Quick Painting Tip – No Sanding Necessary

How to paint wood without sanding

A few years ago, I discovered deglosser. It’s a life changing product that has likely been around for years, but I just never noticed it nestled in on the shelf at the hardware store {Lowe’s}. We’re always painting something – furniture, trim, etc. To get paint to adhere to wood, you usually have to sand to get it to grip, especially with anything that’s varnished. You can paint without sanding by using a liquid sander deglosser! It removes the finish, giving it a rough texture without the effort.

Quick tip: Paint wood without sanding

To apply, you just use a paint brush & allow it to penetrate the wood for 15 minutes before wiping off with a cloth. Then you’re ready to prime & paint! It’s an easy shortcut. This was a glossy varnished buffet…

How to paint wood without sanding

To test if this is a good product for your needs, simply apply it, prime & paint a small area & allow the paint to dry. With your fingernail or coin, do a scratch test to ensure that the paint adhered to the wood properly. It hasn’t failed me yet!

You can laugh, but with the exception of this piece, I’m in anti-painting furniture mode right now! I am in the process of stripping paint from a few pieces in hopes they’ll forgive me for what I’ve done. What’s your preference wood or painted pieces?

You may also like my favorite neutral paint colors.


entertaining expert and lifestyle blogger Julie Blanner



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  • Angela says:

    I love painted pieces. Although I don’t have the time for it. I like the different colors you can make something. But natural is good too!

  • Kate says:

    Awesome tip! I need to try this stuff.

  • MaryBeth says:

    i used this deglosser to stain our railings on our staircase a darker stain. It made life much easier not having to stain.

  • Jo Galbraith says:

    Great anti-sanding tip. I have done the same – strip wood pieces that I have painted! I personally love a mix of wood and painted pieces. I just found your blog and love it!

  • Suzanne says:

    Hi Julie, does this work over painted surfaces or just varnished wood?

  • Susan Iseman says:

    Have you heard of Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint? No need to sand, strip ANYTHING.
    It’s water based and adheres beautifully. Wonderful stuff!

    • Julie says:

      Yes, I used to use it all the time – it’s amazing!

      • Elise says:

        Can I ask why you stopped? Was it the price? I have an old wooden headboard from the 70s my MIL gave to my for my 4 year old and I would love to paint it white or powder blue. I cannot believe how expensive chalk paint is, but I also don’t feel like stripping and sanding the entire thing just to paint it white. If I were to use the de-glosser, could I just then paint over it with a latex wall paint? (I have a ton of sample pints from painting some walls blue). Would I also need a topcoat of some sort. Sorry for the long post!!! Thanks for your help!

        • Julie says:

          I just love original wood pieces and they’re becoming more and more rare. I do love the occasional painted piece, but in the age of veneers, I like to keep hardwood furniture original.
          Valspar has an affordable chalk paint now at Lowe’s!

          • Lavonne Bowman says:

            I have solid oak bookcase that is varnished. I would like very much to paint the bookcase.
            Do you any specific recommendations for me.


        • Debbie Crawford says:

          You also mix your own chalk paint, using paint, plaster of paris, & water.

  • Sarah says:

    I’m new here, but really love your style! Would be so happy to know what color / brand paint you used on that blue buffet in the first picture of this post. It’s wonderful! Thank you!

  • What do you do about sealing the stain? Doesn’t it have the likelihood of rubbing off, since it does not penetrate the painted surface?

  • Drew says:

    I’m not a fan of painted furniture myself but I have done it before. I will definitely be using the deglosser. That is super cool. Thanks for posting!

    • Julie says:

      I often cringe at painted furniture, but from time to time do it myself. I’m integrating a lot of wood into our new home. The deglosser is a life changer!

  • Kathleen says:

    I have been around the block a time or two and have seen the ‘strip and refinish all wood’ craze of the 20th century to the latest ‘paint it all’ mania. I must say that some furniture does look better painted than brown, but some wood grains and inlaid pieces are too lovely to be hidden. I predict that in ten years we’ll all be criticized for ‘slathering good pieces with gallons of paint’ and the rubber gloves and stripper cans will be in full use.

  • Carolyn says:

    I just bought this after reading about your experiences with it, and I am very excited to try my first few tries at painting wood furniture, while feeling a bit more confident due to your blog. Thanks for the recommendations and advice here!

