How to Seal White Painted Furniture

How to seal white painted furniture? Painting your furniture white stands as one of the most challenging choices to make, in my opinion. The reason for my submission is due to the several steps you need to take to avoid the appearance of bleeds in your paint. Also, you need to ensure the white paint doesn’t turn yellow in a short while.

In this post, we will discuss the best clear coat choice for a white painted piece of furniture and the worst clear coat too. There are many alternatives besides Minwax Polycrylic, but this is a prevalent choice that has brought success to many individuals with over-white paint. Let us discuss the clear coat sealers to avoid using over-white paint first.

List of Clear Coats to Avoid Using Over White Paint

This list includes two popular clear coats. Usually, these brands are an easy choice among many people, but they are not suitable for your furniture.

Lacquer and Varnish

It would be best to avoid both of these brands of a clear coat when it comes to painting furniture white. Although lacquer can be used all the time, it is not suitable for white paint or super bright colors. Both lacquer and vanish will have a high tendency to turn yellow quickly.

The bottom line is that both of these brands are designed for natural wood colors and used in an old furniture style for many years. However, there us a new product produced Watco called printable lacquer paint. From personal experience, it is pretty durable and appears to retain its white color well.

You can explore this option if you haven’t begun a project and want to try this product out. It has a different feel from regular paint, but it is not exceptional.


When the white paint is involved, polyurethane is not supposed to be anywhere nearby. Polyurethane is a finish that is created to seal the wood for protection. It is specifically used to cover natural wood colors and stains. You are to use it for places where slight yellowing doesn’t impact the appearance of the piece of furniture.

Polyurethane is an excellent finish for wood furniture, but it is not suitable for white or bright-colored components. Hence, it is best to use this clear coat to finish tables and other furniture for natural or near-natural wood colors.

Best Clear Coat Sealers for White Paint

Having discussed the clear coat to avoid with white paints, we shall look at the ones you can use.

Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish

This clear coat is considered the best choice for durable clear coat sealers over white paint. After using this product, you will appreciate its excellence. This product, when applied over the white paint, will stay clear with no sign of yellowing.

However, it can form a bubble in some parts and dry in a thick amount; this part had a tint of yellow. This issue arises if you stained the furniture and the polycrylic absorbed some of the stains before it dripped down furniture. To avoid this problem, you should apply this product in thin coats, which will help you get a crystal clear finish.

In summary, if used regularly with chalk paint, you can apply a water-based polycrylic finish, and that will take care of yellowing like usual polyurethane will do.

How to Seal White Painted Furniture using Polycrylic 

The following steps will help you seal a white painted piece of furniture.

  • Apply a thin coat to the dry painted surface first. You can use a foam brush or a synthetic paintbrush.
  • Give it some time to dry. Afterward, lightly sand between the coats using a 220 grit sanding sponge.
  • Apply the second coat and repeat steps till you have completed 3 – 5 coats.
  • The last coat doesn’t need sanding. Hence, when you get to coat number 5, don’t sand it.

Finishing wax

Chalk paints typically suggest that you finish them with finishing wax. There are several finishing waxes to select from in the market. The most common finishing wax for all kinds of wood finishing projects is Minwax paste finishing wax.

Although the Minwax has a yellow tint, when a white finishing wax is added, everything will appear pure white. Most big companies that focus solely on chalk paints and furniture painting give better wax choices for white paints. Examples of wax sealers for white painted furniture are – Annie Sloan chalk paint wax – clear, Fusion Mineral paint furniture was, and Kilz clear wax for chalk-style paint.

How to Apply Finishing Wax to White Painted Furniture

The following steps will enable you to apply finishing wax to a piece of white painted furniture.

  1. When the paint is dry, grab a wax brush and commence bruising wax over the surface.
  2. Immediately you finish, wait for the recommended time the product suggested and start buffing wax.
  3. Apply more coats if you feel it is necessary.

Oil-Based Vs. Water-Based White Painting Tips

When making a choice of white paint for furniture, avoid making use of oil-based paint. Although, oil-based paints are more robust against scuff and dents. They are prone to yellowing over a short time.

On the contrary, water-based white paints are known for maintaining white color. However, they are not as durable as oil-based ones. Hence the reason polycrylic has become so popular because it maintains the color of furniture and is durable.

The following tips will help you decide which type of paint you need to use for your furniture.

Know the sheen levels

Oil-based paints can achieve a higher sheen level when applied as a result of components of the paint. Nonetheless, the sheen becomes duller over time. On the other hand, water-based paints achieve a lower sheen finish, but they can maintain this sheen level over some time.


Usually, oil-based paints dry harder, which gives excellent resistance to wear and tear. But, as the paint dries harder, there is little flexibility within the paint. Oil-based paints will likely crack and chalky over time.

Therefore, you may want to use water-based paints if you want longer-lasting paint for your furniture.

Difference between Oil-based and Water-based Clear Coats

First, the only poly choice listed above as the best clear coat for white paint is the water-based type, Minwax Polycrylic. The justification is that it does not yellow. Since it is water-based, chances are it will remain clear. Therefore oil-based products tend to yellow after a short while.

Conclusion – How to Seal White Painted Furniture

As we come to the end of this article, we want to remind you of the necessary steps to paint white furniture. Since we believe it is a difficult task, you should keep in mind that there is a need to prime with a good primer and excellent water-based white paint.

Furthermore, you should use one of the best sealers for white paint from our list. It is best to avoid those products that can turn white-painted furniture yellow.

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