Sponge Painting Furniture

A sponge on a white background.
What You'll Need
Natural sea sponges, several sizes
2 water-based paints (choose colors that go well together)
180 grit sandpaper
Tack paper
Drop cloths, newspaper, painters tape
Water for rinsing sponges
Practice board or canvas
Shellac or varnish

If a piece of old wooden furniture is starting to fade and become scratched and stained, give it a makeover by sponge painting it with a couple of colors to create a whole new look.

Step 1 - Prepare for Painting

Lay down a drop cloth or newspapers on the ground underneath the furniture to be painted. Painting should be done in cool or warm climates. For best results, paint where the temperature is above 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Before sanding, dampen the wood with water from a spray bottle and allow it to soak in for about 30 minutes. Sand wooden furniture with 180 grit sandpaper. Remove dust and debris by wiping with tack paper. Stick painter tape over mirror edges or anywhere else that paint doesn’t belong.

Step 2 - Choose Colors

Choose two colors that complement each other; or go for different shades of the same color. You can start with the darker or lighter color first; a lighter top coat will create a brighter room; a darker top coat will create a denser, more dramatic look. Experiment on a piece of plywood first; twist the sponge different ways and apply with different amounts of pressure until you create the look you want.

Step 3 - Apply Base Coat

Apply the base paint with a paintbrush; allow it to dry for a couple of hours before applying a second coat. Allow the final coat to completely dry before beginning to sponge paint.

Step 4 - Sponge on Top Coat

Option 1: Dampen sea sponges before dunking in paint and wiping off any excess, dripping paint. Dab onto the furniture gently, but randomly. One of the beauties of sponge painting is that you don’t have to apply the sponge exactly the same each time for it to look good. Use smaller sponges to get into corners.

Option 2: Paint on the second coat with a paintbrush; allow to sit for a minute or so. Using a dry sponge, dab onto the wet paint to soak up the second coat, allow the bottom coat to show. Experiment on your practice board with these two methods to find the one that works the best for you.

Step 5 - Touch Up

Stand back several feet or more to see if there are adequate amounts of both colors. Sponge on more of either one until the furniture looks how you want it.

Step 6 - Seal Furniture

After the paint has completely dried, seal with shellac or varnish to keep your new and improved furniture in good condition for many years.