Painting unfinished pine shelf

by Darrell

I will be painting pine shelves that I bought from Home Depot. A couple of the shelves have a few knots. I'm painting the shelves a dark gray and wondered if you think the knots would show through and still look nice(maybe give a rustic look) or if the knots showing through would look horrible. I know I can prime before painting, but I wanted to see some of the wood grain.

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Feb 09, 2018
Painting unfinished pine shelf
by: Cheryl

Hi Darrell,
Yes the knots will bleed through in time. They will likely come through looking rather "yellow/brown muddy" against the dark grey. I don't think that's a good look.

So if you're going to paint the shelves rather than stain them in a dark grey you'll need to first seal the knots with a shellac based primer or other type of tanin blocker. Just applying a sealer over the wood will not be sufficient enough to keep the knots from bleeding through.

After treating the knots then apply a wood sealer all over. Both sides of the wood surfaces and cut edges.

Now you're ready to paint.

If you want to enhance the wood's natural wood grain and knots then you might want to do multiple thinned coats of paints (staining effect), sanding in between layers until you achieve the darkness you desire while showing off the grain of the wood.

To do this, you'd need to treat the wood first with a conditioner. Pine absorbs stains unevenly creating a splotchy result.

I hope this helps! Have fun with your project!


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