Painting furniture can give it a new lease on life. But if you do it wrong, it could ruin the item. Here are some tips to help you to do it properly. Apply petroleum jelly in small areas such as screws or hinges, where you don’t want paint to stick, then you don’t have to worry about trying to paint around those small objects. To strip furniture, take a paint and varnish stripping gel like Citristrip and begin applying as directed on the bottle. Use an old paint brush as Citristrip will ruin a new brush. Then cover the furniture with garbage bags. The bags dramatically improve the effectiveness of the Citristrip. Note that the bags should stick directly to the Citristrip. Wait 24 hours and remove the bags. Scrape the old paint off with a flat edge and wipe down as needed. This can also work on other household items likes banisters, mantles, cabinets and drawers. Before painting metal, wipe it down with vinegar. This will help prevent paint cracking. Tap nails into each leg when painting a table or chair. This allows you to paint the feet without having to wait for the piece to dry and flip it over. Run a brown paper bag over any dry painted surface that feels rough. This will smooth out the surface without scratching the paint the way sandpaper might. These tips should help you to get the most out of your old furniture. Good luck, and happy painting!