A painted piano has been on my list of home projects for quite some time now. Pinterest has helped me narrow down my color options and gather the courage to give it a try. With this post, I hope to encourage you as well! It’s not as difficult as you may think it is!
Supplies I Used:
- Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Athenian Black (I purchase my Annie Sloan products at The Backdoor Furnishings – they ship, too!)
- Clear Wax (Annie Sloan)
- Black Wax (Annie Sloan)
- Annie Sloan Paint Brush
- Blue Tape
- 400-grit and 220-grit sandpaper or sanding blocks
- Brown Paper or Newspaper
- Shop Cloths (chosen in place of an Annie Sloan Waxing Brush)
- Baby Wipes and Damp Paper Wash Rags
- General Finishes Pearl Effects in the color Burnished
My “why” for painting…
The piano was in good shape, just some minor nicks and scratches. The main reason for painting was that I have several pieces in my dining area that are all similar in stain color. It’s become just one piece too much. I have dark stain on our bar cabinets that are in this space. If you follow me on social media, you know that I recently added some chunky floating shelves that are also stained similarly.
And, my beloved dining table made by my dad which is also done in a deep walnut-ish stain. It became evident over the last several weeks since adding my peel and stick wallpaper that something needed to change to bring it all together. A painted piano was the solution! This piano has been in my life all of my 47 years! (I’m not sure how long my parents had it prior to my arrival.)
Prepping the piano…
Annie Sloan paint claims to be paintable with no prep or sanding. There a lot of conflicting views on this so ask an expert with whatever brand of paint you decide to use. I do things differently depending upon what my original piece of furniture looks like in terms of stain or paint (is it a dark stain versus a light stain). Another consideration is what color I plan to paint the piece, and what kind of paint I am using. For my painted piano, I was using a dark color over a dark stain which meant that I most likely wouldn’t have to worry about bleed through of the tannins from the stain. So, first, I removed the hardward pieces. The next thing I did was clean the piano with warm soapy water and a wash rag. If you have a piece that has build up or grime, you could use something like Krud Cutter. I did not prime my piano. All I did was clean it and remove the hardware.
Tape off those tricky areas…
You’ll probably want the pedals to continue to look paint-free, so be sure to tape them off. My piano has a wire (kind of like chicken wire) on the inner part of the music stand, so I put tape around the outer edge of that area.
And, of course, the KEYS! The keys need to stay nice and clean, so here’s what I did. I put pieces of brown paper (you could also use newspaper) over the keys. Then, being sure to fully cover all the keys, I used painter’s tape to secure the paper. I cut strips that I could insert down in front of the font-exposed edge of the keys and wrapped it up and over the top piece and, again, secured with tape.
Applying the paint…
I did a live video on my Faceook page demonstrating what I was doing. In this video, you can see that I took my Annie Sloan paint brush (slightly damp), dipped it ever-so-slightly in the paint, and began to brush it on. I kept a squirt bottle of water handy also so that I could keep my brush damp without running to the sink. For some reason, I decided to work from bottom up. The hardest part about this was the position I had to be in to paint the bottom section! I was sore the next morning! Using smooth, even strokes, apply a thin first layer to the entire piano. It won’t look the greatest at first. It will take two coats and, in some places, probably three coats. Make sure to get in all of the crevices, too. Be sure to let the coats dry in between. Annie Sloan paint dries very quickly.
Sanding and distressing…
I like my paint to be super smooth before I apply any kind of sealer. In addition, my heart goes all a flutter for a little bit of distressing, too! So, my vision was to sand the main areas with 400 grit paper to smooth it out without taking off much of the paint. Once I did that, I switched to 220-grit paper for the edges and areas I felt like letting some of the dark original brown stain to show through. I did this mainly on the edges but also on some of the rounded areas… wherever it would seem more natural for this to occur.
After sanding, I wiped off all dust with a damp cloth and baby wipes and then used a vacuum to get in all of the crevices.
Time for a good waxing!
Being that this post was written during an unprecedented quarantine, I could use a good eyebrow waxing myself… but I digress.) For this step, I chose to use a blue shop cloth rather than my waxing brush. Let’s just say, it wasn’t by choice. I discovered that my waxing brush had a little accident since last I used it and, well, let’s just say it involved a huge pile of sawdust. I didn’t have it in me to deal with that and the possibility of having sawdust permanently waxed into my freshly painted piano. And, again because of the quarantine situation, blue shop cloths were available right in my own workshop so that’s the road I went down and it worked just fine. By the way, these photos were taken after dark – pardon the poor lighting.
For coat one, I chose clear wax. My husband was liking the color as is, so I didn’t want to go darker and starting with black wax would have done just that. However, once I had the entire painted piano covered with clear wax, I decided it looked a little too streaky for my liking. That could very well have been just because I needed another coat. But, I chose to go with black wax for coat number two since it wouldn’t be as dark having started with the clear first coat.
Taking care of the hardware next…
To make it easy while painting, I did not cover the hinge that runs down the entire length of the keyboard cover. I decided to let it get paint on it and then, later, I’d carefully scrape it off with a wipe and my fingernail. General Finishes Pearl Effects in Burnished is one of my favorite things to use. It’s so easy to use! I simply took a fine paint brush to apply a couple of coats to the two handles I removed earlier and let it cure/dry overnight. While I was at it, I chose to take the brush and run it over the wire on the music holder as well. I didn’t realize just how much it would freshen it up! Since I was on a roll with the Pearl Effects, why not take it over that keyboard cover hinge I scraped off earlier? That was more of an old brass color, so I wanted to have it match the updated hardware. It was all coming together…
The final results!
Here they are! Once I took off the keyboard paper and blue tape, I did my best to work around my dining table to get some pictures. I ordered this fluffy little throw for over the bench for a little pop of white and to soften up the hard lines of the freshly painted piano itself. Since it’s not a necessity item, it will take a few weeks to arrive and I will not complain about that. I’ll just take another photo when the time comes!
I hope to have helped calm some fears for those of you who have thought about painting your own piano! For everyone else, I hope you learned a little something from my experience! Have you ever painted a piece that’s on the tricky side?