Monday, May 21, 2012

Refurbishing Furniture for dummies

Dummy? Yeah, that would be me. I saw so many cute ideas on blogs and pinterest where people had taken some ugly junk, spray painted it, strewn those items around their home, and made it look gorgeous. First of all, spray painting is not something I would have ever thought to do. It kinda bums me out now, thinking of how many awesome things I passed up because they weren't the right color, when I could have just painted them to match my decor. (then think of someone who would have appreciated it the way that it was, and that the thought of someone having painted it would make them bummed, and then I don't feel so bad. But still.)

Once I got turned onto to this painting idea it was like a new world of possibility and I started to see a lot more potential in things. I was like, "woah. I'm so doing this. spray painting is awesome!" Except it wasn't so awesome. My first spray painting project was a DISASTER. Which is why I will pass on my painting tips to you, to save you the same trouble...

1.) If the surface doesn't have any impurities (peeling paint, some random sticky gunk stuck to it, large divets in the wood, etc.)  don't sand it. It's not necessary and you will be wasting your time. Not only that, but some varnishes can take FOREVER to sand down. Unless the wood is abnormally slick or glossy, you're good. If it is, a coat of primer will help the paint adhere. Certain ceramics or plastics that are very slick, may also need a coat of primer prior to painting.

2.) If you do have chipping paint or random goop stuck to your piece and you either...
A. don't have sandpaper 
B. your sand paper isn't working
use a putty knife or steel wool instead. Steel wool has numbers on the package (00-3), telling you how abrasive it is. A #3 steel wool can remove just about anything.

3.) If your taping off a section you don't want to paint (a glass pane, handle, around a curved edge etc.) use an exacto knife to get your tape edges clean.
4.) If tiny pieces of tape don't peel off with the rest after painting, use tweezers to grab these pieces since scraping them out could ruin the paint job around it.
5.) Before you paint, shake up that can WELL. You should be able to hear the mixing ball rattling in the can. Shake every 2-3 mins during painting. Shake between coats. Shake it again. :) Seriously, you don't want concentrated bursts of thicker paint coming out in mid-spray.

6.) Hold the can far enough away from the surface when painting. Usually a foot away is good, it varies according to manufacturer. If you spray too close, your paint will go on too thick.

7.) Always use long sweeping motions while painting, one direction (don't paint one coat diagonal, and the next horizontal).

8.) Don't use a continuous spray, long quick stokes across your surface is what you want, release the button after each stroke.

9.) Refer to your can for dry time. Makes sure each coat dries before starting the next. If you don't you will cause paint to pool up, and end up with drips and runs.

10.) If you do get a drip, don't try to wipe it. Wait for that coat to dry, sand down that area, and repaint it.

11.) Only apply as many layers as you need to get good color coverage. Too many layers will leave your project feeling tacky.

12.) If you want to age wood instead of painting it, you can turn it gray by rubbing the wood with steel wool that has been soaked in vinegar. I've heard that you should let the steel wool soak for a few hours, but I only let mine soak for about 1/2 an hour and it worked fine. Rub with the grain of the wood. You won't see results immediately, let it set for an hour and check back. If you re-apply over and over without waiting, you might end up making it darker than you'd like.

13.) To give your freshly painted projects a distressed, vintage feel:
the easiest way to this is to lightly sand around the edges and corners to reveal the wood underneath. Always sand with the grain, not against it.
To get a multiple-color layered distress, apply two colors of paint. The top coat of color should be all you see when finished painting. Then sand lightly in some areas to reveal the second color of paint, and sand farther down in other areas to reveal the bare wood.

14.) HAVE FUN... there are tons of colors of spray paint to chose from and various finishes. You can also modge podge paper or fabric onto furniture. There are endless resources on-line if you are in need of inspiration.

You can also instantly change your furniture by painting or switching out the knobs:
these used to be gold.

Some of my Projects:


Diana Marks said...

Before and After looks amazing!

Cool post!

Tess Sparks said...

Love it!!!