While you are learning about how to paint furniture, having a resource at your fingertips that can quickly provide you with an explanation of basic terms can be very handy indeed. If you have any terms you think we should add, please feel free to send them to me or just leave a comment below.

Oh…feel free to share this list in your DIY groups, on Facebook or anywhere else you think others might find this useful.

Abrasive –  A material that is used to finish a piece through rubbing that gives the appearance of being worn away. Examples of an abrasive would include pumice, sandpaper or steel wool.

Air Spray Gun – This spray gun applies paint through the use of air pressure, by way of an air compressor. The air mixes with the paint and moves it through the spray gun until it is released through the nozzle in a fine spray.

 Airless Spray Gun – These spray guns operate while connected to a high pressure pump to atomize the coating. Airless spray provides a thick uniform coating, reducing the number of coats required. Airless spray guns are powered by a motor and use a paint pump to move the paint through the sprayer.

Antique Finish – A special painting technique that when applied to furniture, gives the appearance that the item is aged.

Bleeding Through – This is what is referred to when the undercoat begins staining through to the topcoat of paint or other finish.

Blistering – A negative effect that happens usually due to improper surface treatment before paint application and inherent moisture or dampness being present.

Bristle – This is the part of the paintbrush that paint is applied to. Usually made of nylon or polyester or natural hair bristles.

Brush Marks – These are the subtle marks or lines that can sometimes remain in paint when dried.

CFM – Measure of airflow in air compressors, cupic feet per minute.

Clear Coat – A transparent finishing coat that protects your paint.

Colorant – A concentrated color additive that can be added to paint to alter the color.

Cutting In – A painting technique used that is for carefully applying paint to edges of your project piece.

Distressing – A specialty painting treatment to furniture used to make a furniture piece look aged as well as worn and sometimes slightly damaged with scratches or marks.

Eggshell Finish – A paint degree of gloss that is between flat and gloss.

Fading – The loss of color that can be due to exposure to weather elements, light or extreme heat.

Finishing Coat – Typically the last and final coat of clear coat or lacquer that is used as a protective finish.

Flat Finish – A paint finish that absorbs light rather than reflects it. This finish is free from gloss or sheen.

Glaze – Can be one of many different finishes including glazing stains, glazing putty or a clear glaze coat used to create a gloss finish.

Gloss – A degree of paint finish that has a high reflecting characteristic.

Graining – A technique used to simulate wood grain onto a piece of furniture through the use of graining tools and special stains.

HVLP – A high Volume, Low Pressure type of spray paint gun. This is the type most painters use.

Lacquer – A finishing coating that is clear and fast drying.

Masking – A technique used to cover areas of a surface that you do not want to be painted or stained.

Metallic Paint – A type of paint that gives the furniture piece a metal or metallic appearance.

Mineral Spirits – A chemical often used as a paint thinner or cleaning solvent for paint brushes.

Nap – The depth of the fibers on the roller of a paint brush.

Paint Remover – A chemical that can be applied to furniture that softens old paint, permitting it to be easily scraped off.

Polyurethane – A versatile finish coating that acts as a sealant to finished painted pieces.

Primer – A base coat of paint that helps the topcoat bind more efficiently to the furniture. Also helps to reduce the number of topcoats needed for a solid coating.

PSI – A unit of measure for air compressors, meaning pounds per square inch.

Spraying – A paint application that is applied directly onto the surface in a fine mist.

Stain – A solution of color altering material that is used to create a variety of coloring effects to a surface.

Stippling – A decorative painting technique that involves the use of a stippling brush to dab off paint from the furniture revealing a color underneath.

Stripping Furniture – The removal of old paint or stains from furniture pieces with the use of paint removes.

Tack Cloth – A piece of cloth that has a sticky quality and is used to remove dust particles from furniture after sanding.