How To Paint An Old Upright Piano
I recently had the opportunity to do something I have always wanted to do… paint a piano. My husband has a fancy piano in his music room that I have always wanted to get my hands on, but he would kill me. So I was so excited to get a message a few weeks ago asking “Hey Cait, would you paint a piano”… YESSSS!
Obviously I had to paint it on site. It really didn’t make sense to move it to the shop. We would have had to pay movers. This thing weighed a ton. There are a number of Piano sizes – a spinet is the smallest upright piano but can still weigh up to 400lbs.
When I arrived at the home, the owner had already pulled the spinet piano from the wall for me. I slid some cardboard under it where I could to protect the floors. And taped off the foot pedals and the wheels. Usually I would lay a down a drop cloth, but the piano was so heavy, I couldn’t lift it… and honestly, I didn’t want to. With my luck, I’d break the thing (the front legs on a piano like this are for decoration). I also removed the music stand and painted it at the shop.
The home owner decided on Industrial Blue, with slight distressing and clear wax as the top coat. I painted the inside of the key cover first. Once it was dry, I opened it and painted the outside. I was lucky enough that the key cover didn’t scratch the sides at all when I opened it. If it did, I would have had to paint and wax the outside. Wait 30 days for the wax to fully cure, then open it and paint the inside. You can see in the picture below that I also taped off the front of the keys… just in case!
To get in all the nooks and crannies, I used a small artist brush and a steady hand! To remove the paint from the hinges, I just used a damp scrub.
I really wanted to maintain the matte finish of the chalk paint, so I let the piano dry over night after 2 coats of paint, and gave it a coat of clear wax. Wax is an excellent, durable top coat, but it does take a full 30 days to cure. It feels dry to the touch after just a few hours, but it needs time to dry rock hard. I always tell owners to be delicate with their piece for the first 30 days. Use your piece, enjoy it. But don’t put anything heavy or sharp on it that could cause the wax to indent or scratch.
Here is the piano all complete! I painted the stool to match and I think it turned out amazing. I am so pleased with the results!!
Are you thinking about painting your piano?? Take the leap and do it!! It make such a difference and this heirloom piano will be enjoyed for generations to come.