The Busy Bean

Painted Piano {a few little tips along the way}

Painted Piano

I finally did it. I decided in 2011 to paint the piano. I couldn’t take it apart because I didn’t have the key to unlock the top. Well, I got that in 2012. And still it sat. I just had so many other things I wanted to do and I did not love the idea of moving the piano and spending all the time it would take to paint it.

Well, this week my husband was out of town at a trade show, and my sewing machine was broken. What else is a girl to do but paint a piano?!

Here’s a quick rundown of what I did (and why).

piano before

In case anyone wonders why I would want to paint a piano, this is what it looked like before. There wasn’t a single surface that didn’t have something like this on it. The top was so bad I couldn’t even dust it without bits of the finish flaking off. It had sat in a storage unit, uncovered and unprotected, for eight years before I got it, so it needed some serious attention.

piano apart

I started by taking off every piece that could come off. I thought it would be a lot easier if I didn’t have to work around those parts, trying to get into each seam and crevice without painting it shut. I’m glad I did it this way. I also used tape around the keys so I didn’t have to worry about getting the paint on them. I did get a little on one of the keys, but it wiped right off, even after it had dried. I just wouldn’t have liked to scrape paint off all the keys if I hadn’t taped.


I put down a plastic sheet in the living room and used big cans from my food storage to lift the pieces up off the floor so I could get the edges. I gave all the pieces a light sanding. I didn’t worry too much since I was using chalk paint, but I wanted to make sure it was a smooth surface to start with. Then I mixed the paint.

I made my own chalk paint. I bought the red paint I wanted to use way back when I first decided to do it, but after reading a lot and thinking about it, I decided I wanted chalk paint. I looked up how to do it myself and ended up following these directions. I mixed 1/3 cup plaster of paris with a little warm water to dissolve it and added my paint. It worked perfectly. I also prayed that I would be careful because we have white carpet and it’s a rental house. So…


I did two coats, though if I’m being totally honest, I liked the look of it a little better after just one. I could see more of the woodgrain underneath after one coat. It had light and dark spots and looked a little more worn. After it dried I spent a lot of time waxing. A lot. I think painting it took me all of four hours for both coats, waxing about eight. I used this wax mostly because it was all they had at my local hardware store. And I was too lazy to wait for shipping. It worked well and didn’t smell bad.

Piano edge detail

I lightly distressed the edges before waxing. I didn’t go crazy with the sander, but I wanted a little character in there.

Piano keys detail

Yellow was the other color I seriously considered painting the whole thing, so I wanted to throw it in just a little. I decided to paint part of the bench the no.2 pencil yellow that I love.

Piano painted


Red Paint: Sherwin Williams Roasted Pepper
Yellow Paint: Ace Paint Casa de Oro
Wax: Howard Citrus Shield Paste Wax


Painted Piano

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7 Thoughts on “Painted Piano {a few little tips along the way}

  1. Aunt Maxine on January 10, 2014 at 2:32 pm said:

    Love the red piano. I have heard a little bit about the chalk paint lately. Is it easy to work with? and where do you get it? Why do you need to wax it? Tell me what you’ve learned. Please. 🙂
    Love, Aunt Maxine

    • Hi Aunt Maxine,

      I chose chalk paint because it’s a lot more forgiving than regular latex paint. It’s easier in some ways, but harder in others. I didn’t have to sand as thoroughly as I would have with regular latex paint since it will stick to the shiny surface, but I did have to wax, which takes extra time on the back end.

      You wax it because it’s a matte surface. For some things, that doesn’t matter and you don’t need to wax, but for the piano which will get a lot of wear, waxing provides that durable surface so it doesn’t show the scratches and stuff like that. It still keeps the matte surface look, but gives it just a little bit more of a sheen.

      I made my own, because I already had the paint color I wanted, but there are lots of places to buy chalk paint or milk paint. I don’t really understand all the differences between them. There’s a good blog post here about different kinds and the good/bad of them. Let me know if you’ve got other questions!

      • Aunt Maxine on January 14, 2014 at 9:44 pm said:

        Thanks for the info. I was able to find some valuable info through some of the blogs you sent me to. I’m doing a chair and I’ve had to start over. The paint just rubbed right off. Live and learn. Ugh!
        Sand, sand, sand. I hate sanding. (I’m not using the chalk paint. btw)

  2. Melanie D on January 10, 2014 at 10:57 pm said:

    Awesome sauce!

  3. How gorgeous! Way to go on biting that bullet. I want my piano painted, but I’m way to chicken lazy to do it myself. I admire your gumption. It’s well-rewarded!

    • Thanks Rachel! It really wasn’t too bad, just takes a few days of time, with lots of dry time in between. However, you’ll notice I didn’t do it until my sewing machine was broken and I didn’t have that to occupy my time 😉

  4. Rosemary B on February 8, 2014 at 6:33 pm said:

    So, do you play it now?
    It looks very pretty.

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