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Choosing the furniture paint and finishes for your upcycling project, the fun really starts! You’ve done your preparation properly, you’ve made sure you have everything you need for a high-quality application. Now you are ready to paint!

(Look at our Upcycling Guides to find out more about getting your piece of furniture ready for painting).

But first, you need to choose the right paint for the piece of furniture you’re working on. There are so many different brands, styles, colours and finishes. This is the Upcycled Trading Company Guide to our paints of choice. These furniture paints are the ones we use ourselves. So we can recommend them for both beginners starting their first side table project; or professionals who take commissions and work on complicated intricate projects. And it’s also important to mention – these paints can be used on much more than just furniture. We’ve seen incredible results on shoes, bags and even glasses frames!

Upcycling Paints and Finishes

The two key ranges we stock are Cornish Milk Mineral Paint and Fleur Paint. Both are fantastic ranges of furniture paint. Here we look at each range to help you decide which is right for your project. And of course, you may decide to use products from both ranges – we do!

Cornish Milk Mineral Paint

We recommend the Cornish Milk range of products as one to get started with. They are suited to any style of décor.  From laid back farmhouse to super smart mid-century modern.  The matt finish shows off the colours to great effect. If a slight sheen is preferred a light buff with a soft cloth will achieve this look. The natural plant based resins will be revealed without the need for an application of varnish or wax. You may already be familiar with the benefit of a scuff resistant finish from using acrylic resin-based paints, often called mineral paint. Fusion Mineral paint for example also has this scuff and water-resistant quality as does Frenchic Al fresco inside/outside range.

Cornish Milk Paint for durability and eco-credentials

Cornish Milk Mineral Paint achieves its incredible durability with plant-based resins rather than acrylic. Which is why it is such a game-changer in the furniture paint market. The eco-credentials don’t stop with the non-toxic natural ingredients, the fabulous milk carton style packaging is biodegradable! The ease of application and self-levelling brushstroke free finish makes it a perfect choice for a professional finish. 

Why choose Cornish Milk Mineral Paint?

  • Manufactured in the UK
  • Non-toxic, low VOC
  • Child and Pet friendly
  • Small Independent family business
  • Vegan
  • Scuff and water-resistant
  • UK inspired colour palette
  • Biodegradable and recyclable packaging
  • Self-levelling for brushstroke free finish
  • Super matt finish that can be buffed with a cloth for a light sheen if preferred.

Application tips

  1. Always prep thoroughly. A degreasing clean as a minimum and either primer or scuff sanding if required depending on the substrate. 
  2. Apply thin even coats before a heavier final coat. This will give that flawless self-levelling brushstroke free finish.
  3. Although paint will be touch dry in minutes allow at least one hour between coats for maximum durability
  4. In most situations, the plant based resins provide all the durability needed. For very heavy use environments such as kitchen table tops in a busy family home, a varnish topcoat will provide added protection. 
  5. Allow at least 48 hours for the curing process to take effect before handling too much. This process continues for up to a month to reach full cure and will become increasingly durable throughout this time.
  6. Apply with a brush, roller or spray gun. 
  7. To use as a wash or stain on wood mix equal parts paint with water.

Fleur Designers Paint  

With so many furniture paint ranges to choose from how do you decide which is right for you? Trial and error is usually how we find what works for us but where to start? 

First of all, are you decided on a particular finish? Are you happy to stick with a paint range that is geared to that look? All paint ranges are adaptable to a degree. But some are better suited to or originally developed with a particular style in mind. For example, Annie Sloan chalk paint is a well-established go-to brand for the shabby chic style. More recently we’ve seen the rise in popularity of acrylic resin-based paints often called mineral paints. These have the benefit of a higher resin content that gives the self-levelling and scuff and water resistant quality for the smart professional finish. Even if you’re a complete beginner.

In an ideal scenario, you want as much choice and flexibility as possible. We look for paint ranges that have something for every style of project possible. Ranges that are long-established, high quality with an extensive range of products and vast colour palette to choose from is an ideal place to start. 

Fleur Paint for choice and experimentation

Fleur designers paint has something for every style whether traditional or contemporary. And with their years of experience in restoration and decoration, this high-quality Italian brand has everything any project could possibly need. A huge range of different paint products in a variety of finish and application options. If you really want to experiment there are all sorts of pouring mediums and faux effect applications to try out. The high quantity of fine quality pigments in the paint products is what makes up the vibrant highly chromatic colour palette.

