Whether you have done quite a few furniture projects or are just beginning, bleed-through is a common problem that we get a lot of questions on. There are certain woods (like mahogany and cherry) that contain tannins in the wood that tend to bleed through your paint. It is never fun to start a fresh paint job just to come back and see your have these terrible reddish pink splotches showing up through your pretty paint!
We documented our bleed through problems on this antique settee we were working on at the time. It was super old, and was made of mahogany which is notorious for bright pink bleed through.
The best product on the market (in our opinion) to help prevent bleed through on your paint job, is Zinsser BIN primer with “Synthetic Shellac”. You can find it HERE.
The most important part of this primer is that it contains the Shellac component. That is the only product we have found to completely hide bleed through. We prefer the “Synthetic Shellac” because you can clean your paint brush or other tools with soap and water instead of having to use mineral spirits. It goes on white, just like any other primer, which is absolutely perfect if your painting your piece white!
Here is the first coat of Primer on the settee.
We usually find two coats of Primer for stains works best, however we had some serious issues with the mahogany on this settee. Even with the two coats, there were certain spots that just kept bleeding. They were some very stubborn spots! So instead, we took out the full strength Shellac product and applied two coats to just those stubborn areas.
Here is one of the spots that bled through 2 coats of primer and our first coat of paint. We let the paint dry and applied the full strength shellac right over the paint to cover the bad spot.
Full strength shellac is quite smelly and pretty runny which is why we prefer to use the primer product for a full piece, however, if you have very stubborn spots like we did on this piece, the full strength shellac is best.
Another great use for this product is to use it over any raw wood project you wish to paint that has a lot of knots. We use knotty pine often for various decor pieces or when we use a pine panel. Or say you are using wood with knots as a wall treatment – like a shiplap wall, you would want to first prime your knotty wood with this Shellac based primer so the knots don’t bleed through. Trust me, they will bleed! A coat or two of the shellac based primer is best and if your wood is going white – it’s perfect for cutting down on the amount of paint you will need to use!
So now let’s take a look at how this antique mahogany settee turned out after we stopped the bleed through, painted the frame and reupholstered the entire piece!
Isn’t she pretty?! What an update!
As you saw from the photos above, this piece was quite a bit of work. We had to strip it completely down to the frame and springs. Then Vicki had to re-tie the springs, add burlap, cushioning and all those inner bits to make it comfortable again before we could upholster it.
We chose a beautiful neutral tan ticking stripe fabric for the entire front, but added some really fun fabric to the back! Take a look….
We just love it! The painted frame and new fabric really helped to update the piece. Not to mention, it was completely re-built for some much needed comfort. We picture this piece in an entryway, sitting room or even at the end of your bed or elsewhere in the bedroom.
Products to emulate this look:
Shellac based Primer / Fusion Mineral Paint “French Eggshell” / Fusion Black Wax /
What is that gorgeous paint color and can I buy it from you? Lovvvveee it
Kristen & Vicki says
Yes you sure can! Its French Eggshell. It looks much bluer in person. https://timelesscreationsmn.com/shop/french-eggshell/ We did use black wax over the detailed areas too.