I’m just going to come out and say it.
Painting is a pain.
But, you probably already knew that. And, if you didn’t, well, now you know.
As much as I enjoy building the dollhouse, there are all sorts of tiny details that keep popping up. Things that I never realized mattered. Or, I didn’t realize how much they mattered.
No. Scratch that. I never realized how much they mattered.
That’s why the Keeper’s House is now my “practice project.” I mean, it looks good and, as I said, I’m having fun. But, really, I’m making so many newbie mistakes that, well, it’s just best for my sanity if I call this one “practice.”
Painting Not Staining
After my experience with staining some of the wood trim, I decided to paint the rest of the wood trim. Mostly because I don’t want to mess with the stain again.
For those keeping score, that includes the stairs and the door. I think that’s all that’s left, really, in terms of the Keeper’s House pieces. I still have to make a railing for the stairs (or buy one). And then, of course, there’s the floor. But, I’ve got a floor plan ready to go (ha. Sorry. I couldn’t resist), and I’ll figure out the railing later.
Anyway, the big thing I wanted to get done was the stairs.
Since I decided the stairs are MDF, and as I already learned, MDF doesn’t take stain well, I figured painting the stairs was the way to go.
Brown like the Rest
I pulled out “Nutmeg Brown,” mostly because it was open and did a test swipe on the back of the stairs with a foam brush.
I went with the foam brush because my bristle brushes were dirty and, this was just a test to see if I like the color. That’s also why I did the back (bottom) of the stairs. If I hate it, no one will ever see it!
For fun, I compared the first coat of paint on the stairs with the shutter.
Looks about the same, which is good, given everything that happened with the shutters.
What you can barely see at the top of the picture (where my fingers are) is that I hadn’t finished painting the other part of the shutter. That’s the part where I held the shutter while I painted it, so that part is still yellow.
I will regret this choice in a matter of minutes.
But, before that, here’s a close up of the first coat of paint on the back of the stairs.
Not awesome, I know.
Here’s the thing, though. It’s the bottom of the stairs, so I figured, whatever no one’s going to see it once the stairs are in place, so I don’t care if it’s perfect or not. And, it’s MDF, so of course, it looks “weird.” Plus it’s the first coat of paint so I figured everything would be fine.
I now know that not priming was a major newbie mistake.
As I said, I never got around to finishing the shutters. Since I had the paint out, I figured now would be as good a time as any to do that. Here’s the result of the first coat:
Not awesome, but I expected as much.
Here’s the second coat.
Better, but probably needs one more for good measure. That’s fine. That yellow is kind of a pain to cover.
I decided to let the paint dry (you can only pile so much wet paint on top of wet paint), did some other stuff and came back to this:
Oh. Total. Newbie. Mistake.
I’m not talking about the unfinished edge (on the bottom of the top shutter). I knew that would happen. I’m talking about the left side of the shutter. See how the paint didn’t dry the same shade? How it’s light then dark then light?
Yeah. Me, too.
So, I said, let’s see what happens, and finished up the small edge on the right. It kind of reminds me of Neapolitan ice cream but in all chocolate. That’s a thing, right? Because if it’s not, it should be.
Back to the Stairs
While that mess dried, I went back to the stairs. After a second coat of paint, I wasn’t impressed, so I added a third.
I don’t know why the color is so off in the second picture (the stairs are not suddenly orange). But, you can see that I got good coverage with the third coat, so that was something.
And, Back to the Shutters
While the stairs dried, I checked out the shutters. Here’s what I found:
The multiple coats I did today all dried to the same tone. But, it doesn’t match the rest of the shutter (obviously).
This intrigues me, so I’m going to find out why this happened. But, in the meantime, I need matching shutters. Yes, they will be covered with the accent pieces, but that weirdness on the end is going to show through.
So, I added the… I don’t know. The billionth coat? I’ve lost track.
This time, I did the whole shutter at once. Once long, smoothish coat with the foam brush. And, I swear, no more messing with the shutters!
This is what they looked like when they dried.
Checking the Stairs
Then, I went back to the stairs and found that the paint had dried like this:
Not as “covered” as I had hoped. But, that’s what I get for not priming or sealing MDF. I should know better, but, sometimes, I get too excited and forge on ahead without caring about what “could” happen.
I should stop that.
But, I added one more coat, and I think that did the trick.
It looks fine. But, I think that before I paint the “front” of the stairs, I’m going to prime them, so I don’t get so much “paint suck,” or whatever I should call it.
It’s been “drying” for a few days. OK. I’ve been busy. But, I’m curious what the stairs will look like when I go back to them. Will they have warped because I didn’t prime and had to use so many coats? Will the color be “sucked up” again?
We shall see.
What about you? Have you ever painted MDF without priming or sealing it first? What happened? Anyone know what I messed up with the shutters?