Secret for a Smooth Finish {Tipsy Tuesday #2}

Yay, time for another Tipsy Tuesday! Make sure no one is looking over your shoulder because I’m about to share with you my top secret for a smooth finish on all your painting and refinishing projects. Ready?


Brown paper bag secret


Wondering what’s in the bag?


Secret for a smooth paint finish


Well, guess what! The bag IS the secret weapon! Yep, brown paper makes a great sanding tool for lightly sanding between coats. No more metal fuzzies from steel wool.

Cut a piece of brown paper sized to fit around a sanding block or sanding sponge.


brown paper cut to size


Wrap the paper around the sponge. You can secure it with tape if desired, but I just hold it in place as I’m working.


secure paper around a sanding block


Make sure your paper is smooth- it will cause scratches if it bunches up as you’re sanding. Don’t ask me how I know.


brown paper sanding block


Additional thoughts:

  • Simply roll up a piece of brown paper to use in crevices.
  • Start out with very light pressure until you get a feel for how much pressure you need to get a smooth finish without scratching your project.
  • When the paper starts getting fuzzy, throw away and cut a new piece!

I used this trick on most of my furniture projects such as the Mid Century Modern Makeover, the French Country Dining Table, and the Turquoise Stenciled End Table.

So tell me- what is your secret weapon for a smooth finish? Your favorite tip for refinishing furniture?







  1. For me it’s how I lay the paint down. I hold my brush at an angle very close to the surface I’m painting. With a watery paint I pull gently. Your idea sounds SO much easier. I will definitely try this. You are so inspiring.

    • Thanks, Donna! This tip is actually more for removing the fuzzies that always seem to drop into wet paint and varnish while it’s drying. I hate using steel wool!

  2. Wow! I had no idea brown paper would work! Thanks for sharing such an amazing tip!
    Betsy(@coastal-colors) recently posted..French Provincial China Cabinet

  3. The thought of that texture and the sound/feel of it rubbing makes my teeth cringe, but I trust you. Great tip!
    RHome410 @ Friday is Pizza, Monday is Soup recently posted..Small and Basic Steps into the Outdoors

  4. Would it be useful on kitchen cabinets? My natural cherry stain is dull and dirty. I am thinking about trying to refresh them my scrubbing, sanding with fine steel wool and using an orange product to polish.

    • It’s certainly worth a try if you only need to scuff up the finish a little. Definitely clean well first. You may want to try some tsp to get off grease buildup. I don’t know what orange product you’re going to use, but if you’re removing any of the finish, you’ll need to replace it- wipe on poly’s are easy to use. Good luck!


  1. […] A quick little swipe with a piece of brown paper bag, and it is smooth and lovely. I don’t miss the stencil and heart cutout at all, do you? […]

  2. […] coats of General Finishes Milk Paint in white, sanding between coats- the perfect time to use the secret to getting a smooth finish.  I distressed lightly here and there, then glazed, as mentioned […]

  3. […] paper bags for a smooth paint finish: Sheila G. from Plum Doodles discovered that a piece of brown paper bag wrapped around a sponge or sanding block makes a perfect […]

  4. […] topped the whole thing with 2 coats of the spray varnish in matte finish. Don’t forget to try the paper bag trick for getting a smooth final […]

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