Today I want to share with my new adventure and show you how to fill knots on wood. You see, I have knotty alder cabinetry throughout my entire house. Our house was built in 2001 and well…need I say more?
I was ready for a change.
I like the shaker-like style of this vanity, so I decided to try my luck at covering the knots and painting the whole thing to achieve a smooth look. I am pretty happy with how it turned out!
How to Fill Knots on Wood
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- Wood Repair Epoxy Putty
- Sand Block
- B-I-N Shellac Base Primer & Sealer
- Paint and Top Coat of Choice
- Crystal Knobs (optional)
STEP 1- Wipe the Wood clean and let dry
I took out the doors and drawers fronts. The frame did not have knots so I only had to work on filling the knots on these pieces.
STEP 2- Work the Putty and Apply it to the Knots
I worked the putty with my fingers until it got soft and workable, sort of like clay.
I learned that less is more as I applied it. I worked it into the nooks and crannies and flattened it as much as I could with my fingers, trying not to use too much.
The spot below was a little difficult and made me nervous. I just shaped the putty with my fingers until it was even with its surroundings. Then I crossed my fingers and said a little prayer!
STEP 3- Sand, Sand, Sand
After all of holes were filled and the epoxy putty was dry, I sanded, and sanded, and sanded some more. This is the most tedious, yet most important part. I used a sanding block so I could have better control, but honestly, if I was doing a bigger area I would start with my sander then use the block to finish off the job. I sanded each area until smooth. Smooth to me means that I run my hands over the area with my eyes closed until I don’t feel any ridges or dents, then I’m done sanding.
STEP 4- Apply Primer
I then applied 2 coats of B-I-N Shellac Base Primer & Sealer . Yes, it’s pricey but it does a great job and the reviews are pretty consistent across the board that this is the “go-to” primer to seal knots. I agree, it’s dang good stuff. After 2 coats I had a smooth surface to paint on. Yay! Finally!
STEP 5- Paint!
I applied 3 coats of Valspar Caramel Honey paint. Yes, three. It seems a little overkill but I wasn’t happy after the second coat. The third coat did the trick. This is a small piece. I bought the 8oz sample size and turned it into chalk style paint by adding chalk mix. If you want to know more about the chalk mix, check out my scrap wood pumpkins . I finished with two coats of this top coat.
STEP 6- Finished! (and some disclaimers)
Are you ready to fill those knots?? It’s a bit of work but I think it was worth it! My little powder bathroom is a bit more updated now. And what do you think about those awesome crystal knobs?! They are so pretty and cheap!
A couple of disclaimers in before you try this 🙂
Disclaimer #1 Most experts agree that knots might “bleed” over time and could come back years down the road, darkening up the area you filled.
Disclaimer #2 I have not tried staining the wood after filling the knots using this method, so I don’t know if it would work. Painting seems to work well though!
Thanks for stopping by!! If you like furniture makeovers I would love for you to check out my armoire makeover with milk paint!
Don’t forget to pin this for later!
Your sister in sawdust,
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Janice Thomas writes detailed tutorials for novice woodworkers and DIYers. She also works as a university professor in the health care industry. Have a question for Janice? Feel free to send her a message here!