I've had a couple of requests from several loyal readers to do a non-food related post about my furniture adventures in my new house. We moved from a one bedroom apartment to a three bedroom, two living room/family room, plus a finished basement house. So with a tiny budget and a month of no work (yay teacher-life!) I hit the thrift stores pretty hard looking for some DIY projects to fill the place up.
First up was transforming a $40 buffet into a bright and cheery entertainment system.
Next was a huge $20 dresser for the master bedroom painted a sunny yellow.
A $5 end table for the Library Solarium
Materials: sandpaper, hand sander, tack cloth, wood conditioner, wood stain, polyurethane, primer, paint, brushes, screw driver, and a well ventilated space!
Step 1: Give your thrift piece a good cleaning and take off the hardware. I love the original hardware of all the pieces I've done but some people purchases new hardware. If you go with a different style you might have to drill new screw holes and use wood filler to fix the old holes. If you are making any modifications do them now (example: removing a drawer and strengthening the platform to hold the cable box)
Step 2: Sand the heck out of it. If you are just painting it a light sanding to scruff up the surface will suffice. If you are staining it, like I did with the top, prepare to use a ton of elbow grease. You will need to sand through the veneer to the fresh wood. Some people use chemical strippers but I wanted to avoid the mess and fumes.
Step 3: Vacuum off all the dust and wipe down with a tack cloth to remove any dust.
Step 4: Prime any of the areas you plan on painting. My aqua buffet did fine with one coat of primer but my yellow dresser needed two coats of primer and three of paint!
Step 5: When the primer is dry apply the necessary coats of paint. My projects have varied between 1 and 3 coats plus touch ups here and there. I used traditional paint for the buffet/dresser projects and spray paint for the end table. While the spray paint is faster I prefer the end results of the traditional paint projects.
Step 6: Use a wood conditioner on the parts you want to stain and then apply the stain. When the stain is dry apply the desired amount of polyurethane coats. Follow the directions on the can for all these steps. It will tell you when to lightly sand, use a tack cloth, how much to use, how long to let it dry, etc. I used Minwax products and am very happy with the final outcome of my projects.
Step 7: Reattach the hardware and enjoy!
Note: in my research it seems that some people liked to stain first and others paint first. I did what works for me, each project was different and depended on the weather (I tried to do the bulk of the work on the porch to avoid dust and fumes inside). I would often bounce back and forth as something was drying. As long as you are careful you won't have any slip ups!
For the entertainment system I only removed one drawer to fit the cable box, modem, and apple tv because I wanted to keep a lot of the storage. I have plans to do another entertainment system for the basement which will require more modifications and taking out drawers/cabinets to make room for all of Mr. Lawyer's nerdy gaming equipment. I did keep and paint the drawer to match the dresser though. I use it on the bottom shelf of my coffee table to hold magazines. It brings the aqua color to the other side of the room. You can see it peeking out from the coffee table in this picture.