Thursday, April 17, 2014

My first DIY up-do plus a How to paint furniture tutorial

Ever since I've started reading blogs and articles on updating furniture, I've been wanting to get my hands on a piece that I could make-over.  My cousin was gracious enough to give me some furniture and a dresser from that lot was the perfect contender! I didn't have space for it in my bedroom where it was intended to go, so I was planning on converting it into a dining room hutch.  Then my sister gave me the idea to put it in the kitchen where storage was lacking.  I knew I wanted to paint it white so it would make the space feel bigger and more open.

I, of course, didn't take any before pictures because I was in a hurry to get started! I found this picture on-line which was the exact piece that I had.

I've gotten a lot of questions on what steps I took to paint this, so I thought I'd write up a tutorial on what I did.

I just moved so I had no supplies and started with nothing, and still finished it in a weekend, with two toddlers toddling around, so if I can do it, you definitely can! This is a super duper long post because I'm very detail oriented and if there's any beginners out there, I want to help you as much as I can.

Let's start!

1. Prep your piece 

Wherever you're going to be painting your furniture, make sure you get a nice big drop cloth to cover all surrounding areas.
  • make sure the piece is completely clean of any oils, spills, debris, etc.  I used a little Castile soap and water to get it all spic and span. 
  • Remove all existing hardware, keep all the pieces in a ziplock bag. 
  • Make sure you have a painting tray with removable liners for the primer and the paint.
  • I always wear disposable gloves (the doctor/dentist kind) to save me the hassle of washing paint off my hands! So keep a few pairs...or in my case...a box handy.  
  • A good wipe cloth to wipe away dust or debris after sanding.  

2. Sanding

Next, using a medium grit sandpaper, sand the whole piece and remove any glossy finish.  I focused on the top of the dresser where there were minor scratches and evened it all out. Since I was painting, I didn't need to sand it down to the bare wood, just sand it down to a dull, even surface.

If you're changing the knobs or pulls, now would be the time to fill the old holes with wood filler as well.  I didn't....more on that later! 

3. Priming 

If you want a good finish that will last for a long time, priming is key.  If you're distressing your piece, (which will show the dark finish underneath it) you don't need to prime.  I used a 2-3 inch small roller brush on the top and sides of the dresser and on the drawer fronts. To get into the small spaces around the drawers and at the bottom, I used a one inch brush. I did two light coats of the primer because the color of the original piece was very dark and there was some color bleeding through after the first coat dried.  I used half of a one quart paint can of primer.  A little bit goes a long way!

4. Painting

Once my primer was completely dry, I poured out my paint! I used Valspar Latex indoor/outdoor paint in a gloss finish.  The finish can be gloss or satin, it won't matter because the sealer will determine the final finish or sheen.


To sort of "extend the life of the paint", I added Floetrol, a paint conditioner to slow down the drying time of the paint, which in turn will minimize any roller or brush strokes. This is for latex paints only and will not alter the color of your paint.  

Before you start painting, use a fine grit sanding sponge to sand and smooth away any drips from the primer.  

I used a 6 inch roller brush to paint the top and sides of the dresser and a high quality 2 inch angled brush for the grooves.  You also want to go back and brush away the edge marks from the foam roller. This is also where the Floetrol comes in handy, it gives you time to go back and smooth away any marks from the roller or paint brush.  

Once the first coat was fully dry (4-6 hours), I sanded with a fine grit sanding sponge, wiped away any debris and then went to paint the second coat and let that dry for 24 hours.

I ended up using half of the quart of paint and about half of the Floetrol bottle.

5. Protectant

Unless you have the patience to let your paint fully cure for a whole month, you definitely need to seal all your hard work with a protectant.

After your second coat of paint has dried for 24 hours, apply a WATER based polyurethane to protect the surface.  I used one can of spray paint to do three coats, letting the coats dry in between for half an hour each.  Do not use oil based if you're using white or any light paint, it will yellow over time.  Oil based polyurethane is fine for a dark color.

Once it's dry, it's ready to use but it's best to handle it ever so lightly just for a day or two.

6. Final touches

If you're adding hardware by drilling new holes, you would do it before sealing the paint, just in case you had to go back and fix anything with paint.  I wasn't changing the hardware or drilling new holes so I screwed them back in at the end.  I cheaped out and didn't have the heart to pay $5 a handle for the ones I liked, especially since I would need 14 handles.  So I bought a white primer and paint spray bottle and blasted a super thick coat of paint on them.  This was at the end of my night and I just wanted to sleep!  In hindsight, I should've done two light coats, waiting for each one to dry.  But now these have the "distressed" look and I kinda like it!

Once it's all done, you are ready to assemble and admire!

I also lined the drawers with some contact paper I had leftover from the pantry.  :)

Good luck!