Wednesday, June 15, 2011

DIY: Painted Thrift Store Chest of Drawers

I get so many questions on how I refinish furniture. So today I thought I’d give away a few tricks of the trade I’ve learned along the way.

I’m a sucker for thrift store finds! Take this sorry little fella for instance. He was tagged to be taken to the dump and marked 75% off when I found him. After a little haggling, I got him for $25

 At the time I don’t always know what my plan is when I find these baragain pieces. I look for “good bones” when shopping thrift. Although this one wasn’t aesthetically pleasing, he was sturdy with no major mechanical issues. Sometimes its these ugly duckling pieces that turn into my favorites when finished.

Before I begin refinishing, I try to visualize the end result before starting any paint work. This just makes everything go smoother in the end. On this particular chest, I knew the hardware would be changed out so I puttied all the holes with wood filler, let it dry about an hour or so, and sanded over the dried filler.

I then marked the placement for the new holes and drilled these with a drill bit and my power screw driver.

This piece had that not-so-cute cabinet door with the 70’s Gold Flowers, remember? I knew once I painted the door to cover the flowers that it would look too plain jane. A great trick of the trade to dress up furniture is to apply some Carved Wood Appliques. You can find them at Lowe’s or Hobby Lobby.

Apply with a little dab of wood glue and press firmly to the piece of furniture. I hold it there tightly for about 30 seconds. Then I like to take my nail gun and secure it with a nail for extra stability. (I try to nail it in one of the carving grooves but if it still shows you can wood putty over the nail)

Most of the pieces I find are heavily varnished. This used to mean hours of sanding down to the natural wood in order for the paint to stick until I found Klean Strip Easy Liquid Deglosser.

This is the best stuff on the planet for knocking down thick varnish. I just squirt a little in rag and rub it directly onto your furniture as if you were wiping it down with a wet cloth. Making sure it doesn’t puddle anywhere on the furniture or it can leave a ring.

Important Safety Tip: Wear Plastic Gloves! It has burned my skin a few times when I was in a hurry and didn’t bother to protect my hands.

Step 1: Degloss It! Leave the deglosser on the piece for about 15 minutes and then wipe it down with a dry towel.

Step 2: Primer is Key!
You absolutely must use primer before you paint to have a durable and chip resistant end result. I like Zinsser Bulls Eye the best in the spray can. It’s cheaper and less smelly then other brands and goes on really smooth but I occasionally use Kilz as well. I like to get the spray can so I can spray a fine mist over the entire piece vs. glopping it on with a brush.

Step 3: Paint It! (the fun part)

I’ve tried several different sprayers from air compressor paint sprayers to heavy duty professional grade sprayers. My friends, this little guy is the best sprayer on the market for what I do. I cannot tell you how much I love my Wagner HVLP Hand Held Sprayer.

This little sprayer has been with me from the beginning of my painting business and I can honestly say is the reason why I have been so successful selling my pieces. They retail for around $68 at Home Depot.

To Use the Sprayer:

Make sure you read your manual before starting so you can get familiar with your sprayer. Basically though, you just poor in your Latex based paint (do not use oil in this fellow, he is not intended for that) about half way in the canister.

Then my trick is to dilute the paint with warm water until it is the consistency of milk and stir with a plastic spoon or paint stick. Once you hook the gun to the canister, plug it in and test a few sprays on a scrap of something. I like to use a paper bag or piece of cardboard. You can adjust the dial to spray less or more depending on how the test sprays are coming out.

Now you’re ready to spray your piece of furniture! I chose a soft ice blue for my thrift store chest. With my sprayer, it takes me approximately 20-30 minutes to paint a large chest like this one, making sure to spray in long straight lines down your piece. Let it dry for at least 24 hours.

Step 4: Choosing the Right Finish
There are several out on the market, but I really like Deft Clear Wood Finish from Lowe’s. It’s non-yellowing so you can use it on white and light colored pieces without worrying.

I personally just buy the spray cans for ease of use but I’m sure you could attempt to use it in your paint sprayer or brush it on being careful to make your brush lines even and straight. I like to spray my pieces several times in 20 minute intervals to give it a really nice chip-resistant finish.

The end result will be as close to a factory finished piece as you can get!

The young couple that bought this piece is using it in their nursery. Pretty impressive for a $25 Doomed-for-the-Dump chest, eh?

Do you have any furniture makeover secrets to share?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...