Last week I volunteered to paint a 1938 Wurlitzer piano for the City of Shoreline’s street piano project. I was hoping for a really tall upright piano, because they have nice large flat panels for painting, but everyone wanted one of the few tall ones that were available, so I decided I’d give this one a shot. I had to reconsider some of my design ideas because its surfaces are very different, but I’m having a blast with it! Plus, mine came with a bench and an accordion-style keyboard cover, that has some interesting possibilities.
Primed and ready for paint:
If you’ve ever thought about painting a piano, don’t forget the prep work! I would have liked to… it’s a very forgettable experience. It took me and my lovely assistant (thanks mom!) two days to sand and prime the piano. I would have loved to skip this part, but didn’t for two reasons. One, the paint wouldn’t adhere well to the varnish, and two, I didn’t want the piano stain to bleed into my painting. For anyone interested in doing this, I used 220 grit sand paper and Glidden Gripper Primer.
Now for the fun part!
I only have about a week’s worth of time to get this done, due to my family’s summer schedule, but I’d devote every waking minute to it if I could.
There are some unique challenges painting a piano. It’s not easy to squeeze underneath the keyboard to paint, and drawing on a vertical surface, just inches off the floor is no easy feat either. While working on backs of the legs I discovered that my paint brushes are sometimes tooooo long and don’t fit! Anything that I could detach I removed and took home to spray paint. The clocks and lace above, are going to become the backdrop for a tea party if all goes well!
I love the space we are working in. It would make a nice studio. We are in a storefront of a former hardware store in the Richmond Beach Shopping Center. I’m working right up next the window. Lots of people come by to watch us paint, and stop in to ask questions. A professional house painter came in and critiqued my primer brush-stroke techniques – ha! and the mayor even stopped by to say hello!
I’ll post more progress photos soon! The pianos will be finished July 31, and will be on display starting August 2nd. Mine will be on display under an awning outside of Central Market. I’m really pleased with the venue, because there’s so much foot traffic there, and it’s an awesome market!