How to Paint a Cedar Chest

When it comes to reviving and beautifying your furniture, few things can match the transformative power of a fresh coat of paint. If you’re looking to add a touch of elegance and charm to your living space, painting a cedar chest can be a wonderful project to undertake.

How to Paint a Cedar Chest

Cedar chests are not only functional storage pieces but also offer a timeless aesthetic with their warm, rich hues and distinctive grain patterns. However, achieving a flawless painted finish on cedar requires careful preparation and execution.

In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of how to paint a cedar chest, from selecting the right paint and tools to preparing the surface and applying the paint with precision.

Whether you’re a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a beginner, this comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge and confidence to transform your cedar chest into a stunning focal point that seamlessly integrates with your home decor.

Is It Ok to Paint a Cedar Chest?

Yes, painting a cedar chest is definitely possible and can even be beneficial. Paint helps protect the wood from weathering, insects, and other damage. It also provides an easy way to give your cedar chest an updated look if you don’t like the natural colors of the wood. But before you begin painting your cedar chest, it’s important to properly prep the wood.

Sanding and cleaning the surface of the cedar chest will help ensure that your paint job holds up for a long time. Once you have prepped the wood, choose a quality exterior paint and primer specifically designed for use on wood surfaces.

With the right supplies and careful preparation, you can give your cedar chest a fresh new look with a few coats of paint. Plus, if you ever get tired of painting a cedar chest, sanding off the old paint won’t be too difficult. There are plenty of advantages to giving your cedar chest an updated look with a coat of paint!

New Look With a Few Coats of Paint

But before you start painting your cedar chest, make sure that it is in good condition. Check for any rotting wood or insect damage that could compromise the integrity of the furniture.

If you do find any damage, it’s best to repair it first before attempting to paint your cedar chest.

Once you’ve determined that your cedar chest is in good condition and ready to be painted, make sure to take the necessary precautions when painting near a combustible material like wood.

Choose an oil-based primer and paint specifically designed for use on wooden surfaces, and use caution when spraying these materials near an open flame like a candle or fireplace. Following these safety measures will help ensure that your painting project goes off without a hitch!

8 Methods How to Paint a Cedar Chest

1. Decide on the Color.

You can either choose to paint the cedar chest the same color as the rest of the room or you can choose to paint it a contrasting color. If you are unsure of what color to paint the cedar chest, you can always ask for help at your local hardware store.

Once you decide on the color, make sure to purchase the right type of paint and primer for the material that you are working with. If you are using a latex paint, then make sure to use a latex primer as well. To achieve the best results, use a quality brand of paint and primer.

2. Choose the Type of Paint.

There are two types of paint that can be used on a cedar chest: oil-based and water-based. Oil-based paints take longer to dry, but they will provide a more durable finish. Water-based paints are easier to work with, but they will not last as long as oil-based paints.

Choose the type of paint according to your desired finish and how long you plan to keep the chest. While both types of paint will work, water-based is generally the better choice for a cedar chest.

3. Prepare the Surface.

Before you start painting, you will need to sand down the surface of the cedar chest. This will help to create a smooth surface for the paint to adhere to. Once you have sanded down the surface, you will need to wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove any dust particles.

 Sand Down the Surface of the Cedar Chest

If you have any areas of the cedar chest that are cracked or chipped, you should use a wood filler to smooth them out. Let the wood filler dry completely before moving on to the next step. Additionally, you might want to use a primer on the cedar chest before painting it. This will help to ensure that the paint adheres evenly and lasts longer.

4. Apply a Primer.

Once you have prepared the surface of the cedar chest, you will need to apply a primer. This will help to ensure that the paint adheres properly to the chest and prevents peeling or chipping in the future.

You can purchase primer at your local hardware store or online. Use a brush or roller to apply the primer evenly, and make sure to cover the entire chest. Allow the primer to dry fully before moving on to the next step.

5. Paint the Cedar Chest.

Once you have applied a primer, you can start painting the cedar chest. It is best to use a brush or roller for this project rather than spraying the paint directly onto the surface of the chest. If you are using a brush, be sure to load it with enough paint so that it does not dry out while you are working.

Work in a smooth, even stroke and make sure to paint with the grain of the wood. It is also important to take your time and not rush this step. Apply two coats of paint, allowing the first coat to dry completely before applying the second. Allow the chest to dry for 24 hours after

6. Allow the Paint to Dry.

After you have finished painting the cedar chest, you will need to allow it to dry completely before moving on to the next step. Depending on the type of paint and the environment, this could take anywhere from several hours to several days.

To ensure the best possible results, it is important to let the paint dry completely before taking any further action. Although it may be tempting to rush the process, patience is key when it comes to painting furniture.

7 Add Embellishments (Optional).

Once you have applied two coats of paint, you can add embellishments such as stencils or decals if desired. Before applying any of these, however, it is important to seal the paint with a clear coat first. This will help protect the design from scratches and other damage over time.

Add Embellishments Such as Stencils or Decals

Stencils can be applied directly onto the surface of the cedar chest using painter’s tape or stickers as guides for even lettering. Any excess paint should be wiped away with a damp rag. Decals can also be applied to the chest though it is important that they are sealed with a clear coat for protection.

8. Seal the Paint.

To protect your paint job, you should apply a sealant or varnish over the top of your painted cedar chest. This will help to protect the paint from scratches, chips, and fading.

When selecting a sealant, make sure it is compatible with the type of paint you used and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application. Once your sealant has been applied, allow ample time for it to dry completely before using your cedar chest. Following these steps should

Some Common Mistakes to Avoid

When painting a cedar chest, it is important to avoid some common mistakes. These include:

1. Not Properly Preparing the Surface:

Before painting, the surface of the chest must be properly prepared. This includes sanding down any rough edges and filling in any cracks or holes with wood filler.

2. Not Applying a Primer:

A primer should be applied to the surface of the chest before painting it. This will help the paint adhere better and last longer.

A Primer Should Be Applied

3. Using the Wrong Type of Paint:

Using paint that is not suitable for cedar chests can cause chipping, cracking, and fading over time. It is important to use a high-quality oil-based exterior paint or stain specifically designed for outdoor furniture.

4. Painting Too Thickly:

Applying too much paint in one area can lead to uneven coverage and dripping or running lines on the chest’s surface. To avoid this, apply thin coats of paint evenly across the entire chest, allowing each coat to dry before adding the next.


Painting a cedar chest does not have to be intimidating. With the right materials and patience, your cedar chest can get a whole new look with minimal effort. Remember to sand the outside of the chest, use a primer for sealing, and paint in thin layers.

Finally, make sure to prominently place your newly painted cedar chest in your home as a reminder of your artistic achievements. In conclusion, if you need help with painting furniture such as cedar chests, this blog post has some simple instructions that anyone can follow to get it done in no time. So, there you have it – a quick and easy guide on how to paint a cedar chest.

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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