PAINT BLEEDING - midcentury table

Does everyone remember the little mid century side table I picked up thrifting?
The plan was to spray it with a can of high gloss oil base white paint, however this was
also the perfect opportunity to show you ASCP can create a perfect white finish and teach
you a little trick of mine to deal with paint bleed.

I am referring to the strange browny red marks
that you might encounter while painting vintage furniture.
Your best defence to any problem is to understand what and why it happens.
What it is are OILS (tannins) leaching into your water based product and changing the color.

Why is because in these areas the wood is exposed and raw letting the oils come out.

Solution is simple ... you need to block/seal these areas locking in the tannin oils.

What I do is wax and repaint.

Wax is a good barrier against the oils and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint adheres to wax!

Alternatives are oil based paints, primers, and shellacs.
I know many ppl use Zinsser spray shellac, which I have used in the past to seal knots.
Not all woods bleed equally, pine for example generally doesn't give you too much issue
except for the knots. I find oak pretty easy going but mahogany can be just as bad as a red
shirt being thrown into a wash load of white underwear. Everything turns pink!

On this side table the original finish had been scratched and was starting to lift and flake off.
Consequently once my first coat of AS Pure White started to dry there were bleed spots all over.

*** OH THE HORROR!!! ***

If you look closely on the above photo you can see the entire face of the
drawers had a streaky bleed. In the upper right hand corner you
can also see a heavier line of bleed where it had been scratched.

Here is another area with heavy bleed, the bottom of a leg had
been banged around and the original finish was compromised
exposing the raw wood in tiny spots.
 The same thing will happen if you sand an old finish and expose the raw wood. When I am dealing
with heavy bleed it sometimes takes 2 or 3 applications of wax and paint before it completely
diminishes, but in the case of the drawer faces it was one coat of wax and a second coat of paint.


no buffing

You only have to treat the bleed you do not have to redo, repaint, re wax every inch of your project. 

For example I had bleed coming through at the 3 seams where the angled trim attached
to the top but the rest of the surface was fine. I only waxed and repainted the seams.

I hope this information helps you understand the problem so you can also solve it.

Good Luck with your projects and your bleed!


Have you stopped into firstfinds hardware store lately?
Here are just some of the items available for your projects.

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  1. Thanks for sharing these tips. I had no idea that the ASCP paint could be painted over the wax.

  2. Another helpful tip. I hope I don't have any bleed through, but I know the odds are that I will at some point.


  3. Thanks for the tip. I find this to be true, especially with the darker finishes. I'll give it a try right now!

  4. Great tips-thanks.
    Have a good weekend

  5. Talk about timing, I am painting an armoire and have a few bleeds coming through and I was trying primer then paint and it was not working. Going to try the wax, thanks for the tip, came just in time Kristy.
    hugs Tobey

  6. Kristy! THANK YOU for this post. I painted a piece and had bleed through. I am new at this, so I just thought I did not know what I was doing or had picked up dirt in my brush. I repainted the area twice without waxing, because I could not figure this out! Thank you so much for educating me!

  7. So helpful! I always use Zinnser shellac, but your method is way easier and cheaper!

  8. oh my thanks for sharing!...So helpful . Love you little piece!

  9. Great tip! Thanks for sharing - next time I encounter a bleeder it will come in handy ;) No bleeders are going to slow me down!

  10. OMG>.. I've been painting the same piece for two days! So very glad I found your blog. Thank you Thank you Thank you