What’s in my Paint Bag

I’m so glad you guys are here today. It’s going to be an awesome day because I’m teaming up with some of my favorite painters and business women for a fun post called What’s in My Paint Bag?

I recently painted this desk on location at The Pickers Market. I’ve been a vendor there for a few years now. Originally, I brought the desk to my booth unpainted because I thought the wood was too pretty to paint over. But after a few months of little interest, I decided to see if painting it would help give the desk a fresh look. I was totally blown away when it sold the very next day.


Since I live an hour away from store, hauling my paints and gear took a little extra planning. I usually use the same items each time I paint but it made me wonder how other #ladybosses handle painting on location for their respective shops and clients. I’m super excited to say all of these bloggers are not only fabulous painters they’re also generous when it comes to offering tips and tricks of the trade. We’re joining forces to give you a peek into our paint bags! Here’s a look at our favorite products in case you want to put together a paint bag of your own…

Group Graphic Option 3

I use both a canvas drop cloth as well as this Trimaco (the blue one) drop cloth. The blue drop cloth feels a bit like paper. It’s leak proof, slip resistant, reusable and perfect for large areas. You can find both of these at Lowes.


It’s also really important to have protective eye wear (currently on my head), gloves, mask/respirator and an apron to protect your body/clothing (currently wearing). I know a lot of you guys rescue pieces from old barns, estate sales and the curb too. You can’t be too careful when it comes to protecting yourself while your DIYing.


These items are very basic and I use all of these on a regular basis…

1. Most of the time, I use chalk paint, which doesn’t require a lot of prep work. However, there are times when I need to sand a piece of furniture and this orbital sander works well for large and small jobs.

2. The sanding papers are easy to use too. I try to keep different grit sandpaper around at all times. I usually use the 80 or 120 grit the most followed by the 220 and 320 grit.

3. If you’re working on pieces of furniture that have hardware you’ll need a screwdriver with an interchangeable head (one that is a standard flat head screwdriver on one side and a Phillips screwdriver head on the other).

4. A paint key will help you get the paint lid off easier.

5. You’ll need a hammer to help keep the paint lid secure once you’re finished painting or if you need to pound any nails.

6. I use a soft scrubber if there is a lot of dirt and grime built up on a piece of furniture. An old toothbrush (not pictured) can help you get into all the nooks and crannies of a detailed piece too.

7. I use painters tape for a variety of things like taping up the inside edges of a mirror, to cover a stubborn piece of hardware that is too caked on to remove so I can paint around it or to protect things I don’t want painted like casters.

8. Steel wool has become my best friend during the office renovation. It gives a slight gray hue once you rub it on a pieces and gives a really smooth finish too.

9. I always, always, always start with a wet brush. I usually change the consistency of the paint I’m using too so I keep a plastic cup full of water around my work station at all times.


1. Whenever possible, I try to use the same brand of clear and dark wax that goes with the paint I’m using which is usually Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

2. I use inexpensive furniture paste wax like this one to make custom color and antiquing waxes. I also use old wax cans to help prop up smaller projects like end/side tables or lightweight chairs. It makes painting the bottom of the legs/feet so much easier.

3. I’ve been using the Howard’s Feed-N-Wax on those pieces that I’ve left the original wood in place for a few years now and I love it. It smells like oranges and you can see the difference in the wood grain almost immediately.

4. I use a lint free white cloth to apply the wax unless it’s a really detailed piece and then I’ll use a wax brush.

5. This is a medium-soft bristled brush I use to buff each piece after waxing.


I found this old metal tool caddy at an antique shop a few years ago. It’s sturdy enough to hold multiple cans of paint and cleans up well in case of spills.


I’ve had a few projects lately that have seriously given me fits. I’ve been using Zinsser primer on all of them. If I need to seal a piece with something other than furniture paste wax, I grab Varathane polyurethane in a matte finish.


Finally, one of THE most important things you can do to improve your furniture painting is to invest in a good quality brush. I use a different brush for staining, painting with chalk paint, latex paint, applying topcoats and small detail work. You don’t need to have all of those brushes in your paint bag. It’s just my personal preference not to mix mediums. A 2 inch brush will do you right with almost any project. The brush on the end is for cleaning brushes. I would be lost without it.


Given this job is a fairly messy one, I need a bag that will be easy to clean up and doesn’t hold a lot of dust or dirt. This bag is actually a beach bag, which means I can hose it down and the weave doesn’t allow dust from the sander or dirt from the drop cloth to get trapped inside the bag. It dries easily and also holds its shape. The handles are sturdy enough to carry everything you saw in the pictures with the exception of the paints.


Whether your painting as part of your full time job or as a hobby on the weekends, having all of your supply items in a central location like a paint bag makes things so much easier. If you don’t have a paint bag, don’t sweat it. Find an old tool caddy, box, drawer or crate you can use to corral your favorite tools.

I’ve been painting furniture for private clients and as a vendor for a while now and I’m still in awe of the power of paint. It makes me super excited to know there are so many pieces of furniture being given a new lease on life thanks to the vision and creativity of fellow paint enthusiasts. Here are a few of my favorite makeovers…











Make sure to check all of the hard working and talented businesswomen in this group:

2 Bees in a Pod
Canary Street
Orphans With Makeup
The Painted Drawer
DD’s Cottage and Design

I’ll see you guys back here tomorrow with a progress update on the One Room Challenge.

Many blessings,


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  1. Thanks so much for inviting us to participate in this, CoCo! It’s fun to take a behind the scenes look at the different tools and products everyone uses. Hope you have the best day!

  2. your paint back is much more stocked than mine is. 😉 thank you so much for including me in this group- love all of your suggestions!

  3. Hi Coco- Thank you for putting this blog hop together. Your market space is beautiful. So bright and sunny. Antique Malls are not very common here in Québec, just independent antique dealers.

  4. Awesome post, Ccco! I forgot to add that I bring a water bottle with me as well! I used to have a space in a shop in Lucketts, VA and it is over an hour away. I started putting all of my stuff in a bag then as it was too far to go back and forth. Now I use it for client’s work. Great idea for the blog hop and thanks again SO much for including me!

  5. Love all of your tips CoCo…we need to know where to purchase one of those cleaning brushes – such a great idea! Howard’s Feed-n-Wax is such a great product – we love it too. Thanks so much for creating this blog hop! Love how everyone shares their best tips – we’ve learned so much!

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