So Here's My Life

The things we make,
the food we eat and
the shenanigans in between.

A blog about making things by
MICHELLE SEXTON

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My First DIY Furniture Refinishing Project

I've been doing crafts for years, usually small stuff  - scarves, belts, crocheting, bags, etc. But we purchased a house last spring, so I've been preoccupied with trying to make all of our home decor fit together in a cohesive manner. But the table we have in the dining room is old and out dated and I'm not a huge fan of it. My parents gave us their table a couple of years ago. It's the same one we had growing up - from the 80's with a nice shiny veneer finish on the top. Outdated. So I decided it needed a makeover. This was my first DIY furniture refinishing project.

This is what our table looked like before. Blah. Notice the Shiny table top.

And this is our table afterwards. In addition to our table looking outdated, we have successfully broken all but one chair. Seriously...how do we manage? We were able to manage to fix 4 of the 7 chairs with wood glue, but we still had to come up with a couple more chairs. So I went thrifting and found a couple chairs - mismatched chairs. I want an eclectic look. Remember Monica's kitchen table from the show, Friends? (I tried to find a pic of it, but couldn't...but I didn't look too hard either.) Anyway, I've always loved how her chairs were mismatched. I've always wanted to do something similar. I wanted more mismatched chairs than what we have pictured, but after several trips to several thrift stores, I've found that individual chairs are hard to find...and they cost about $10 a piece. (why??? It's just a lonely chair!!) I probably need to start checking for them in garage sales instead. I was only able to score a couple...and the dealers weren't willing to sell one chair from a set (boo). So for now, we'll use what we have, and I'll replace them as I find more chairs (that cost less than $10 a piece).

Anyway, here's how we did our project:

We had to sand the table first (the legs as well as the top) - just enough to rough it up.We all participated in this one - including my toddler...but he was using a piece of paper to sand the table. That was his idea. The girl in the yellow shirt is our crafty friend, Sarah. She is awesome at refinishing furniture and other DIY projects. (She just started blogging. Check her out)

Next we put primer sealer on the table top. (We actually had to do a couple coats) This allowed the paint to stick to the veneer finish. Notice how the table leaves are all disconnected? We did this to keep them from sticking together as they dried.

After the primer sealer dried, we took out the two middle leaves, and spray painted the legs black as well as the edges of the table. Notice how the picture looks cloudy? That was because there was so much spray paint in the air, that when the camera flashed, the light reflected off all the paint in the air. Awesome. Ha ha.

Then we taped around the edges, and spray painted the top of the table brown.

Once the paint was dry, we plotted out where each word would be placed and what letter to use, and traced them onto the table with a pen.


And painted them. Let me just make a recommendation here - in hindsight, it probably would have been easier and less messy if we would have just spray painted the letters onto the table straight from the stencil. But at the time, it didn't even occur to me. However, if you do decided to trace from the stencils and paint them by hand, I would recommend that you have a good set of brushes - it makes a HUGE difference in how well you can paint the letters and stay within the lines. :)

Here's where I made a mistake. After we painted the letters onto the table and once they were dry, I painted on the final coat - polyurethane. BUT  when I did this, the black paint from the letters started to smear onto brown paint. Ahhhh!!! If you look at the bottom of the "Y", you can see how the black paint bled onto the brown paint. So I thought that maybe if I waited longer for the paint to dry that it wouldn't smear. Not so much. Same results. It got so bad I finally decided to redo the whole leaf that said "Family". So I sanded the leaf back down to the primer sealer layer and repainted. This time I used polyurethane that sprays on. (I did several coats) and then I painted on the polyurethane for a finishing touch. Much better results. No paint bleeding. The final step was to sand down all the chairs and paint them black. I used a bucket of paint for the chairs, because it ended up being cheaper than several cans of spray paint. The final step was to paint polyurethane on all the chairs and let dry.


Here is the finished project. I'm pleased with the results, but I learned a lot from this project. It was time consuming and it ended up costing a lot more than I realized.

Total cost including
  • 3 chairs from Goodwill - $25
  • paint brushes
  • paint
  • spray polyurethane
  • small bucket polyurethane
  • primer sealer
  • 2 types of sandpaper
  • sandpaper handle
  • spray paint
  • stencils

    $250 to $300 (at least) - I lost track of how much everything cost. Waaay more than I expected.
 Total amount of time - at least 36 hours (excluding drying time)

The purpose of this project was to redo our table in order to prevent spending money on a new one. But with all the time and money put into, we could have easily found a pretty decent one on Craigslist for the amount of money that we put into redoing our current one. But I like my table now, and at least I have a unique piece of furniture. So if you decide to do a project like this, make sure you have an accurate idea of how much it will cost.

1 comment:

Alice Ross said...

Wow! You all did a very great job on this! Being able to fix your chairs and refinish your table is really a great job! I actually love what you are doing because it is not just saving money and your furniture’s but it is saving the memories that you had with your furniture's and also this is a great bonding time you both hand. Great job to you both! -www.colonialrestorationstudio.com