Piano refinishing can be a daunting task, but it is also a very rewarding experience. You will find some great tips below to help you along the way. I will also share a few lessons that we have learned so you can avoid problems. First off, we decided to paint our piano. But, like anything else, if you don’t do it well, the piano will look extremely bad. So, with piano refinishing, make sure you take your time and it will turn out great! Refinishing a piano can save you a TON of money, and buying a piano can be extremely cheap. In fact, I’ve seen a lot of FREE pianos out there for those that are willing to move them. (We just lived too far away to most to take advantage of them).
Step 1: Buy a piano that is in good shape.
Good shape = plays well. The piano we bought cost $50.00 and had one key that sat lower than the rest. Other than that, it needed to be tuned. (We will get it tuned when it is moved inside). Of course the main reason why I say buy a piano that is in good shape is to save you $$. If you buy a piano that needs a lot of work, you will waste a lot of money. So, be a little bit picky. Inspect it thoroughly. Make sure all the keys work properly, make sure the panels of the piano are in tact and don’t need major repairs.
Step 2: Clean the piano with soapy water. Of course each piano will need different things, but this one needed a good scrub.
Step 3: Take the panels off. You will need to start removing the hinges and screws with a power drill. Make sure you save all the hardware. You will need it to put it back together of course. 🙂 Each panel is vital, so be careful when you handle them. Set them aside.
Step 4: Remove the keys carefully. When the piano is striped of all the panels, it will be easier to see how the piano works. Our piano keys were stamped with their corresponding number on the bottom. A piano has 88 keys. You need to be VERY gentle when removing the keys. We took a vacuum and cleaned under the keys also. BUT…be careful not to vacuum up any of the tiny pieces. Every piece of felt is extremely important. Set the keys aside.
IMPORTANT LESSON NUMBER LEARNED: It would have been better to set them out in order. Even though they were stamped, we found out that a lot of numbers look alike. For example 60 and 66 looked identical. So…to save you a lot of time putting the keys back in…I would set them out in order. 🙂
This is what a piano looks like with all the panels removed and the keys taken out. Doesn’t it look cool?
Step #5: Cover the entire guts of the piano with paper and tape. It would be a disaster to get completely done with the painting process to find that you didn’t take enough time to protect the most important part of the piano. You must carefully tape off the front, the back, the bottom, the pedals…etc.
Step 6: In a well ventilated area, Prime the Piano with KILZ spray primer. For the entire piano, including the panels, I used 4 cans of primer. As you can see on the side of the piano, you will notice the stripes of the primer. I did a few coats of primer (waiting until it is completely dry in between) to cover up those stripes. I took this picture after the first coat.
As you can see in this picture, the insides of the piano are safe.
Step 7: With a high grit sand paper, sand the piano lightly. KILZ primer tends to leave a sand papery texture so by sanding the furniture with high grit sand paper, the soft, smooth finish will return with minimal effort.
Step 8: Paint the piano with Krylon Ivory Gloss finish (or whatever color you choose).I used seven cans of paint for the piano, plus the panels. I choose to paint with Krylon because of the nozzle. In my opinion it leaves a professional finish. I put at least two coats on each part of the piano. On the main body of the piano, I think I did four coats. MAKE SURE that each part dries thoroughly before you coat it again.
Step 9: Let it dry overnight and put the piano back together.
Here is a reminder of the “before” picture.
And Voila! Doesn’t it look great? I am not done…I will be glazing this bad boy so stay tuned for the final reveal.
And…to all those detailed readers out there, my hubby helped me add the decorative wooden scroll to the front panel. I’ve been searching for a piano for a long time, and I LOVE the old pianos with decorative carvings. But, I haven’t been able to find one that was affordable. So, for around $10.00, we found one at Home Depot, and we added it.
Glazing this piano is going to make this decorative scroll POP right out! Don’t worry it won’t be long before I’ll show you the result. This piano will be staying in my house. I am pumped! My six year old daughter is starting lessons.
Cost of the Piano:
$50.00 for piano off of Craigslist
Cost of primer (4 cans X $4.44)= about $18.00
Cost of paint (7 cans X $2.97)= about $21.00
Decorative scroll= about $11.00
Grand Total: $100.00
How awesome is that!?!?