How To Paint Over Rubberwood Furniture: DIY Guide

Rubberwood may come from a tree used to make latex, but it has zero rubber-like features, as it is a hardwood. And although well known for its durability, rubberwood’s blonde color is not preferred by everyone, especially when blending different types of furniture. So how can you paint over rubberwood furniture and get that classy complete finish? 

To paint over rubberwood furniture as a DIY project, you will need latex paint and an acrylic primer. Without priming and conditioning rubberwood, you can’t achieve a decent, well-balanced paint job. The conditioning process makes the new color of the wood uniform and more attractive

Painting over rubberwood is not too different from staining other wood types. However, there are certain twists involved with the process. Keep reading this article for a complete guide on painting your rubberwood furniture like a pro. 

1. Get All the Necessary Tools and Materials

The first step to successfully painting your rubberwood furniture is to have the necessary tools and materials. Painting is a ‘dirty’ job that will require you to stain your hands and whatever clothes you have on. Hence, it would help if you put on the right gear for your DIY paint job. 

Likewise, if you want perfection on the rubberwood painting, it is better to have multiple paintbrushes for the task. Let’s closely examine the tools and materials you will need for the whole painting process. 


  • Painting outfit: You will most likely not have painting wear since you are not a professional. You can choose some old clothes in your closet for this task and other DIY projects. These clothes need to be as flexible as you can have them. 
  • Clean rags and soap: Painting over dirty rubberwood is tedious and rarely produces decent results. Using rags to clean the surface after mixing with mild soap is crucial.
  • Sandpaper: Painting rubberwood and other furniture requires a lot of sanding to smoothen the surfaces. Smoother surfaces are easier to paint and end up giving better results. Sandpaper with grit levels between 120 and 150 is sufficient for the rubberwood. 
  • Paintbrushes and paint rollers: You will need at least one paintbrush to apply the paint and sealers to your furniture. From my experience, I advise that you have multiple paintbrushes of corresponding sizes. You can do two paintbrushes per size. 
  • Facemasks: Paints and sealers are chemical compounds, and some have volatile organic compounds that are harmful to inhale. Face Masks will reduce how much of these gasses you inhale.  
  • Tape: You may not have plans to paint all parts of the rubberwood furniture. A painter’s tape is a great tool to help cover where you do not want to paint. 


It’s possible to improvise with the abovementioned tools when trying to paint rubberwood furniture.

However, without the following items; you shouldn’t even start anything: 

  • Primer 
  • The paint color 
  • The sealant 

As you continue reading this guide, you will see where each one of the tools and materials comes into play. 

2. Prepare Your Working Area

Except you have plans to cover your house floor, painting isn’t a task you should do indoors. However, if you have no choice, you should have the windows open during and after the process. You need natural lighting and proper ventilation to help hasten the paint-drying process and bring in some fresh air. 

Instead, it should be outside; even the location needs preparation before you start painting. The whole place will get messy without adequate preparation. 

One mistake was painting my furniture on the bare floor outside my home. While I got what I wanted with the furniture, still, I wouldn’t say I liked the stains that were left behind. 

To avoid such mistakes, you can buy a waterproof cloth and lay it on the floor before you place the furniture on top. Ensure the clothes are big enough to accommodate the size of the furniture you are painting. A simple hack is buying an oversized waterproof cloth that works for the biggest size of furniture. 

Here are some advantages of using these waterproof clothing:

  • You can paint without staining other surfaces.
  • You can paint both inside and outside your home.
  • It deters insects from sticking to paint when it’s wet. 
  • You can use one cloth for multiple pieces of furniture as long as the former paint is dry. 

3. Choose Your Preferred Color and Paint

Choosing the right paint type and color for your rubberwood painting is not arduous, as any paint can work on it. However, it is always better to be strategic when choosing the color and paint type. 

Rubberwood naturally has a white and bright color. Using an utterly dark color will alter the color of the wood, and you will not get a perfect result except if you have some prior experience. Using this color type can make you hate how your rubberwood furniture looks.

However, choosing a lighter shade will work better with rubberwood furniture because they have close relations. Hence, it will enhance its color, and even when you make mistakes, it will not be too apparent. 

You can also change the color of your rubberwood furniture to a lighter shade through a process known as prickling

4. Clean Your Rubberwood Furniture

No matter how new or neat your rubberwood furniture seems, there will always be some particles of dust on it. Painting your furniture with these dust particles will not give the desired outcome. 

You need to clean the furniture with mild soap and water before you start painting. Do not pour water on the surface of the rubberwood, as it can absorb moisture. Instead, dip a clean rag or cloth into a mild soap-water mixture and squeeze it till it’s damp before cleaning the surface. 

If the furniture is not that dirty, I will advise that you dust it instead – ensure that the rag you’re using is neat. 

While cleaning, another wise step is removing certain furniture parts you do not need to paint. Some examples are the knobs and handles of the furniture. Most times, these parts already have their designs, and painting them may be unnecessary.

5. Prepare the Rubberwood Furniture for Painting

This step is the most crucial part of painting rubberwood furniture. I know you have been reading preparatory steps from the beginning, but this is more critical. 

