Wondering how to paint mahogany wood? Look no more. Through trail and error I found the best way to paint your mahogany furniture white (or any other color).
Painting mahogany wood can be a real challenge. You might even ask whether you can paint over mahogany wood. When painting mahogany furniture in a light color there will almost certainly be the matter of bleed through. You can prevent that if you take the proper precautions and use the right kind of products. Let me show you how to paint mahogany furniture white and what the best primer is for mahogany paint projects.
The story behind my mahogany coffee table
Why did this project take me 16 years to finish? And why am I sharing it with you anyway……
- It took my forever to finish it, now that I have, it deserves it moment of glory;
- I made a bundle of blunders and mistakes with this one, you might profit from them and avoid them yourself;
- We can’t have big room reveals or outrageously innovative projects every time, sometimes sharing the everyday is good enough;
- It looks really good and I like how my pictures turned out.
Ok here is the story.
I started this project 16 years ago!!! As in I started working on it in another decade!
I got the table when I moved out of my parent’s house at 21. One of my sisters was moving in with her boyfriend then and she gave me some of her old furniture. The little table used to belong to my parents. I think it was part of their bedroom suite. Somewhere in its history, the mahogany table had been painted white. When it came in my possession that was already a long time ago.
It stayed ‘white’ with me for some time too. And then I decided to strip it, because making it all shiny and lovely mahogany seemed like a good idea.
So I stripped, and scraped, and sanded…..
No DIY experience or knowledge to speak of back then. So I soon ran out of steam and stopped working on it.
It looked horrible, paint chips all over, roughed up, abused, and ugly.
It stayed like that for almost 20 years…..
I even used it sometimes…..
I just draped a big table cloth over it and used it……
Until a few weeks ago when I started working on it again. From the looks of it, I knew that my original plan of a beautifully restored mahogany finish was not going to happen. So on to plan B. I developed visions of clean, super smooth white. A polished look.
I had confidence I could pull it off……
So I started…….
And finished the scraping and the sanding and primed her……
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.
She turned pink!
Stupid me! The pink was coming through three layers of primer!
Don’t believe me, that it was really pink?
See! In contrast to the white you can really see how pink it was.
<<<< How to paint suitcases >>>
<<<< Ikea TV Stand Makeover >>>>
<<<< Milk Paint Review >>>>
Number one tip for painting mahogany furniture!
Use Shellac Primer!
✅ I have found that this is the best shellac primer on the market!
It smells like nail polish, it goes on like nail polish, so I guess it is a kind of nail polish for wood. It covers everything up with one layer. (hmm two actually)
It was my first time using it and I didn’t really investigate or practice applying it…….
I was left with a very white, but very uneven bubbly finish.
I’m not sure you can see it very well here. But think three layers of nail polish applied by your four-year-old. Uneven, bubbly, rough, and nothing like the smooth finish I had imagined.
So once again I started over until I had nailed all the steps correctly. Let me share.
How to paint mahogany furniture in 4 easy steps.
Painting mahogany white
- Clean your furniture
Always start with properly cleaning your furniture first. Do not use household cleaners but a grease removing cleaner that preps your piece for painting.
- Start with sanding
Sand your piece of furniture well. Make sure you end with a super fine grit. I use 240 grit sandpaper for the final step. Shellac goes on so smooth that every little bump will be visible. So don’t skip time sanding. Remove the dust with a wet cloth.
- Apply Shellac Primer
Apply the shellac primer with a quality brush. I prefer synthetic brushes because the give the least brush strokes. One coat might be enough, but on my dark mahogany I needed two coats. Super lightly sand in between coats and after the last coat of primer.
- Finish painting your piece of furniture
You can use any kind of paint over shellac primer. For all my white painted furniture I use a water based paint because it has less risk of yellowing over time.
And that is how you paint mahogany furniture white in just four easy steps.
Please pin this image for future reference!