Pine Chest of Drawers Makeover

The chest of drawers is finally finished – hooray! And I have to say I’m very pleased. I’ve learnt a few things from this project and had a few minor disasters along the way (of course) but this is how I did it…

The chest of drawers is made of pine, which scratches so easily that I will be tiptoeing around it very carefully now it’s finished. Because of this it had quite a lot of big scratches on it already, especially on the top, so I decided it was the perfect time to get out my husband’s electric sander. After lots of fun feeling like a DIY pro with my mask and power tools the chest looked like this…

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It was at this point that I realised I should maybe have used wood filler on the biggest cracks as I intended to varnish the top and didn’t want a patchy look. I ended up having to do quite a lot more sanding to even it out a bit more (creating a LOT of dust!)

After sanding the top I roughly sanded down the rest of the chest and filled in some cracks and dents with wood filler (see orange patches in the picture above). This project ends up involving quite a lot of sanding as you will see! Then I got started on varnishing the top with Ronseal interior varnish in ‘Satin Medium Oak.’

I ended up doing 3 coats of varnish after mistakenly painting against the grain for the first coat (faint stripes still visible in the wrong direction). In the end it wasn’t perfect but still looked pretty good so it was time to start painting.

My struggles with chalk paint are outlined in my last post How to paint without leaving brush strokes and bobbles. I have since learnt that it also helps to add a bit of water to chalk paint to make it go on more smoothly. Anyway, for a smoother finish I ended up doing a light sand in between coats (of Rust-oleum chalk paint in ‘Winter Grey’) with one of these amazing things…

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Two coats was enough for most of it and the chest now looked like this (minus the drawers)…

Check out the fitted wardrobes in the background – definitely a future project.

Now it was time to put the new handles on. I wanted shaker-style drawer pulls and chose some from Screwfix in ‘antique brass’ because they looked nice, weren’t too expensive and were fixed with screws through the front (I thought I might have a DI-Why?? moment if I tried to drill through the back of the drawers). Because the wood was so soft and I didn’t want to scratch the new handles I did some careful measuring and used a manual screwdriver. I then forced myself to get on and cover the whole chest with one coat of Rust-oleum furniture finishing wax for protection. Here is the finished result…

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I love it! And here’s another photo now it’s back in place in the spare room…


And a close up of the varnished top…

Unfortunately all pictures are slightly ruined by the hideous decor that is still in every room of the house (but hopefully for only a few months longer.) Here’s what I used for the project…

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I’m still deciding on my next project but if the weather improves I might move outside and try out spray paint for the first time (very excited about this!) Watch this space…

 

How to paint without leaving brush strokes and bobbles.

I’ve been busy working on my latest project, in between work going crazy and having 2 children to take care of. This means a few minutes here and there, often late at night in the worst-lit room in the world. And I’ve been having some problems and frustrations.

The paint I’ve chosen for the chest of drawers is a proper chalk paint, as opposed to the satin finish of the last one. The first coat goes on fine but painting on the second coat starts to feel like wading through mud. And because it’s so thick and dries so fast, as soon as I slightly brush back and go over a bit I’ve already done it starts bobbling up and looking awful…

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AAAGGGHH! Maybe it’s the brand I’ve chosen or I’m too fussy but I thought chalk paint was supposed to be really easy to use.

Anyway, my previous technique to combat this was as follows:

  1. Slap on the paint thickly as this seems to help.
  2. Paint as quickly as possible (cue sore arms and looking like a crazy paint lady).
  3. Try to work in one direction and never go back or ever ever stop in the middle.

This is STRESSFUL! And because I’m a bit of a perfectionist I always spot something that’s just not quite right and break rule number 3. Plus on big sections rule number 3 is impossible to follow.

I had the same issue when painting the marble on my fireplace but managed to get away with an uneven look as it makes it sort of look like stone. This was not working with the chest of drawers. Until I discovered something that worked better. Maybe this will change the world…(!?)

