Sunday, August 25, 2013

Furniture Updos - Painting Wooden Furniture {Old Dressers}

As many of you know, basically everything we have as far as household/living items is a hand me down.  Personally, I think it's fabulous because FURNITURE IS EXPENSIVE!  And we're pretty lucky that we got some well used, {but dang good} couches, tables, and other necessities.  I always wondered why furniture stores advertised their financing specials...  After considering purchasing a new bed frame, bookshelf, etc., I realized why.  It's freegin' expensive.  Not something I really want to spend money on at this point.  So currently, our bed is on the floor, and we make do with our tiny, secondhand dressers.  It works!

But hose are my enemies.  Our crappy dressers.  One of them we sniped as a who-knows-how-many-time-reused dresser from the fraternity house.  It has 3 drawers which I hammered back together to working order by myself in 2009.  The other, I literally have NO CLUE where it came from, but my brother had it when he lived at the rental house.  I don't ask questions...probably don't want to know!

Both of them are crappy wood, flimsy, and small.  But also, FREE and currently in our possession.
Coming to terms with that, I decided to feed my mint obsession by painting them.  I did a bit of online reading: blogs, e-how, and whatever else I could find.  Then I purchased my weapons.  My paint, that is.

1.  Zinsser Primer:  for all surfaces.  I think this was around 5$.  Make sure whatever primer you buy is worth your money.  One of my dressers was laminate (glossy surface), so I read online and decided this was the best primer.  I applied with both a brush and a roller.  Depending on what sort of edges you have, I started on them with a brush, and then rolled the larger portions.  Get a nice covering, but not too thick!  You essentially want to cover the darkness of the wood and give your paint something to adhere to.

2.  Paint.  I chose a color called Mint Shake from Wal-Mart.  You want INTERIOR paint, of course, and I chose a flat finish.  I got their cheapest brand, which was around $9 for a whole gallon.  You do not need anywhere near a whole gallon to paint a few dressers, but it was only a dollar more, so I sprang for it.  (After the two dressers I painting, and some waste, I probably still have about 2/3 of the gallon left.)

3.  Finish/lacquer.  I got the polycrylic.  Again, from reading online, this seemed like the best option. This was fairly expensive, around $13.  You probably could get something similar for cheaper, but for my first try, I wanted to go with what people suggested.

Now for the fun part, get painting!

1.  For laminate surfaces, start with your primer.  For regular wood surfaces, use a fine grain sand paper to even out your surface.  Remember to wipe down with a wet cloth (old rag, it will be messy) after sanding so that you don't have any residue while you are priming.  *Warning: sanding is not as fun as it looks, and is really tiring!!

After sanding the wood dresser

2.  Prime your surfaces.  Again, I used both a brush, and a roller.  And at times, a foam brush.  This depends on the detail your piece of furniture has, and what you feel comfortable using.  

Primed surfaces

3.  Allow ample time to dry.  Since I was doing this at night, I actually let each coat dry for approximately 24 hours, as I was only doing 1 coat per night.  That is not necessary, but make sure to read your paint/primer/sealant label to judge your proper drying time.  

4.  Paint your surfaces with your chosen color.  Depending on what color you have chosen, and what color your original was, you will have to do a number of coats.  I ended up doing 3 coats of my color. Since it was light, and the wood I started with was dark, it took a little more.  Generally, you will be doing two coats of paint.

5.  Use your sealant to finish off your project!  I chose the satin finish, as I didn't want something too glossy, but it is up to you.  This part was frustrating...  Everything I read said to use a brush to apply the finish.  It did not go on as smooth as I felt it should, and somehow there would randomly be dry spots.  I ended up doing two coats to make sure everything was completely covered and sealed up. This resulted in a slightly more glossy finish than I intended, but it looks great.  *Warning:  this dries fairly quickly, if you brush it too much, you will get a lot of streaks!  It is also very runny, so make sure you are fully prepared before starting this coat.  Be strategic and patient with your application.



For the 5 drawer dresser, I ended up using the original hardware, and it looks really great with the new, lighter color.  The 3 drawer dresser, I ordered some glass knobs from  I thought the glass would add to the vintage feel, and I am excited for them to arrive tomorrow!  

All in all, this was a major success, and I think I did pretty great for my first go around.  It definitely took longer than I thought it would, simply because I was doing it after work, and I was usually busy on the weekends.  

My Tips:

*Invest in a good brush and roller to ensure your paint is going on even and streak-free
*Be patient with yourself
*Buy a drop cloth to paint on.  I was very careful, but I dripped a lot!
*Make sure to let your layers dry adequately.  (By the end, I had 6 coats: primer, 3 coats of paint, and 2 coats of finish)
*Make sure you have a good primer, it will be the beginning of your whole project and you want a good base
*It helps to have an extra set of eyes available to watch for drips, smudges, etc. and to help you hold pieces while you are painting the bottom, edges, etc.  (Thanks to the hubby for being helpful, patient, and encouraging me!!)

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE my "new" dressers!  We have dark walls in our bedroom, and the mint color looks fantastic.  The finish is great, and I am so happy with the results.  Don't fret about old furniture, you can always revamp your hand me downs and give them new life!

No comments:

Post a Comment