Most of these products can be found at your local home improvement store or online.
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1 Benjamin Moore Aura Paint in Satin (found at your local Benjamin Moore store)
2 Benjamin Moore Advance Paint in Satin (found at your local Benjamin Moore store)
3 General Finishes Milk Paint
4 6" Foam Rollers
5 RIDGID 5 inch Random Orbit Sander
6 Scott Shop Towels
7 UPDATED 12/31/16: CHANGED THE PRIMER TO ZINSSER B-I-N SHELLAC-BASE PRIMER
8 Minwax Wood Finish Stain
9 General Finishes Gel Stain
10 General Finishes High Performance Topcoat in Satin
11 UPDATED 12/31/16: NO LONGER USE Varathane Polyurethane in Satin (water-based)
12 General Finishes Arm-R-Seal Polyurethane Topcoat in Satin (oil-based)
P A I N T
I use various brands of paint but for mid century pieces that require a brushless finish, I use Benjamin Moore Advance in Satin, or General Finishes Milk Paint. These are high quality paints that dry to a hard finish. Benjamin Moore Advance is a hybrid paint (water based but acts like an oil) and has great self-leveling qualities if a brush is used to apply the paint. It requires 15 hours of dry time between coats. General Finishes Milk Paint is very easy to use and without much effort it will produce a very smooth finish.
R O L L E R S // B R U S H E S
In my opinion, these 6" foam rollers are the best rollers on the market. I buy them at Home Depot and always have them on hand. I also use Benjamin Moore brushes designed for application of latex paint. Any high quality brush will work... just make sure the brush is designed for latex application if you're working with water based paints.
S A N D E R
This RIDGID 5 inch Random Orbit Sander works wonders. I use it when I need to sand down to the raw wood. I start with 80 grit and work my way up to 150 and higher. The variable speed control allows me to sand with care, especially when working with the thin veneers on mid century pieces.
P R I M E R
Mid century pieces are always primed. I have used many primers over the years and have settled on Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer which dries in about an hour and is super easy to use. The primer is always applied with a roller.
S T A I N
When I want to stain a mid century piece, I always sand down to the raw veneer. That can be tricky though as lots of those beautiful veneers are super thin. In this case, I usually use Minwax Wood Finish (oil-based stains). I prefer the oil based stains over the water-based stains because they produce a richer color.
When I'm doubtful that a veneer can withstand sanding down to the raw, I scuff it up with sandpaper then use General Finishes Gel Stains. I apply all stains with either a staining pad or Scott Shop Towels.
S E A L E R
Benjamin Moore Advance paints do not need to be sealed. However for extra protection, I seal the tops and drawer fronts of all white pieces with General Finishes High Performance Topcoat and use General Finishes Arm-R-Seal Polyurethane Topcoat in Satin (oil-based) for non-white pieces. I also use these products on wood stain.
S A M P L E S
To see all of my mid century work—Mid Century Portfolio
The products highlighted in this post are based on my personal research and experience.