  • Julie says:

    Hello Julie – Can you tell me the color of the blue cabinet above? I love that color and it is so hard to choose once you’re at the paint store. Thanks so much – Julie

  • Jolie Wang says:

    It’s really amazing to know more about paint without sanding. I love this idea ’cause it saves a lot of time and effort. Thanks for sharing

  • i want to to take a old darlk dresser and stain it white is it hard to do , and can you remove the paint without stain it

  • Thanks for sharing your experiences. I’m doing some research on painting. I have an old coffee table and I want to paint it. Now I know how to do that.

  • Anonymous says:

    Looking forward to attempting painting a dresser! Thanks for your great info!

  • Paola says:

    Omg I will try it!!

  • Paola says:

    I can’t wait to try this!!

  • Michele says:

    An earlier comment mentioned about sealing the stain. You said you did prior to painting. How did you do it?
    My mom want a me to paint just the top of her dining room table black! (The table is old and has a medium color wood stain).

  • Richard says:

    Thanks for this tutorial! We have the same saw and my husband and I love it too! I am glad you stressed the importance of the clamp..I have seen ours but have never used it…but I will now!I appreciate your guidelines. It’s nice information for us.

  • liz says:

    Are these safe to use for lead based white gloss paint on trim?

  • Lisa Moncrief says:

    Hi Julie! Question, I just found a free desk that had been painted black and sealed on the top of the desk. A friend is going to paint a design for me but I am having trouble finding whether or not we can paint directly, perhaps with acrylic paint, without having to to strip it or sand it and then repaint it black then adding the design?
    Thanks so much for your advice!

    ps…I don’t know if you can see my email, but if you can, an email response would be most appreciated as I am on the go constantly! Much appreciation!

    • Julie says:

      There are so many factors that go into this – I’m not sure what it’s sealed with, but for paint to truly adhere, it usually cannot go onto a “seal”. Also, not sure how long acrylic paint will last/adhere. Sorry I’m not much more help, but this is outside the standard painting realm that I do.

  • Candy Hein says:

    So happy to hear about this. I’ve want to update and paint my staircase since I moved in 7 years ago but have been terrified of all the prep work. This makes it less intimidating. Thank You

    • Julie says:

      Are you painting the treads as well, or just the risers? If painting the treads, I’d select a paint with some epoxy. Sherwin Williams will have some great suggestions.

  • Martha D says:

    Can I strip existing varnish using the deglosser and then re-stain? I’d like to stain our table and chairs in the dining room with a darker color stain.

  • Aenne says:

    I like both painted and plain wood furniture, but have been horrified at some of the “paint jobs” that I’ve seen. Why on earth PAINT a gorgeous, perfect, flame mahogany dresser made in 1840 – blue – with red stripes? Why strip original blue paint off a late 18th century blanket chest, then sand the heck out of it and slather it in gloss polyurethane? Why ruin beautiful old furniture from the early 20th century by covering it with paint, beating it with chains, leaving it in the rain, hitting it with a blow torch, then calling it “chippy” when it’s actually “crappy”? Some furniture DESERVES to be stripped or painted, but we’re responsible in some way for passing antiques and future antiques on to other generations, and we collectively ruin a lot of it.

  • Michele Jamaouy says:

    Hi Julie!

    I’m new to the DIY world but have a couple questions. I have a wood headboard that is dark brown with a shiny finish. I also have a black vanity that also has a shiny finish, that i believe is also wood. My daughter wants both of them painted white but I’m a bit nervous. Would you suggest using the sander deglosser on both or the chalk paint? Just not sure which way I should go. Thank you so much for any suggestions as I take on these first projects!


  • Sheryl says:

    My daughter has white bedroom furniture. She wants it painted black. Should I use the deglosser and then paint it. Or should I use black Annie Sloan chalk paint? This is my first project and I want it to be easy, but also done right so it will last.

  • Alice Norton says:

    Will the deglosser be ok to use on painted white kitchen cupboards? Want to paint over the oil paint with latex based.

  • Debbie Mumford says:

    Julie I just wanted to let you know that I recently used Annie Sloan Graphite paint and her new Black Wax….to get a beautiful black finish on my end tables.

