Apr 7, 2015

Furniture refinishing in just a weekend

Paint furniture like a pro.  There really are only five easy steps and you can completely transform an old piece you buy or akready own, in just a weekend.  You can also redo the hardware instead of replacing it.   

Drop cloth
Wood Filler - optional
Wax - optional 
Tools for distressing - optional 
Primer - Zinsser or KILZ work well 
Exterior or interior latex paint - water based acrylic enamel in semi gloss works best 
Urethane sealer - optional 
Rustoleum spray paint - optional if you want to spray instead of replace your hardware
Large brush for main surfaces 
Small brush for tight areas 
Sand paper 100-120 grit 
Steel wool 0000
Tack cloth 
Cleaner to remove grease and dirt

1. PREP: Lay a drop cloth that's wider than your piece in a well ventilated area. Have a stool handy for tall pieces and consider setting up a sawhorse for resting doors and drawers on.  Remove all hardware, drawers, and doors.  If you have holes and deep scratches and you're looking for a smooth end result you can use a wood filler – I like 3M paintable kind – and then sand smooth once dry.  

Before you start painting anything, be sure you have removed oils, candle wax,  grease,  etc. from your piece. If you skip this step, your paint might not adhere. I like Method All Purpose cleaner but you can use a sponge and soapy water.    For small pieces of furniture including chests and tables, place it in the center of your drop cloth and put on your sanding mask. Lightly sand all of the surfaces with a 100 grit sandpaper. You may want two types of grit - 100 for the initial removal of paint and 120 to further smooth out bumps or imperfections in the wood. For large pieces of furniture be sure to have a step stool or ladder nearby. You can use liquid sandpaper as a start. Your goal in sanding is to create a surface that the paint will adhere to. You do not need to remove all of the paint since your primer will allow good adhesion of your topcoat.  Wipe off all of what you say and with your tack cloth after you're finished. It will remove all of the dust so your next coat of paint goes on clean without a bumpy or dusty surface.

3. PRIME  I generally start with the bottom or underneath of small pieces. End tables and small consoles can be turned upside down. Prime all surfaces carefully.  Use your large brush to get primer on every surface. Use the small brush to get into small crevices, cracks and tight areas around legs and detailed molding.
Once you have put your primer and let it dry as per instructions, I typically go over the surface with  120 grit sandpaper.  It smooths out imperfections in the paint, removes brushstrokes, and leaves your surface nice and flat.

OPTION:  Should you wish to distress your piece consider a colored primer that you will see once you remove sections of your topcoat.   At this stage, you can use multiple items  to distress and age your piece. For example, chains, nail heads and hammer marks done lightly, make it easy to distress.  If you just like a worn look, rub a candle or wax across the edges that you'd like to show once the topcoat is done. I generally remove the paint from the wax with 0000 steel wool. 

4. PAINT. Once your primer is thoroughly dry, and you are happy with distressing or antiquing marks, begin painting with interior or exterior latex paint. Using the same large brush, make even strokes across the services and use the small brush to get into cracks and crevices.  With large pieces, I often use a foam roller, but "layoff" with a brush to get a smooth rather than speckled look that can be created by the roller.
Let dry thoroughly and a second coat to get the full depth of color. If you have used a semi gloss enamel, you can probably stop here. If you know your piece will be handled, use roughly, you may wish to use a urethane sealer.