Furniture Projects

Heather and I really like rehabbing furniture. I'll show you some of our latest projects and our process. We got a note on Saturday that one of the large pieces in our booth had sold, so it was good that these were already in the works.


One thing I get asked a lot is whether or not you need to sand and prime. My answer is 100% yes to both. Once you get the hang of it and the right tools, there really is no substitute for good preparation. You will never regret having done so but you very well may regret not doing it. That said, if you are going to take the time to do it, you might as well do a few pieces at once. I used to do one little piece at a time and wondered why Heather was pushing out so much more than I could. She convinced me to do several pieces at once. That way you sand 3 - 4 pieces, prime 3-4 pieces and you can paint each one while the other is drying, then start over like an assembly line. So now I do that too.


The first thing you should do is remove any drawers, hinges and hardware. For this I use my cordless ryobi drill . This was about $40 at home depot and is so worth it. It comes with both philips and flat head attachments and works in reverse for stubborn screws. You absolutely need one of these if you are going to do anything with drawers. Do yourself a favor and get one.








Next, we sand each piece. This is the sander we use - it's my husband's electric sander. Always make sure the sandpaper on there still has life, turn it on and keep it moving over your piece. It's a good idea to wear goggles and a mask. Go back and forth in the direction of the grain. You won't be able to get every inch of sanding with this but it will cover the big areas. You can sand and refinish pieces with laminate or plastic tops but you do need to sand it to give it some tooth to adhere to. Don't skip this step.


Before moving on to primer, clean the pieces very well with a cleaner and cloth. I use regular household fantastic but there are special cleaners for this sort of thing.

You don't have to be fancy, you just need to get it clean from all the dust and grime.


The next thing you need to do is primer. This is the kind we use and recommend. It is easy to use, blocks stains, and dries quickly. Keep your mask and goggles on though.


Apply primer by holding can approx 9" from the surface area and spray back and forth over the surface until covered. You may need to do 2 coats if the area was stained.


I used about 2 full cans of primer for the three projects. Whenever hubby asks me if I need anything from home depot, I tell him I need Zinsser Bulls Eye 1 2 3 in white. I don't use anything else.



Here are the pieces just after sanding but before priming, then shown after priming before painting.


Once the primer is dry, it's time to paint. We could talk all day about painting. There are so many different brands on the market and everyone has their own opinion about which one is the best. I have tried many, but I keep coming back to General Finishes Milk Paint. It is easy to use, just the right consistency, and dries with a satin finish that I love. I also really like the color selection and the price is not crazy expensive. Generally I like supporting small businesses so my advice would be to find a local retailer in an antique mall and go from there. Brushes are also a hot topic. Many swear by the Cling on brushes. I have some ordered so maybe I'll do another blog post about that when I get them. I think as long as you have one that doesn't lose bristles in your work or show hard brushstrokes, you're fine. When painting, make sure you mix well with a stir stick, then paint in long even strokes again with the grain of the piece. Watch for drips and catch them before they dry.


Two of these pieces I did with spray paint - the bird cage and the small silver table. I used Rustoleum metallic effects in nickel and gold. Sprayed 2 coats each. For the milk painted pieces, the nightstand and the desk, I did two coats. I freshened up the old hardware using rub n buff. I'll do a post on that soon too! The finished pieces are below. Desk is Queenstown Gray and nightstand is Coastal Blue.


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