  • Lynne Rogers says:

    I am going to paint a mismatched China hutch I acquired. Unfortunately it reeks of cigarette smoke. I’ve already washed it with vinegar water with slight improvement. I know Kilz makes a primer for odor control. Any experience with that or suggestions? The finish isn’t very glossy anymore so I’m no even sure about sanding (which I’m trying to avoid). Thanks!

    • Julie says:

      My only recommendation would be a great primer like Kilz, unfortunately. Another option would be to store it in a garage that you could leave cracked to see if a little fresh air helps, too.

  • Becky says:

    We moved from NC into a 1979 custom home a year ago in IN and it has all stained trim, I hate it! We plan on moving in a year or two and think painting the trim will update it. What is your opinion? I would hate to hurt the value?

    • Julie says:

      In a 70’s home, I would think that you’re best painting it, but would consult with a local realtor. In historic areas I tend to suggest that it remain in it’s original state.

  • Maria says:

    If painting oak cabinets to white and I use the deglosser, do you still see the wood grain through the paint?? Is their a particular paint I should use to not see the grain, I’d rather have a smooth finish.

  • Maria P says:

    If I repainted my oak cabinets to white and I use the deglosser, do you still se the wood grain? I’d rather have the finished product a smooth white surface with no grain showing? Is this possible or do I need to use a specific paint?

  • Sherry says:

    I have a jewelry armoire that has a full-length mirror on the front of it. It is a dark colored stain, but I’m not sure if it is made of real wood or just pressboard. I would like to paint it white. Will this deglosser work on this type of furniture as well?

  • Mikel says:

    I am so in agreement about the trendiness of painted furniture. I cringe when I see a “before & after” of a lovely, fine wooden antique! I want to tell everyone to step away from the paintbrushes and put DOWN the chalk paint!!! Haha! PSA: KNOW BEFORE YOU PAINT!
    Having said that, I love what changing a stain can do to breathe new life into very darkly stained or poorly aged pieces. And as far as mass-fabricated (most furniture post 1980) – go crazy! That furniture needs a soul! =D

  • Lani says:

    Would the liquid deglosser allow me to whitewash old varnished pine walls? Sanding seems a much bigger (possibly uneven & messy) project!

  • Amanda Anderson says:

    It seems to have worked so well for you with painting the piece afterwords but do you think it would work equally as well for a white-wash? I want to white wash my coffee table but it has so many ornate crevices I would be afraid to try sanding it all. Also what would you recommend for sealing it after the stripping and the white wash? I have children at home still and would rather they not be able to completely obliterate my hard work LOL
    thank you for your energy and efforts!

  • Jan says:

    can I use the liquid sander deglosser on stained furniture and then restain to a darker color without sanding?

  • Yenisley says:

    Hi there. Your blog post is the only one that made me feel confident about the projects i forsee doing. I just have a question, my dining table & console table is currently stained very dark brown like a walnut. The dining table has a wood feel to it, the console does not. The console is smooth to touch. Will the deglossed work for both? Also, if i paint it white would it be completely solid? Or would it look like white wood? I kind of want it to look like white wood. White white paint brand & color do you recommend? Thank you!!!

  • Terry Hyche says:

    Hello, I am painting a fireplace mantel. I have paint with a primer in it and I am definitely about to go purchase the deglosser, but I wanted to make sure I am not missing any steps.

    1. Use the deglosser (follow the instructions)
    2. Then I can paint right?

  • Mimi says:

    I have a beach house with pickled oak trim around doors, windows, wainscoting, and some beams. It was done with varnish and has been super durable, but I feel like it dates the house. We are getting ready to put new wood flooring in and I am looking for an easy (or easier) way to change the color of all of the trim/wainscoting by either making more white or adding darker tones to make it more gray and less pink. Would this product work on the trim or do you have a suggestion on a product or process to use? Would it be feasible to do this on a 3 floor home? Thanks!

  • Penny Rhomberg says:

    Would you share the color and brand of the rich navy-ish paint on the sideboard/dresser on this link? It’s absolutely gorgeous. Satin?

  • Chanci Oyler says:

    I just want to reseal my kitchen table, no paint. Could I use this to strip the exsisting sealer then just add more sealer, no painting?

  • Penny says:

    Your website is excellent! Beautiful and user friendly. Can you tell me how much ventilation, or the type of space needed to safely apply and remove the deglosser?

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