May 4, 2011

#87- Here's the Story, of Some Ugly Furniture...

Movin' on up from The Bungalow to The Lodge means not only a bunch of new style and home improvement projects, but 1000 more square feet.  And you know what that means... we're going to need some more furniture.  So instead of making over Ryder's existing nursery furniture to work with his new big boy bed, we decided to leave the nursery furniture as a set and come up with a new grouping for his room.  And that's where this gang comes in...

This motley crew of items is the "Some thing old, something new, something borrowed..." of toddler rooms.  The dresser in the top left corner came from my parents house years ago, and then I shamefully tried to spray paint it white well before I learned the lessons of furniture refinishing.  The top right corner is the new rocket shelf I built with the help of my Dad and this tutorial from Ana White.  I intentionally left the back pieces off to make painting easier.  I forgot to take a shot of the cube in the lower left corner before prepping it, but it's an old storage cube that Jason used to use as a nightstand back in his bachelor days.  And finally my parents generously passed on to me the head and foot boards from my brother's old bed back when he was a kiddo. This group may not be pretty, but it was cheap.  Everything but the Rocket Shelf, which I spent $27 on lumber for, was free.  Which is my favorite four letter word by the way.  

I started by prepping all the surfaces, which means sanding, sanding again, and when you think you're done, sand it one more time with 220 grit.  Honestly, patience and I are like oil and water, but I learned my lesson from the "spray paint it with a cheap can of white" fiasco that the most important step to furniture refinishing is the prep.  For the dresser I started with 60 grit sandpaper on a hand held power sander to really blast off the old layers of paint.  Since the paint was cheap spray paint and already chipping, it came off pretty easy.

This old guy was pretty roughed up, so I also went through and filled some of the cracks in the wood with some wood filler and sanded it smooth once it dried.  Here's the hot mess I started with below.

I used the same technique on the bed to remove the top layer of varnish and years of scratches and dents.  The cube shelf also needed a good sanding since it is particle board and I really needs to create a rough surface for the paint to adhere to.  As you can see from the close up here this bed has seen better days...

Then I went back to all the pieces with a super smooth 220 grit on a sanding block by hand.  I spent a lot of time making sure that every surface was smooth as my hubby's bald head, because smooth finish in prep means a smooth final finish.

Then it was time for the primer.  I go with Kilz 2 Latex primer, because it is water based, low odor, blocks stains and you can top it with either a water based or oil based product.  Its a slow process getting a smooth, thin coat on all four pieces of furniture, but in the end I had this:

Don't judge the mess by the way- we were moving, okay?  Step Three added a nice, rich charcoal gray paint to the dresser, bed and portions of the rocket shelf.  My Hubs is always saying, "we need to work smarter, not harder," so after priming one side of the bed, waiting for it to dry, then flipping and priming the other side, I rigged up a little solution with some extra 2x4s I had laying around to keep this baby upright. 

I may or may not have done a little swagger through the garage after shooting this photo.  Sometimes you have to celebrate the minor successes in DIY.  I ended up needing 2 coats of the charcoal gray to achieve a nice even coat, leaving me with this:

Step Four added a punch of color with some bright orange on the rocket and the night stand.  Since I only needed a small quantity, I bought a sample of orange for just $2.69.  That plus my quart of gray for $10.99 and some sand paper kept this total refinishing project under $20.  And if you're doing the math that's $47 total for all of the furniture in Ryder's Room! (A little more swagger.) I used some leftover white from a previous project to put a nice crisp coat on the shelves of the rocket.  In tribute to Billy Mays, BAM- I was left with this:

Step Five is much less visually exciting, and really tedious- the protective finish.  After a couple frustrating attempts with oil based poly in the past, I'm a huge fan of Minwax Water-based Polycrylic.  It has no odor, goes on really smooth, dries quickly and cleans up with soap and water.  I fought my intense desire to just finish this project up quickly and spent the time to put multiple, thin coats on so that all my hard work would stand the test of time.  Luckily each coat dries in about 2 hours so it goes quickly.  In between each coats I made sure to sand lightly with 220 grit sand paper, and remove all dust with tacky cloth.  In the end I put on three coats, four on the most used surfaces like the top of the dresser, shelves of the rocket, and all over the cube since it is just particle board and is the most likely to scratch.  I waited a full 24 hours after the last coat before putting the pieces together and adding the hardware. 

Then this group, had somehow formed a family.
That's the way they all became... 

Okay, sorry.  Little tangent there.  Here's the final result:

All-in-all the garage at The Bungalow was out of commission for a week, but I think it was totally worth it since we were able to move in with this furniture all ready to go and are going to be able to get our little man settled in his new space quickly.  I'll post pics of the furniture all set up in his room once I have a moment to clear some boxes out of the way.
More on that soon.

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