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How To Paint Over Black Lacquer Furniture

Lacquer is a type of coating applied on wood and metal. It offers a glossy and protective finish. A lacquered surface is great.

However, if you need to paint over a lacquer finish, there are crucial things you must understand. To save time and money, this guide will provide detailed steps. Typical questions will also be answered.

black cabinet

What You’ll Need

You won’t need all of these materials because it depends on the method you choose.

Primer – It is also called an undercoat. Its purpose is to allow better paint adhesion. Most painting projects require some primer for better results.

Chalk Paint – It is a costlier alternative to regular paint, but it requires no prep work. It’s thicker and is water-based. Waxing tends to be laborious, though.

Regular Paint – There are two routes you want to go with this one: latex or oil-based paint. Then sheen is something you would want to consider.

Paint Brushes – It’s best to stick with products that have a good reputation. If you don’t have one, consider Purdy or Pro Grade.

Sandpaper – Sheets of paper with abrasives on the side. It is used to roughen, smoothen, or remove oil or latex paint.

Damp Rag – This is used for removing the dust that comes after sanding. A microfiber cloth is a good option too.

Dishwashing Soap– It will be used in cleaning.

things to know

Important Things to Know

Before applying paint to your furniture, one should prepare the surface. Paint tends to fall off if the material is too smooth or dirty. Without primers, most paint doesn’t work well too. (Learn How To Clean White Painted Doors)

And if it is a lacquered surface, then preparation should be emphasized more.


Sheen refers to the glossiness of paint. There are five levels of sheen.

We have a high gloss, and it’s perfect for lacquer furniture that is regularly used. With high durability and the highest shine, it makes for a good choice.

Next up is semi-gloss. It’s just a notch down in all high gloss attributes.

Satin is similar to semi-gloss, but it looks more velvety.

Eggshell is not as durable, but it does cover imperfections better. It doesn’t reflect light much like an eggshell.

Lastly, we have flat or matte. Its qualities can be summed up as:

  • least shine,
  • least durability
  • covers imperfections best,
  • and covers the most per gallon.


Types Of Primer

Oil-based, latex, and shellac-based primers are the three main types of primers. Which one should you choose, and what is their difference?

Oil-based primer is the best type of primer for furniture. Shellac would follow closely, and latex would have to be least desirable. This isn’t to say that a latex primer is a bad idea, though.

Oil-based primers work on all types of paint, and they make up for the porosity of wood by sealing them. When it comes to dealing with stains, this type is the best.

Latex Primers are a healthier option, and they are fast drying. Additionally, they are more flexible and durable and are easier to clean. The downside is that they don’t handle stains as well as oil-based primers.

Shellac-based primers are probably the hardest to deal with. The good qualities of an oil-based primer are better in shellac. But the smell and cleaning make it a hassle.

Sandpaper Grit

The capacity to which sandpaper can produce a smooth surface is measured in grit. Finer corresponds to a higher grit number. A higher grit number would mean that the grains are smaller.

going to paint

How to Paint Lacquer

First off, there’s no significant difference between painting over whatever color there is. As long as it’s done right, the color doesn’t matter.

Step 1: Preparation of the Work Environment

Make sure you have your protective gears at the ready. Masks, gloves, and some expendable aprons are some of the recommended PPE’s. Health is wealth, as they say.

Where do you want the repainting to occur? It should be well ventilated and safe from foot traffic. Also, put something beneath the furniture that would stop paint from falling off your floor.

One could also use tape; painter’s tape is the best to protect areas you don’t want to paint over.

Also, try to determine what paint brushes, primers, and paint you are going to use. Make sure they work well with each other. (Learn Can You Paint Foam Insulation)

Step 2: Cleaning of the Lacquered Surface

Removing dirt, grime, and even stains is essential if you want a good repaint. Dishwashing soap and some clean cloth can do the trick. You don’t want to overdo it.

Work the damp rag in a circular motion.

Step 3: Determining the Lacquer Finish

Feel the surface, and determine if it is rough or soft. Then look at the sheen of the furniture. You could then get a rough idea of what you are working with.

If it is smooth and reflects light well, you are working with high gloss. The more it gets rougher and matted, the more likely it is to be flat.

Step 4: Sanding

There are three reasons why sanding is essential. Sanding promotes paint adhesion and smoothes out bumps in your furniture.

Use 150 grit sandpaper for high gloss. And 300 grit sandpaper for flat lacquered furniture. For a glossy lacquered coating, 150-grit sandpaper would be appropriate.

150-grit sandpaper causes minor damage.

Step 5: Using A Damp Cloth

There will be residue in the form of sandpaper dust in your furniture after sanding. No worries, a damp (but not wet) cloth will get those dust off in an instant.

Step 6: Applying A Primer

At this point, we are close to the end goal. A primer, as mentioned earlier, helps in adhesion and promotes paint longevity.

Keep in mind to paint in the same direction but opposite to the wood grain. It takes about a couple of hours for the primer to dry.

Step 7: Applying the Paint

With proper sanding and primer application, adding a coat of paint would be a lot easier. Apply a coat of paint, and if the look is still not good enough, add another coat.

Make sure that your brush is damp before applying the paint. Thick paint will peel easily, and using a sock dipped in paint is a good alternative. Apply an even coat everywhere.

A good guideline is three thin coats and a coat of primer.

Question 1: Is Chalk paint Good For Repainting a Lacquered Woodwork?

To paint over lacquer using Chalk paint is a good option. You wouldn’t require as much sanding and primers. If you are looking for an easier route, chalk paint is a good option.

Question 2: Can You Paint over Lacquer?

If you need to remove the lacquered surface altogether, it can be done. You could then use a colored paint lacquer to get that same look. In this case, you would have to use a lacquer thinner.

Do note that lacquer painting is a tad harder than painting with regular latex or oil-based paint.

Question 3: How Do I Keep My Lacquered Furniture in Good Condition?

Keep it dry, and minimize stains by using covers. Clean it regularly, and keep the dust off. Lastly, avoid pointy and heavy objects as they can scratch your glossy lacquered wood in no time.

When cleaning lacquer furniture, use a warm, and damp rag dipped in dishwashing soap. Wipe in a vertical motion and use a clean cloth to dry the furniture.

How To Paint Over Black Lacquer Furniture (2)

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