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Amy Howard One Step Paint Review

Read my review if you’re thinking of rescuing an old piece of furniture with Amy Howard One Step paint.

Amy Howard at Home has developed several products to help rescue, restore and redecorate furniture pieces. She is also the ‘creative genius’ behind the furniture brand Amy Howard Home. I didn’t have much luck finding her actual furniture line website, I did find out she opened her first furniture store in Memphis, TN, and that’s only an hour away from where we live now. It seems that Miss Amy gave up on furniture a few years back and is concentrating all of her efforts on her DIY paints now.

Here is a picture I found from the 2012 High Point Furniture Market taken by Brooke Giannetti, a Calfornia-based interior decorator. Miss Brooke states in her article that Amy Howard has been manufacturing and designing custom furniture for many years, and her experience and expertise in finishes, proportions, and details is evident in every piece of the Amy Howard Home line.

Showroom furniture from Amy Howard Home

Amy Howard Showroom Collection in Atlanta

According to the brochure I picked up at our local Ace Hardware, where I bought my jar of One Step Paint, you can use this revolutionary new paint on almost anything. From lacquered wood to plastic, metal and even Formica, you can transform furniture without stripping, sanding or priming. The One Step Paints by Amy Howards At Home paints have a rich, chalky-soft feel and are available in 52 different colors. You can choose from fun colors like Get In Gear Green, Good Man Is Hard To Find Grey, Indian Summer Turquoise and Massey Hill Orange.

I opted for the Graphite Gray One Step paint to redo an old Bassett dresser I’ve had for over 20 years. 

Its a Bassett Furniture dresser I purchased used for around $50 when I first moved to this country back in the ’90’s. It has been with me as I raised my children, it held many little treasures (I used to hide the kids small Birthday and Christmas presents in the back of the bottom drawer) and it moved with me to a half dozen different houses along the way.

Bassett Furniture Dresser

For the past ten years I’ve talked about redoing this dresser, as you can see in the next picture the top has coffee cup stains and its pretty dinged up. Of course, I didn’t realize how much these Bassett dressers cost new. Anyway, I always shied away from having to chemically strip the old varnish so I never got around to it. That is until I discovered the Amy Howards One Step paint. I purchased the small jar, the gal working at our local Ace Hardware store told me the paint goes a long way, and started prepping the dresser.

By the way, applying One Step paint isn’t a one step process at all. Alas, there is no prior sanding or stripping required to use One Step paint!

Bassett Furniture Dresser Redo with One Step Paint

How To Use One Step Paint – Step by Step

Step 1 – Turn the can of One Step Paint upside down and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes to an hour. This allows all settlements and pigments to mix back into the paint.

Step 2 – It is important to begin with a clean piece so clean the entire surface of your furniture to be painted with a de-greaser. I used a little squirt of Shaklee’s Basic H2 Organic Cleaner in a bucket of hot water. It worked great! Dry with a damp rag and wait until its completely dry before moving on to step 3.

Step 3 – Shake the can or jar of your One Step paint for 1 – 2 minutes.

Step 4 – Open the lid and thoroughly stir the paint with a stir-stick. A wooden BBQ skewer works great to stir the small jar.

Step 5 – Miss Amy suggests to use her Amy Howard At Home 2″ Wax brush to coat the piece of furniture with One Step paint. I found a similar, round brush at Lowe’s for half the price that worked just as well. One Step paint can be rolled, brushed or sprayed on.

Amy Howard One Step Paint Supplies and Review

Step 6 – Apply a light coat of One Step paint, avoid puddling as this will result in a cracked finish. Once the piece is covered allow it to dry for about half an hour. The thicker you apply the paint the longer it will take for it to dry. Painters Tip: Wrap your brush in a piece of plastic foil, or a little plastic bread baggie, in between coats to keep your brush from drying out.

Step 7 – Apply a second coat of paint for complete coverage. If you want a chalky finish then you stop here, otherwise go to step 8 below.

Tips to use One Step paint

The wood still showed through after the first coat of One Step paint

Step 8 – You want to let this second coat dry completely (at least a couple of hours) if you intend to apply any other Amy Howard at Home products like Antiquing Glaze which is used to distress and watermark painted surfaces. You can also seal your piece with Amy Howard Bright Idea, clear wax or Dark Antique Wax. Take a look at a video on how Miss Amy transforms a plain nightstand into a beautiful piece using the steps outlined above.

One Step Paint Review and DIY Tips

The coffee cup stains are gone and the dresser is beautiful once again

DIY One Step Paint Review

Paint application – The One Step paint was very easy to apply and spread fairly evenly. I was working in a hot garage and the paint dried pretty quickly so I had to keep moving. The one little jar of paint I bought cost me $18.50 plus tax and it covered 2 coats each for the dresser, the blue box you see in the background of the above picture, a small side table, and I still have about 1/8 of the jar left over. So a little jar of paint goes a long way.

Paint coverage – As you can maybe see in the picture, the paint didn’t cover perfectly, even after two coats. The way the dresser looks now is much better than before, and the One Step paint did cover the coffee stains on top of the dresser as well as all the little imperfections from using it for over 20 years. But, truth be told, if I would have know how much this dresser is worth I probably would have opted to have it professionally redone. The paint didn’t dry evenly and looks chalky in some areas and a little patchy in others. This might be because the paint dried too quickly due to the higher temperature (around 85 degrees) in the garage.

Amy Howard One Step Paint Review and Tips

DIY Furniture Redo Tips

The Amy Howard One Step Paints and accompanying products are great to use on flea market finds, low end furniture pieces and old, worn out cabinets. As you saw in the video above, it can turn a bland and boring nightstand into a truly unique piece of furniture. However, I would never use this paint on an expensive dresser again or any other antique, timeless furniture piece for that matter.

Just the other weekend we found this amazing cedar hope chest by Cavalier at an auction sale. We showed up late and were able to purchase it for ‘a song and a dance’. Nick right away suggested to use the One Step paint, but I said, ‘No way!’. Here is what a little clean up, a coat of rubbed on left-over varnish and a light coat of lacquer applied with a foam brush can do.

Cavalier Cedar Hope Chest

Some times the little scratches and flaws in the wood of a piece of furniture add character and should be high-lighted instead of hidden away under layers of paint. Before you move on be sure to check out our 9 Benefits Of DIY Furniture article. The creation of your own furniture is a fun opportunity to think outside the box and exercise your creative side.

Have you tried Amy Howard’s One Step paint yet? Leave us a comment below. 

2 Responses to Amy Howard One Step Paint Review

  • I really like the idea of the no hassle with prepping the piece before painting it. Just wash it off and then take off painting. Did you like the color selection?

    • Hi Stella, Thank you for your comment. Yes, I went with a neutral color but they offer many different awesome colors. From bright orange to red, blues and greens. There are about 34 colors to choose from. – Silke

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