Project Prep: Best Practices for a Successful Paint Project

Before beginning your paint project, it’s important that you properly prep your surface and materials. Generally, very little prep is required to use Jolie products. However, not all surfaces are created equal, and some will require more prep than others. In this post we will walk you through some best practices for project prep to make the painting process as easy as possible.

Know Your Surface

Before you begin a project, determine whether or not the surface can be painted. Jolie Paint adheres to most surfaces, including wood (raw, waxed, oil-based, lacquered and stained finishes), metal, matte plastics, brick, concrete and stone. There are, however, certain surfaces that do not accept paint and should not be painted. These include oily woods such as teak and eucalyptus, powder-coated metal, thermofoil cabinetry and furniture, kitchen and bathroom countertops, and many types of tile. When in doubt or on large projects, we always recommend testing a small area before painting the entire piece.

Jump to the end of this post for our tips on prepping and painting wood, brick, stone, plastic, metal, shiny surfaces, fabric, and odorous or stained furniture.


Once you're sure your surface will accept paint, we recommend giving it a thorough cleaning. If your surface has noticeable dust, dirt or grime, you should clean it with a safe-to-use biodegradable cleaner and rinse with warm water. Even trace amounts of harsh chemical cleaners can prohibit the paint from adhering properly. This is especially true for silicon-based furniture polishes. Before you begin to paint, make sure the surface is completely dry.

Shaking & Stirring

The next step is one of the most important. Shake and stir your paint before you begin painting. We cannot stress this enough. Failure to properly mix your paint is the number one reason you may experience problems with a project. Jolie Paint is highly pigmented, and these pigments can naturally settle to the bottom of the can over time. Paint may sit on a shelf for quite some time before arriving to you, or it may have traveled long distances on a truck. Both of these things will cause the pigment to settle. Follow the instructions below to ensure your paint is properly mixed:

Before you open your Jolie Paint, turn the can upside down and shake it vigorously for a minimum of 30 seconds. If your paint has been sitting for a long time, make sure the lid is sealed and flip the can upside down for a few hours. This will help to more evenly distribute pigment which may have settled at the bottom of the can.

After thoroughly shaking your paint, open the lid and stir well. Use a stir stick to move the paint around in the can and pull the paint from the bottom up to the top. Stirring very well will ensure that pigments that might have settled on the bottom of the can are distributed throughout all of the paint.

Thickening & Thinning

One of the great things about Jolie Paint is the ability to adjust its consistency to achieve different finishes. For more texture in your finish, you can leave your paint container open for about 30 minutes before painting. This will allow some of the water to evaporate and thicken the paint. You also have the option to easily thin out your paint by adding water. We recommend doing this in a separate mixing container and adding water slowly in controlled increments. Never add water directly into the can - it can contaminate the paint.

Your next steps will depend on what type of surface you're painting. Read on for details on how to properly prep different surface types.

Once you're ready to paint, refer to our video tutorials for step by step instructions on achieving the perfect finish for your project.


Most woods can be easily painted. However, there are a few special circumstances. As mentioned above, we do not recommend painting over oily woods, such as teak and eucalyptus. These woods will not accept paint long term and you'll likely have trouble getting the paint to adhere, even if you use a primer beforehand.

If the piece you are painting is made of raw, untreated wood, apply clear shellac to any knots or open grains. Shellac is available from any hardware store. It will block bleed through from tannins in the wood, which show up as pink or orange stains in your finish.

The stains on some woods, such as cherry, mahogany, or an open-grained wood like oak, can bleed through the first coat of paint. If you notice any discoloration, apply two thin coats of shellac to your surface to protect the stain from peeking through. Allow shellac to dry fully before painting another coat.

After painting your first coat, you may need to sand your surface in order to achieve a smoother finish as the moisture from the paint can raise the grain of some types of woods.

Brick & Stone

When painting brick or textured stone, lightly spritz your surface with water to help draw the paint into the nooks and crannies that can be hard to reach with a paint brush.

Plastic, Metal & Shiny Surfaces

If the finish of your piece is particularly shiny and/or smooth to the touch, we recommend lightly sanding the piece with a medium Jolie Sanding Pad before painting to ensure that the paint adheres well. Paint your first coat and let it dry for 48 hours before applying the next. This will allow the curing process to begin, the paint to harden, and promote adhesion.


Jolie Paint can be used on textiles and fabrics. Add up to 40% water to your Jolie Paint in a mixing container and apply the paint in thin layers to your fabric with plenty of time to dry between coats, preferably overnight. The easiest fabrics to paint are natural fibers and leather. Please keep in mind that this technique is most successful when executed on upholstery where fabric is pulled taut. On furniture that allows a lot of give, such as a comfortable sofa that you sink into, you may notice cracks in the paint over time. For additional durability, a coat of Jolie Finishing Wax can protect your painted fabric.

Odorous or Stained Furniture

If you have an older piece of furniture that has unwanted odors (smoke, mustiness, etc.) or stains (water rings, coffee stains, etc.), apply shellac to your piece before painting. This will help block the odors and stains from pulling through your painted surface. While wearing gloves, dip a cloth into the shellac and wipe a thin coat over the area to be sealed. Spraying shellac from a can is an easy way to seal odors on the interiors of furniture.

Get Your Materials

Recreate this look for your own space by using the Jolie products below. For our full collection, shop here.

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