Chalky-look, scuff and water resistant

Fleurs chalky look paint gives the matt finish of a chalk paint. But unlike a chalk paint, there is no need to apply wax or varnish to protect it. This is because of the higher resin content giving all the benefits of a self-levelling professional finish. If you wanted a distressed look this is still easily achievable. The versatility of these paints makes them a great choice for any project. Perhaps an eggshell finish, a metallic, a pearlescent or a lime wash is more your thing. Fleur has all of these and more. The most difficult part of discovering Fleur designer paint is deciding which products and colours to try first!

Why choose Fleur Paint?

  • Established in Italy since 1946
  • Vivid and extensive colour pallet
  • Great opacity and high quality
  • Extensive and varied range of painting products
  • Scuff and water resistant
  • Low VOC
  • Recyclable packaging
  • Self levelling for brushstroke free finish
  • Variety of sheen available from a matt chalky look paint to high gloss resin

Fleur Eggshell and Fleur Chalky Look Paints 

Both paints are formulated with acrylic resin, making them very durable furniture paint.

Chalky Look

Chalky Look is NOT a Chalk Paint; it just is called Chalky Look because it has that very chalky matt look, it actually has a 2% sheen.  The particles in the Chalky Look are very fine, as are the pigments. So you get a matt look with the brilliance of colour in one – a tough call in paint!  Chalky Look because of its matt-ness will mar (you get shiny marks when you rub it). If you want more durability or if it’s a piece that will get handled, we suggest you use a topcoat.  The Fleur varnishes are great and are available in matt, satin and gloss finishes.  

The Chalky Look has amazing flow out, great opacity and also comes in a spray format. 

Fleur Eggshell

Fleur Eggshell is a more durable product which makes it ideal for high traffic areas.  The term eggshell refers to the sheen.  This is the sort of sheen you get on a ducks egg. Eggshell has a 15% sheen making it more resistant to knocks. Therefore, it doesn’t need a topcoat or varnish.

The Eggshell has slightly less flow, and is more creamy.

With both, you shouldn’t be mean with what you put on your brush, be generous in the application. Because it allows you to spread well for the paint to level and get good coverage. 

Acrylic resins need time to cure.  Both take about 7 days to reach the most of their hardness. But like other acrylic paints, they take 30 days to reach a full cure. 

Fleur Varnishes, Mediums and Markers

Fleur Paint Markers

These Paint Markers are amazing for adding details, freehand designs, accents and your own unique touch! You can also use these to incredible effect on other surfaces including textiles.

Fleur Paint Transfer Medium

This is a water-based medium for image transferring. This means you can take an image printed from a laser printer, and apply it to your piece of furniture. You can add photos, graphics, absolutely anything you like. This medium is suitable for most surfaces and very easy to use.

1. Print the image with a laser printer.
2. Apply the product on the side of the image.
3. Apply the image from the side of the drawing.
4. Press the image on the surface and wait for 12 hours.
5. Moisten your fingers and remove the paper layer with rotatory movements.
6. Protect the image with Fleur varnish or wax.

If you decide to give this a go we’d love to see the finished results!

Fleur Paint Protective Varnishes

These varnishes are water-based, available in gloss, satin and matt. These are perfect as a finishing coat. Heavy-duty, fast-drying, non-yellowing finish. Great to use over am image if you decide to give the Image Transfer Medium a go.

Can I use a cheaper alternative?

Something I’m often asked is whether the budget range furniture paints or even emulsion for walls can be used to paint furniture instead. The honest answer is they can but I’ll explain the reason I and other professional furniture painters won’t do this. The difference is the lower resin content and the use of cheaper fillers such as chalk in the budget paints. A wall paint for example, even if labelled scuff resistant won’t have the resin content required for furniture. It’s not only about the scuff and water resistance either. Walls aren’t handled in the same way so it’s not necessary to formulate the paint to the same standard. A paint formulated for a wall doesn’t need to be as resistant to hand fats as furniture paint does. If you want to save a little on the price of the paint you may find it’s a false economy. A varnish or wax top coat will be necessary to get closer to the durability provided by higher resin content in furniture paint.

Want to learn more?

We’ve got more guides about Preparation and Application tools, handy for beginners and professionals alike!

Please get in touch if you have any questions, or are unsure of how to get started with upcycling.

If you’d like more tips and tricks be sure to follow us on InstagramFacebook or Pinterest. And of course, we’d love to see your projects, so please tag away!