How to get a Smooth Metallic Paint Finish

One of the questions I’ve been getting a TON lately is how to get a smooth metallic paint finish with a brush. Today, I’m going to take you through my process on this dresser makeover to show you how I achieve such a smooth finish!

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Material List:

Just look at this piece. Isn’t it amazing? The lady I purchased it from was so sweet– it had been her aunt’s.

I started by removing the hardware and cleaning this piece throughly with White Lightning. Then I primed it with BOSS primer in clear. Using primer with the metallics is important. It helps them stick and gives you better coverage. If you’re not sure how to throughly prep your furniture for painting, you can read about it on my blog here.

After the primer was dry, it was time to paint! Now, normally I would have applied the Steel Magnolia paint color right over the clear primer, BUT the final piece that you see wasn’t my original plan. Originally, I wanted to blend both Deep Woods and Pacific on this piece, but after trying it out, I just wasn’t feeling it. This look may look better on another piece of furniture. A big part of being a furniture artist is finding a finish that compliments your piece.

So what did I do? I literally set it aside for a couple months until I decided to go at it again with some new inspiration. I often do that when I don’t have a vision immediately. I settled on one of my absolute favorite colors from the Dixie Belle Metallic line, Steel Magnolia. You can’t go wrong with this color! In order to get a smooth finish, I started by sanding back my original finish until it was smooth. I sanded back to the primer– just enough to ease some of the brush strokes by using a 220 grit sanding block. Next, I needed to even out the color. Like I said earlier, if I had started over the clear primer, the original color of the buffet would have been good enough to go right in with the Steel Magnolia color. But here, I have 2 separate colors so painting over them with the Steel Magnolia would have given me 2 different tones. I painted 2 coats of Mud Puddle for a consistent base coat.

Now its time to paint! First, I want to tell you why I choose to use Dixie Belle metallics. Their metallic line is an all-in-one paint. So with a good base coat, all you have to do is paint your piece; there is no sealing required. I start by misting my brush with my spray mister. Your brush quality is the most important tool for creating an even toned metallic finish. For this piece, I used my favorite mini synthetic brush.  Next, I mist the surface of my piece. This lubricates the paint and helps it to spread evenly. I keep all my brush strokes in one direction and when I have an edge, like you see below, I dap the paint on then smooth it out.

After the first coat is dry, I lightly sand it with 1000 grit sandpaper. Make sure to brush all the dust off before you start your next coat! Then, I apply the second coat of paint using the same technique of misting my surface before I apply my paint. When the second coat is dry, you should have a nice even finish! If you don’t, apply another coat using the same process. Some of the other colors in this line take more applications; I’ve found that all paint colors don’t cover equally, even if they are from the same brand.

Now, do you see all those fine details? I couldn’t just leave them! I applied black gilding wax to them. I used a combination of my finger and a brush. In a last minute decision, I added this WoodUBend molding to the center of the top drawer. I just clamped it on with a TINY bit of gorilla glue and gave the drawer another coat of Steel Magnolia.

When I paint metallics, I usually put Gator Hide just on the top of the piece so it has extra durability. I didn’t on this piece, though, because it had a glass top which is a SUPER bonus. Anytime you can put a glass top on your furniture, you’re winning. The last part here was the hardware. I choose pulls for the bottom drawers and knobs for the top. The hardware really made this piece for me! What do you think? Would you try metallics?