  1. Slap on the paint with a massive brush and roughly paint the required area without worrying about bobbles, brush strokes etc. (fun!)
  2. Grab a basic small foam roller and roll it over the area, magically smoothing out every small imperfection.
  3. That’s it!!

Now I know you are probably asking, ‘why not just put the paint on with a roller in the first place?’ This is because if you put the paint on the actual roller it slips all over the place and you end up with even more problems. Also it’s really hard to do this for small or narrow areas like in the photo above. There is a texture to the finish but it’s very even and I quite like it…

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Hopefully the chest of drawers will be finished soon (despite the fact that it’s made of ridiculously soft wood and I keep scratching it). I’ve invested in a miner’s-style head light which helps with the bad lighting but not with the crazy paint lady look. Watch this space!

 

 

DI-WHY??

While I get on with the chest of drawers project I thought I’d own up to a couple of disasters that occurred while painting the piano stool. I’m quite prone to these small disasters and like to call them…

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In fact, if I’m being honest I first directed the term towards my husband when he tried to put a TV up on the wall. As you may have guessed it fell off. And broke. And we’d had it less than a day. Ouch.

Anyway, I have a tendency to get a bit impatient and rush things. As I mentioned in my piano stool post I needed to glue the legs in on one side as they kept coming out of the main frame. I put some glue where I thought it should be and then tried to push the two bits together by hand. This got me nowhere so I picked up the nearest thing to hand and start bashing (deeming the mallet in the under the stairs cupboard too far away.) Unfortunately, my object of choice was a pot of wood varnish that I’d just bought for the chest of drawers. After about 2 whacks the lid popped off and every drop of varnish poured out all over the carpet (yes I hadn’t even thought to use the bottom of the tin.) In my rush to clear up I then knelt on the tube of superglue that I had left on the floor with the lid off. Then got it on my hands. Then tried to peel some off and peeled off some skin as well. Then had to wear a jungle animals plaster for the next 3 days.

Fortunately all of the carpets in the house are currently 70’s hideous and so the fact that a big patch is now crunchy and discoloured doesn’t really matter. My jeans, however, are ruined (yes it was one of those occasions when I hadn’t changed my clothes first.) I also had to buy a new tin of varnish which added to the cost of the project. My finger is now mostly recovered, though I’m now sporting a jungle animals plaster on the other hand after managing to grate my thumb (I really need to buy some adult plasters.)

Hopefully I’ve learnt a bit from the experience and will strive to do better next time. I suspect, however, this won’t be the last time a DI-WHY?? moment occurs.

Quick update on the chest of drawers…I used an electric sander for the first time today and it was FUN!!

 

Piano Stool Makeover: Wood and Velvet Repaint

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My very very old, falling-apart piano stool had been in desperate need of a makeover for years and last week I finally got around to starting it. Step one was a bit of glue as one side kept coming loose. Then I got the Rust-oleum satin furniture paint in ‘Cotton’ out yet again (I promise I’ll use more interesting colours soon!)

After 4 coats on the visible bits and 2 on the rest it looked better but the velvet top was still in need of recovering. I do own a staple gun but this velvet was nailed to the actual wood and the seat does not detach so staples weren’t really an option. I considered getting some new fabric, taking the old nails out and using them to hammer on the new fabric (or using new ones if necessary). However, I’d been reading up about using paint on velvet and other fabrics and since it was such a small piece I thought I’d give it a try. I could always recover it later if everything went wrong and I do love my paint. Here’s the stool before…

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I used Dylon fabric paint in navy, which I could pick up from my local Hobbycraft (again I was impatient to wait) and which claimed to keep the material soft. Unfortunately the pots are really tiny so I ended up buying four to do two coats. I’ve since realised you can buy a bigger pot, but quite a lot bigger so only worth it if you’re doing a large chair or sofa. I was really pleased with the results…

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The fabric is not quite as soft but still feels and looks like velvet and I love the rich colour. You can also iron the fabric to lock the colour in.

