it sounds the same to me. Just don't paint the inside and you should be good! ;) Seriously though when I was debating this I couldn't see how painting it would effect the sound (as I had read in a few places as well). I'm glad I painted it and found that it's fine. Also, I think green would be awesome. You'll love it!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    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!


    5 years 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.