Thursday, June 17, 2010


I've always thought of myself as crafty, but only to a certain degree. If you give me a good idea with instructions, I can definitely complete the task & make it look good. But I am not one of those people who can come up with a brilliant idea & just "make it work". I like instructions or a little guidance from someone who knows what they're doing. I got just that last weekend when my mother-in-law, Annette, came to Va Bch to visit. Now jump back about two weeks: my mom was going through her attic looking for stuff for me to sell at the Wareing's Gym Garage Sale/Swap Meet when she came across an antique piece of furniture that she thought I might like. She took a picture of it (in low light in the attic & with a sad little camera phone) and sent it to me. It was in good shape, but too old looking for my taste. So, that's wehn I decided to bring it back to life with a little paint and of course, my mother-in-law's help.

BEFORE (towel rack):Pic is kind of dark, but you can still see the color of the natural wood...

AFTER (towel rack):

BEFORE (toy box):

AFTER (toy box used as storage chest in bdrm):

In this case I actually lowered the value of an antique piece of furniture (the towel rack) by painting it, but to me it'll always be worth more in my guest bedroom than sitting in a dark attic.

If you have an old piece of furniture you want to bring back to life with a coat of paint, keeping reading... FYI: If you don't curently own a piece of furniture you want to paint, you can always shop at yardsales & thrift stores.

1) Furniture item you wish to paint
2) Paint brush & paint roller
3) Liquid sander (IF your furniture item has a protective finish. I used a 1 quart can of Liquid Deglosser by Crown)
4) Primer (I used a 1 quart can of Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer for all surfaces)
5) Paint color of your choice (I used a 1 quart can of the color "Dive In" in hi-gloss finish by Valspar. That was more than enough for both pieces of furniture, FYI.)
6) Paint tray
7) Screwdriver (to remove knobs/handles, etc)
8) Old rags (for spill cleanup)
9) Tarp or old sheet to protect surface you're painting on (driveway, garage floor).

Total Price (minus free items #1 & #7-9): $49.


1) Prepare your stuff & set up shop.
a. Find a good location for your project- preferably outdoors due to fumes from the liquid sander, primer, & paint. However, you don't want it too be too hot/humid (paint will dry too quickly while you're still painting), so early morning works well. Lay an old sheet or tarp over the surface you're painting on.
b. Gather a couple old rags for spills &/or correcting mistakes. Gather paint brush, roller, paint tray, primer, & liquid sander (if using sander).

2) Sanding &/or Priming.
(ABOVE: toy box lid with one coat of primer. It took 2 more coats over the original designs...)

a. Preparation- remove any items that are attached to your piece of furniture with a screwdriver (like the lid to a toy chest, drawers & doors, knobs & handles, etc). You'll (obviously) need to paint attached items like lids, drawers, & doors separately/while they're detached.
b. Determine what you want to sand/prime/paint. For example, I didn't paint the backside of my towel rack stand b/c it will always be up against a wall. The backside wood appeared to be "raw" where it had never been painted in the past, so I knew I wouldn't want to paint it now.
c. Apply liquid sander to the surface area you're planning on priming & painting. But 1st, determine if you need to sand your piece of furniture. My toy box had an old layer of paint & appeared matte. It was obvious that it didn't have a shiny protective layer on top; So, it did not need to be sanded. My towel rack/stand, on the other hand, appeared shiny & felt very smooth to the touch. It DID have a protective surface (to protect from condensation marks, etc). So, that piece did need to be sanded. Sanding will "rough up" the surface so that the primer & paint will stick. I prefer liquid sander. It's super easy- you just rub it on with an old rag/cloth. Some of the finish will rub off onto your cloth, but my mother-in-law said to imagine that you're rubbing the liquid sander on, not trying to rub all the finish off. Read the instructions on the can of liquid sander, but you'll need to let it dry for at least 30 min before you prime.
d. Primer. Priming prepares the wood for paint. It looks like white paint. You'll paint the primer on the same way you'd paint on color. If you use good primer you'll most likely only need one coat. If the wood you're painting has old paint designs on it that aren't covered up from one layer of primer you'll need a 2nd coat. The primer container will have instructions, but you'll need to let each coat dry for at least 30 min.

3) Finally- Paint!
a. Paint the same area you primed.
b. Use the roller on the larger flat surfaces for a more even finish. Use a paint brush for the detail work- flourishes ingrained in the wood, corners, small edges, etc.
c. Try to avoid repeatedly going over the same area multiple times. Painting one thin coat, letting it dry, then painting another thin coat is better than painting just one thick coat.
d. Drips= no good. Using a thin layer of paint will help you to avoid drips, but they do still occasionally happen. If the roller makes the paint really thick & drippy in one area, use the paint brush to spread out the paint & get rid of the drip. (FYI: When using latex paint it's really easy to wipe off wet paint that you accidentally dripped onto the garage floor; but you have to do it quickly!)
e. Remember to let each coat of paint completely dry before you apply the next coat. The 1st coat is always the most time consuming b/c you're painting all the tiny details. The 2nd coat is much easier/quicker because it's just a "touch up"- just like a 2nd coat of nailpolish.

4) Finishing Touches
(I used the original knobs b/c I think they're perfect for my finished product, but you can always buy new knobs for a different look.)

a. Put doors, drawers, knobs, etc back on after your final coat of paint has dried completely.
b. You may notice that you missed a couple spots (like inside a door where the door closes further in than you expected, for example). It's easy to touch up missed spots afterwards using a small paintbrush. Usually you don't even need to remove drawers, doors, etc to do so.




  1. So, I am working on a project for my home that i will also be posting on my blog, as well :) However, I am looking for a little help from my fellow DIY'ers as this is my first time with liquid deglosser. Our painter left it on our cabinets overnight. I say, what? I need to get painting! You look like you have done relatively fine with a minimum 30 minutes dry time. Any input? Any chipping issues, or suggestions?

  2. Buy and sell new and used modern, outdoor, office, bedroom and home furniture.
    Choose from a great selection of gently used furniture for every room in your home.
    More here