Preparing the rubberwood furniture involves, but is not limited to, checking for dents and damages. Here are some of the steps involved in preparing your rubberwood furniture for painting. 

Check for Holes and Patch

If you have been using your rubberwood furniture for a while, it is normal for it to have some dents and patches. Painting the furniture with these holes will only make the spots more obvious, altering the aesthetics of the painted rubberwood. 

You can use a wood filler or putty to fix these damages. Ensure that you get a filler or putty that works for rubberwood and has the same color or something similar. Choosing a different color may affect the uniformity of your painted rubberwood furniture. 

Whichever you choose between the putty and wood filler, ensure that it covers the hole completely. I’d prefer you use the filler, as putty may be more complex. 

Please do not bother about the filler protruding, as you will still level it with your sandpaper. Your sandpaper should have a grit of at least 120

Remove Any Existing Finish

Check the top of your rubberwood furniture to see if there is any existing finish. Furniture finishes offer an extra layer of protection and design to the wood. 

If there is no finish, you can go ahead and sand the furniture. When sanding, the goal is to ensure a level surface, including the areas you fixed with wood fillers. 

If there is a finish at the top, you will most likely need to strip it mainly with a chemical stripper, depending on the type of finish. Some finishes will come off through sanding if you use the correct sandpaper grit, and others might need a sander. 

If you need to use the chemical stripper, I will advise that you call an expert to help with that part. These strippers can be dangerous to your skin and lungs if you touch or inhale them. 

If you must use the chemical strippers, wear thick gloves and a respirator, as a facemask will not suffice. The instructions on the pack of these strippers are always sufficient to show you how to apply them. 

Clean The Surface

The sanding process of the rubberwood furniture will leave debris on the wood at the top. As I mentioned, it is always better to paint on a neat surface. Hence, it would help if you cleaned the top of all wood dust and other debris. 

Mark Painting Points

When you want to paint furniture, you are looking to change the whole color. However, if you love aesthetics, you may not want to paint everything. The white shade of the rubberwood furniture can deliver an exciting design if you have the idea. 

If you want to do something different, you can use painter’s tape to mark the areas you are not painting. Paint can’t pass through this tape, which gives you control over areas to paint or leave untouched.

6. Choose a Small Area To Test Paint Sealer

Family Handyman has a great idea of testing your paint on a small portion, which I recommend. This action will allow you to make mistakes and correct them, check possible final results, and learn better. 

You can use the painter’s tape to map out the perimeter of the small test area. Ensure that the location is at the back or somewhere that you can hide relatively quickly in case of any errors. 

You should first try the remaining steps in this guide on your small area before you spread it across the whole furniture. 

7. Prime Your Rubberwood Furniture

The primer is the first layer of paint for your rubberwood furniture. While it is not precisely painting itself, primers ensure that your painted rubberwood furniture has a clean finish. 

Primers come in different types, so ensure you buy the primer that suits rubberwood material. If the rubberwood furniture is outside, you’ll need an acrylic primer, but the latex primer will suffice if it’s indoors. 

The paintbrush is the tool you’ll use in applying the primer. If you are priming a wide surface, you can use the rollers for the job. However, you will still need to touch the tighter spaces with the paintbrush. 

If you have only one paintbrush and roller, you will need to wash it thoroughly before you use it for paint application. 

The primer needs to dry up, ultimately, before you start applying paint to the surface. Most times, the manufacturers of primers specify how long their products require to dry. 

8. Mix Paint and Apply

This step is the final part of the whole process, and you must be extremely careful.

Here is the step to follow to paint the rubberwood furniture:

  1. Get the appropriate paint type for the rubberwood. You can use acrylic or latex paint for the job, but acrylic usually works better. 
  2. Mix the paint properly. Most paints have clear application instructions that you should follow to the latter. As a rule, you should mix more than enough paint as it is better to have excess than for it to finish while on the job. 
  3. Apply the paint the exact way you did for the primer. Use the roller first to go the full length; then, you can trace it with the paintbrush. Paint the corners with the brush. 
  4. Sand gently after the first coat dries. Wait for some hours for the paint to dry completely, then use your fine grit sandpaper. You are not trying to remove the paint or finish this time, so you need to be gentle. The goal is to ensure the surface is smooth.
  5. Add a second coat of paint. The first coat is never enough for the job, so apply another coat with the exact steps described above after sanding. You may need a third coat for better results if changing the color to a darker shade. 

9. Add a Paint Sealer

It is your choice to seal your painted rubberwood furniture or not, but it is always better if you want the paint to last long. The sealer protects the surface of the color from damage and scratches. 

Water-based polyurethane is a great choice to add as a sealer to the painted surface. The water-based polyurethane has an unmistakable look after you apply it, retaining the color and protecting the surface. 


Now that you know the steps to observe when painting over rubberwood furniture, you should be well-placed to get the job done like a pro!  

Remember to clean the surface before getting started, and to choose the right type of paint. Moreover, it is crucial to sand using the right grit sandpaper. Overdoing the sanding process will almost certainly affect the outcome of your DIY painting project. 


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