Jun 21, 2013

Rescue that ugly piece of furniture

We all have that piece (or pieces) of furniture that we hate.  It's ugly, it's tired, it's useless, but we can't seem to get rid of it.  For me it was THIS table.  I put it in the garage a few months ago ready to throw it away.  This week I decided to try to make something of it.  After all, it couldn't get any worse! 

Supplies I used:  a chisel or utility knife, medium sandpaper, a damp rag, good primer (I like Kilz), any paint you like (I just picked a sample quart we bought from Sherwin Williams but chose not to use on the wall), clear furniture wax (I used Minwax)

Here's my step by step process:
Step 1:  Prepare your surface.  Remove loose veneer, sand and rough ALL surfaces.  Remember, you want the primer and paint to have something rough to stick to.  Wipe down your surface to remove any dust.

Step 2:  Apply a thin layer of primer to the entire piece.  It is very important to not paint too thick.  Paint thin and even layers, checking carefully for thick spots or drips.  Allow the primer to dry completely.

Step 3:  Apply 1-2 coats of paint, depending on the needed coverage.  As with the primer, check for thick spots and drips BEFORE it dries.  It's better to do 2 thin coats, drying in between, than to try to cover it thick in 1 coat.  Allow the paint to dry COMPLETELY - preferably overnight.  NOTE:  This color is Colonnade Grey by Sherwin Williams.

Step 4:  It's time to shabby it up!  To do this, think about where wear would naturally occur on any piece of furniture - along edges, around the drawers, where there are any moving parts, around hardware, on the legs and feet.  Take you sandpaper, fold it into a small workable square, and begin to sand.  You can't go wrong.  I promise.  Do a little at a time, see if you like it, and keep going!  I did this 4-5 times, going over the same areas over and over and over...sanding, looking, sanding some more.  (I may go back and do even more later, who knows?!)  I generally take a "less is more" approach with the shabby-ing...some people sand it all over.  You have to discover and do what you like.

Step 5 (optional):  Apply the clear furniture wax to the entire piece.  Just follow the directions on the can, but it's very easy.  Apply the wax in a thin layer and buff off with a clean cloth.  It really is that easy.

It's so easy to be intimidated with DIY, especially when it's with furniture and potentially expensive pieces.  Don't be afraid.  You can do it.  Find a piece that you can stand to mess up - a frame, a box, a small table, a bench, even outdoor furniture.  Try it out.  See if you like it.  I did!  In fact, my initial intention was to sell the table when I was finished.  I loved it so much, I decided to keep it!