Thursday, December 31, 2009

Refinishing: The right tools for the job

For those of you who have never refinished a piece of wooden furniture, I thought it might be helpful to go over just what supplies you will need.  You will find it to be rather expensive when you first purchase your supplies, but most of it will last you quite while.  Therefore, you will be practicing “design on a dime” starting the SECOND time around.  

Here is what you will need:
  1.  Stripper…………………………………… $7.97 (1 qt)
  2. A stripping tool…………………………… $2.99
  3. Wood filler………………………………… $2.98
  4. Sander (with sanding pads)…………….. $29.97
  5. Primer (2 cans)…………………………… $6.20
  6. Spray gun w/ extra aerosol (optional)…. .$8.94 (can:$4.97/refill:$3.97)
  7. Spray can comfort grip (optional)………..$6.29
  8. Paint………………………………………..$12.48 (1 qt)
                                     GRAND TOTAL:       $77.82

Stripper: You will only need stripper if the piece of furniture you are refinishing has been previously painted.  You apply the stripper to the surface of the piece and after a few minutes it will start to bubble. You can then scrape off the old paint using the stripping tool.

Wood Filler:  You will need wood filler if there are any scratches or dings in the piece of furniture you are refinishing.  It will act as a patch.  Because I am painting my china cabinet, I do not need to worry about matching the color of the stain on the wood.  If you are trying to match stain, you can mix different colors of filler to match your stain.  When painting, I always just buy the natural color filler.  After it is applied and it has completely dried and hardened, you can sand it.

Sander:  You can sand your piece by hand using sandpaper, but if you plan on doing a fair amount of refinishing, I would suggest investing in a hand-held power sander.  They can range in price from as little as $15.00 to over $500.  I bought a Ryobi 240v Corner/Detail Sander for $29.97 at Home Depot. A Random Orbit Sander will work too.

Sandpaper: My sander came with extra sanding pads, but sanding pads run about $5-$6 a pack. The lower the grit, the rougher the sandpaper and conversely, the higher the grit number, the smoother the sandpaper.  Here is a table I found on that serves as a general guide to the proper uses.

I just use two different grits – 80 when I first start sanding to get all of the old paint off and then I switch to 220 for the detailed sanding. 

Primer:  Primer is applied before the paint.  It ensures better adhesion of paint to the surface, increases paint durability, and provides additional protection for the piece being painted.  You must lightly sand the wood before you apply the primer to ensure that it sticks to the wood.  It comes in all different colors, but I always buy white.

Spray gun:  A spray gun is only needed when the color you want to use isn’t available in a spray paint form.  You can always hand paint your piece, but I prefer to spay on the paint.  It goes on much more even.  I have chosen to paint my china cabinet cumulus blue from BEHR paint. It isn’t available in a spray can, therefore I bought the spay gun.   You need to thin your paint before you use it so it can be sprayed through the gun.  Because the paint I bought is water based, I will need to thin it with water at a 3:1 ratio (3 parts paint to 1 part water).  There are instructions on the side of the box that will tell you what ratio to thin your paint to and what to thin it with according to what kind of paint you are using.

Below is a picture from Better Homes and Gardens that inspired me to choose a pale color of blue.  I love this armoire!

Paint:  Pretty self-explanatory.  For my china cabinet I only bought 1 quart.  Depending on the size of your piece, you may need to buy more.

Always ask for help!  When you are at Menards or Hope Depot buying your supplies, do not hesitate to ask for help.  I ALWAYS do.  They are always super helpful and nice, plus it beats buying the wrong thing.  

Hopefully all that wasn’t too boring.  I just figure it is all good stuff to know, especially if you are new at this.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Out of the Blue Idea #1 – The perfect baby shower gift

Lux upcycling: Cashmere sweaters to (very) soft toys
If you ask me, this Georgia based company is on the right track.  Upcycling is a hot topic right now, soft and cuddly are always a great combo, everyone loves the idea of luxury and making it your own, well now that is just pure genius!
Each plush teddy bear, elephant and bunny is fashioned from a discarded cashmere sweater.  Cashmere animals can be purchased straight from the website for USD 50-60 each.  For the same cost, customers can request the animal of their choice to be made from their own old cashmere sweater, which makes for a toy that’s both sustainably manufactured and highly personal. The site also accepts postal donations from kindhearted people clearing out their closets, reimbursing the postage for their offering.
I wish I would have know about these unique little guys about 8 months ago, before my adorable little nephew and niece were born, but I am sure there are more little ones to come.  And when they do, I have two cashmere sweaters sitting in my closet just waiting to be upcycled into a cute little creature!
This is also a good DIY project.  Do you have any old cashmere sweaters hiding out in the back of your closet?
Click here for a free teddy bear pattern I found online.

Info: Springwise

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

DIY Project #1 PREVIEW – Refinishing an old china cabinet

For the past couple of months I have been looking high and low for a small antique china cabinet.  We do not have a very large house and I needed something that would not take up a lot of room.  Finally, about a month ago, I found it!  And of course, I found it on Craigslist, one of my favorite places to bargain hunt!  The woman was asking $100 for it, but as you can see it needs quite a bit of TLC, so we settled on $60 cash.

Here is the “before” picture and a couple pictures I found for inspiration.  The white china cabinet is a very similar style as the one I found and I just adore the shade of blue in the other picture.

Now it is time to work my magic!  I am off to Menards to purchase some stripper, a hand-held power sander, some sandpaper and of course some paint in a beautiful shade of blue.

Keep checking back for the “after” picture.

Images: Flickr