A high-quality natural bristle brush will create the smoothest finish with high-gloss paint.

How to Paint a High-Gloss Finish on Stained Furniture

by Carlye Jones

Painting over a stained piece of furniture requires a good primer to help the paint adhere and keep the stain from bleeding through to the final coat of paint. Applying a high-gloss paint also requires the use of a conditioner to slow the drying process and eliminate brush marks, and high-quality brushes to minimize marks during the application process. The combination of primer, paint conditioner and quality brushes will result in a smooth, glasslike glossy finish.

Patch any holes or chips by pressing wood filler into them with a putty knife.

Let the filler dry completely, usually about 24 hours.

Sand the entire piece with a medium-grit paper to smooth all rough spots and provide a slightly "toothed" surface for the primer to grip. Pay special attention to wood filler patches, and make sure the filler surface is smooth and even with the surrounding area.

Clean the furniture with TSP to remove grease and dirt as well as any dust left behind by sanding.

Apply a thin coat of primer with a brush or low-nap roller. For large pieces, use a brush in corners and along edges and a roller to cover large flat areas.

Wait for the primer to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions. This usually takes about three hours.

Mix paint conditioner into the paint in the amount specified by the manufacturer.

Brush or roll the conditioned paint onto the furniture in a single thin coat.

Wait for the paint to dry, giving it additional time beyond the manufacturer's instructions to account for the extra dry time created by the conditioner. This is usually four to six hours.

Sand the piece lightly using a fine-grit sandpaper.

Wipe the furniture down with a damp rag to remove any dust from sanding, and let it dry.

Apply a second coat of paint and wait for it to dry and cure completely before using the furniture. This is typically at least 24 hours.

Items you will need

  • Wood filler
  • Putty knife
  • Medium- and fine-grit sandpaper
  • Trisodium phosphate
  • Rags
  • Oil-based primer
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller
  • High-gloss paint (oil- or water-based)
  • Paint conditioner


  • Use the highest-quality brush or roller cover you can obtain to get the smoothest finish possible.
  • Keep clean, lint-free rags on hand while painting to immediately wipe away any accidental drips.


  • Don't apply a thick coat of paint or brush back over paint once it has been applied, or you could end up with an uneven finish.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images