Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Piano Painting Tutorial

Several people have commented on my piano transformation and have asked for a tutorial explaining how I painted it and the colors I used.  So, here goes!  I will give a list of colors and where I used them at the end of this tutorial.

Am I the only one who gets nervous about those first paint strokes over wood?  It is so drastic!  Rest assured unpainted-wood-lovers, this piano was in desperate need of a face lift!
First of all, I began by removing the hardware that holds the front piece out at an angle, (the piece that holds the music book).  Be sure to put the screws in a bag, mark them and put them in a safe place so you can reattach them later.

I also removed the bottom panel underneath the keyboard. Every piano is different so just take a look at yours to see what can be removed to simplify the prep and painting process. You will end up with a much nicer job if you take the time to do this.

Next comes sanding and priming.  The finished product is directly related to the prep work so don't skimp!

I vacuumed as I sanded to keep dust to a minimum.

I didn't try to work the primer into every nook and cranny because I wanted some dark to show through to give it some depth and character.

You will need to prime/paint the keyboard cover and wait till dry before trying to paint the inside of the cover.  Be sure to paint those edges!

Painted around emblem
I didn't want to paint over the brand/logo so I painted around it.  I didn't care for the bright gold lettering so I toned it down a bit by highlighting parts of the letters with champagne metallic paint using an artists brush. I also covered it with glaze which I will mention in a minute.  As you can see, it is a bit messy and I got paint on the hinge.  These are things that I will have to go back and clean up.  I should have taped off the hinge!

And yes~ there is a missing piece of ivory on the front of a key.  I tell myself that it only adds character.  Do you buy that?

I painted the inserts with my wall color and painted the embellishments and trim pieces with a metallic Champagne color.

After everything was painted, it looked flat and boring so I mixed a tiny bit of burnt umber craft paint into some glaze and painted over everything.  This step unified the three colors and made it look more cohesive.

To give the piano a more age worn appearance, I lightly sanded only the areas that would naturally receive the most wear and tear, (corners, raised areas, knobs, etc).  However- if you like a more heavily distressed piece, go for it!  It is all about what YOU love and what works with your decor.

I am not finished yet.  Hold on... I coated the entire piano with 2 coats of Polycrylic to protect the finish.

         And now~ ~ ~

                 for~ ~ ~

                     the FUN part!

It was finally that time that we all look forward to.  Decorating the finished piece!  Isn't it always the vision that we have in our heads that drives us to the finish line? Decorating is the cherry on top.

You can see the before and after pictures of the mirror here and here.
Most of the items that I decorated with were pulled from my Etsy shop inventory.

Now for the paint colors:

Everything I used was water based and flat or semi-gloss.

Piano color: Oops!  I pulled the can out and it is only marked with a #973 instead of a color.  It is by Benjamin Moore, Regal Aquavelvet,  Base 2 319 2A.  This is paint that I had left over from a painting project about 12 years ago!  Not sure if they even make it anymore.

Any grayish taupe color would work or you could pull a light color in from your decor. I think that works better anyway because the look is more harmonious.      

Trim pieces:  I painted the trim pieces with the same color as the piano and then went over them with MM Modern Masters metallic water based paint using a light handed approach.  I don't like to kill subtle variations with a solid coat of paint. It gives more dimension this way.

Inserts: Again, I do not have a name for the paint color.  It is a very light aqua that I had custom mixed at Benjamin Moore and used on my dining room walls.  My sister and I experimented with mixing baby blue,  yellow/gold and white that I had on hand and took it to Benjamin Moore to have them custom match it.

Below is a picture of the label.  If you are interested in getting this paint color, you could jot the formula down and take it to them to have it mixed. They will keep the formula on file for you and you can call it anything you like.  I named mine "Cindy's Dining Room 2010".

After the paint dried, I mixed a tiny bit of acrylic burnt umber paint (craft) into some Tintable Glaze.  I used Valspar from Lowes but you can use any brand of glaze.  I coated the entire piano and waited a day before finishing it off with two coats of Polycrylic. (This doesn't seem to yellow as much as polyurethane.)  I probably should have done 3 coats but I think that I fizzled out.

Be brave!  Don't let that old hulk of a piano intimidate you. I would love to see pictures of your piano makeovers!

                       Painting this piano and (mismatched) bench was part of Our Dining Room Transformation.

                                                                   Thanks for looking!

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painting classes said...

I like your blog!...Daniel

vintageculler said...

Thanks Daniel!

Teresa said...

You're a brave woman to tackle that piano but let me tell you it was worth it, a FABULOUS outcome!

Ido said...

I love your piano!, my son is taking classes and hopefully we can have one of our own one day. I'm your newest follower.
Have a lovely day!

vintageculler said...

Thanks so much Teresa and Ido! I hope you do get a piano one day, Ido!

Suzanne@Meridian Road said...

Your piano turned out so well! I've got to show this to my husband. I've been trying to convince him that our piano would look good painted. After seeing yours, he might finally agree!

vintageculler said...

Thanks Suzanne! Good luck convincing your husband to let you paint your piano! I would love to see a picture if you paint it.

Courtney ~ French Country Cottage said...

It looks gorgeous- I am loving this idea and the results! Thanks for sharing at FNF! :)

Pamela said...

This is a wonderful transformation!!
I love it when people paint their dark wood pianos.
Yes I am always so nervous when i first start painting a wood piece. I start second guessing myself but by the end of the project I am glad i did it!

Pamela :)

vintageculler said...

Thank you Courtney and Pamela!

Terry said...

She is so pretty now!

Jane @ Jane's Junk and Treasures said...

I love your whole dinning room!!
So pretty!!!

michele at hellolovelyinc said...

this looks gorgeous! i'm so ready to paint mine now. just needed that little confidence you provided!


A Vie Renouvele said...

Love your style! I'm your newest follower. And, we're almost neighbors!

Kirsten said...

Love what you did with your piano! I have been asked to paint a piano for someone, and have no idea what to charge her! I have researched the internet for 2 days, and it seems most people do the work themselves, so I can find no pricing. In your opinion, now that you have painted one, if you were going to charge for one similar to yours, do you have any idea? Thanks!

vintageculler said...

Hi Kirsten, Thank you so much! Your question is a tough one. Painting my piano was very time consuming, requiring several steps.To charge a fee based on time spent could well exceed the value of one of these old uprights. Unless the owner is sentimentally attached to it, they might not want to pay $200.00- $300.00 for a new look. (I don't think that I would want to do it for less than that.) If your client loves their piano and wants to keep it, updating it with a finish that fits with their decor will definitely make a huge impact and will breathe new life and energy into the room! Don't cut yourself short on your fee unless you are doing it for a very good freind. I wish you the best! Cindy