White teeth, white pants, white painted furniture.
They all need to be maintained, protected, and are a bit tricky to attain.
If you have ever painted furniture with white paint (or any lighter color), some of you may have encountered that frustrating beast known as bleed through.
See all of those little spots? THAT, dear friends, is bleed through.
It can manifest itself in many different forms, shapes, and colors. Sometimes it will show its ugly head as pink rings. Other times it will take on the appearance of brown spots. Regardless of the form, it’s a total bummer when you’re trying to paint furniture white.
Bleed through is essentially oils, tannins, or stains bleeding through your paint to the surface.
Right now, I’m battling it on the inside of this super cute retro hoosier cabinet that Natasha picked up a few weeks ago. This photo is just of the bottom part.
The outside has been painted in Emperor’s Silk Chalk Paint® and Natsaha requested Pure White for the inside. Great pick, don’t you think?
So the question becomes, how do you combat bleed through on your piece?
My plan of attack began with Zinsser’s Shellac.
Shellac seals in bleed through and can also be used as a top coat. The downside of using it is that is has a very strong odor. I’m not a huge fan of using any products that smell, so Shellac is not my primary go-to. There are so many non-smelly paint products on the market nowadays so to choose anything with an odor is unnecessary (in my opinion). Another downside is that Shellac won’t clean out of your brush with soap and water. I wind up using a chip brush and I pitch it when I’m done. Chip brushes aren’t expensive, but it adds up if you need to seal often.
On the bright side, Shellac is helpful if you plan on distressing your paint job back to the raw wood. It goes on clear so you can still reveal the beautiful color of your wood without allowing any residual tannins to pop through.
Another product I have come to use and love is Miss Mustard Seed’s Tough Coat.
This puppy seals in stains and musty smells. It serves as a top coat for surfaces that are going to take a beating. It even acts as a barrier between your paint layers so you can distress back and not burn through your bottom paint layer. Best of all, it has NO ODOR and you can distress back to the raw wood if you wish.
Winner winner, chicken dinner.
Another viable option to prevent bleed through is Zinsser 1-2-3Primer.
As you can see in the photo, primer is tinted white. If you’re going to wind up painting something white, you might as well use primer. It will seal in musty smells, stains, and other menacing threats to your gorgeous white finish. It does have a slight odor, but it’s nowhere near as strong as Shellac. If you are planning to distress your finish back to the raw wood, primer may not be a good option for you to use because it will be difficult to sand through it.
General Finishes also has a water-based stain blocker.
I don’t have any experience using this product, however I love their staining products, so I can only assume that this product would be just as awesome. I did call my local General Finishes retailer and unfortunately, this product isn’t in stock so I can’t test it for you. Their website also alluded to the product is on the expensive side, so perhaps I’m better off.
For now, I have my pick of products to help me tackle the bleed through on J. Edgar Hoosier. I’ll show it Hoosier Daddy.
Ok, I’m done with the corny hoosier jokes.