I am shy about writing a” how to” post since the paint is barely dry and I haven’t lived with it long enough to know if it’ll stick. I’ve had a lot of questions about how I painted my piano, so I’m going to tell you. But keep in mind….I’m no expert. I sure don’t want to be responsible for anyone else’s piano.
I told you last week that I decided to use oil paint. And I should also tell you that I emailed back and forth with three piano tuners who all told me that, while it was a crazy idea, it wouldn’t affect the sound. That was all I needed to hear.
To begin, I took it apart as much as I could without touching any of the actual instrument. All of the removable pieces went onto the front porch.
Next I applied liquid stripper. I let that sit for about 20 minutes and started sanding it off. I sanded. A lot. Honestly, I couldn’t tell if it was doing much. One of the tuners I emailed told me that pianos have the finish baked on and it may be hard to get off. This was true….that sleek surface stayed pretty smooth. I still worked to get it as scuffed up as I could. Then I wiped it down with damp cloths.
The primer and paint were both oil based. The color is by Olympic B58-3. It’s called Alpine Valley and I got it at Lowe’s.
I used a sponge roller made for cabinets and doors as much as I could and a brush for everything the roller couldn’t reach.
I let that dry overnight and then gave it a light sanding. Then I started painting. The painting process was the same as priming….brush and roll, brush and roll.
Next day, sand again and add second coat. Overnight. Sand.
This last sanding was fun. In addition to sanding out drips and globs, I went around the edges. Sometimes I’d sand all the way down to the original brown. Sometimes I’d just let the primer show.
Then I let it cure for three days and gave it a coat of polyurethane.
Now I am going to wait a week or so and give it one last top coat and I will be completely finished.
I do have a confession to make, lest you think it all went perfectly smoothly. Within the first 20 minutes of priming I spilled more than half of my quart of primer into the piano. It was like slow motion…..NnnnnnnnnooooooOOO!!! I thought my heart was going to stop. The good news is that all but a tablespoon landed on the newspaper I had used to cover the delicate inner workings. The primer that slipped beyond the newspaper barrier went down the side and didn’t get on any of the music making part. I screamed for help, four kids came running and we scooped up the newspaper with the three cups of paint on it and dropped it into a bowl. I dipped out of that newspaper bowl for the rest of the project. And to be totally honest, I was too lazy to go get more newspaper to cover that spot again, which is why only half of the piano top is covered in the picture.
So here’s my number one tip if you decide to paint your piano….keep your can of paint on the ground.
We are pretty careful with our things, so I wasn’t worried if it needed to be handled with care. I have given my little pianists strict instructions: no drinks on the piano, don’t drag your music books across the top, don’t put toys on it, etc. These should all be rules anyway, right? At least in theory. My plan is to keep a baby food jar of the paint in the kitchen for touch ups. I do that with most things I paint. Then if it chips I can just dab my finger in the jar and fix it in a second.
If any of you actually try this, I’d love to see pictures! Maybe we’ll start a trend.