Have you been in the sandpaper aisle at your local home improvement store and just stood there scratching your head? Have you wondered what paper goes with what wood? Well I'm going to clear everything up for you today!!
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So, sandpaper is listed by GRIT. At the very basic level, the LOWER the grit the ROUGHER the sandpaper. The HIGHER the grit the smoother the paper. Grits that I use generally stay anywhere from 80- 600.
There are about 4 categories of sandpaper generally when working on your average DIY projects.
Course 80/100- This is used when trying to smooth down really rough wood or if you're trying to get through multiple layers of paint off an old dresser or something.
Fine- 120/150- This is your standard prep work grit. This is to smooth surfaces and prepare areas to take paints or stains. I also will use this on edges of signs and what not when I'm distressing for a vintage or aged look.
Very Fine- 180/220- This is what I use in between coats to maintain a smooth surface on my project. I often paint a layer and then go over it, and then will paint another layer.
Ultra fine- anything over 250- I often use a higher grit paper on chalk paint projects. This makes the surface ULTRA SMOOTH, we're talkin' baby bottom smooth! I find it's easier to apply wax on projects when they are ultra smooth, so I generally hit all my projects with a 400 grit paper at the end, I just love the finish on them.
What I usually do when working on a large piece is to use my electric palm sander using a 120 grit paper. Then I'll bring it inside and paint my base coat. After that I'll use a piece of sandpaper and just hand sand it using some 220, then I'll paint my sign and after it's all dry I come back with 400 and smooth it down completely.
The palm sander I have is a black and decker. I got it for Christmas one year and was beyond excited. What girl gets excited about power tools? THIS GIRL! woo hoo! I love it, It's super light to work with, changes out paper easily and gets the job done quickly!
Hope that clears up sandpaper and more! It seems super basic but everyone starts somewhere and I hope this helps get you on your way to create beautiful things!