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How To Paint A Piano – The Right Way With Right Tools

How To Paint A Piano - The Right Way With Right Tools

Ever looked at your piano and wondered if you could paint it?

Not only will that make it unique and personal, but it’s a great way to breathe life into a second-hand piano that’s looking a bit worse for wear.

Will painting a piano affect its sound?

You don’t have to worry about paint ruining your piano’s sound, but just make sure you don’t paint the piano’s soundboard which is located in the piano’s case.

Now that you don’t have to worry about damaging the piano sound with a lick of paint, let’s look at the right way to paint your piano.

With a few important tips and tools, you’ll be on your way to giving your piano a great makeover.

Dissemble The Piano

This might sound scary, but it shouldn’t be.

You just have to make sure you remove some important piano parts that you don’t want to get paint on.

Many panels will come off easily but you might need to use a screwdriver to remove the bridge that’s found across the keys.

Tape Over Important Parts

Before you can start painting your piano, you want to put tape over any areas you don’t want dust and paint to enter.

You want to use brown craft paper and tape to protect the inside of the piano, cover the piano keys, cover the foot pedals, and cover the music desk’s metal hardware.

Anything that you haven’t removed needs to be covered properly and secured with tape!

Clean The Piano

You’ll be surprised at how much dust and dirt accumulates in all the small nooks and crannies of a piano, especially if it’s a really old one, so make sure you clean your piano well before painting it.

You can do this with a cloth that’s been dipped in water and soap. It will clean the piano safely and effectively.

It will also save you time later – the last thing you want is to take time to paint your piano only to find that there is some debris trapped under the paintwork!

Sand Down The Piano

Piano Sand Paper

You want to use sandpaper to gently sand all over your piano so that the paint you use on it later will better stick to it.

This will also help to make your paintwork look much smoother. When you’ve finished sanding, don’t forget to use a dry rag to wipe off the dust particles.

The type of sandpaper you use should be 100 grit medium grade as this will be efficient to sand down high-gloss surfaces, as wikiHow reports.

There are times when your piano won’t need to be sanded down before being painted.

This is the case if your piano doesn’t have a glossy finish. However, depending on your décor tastes, sanding can still be an option.

For example, if you would like to change the finish of your piano by sanding it down, such as by achieving a slightly rougher finish, then sanding it is a good idea.

Use Primer

You’ll need to cover the piano with coats of primer before you can paint it.

This will create a smooth surface on the piano and should be applied with a wide paintbrush.

Once you’ve applied the primer, leave the piano somewhere to dry. If you’re painting it indoors, keep it in the well-ventilated room so that the primer will dry faster.

Note that this process takes approximately an hour.

Choose The Paint Of Your Choice

Painting The Piano

The paint you use for your piano will depend on the type of finish you want.

Do you want a matte piano? Make sure to choose a matte paint.

Do you want your piano to look glossy? Use a gloss paint.

However, bear in mind that if your piano has any imperfections, glossy paint will highlight them more. This might be a consideration if your piano is second-hand or has been scuffed a lot.

On the other hand, if you want something that’s not too matte or glossy, go for semi-gloss paint.

Here are other tips for painting your piano:

  • Apply a minimum of two coats of paint. However, you might need more if you find that the color is not rich enough for your liking. The important thing is to have enough paint at your disposal in case you need to paint three or more coats of it. You don’t want to run out halfway into the project!
  • Once you’ve completed painting your piano and you’re happy with how it looks, leave it somewhere to dry.
  • If you haven’t taped the piano keys to completely cover them, keep a microfiber cloth handy when you paint close to the keys so that you can easily and quickly wipe away any paint that touches the keys before it hardens and creates an eyesore.

You’re Not Done Yet – Time To Wax Your Piano!

Once your piano has dried and it looks good, you’ll need to wax your piano.

This is important to seal in the paintwork and create a beautiful finish. It will also protect the paint. A light layer of wax should be enough.

How to apply wax to the piano:

  • Use a rag or wax brush. Either one will work well.
  • Buff the wax using circular motions so that the wax will soak into the piano.
  • Don’t be too gentle when buffing the piano as you want to penetrate the wood. You can use quite a bit of pressure here!
  • Take your time when buffing the piano to prevent the wax from hardening in some spots. You can prevent that by making sure that you apply an even layer of wax all over the piano.

Pro tip: If you notice you’ve applied an uneven layer of wax, use a rag to wipe off any extra wax but do this quickly as you don’t want the wax to harden and form those dreaded clumps.

Can You Paint Piano Keys?

Painted Piano Keys

If you love the idea of painting your piano as well as its keys, you might wonder if it’s something you’re allowed to do.

It’s probably best to avoid painting the piano’s keys. This is because they will have to be removed in order to paint them properly, and that can be problematic if you don’t have experience with removing them.

In addition, some tutorials for painting piano keys require sanding and that’s something you don’t really want to do as it can damage your keys if you sand them too much.

If you’ve got your heart set on painting your piano’s keys, you’ll have to take the piano apart and once the keys are exposed you’ll see that they basically just pull up and out.

Now, you’ll have to sand them down a little bit with 400 grit sandpaper.

In the case of plastic piano keys, it’s ideal to use plastic paint. Spraying the paint onto your piano keys is a good idea to ensure the paint is applied in a light but even manner.

Avoid the tendency to sand the keys down too much as this will damage them. If you don’t like the idea of painting keys, freshen them up by cleaning them to make their whiteness much more striking.

You can clean the piano keys easily.

  • For plastic keys: Dip a cloth into a solution of vinegar mixed with water.
  • For ivory keys: Use a damp cloth and dip it into a bit of gentle soap. Always dry the keys immediately and avoid using chemicals like rubbing alcohol on the keys as this can damage them.

Related Questions

Can You Use Chalk Paint On Your Piano?

You can use chalk paint but bear in mind that it is matte.

However, a bonus of chalk paint is that you won’t have to sand or prime the piano before using the chalk paint on it. Chalk paint will dry in about two hours.

Will Painting A Piano Decrease Its Value?

Painting a piano won’t really do much to its value.

This is because pianos have many pieces that wear out and that means many antique pianos aren’t worth a lot of money in their original condition.

To be sure, search for the piano’s brand online to see what it’s worth.


Painting a piano might seem like an overwhelming and worrying task, but it doesn’t have to be.

With the right tools and paint at your disposal, you can easily transform an old piano into a sparkling new one, without fear of damaging it.

By the time you’re done, you’ll have a piano that looks brand new!


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