All that was left to do was put a trim around it. I used some velvet ribbon from Hobbycraft that I bought for under £2. Then the usual wax and it was finished…

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All in all I’m very pleased. It looks loads better and cost hardly anything to do up. Result! And I will definitely be painting more fabric in the future as it’s so easy. As long as you’re not painting a really comfortable sofa I don’t think the slight decrease in softness is a big problem. Here’s what I used for the project…

 

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For my next project I’m tackling a chest of drawers. And (shock horror) I won’t be painting it white!

TV cabinet repaint

So after my fireplace success I looked to the left and the TV cabinet was the obvious choice for my next project. It was bought originally from IKEA for a fair bit of money and has very useful cable holes drilled into the back and good storage so I didn’t want to get rid of it. However, the pine effect won’t work with the clean, bright, classic look I eventually want for the room.  See it here in original form with another photo of the original fireplace.

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After a few experiments with shades of grey I decided to go with the same white furniture paint as I used for the fireplace (the walls will eventually be a light shade of grey for contrast). I used 3/4 coats on the visible areas and 2 on the inside…

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Then finished the job with wax and some new handles, vintage clock faces which I ordered from amazon. Overall I’m pleased but it hasn’t got the wow factor I’d really like so I may need to revisit it in the future. Any thoughts and ideas would be greatly appreciated so please share!

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Reminder to self – take more and better photos! Here’s what I used for this project…

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Next to face the brush: very old and falling-apart piano stool which needs painting and recovering…but I might paint the fabric instead.

Fireplace makeover: total repaint

When I moved into my 1930’s house of horrors (virtually untouched since the 1970’s) I quickly realised I would have to wait a few months to do anything about the decor. All of the windows need replacing and we also have an extension to plan.

This means there’s no point stripping wallpaper or painting walls. And I have to put up with carpets like this…

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At least it matches all the red wine I have to drink to put up with it!

To keep myself busy I turned to smaller projects. The first thing that I couldn’t put up with was the fireplace so I made the decision to paint the dark wood white, hoping to see a big improvement. I used Rust-oleum satin finish furniture paint in ‘Cotton’ which doesn’t need sanding or priming so after a quick dust and a wipe down I got to work. At first it looked like this…

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After the first coat…

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The wood surround needed several more coats, which took a while. In between painting I did some research and discovered an amazing paint for the brass bits called Rustins heat resistant black paint (matt finish). Unfortunately I got a bit impatient, as I couldn’t get hold of a heat resistant primer quickly enough, so I just painted it straight on to the metal. It has held up pretty well since (from a distance) but I will definitely use a primer next time as small bits have started to flake off despite very careful handling.

5 coats (yes 5!) of Rust-oleum and 2 coats of Rustins later and ‘ta da!…

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After all the work I was pleased. But I still hated the marble!

After a bit more research I decided to take a risk and get the paint out again. This time I opted for Rust-oleum chalky finish furniture paint in ‘Anthracite’. Again I didn’t prime but just got the brush out and started painting. Here’s the fireplace after the first coat…

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I found this type of paint to be thicker and to dry fast so the second coat was a bit stressful, but in the end my ugly fireplace turned out like this…

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So much better! In fact almost beautiful. What do you think? Now I just need the rest of the decor to match. And next on the list of furniture to paint is the pine cabinet to the left.

As I was really worried about chipping it I finished the marble by using Rust-oleum furniture lacquer ‘Clear’. I have to say this was very difficult to apply and I wouldn’t use it again in a hurry. It made the overall grey colour quite a bit darker and also now looks a bit rippled in places. As it’s a fireplace I think I get away with it but I finished the rest off with Rust-oleum furniture finishing wax ‘Clear’ which was easy and quick to do.

All in all I’m very pleased with the result, especially as it’s only the second furniture painting project I’ve ever done. Now I’ve got the bug!

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Check out the carpet! Outdated but perfect to use for worry-free furniture painting.