Monday, June 6, 2016

So You Want to Paint Some Furniture...

Hi everyone! I hope you're all enjoying the warm weather and sunshine, I know I am!!

Last time, I posted a 3-part series on the new-to-us Plum Brown pedestal dining table I refinished. I promised a how-to/what not to do follow up (funny story below) and I'm just now getting around to writing it. 

Since last time, I've (almost) finished our playroom and added another pretty big item to my to-do list. Apparently caring for 2 boys, refinishing furniture and tackling projects around the house, and writing a design blog, along with my usual stay-at-home mom duties, wasn't enough.

At the end of April, I signed on to become a Stella & Dot Stylist! For those of you who don't know about Stella & Dot, it's a fab line of jewelry and accessories available mainly through in-home trunk shows. 

I've been obsessed with Stella & Dot for a few years now and have been toying with the idea of becoming a stylist probably for just as long. There was a great sign-on promotion that I couldn't pass up, so I took the plunge. You can see my Stella & Dot display on our table here. Check out my personal website to see more:

It's going so great, even better than I could've imagined, and is a perfect job for me as a SAHM and also someone who loves design, color and texture, since a lot of the same principles apply. Anyway, that's what I've been up to and why it's taken me so long to get to this post.

Getting back to the table... We're really loving it! We have so much more room and it makes such a difference. My original plan was to keep the leaf out to save space for everyday, but I doubt that it's ever coming out! With the table pushed up against the window, we can easily seat 5 with room to spare, and there's so much more space to stretch out for projects, crafts and cooking with the kids.

I loved giving the pedestal table I found a new look. There's something so rewarding in taking something and reworking it to fit your space, and a sense of pride in seeing and using the finished product on a daily basis. 

As far as painting your own furniture piece, here is some advice based on what I learned in completing my own project...

1. Pick a piece that you really love. You're going to be spending a lot of time with this particular piece of furniture. If you don't love it, don't bother. Between sanding, (possibly) priming, painting and applying a clear coat (if necessary), you'll log in some hours. The ball-and-claw pedestal legs were what sold me on this table. 

2. Invest in an orbital sander. When I started this project, we didn't own one. Luckily, my husband is pretty handy and saw the value of investing in a sander. He's loyal to Ridgid and surprised me with their orbital sander to make my job a lot easier. You can see the difference between hand sanding and using the orbital sander below. The difference in the finish is pretty dramatic and it makes the job go so much faster. Be sure to clean and dry the piece after sanding to remove any dust before applying your paint. Nothing wrong with girls loving jewelry and power tools.

3. Choose the correct paint for functionality. For my dining table, I went with an indoor/outdoor enamel. I needed something strong since this table will be used daily and will more than likely have things thrown at it. We get a lot of flying sippy cups at my house.

4. Use the correct tools to apply your paint. If you're not sure what to use, ask a salesperson at your local hardware store. A foam roller with no nap is what I used to get a smooth finish. 

5. Apply your paint in ONE direction only. This is probably the most important part of painting the piece to ensure that you don't see paint application lines on the surface. I figured this one out on my own and you can really see the difference in the finished product.

6. Depending on the use of your refinished piece, you may want to apply a clear coat. For anything that is going to take some abuse, I would recommend applying a few coats of polycrylic. Some may say this isn't necessary, especially with the enamel paint, but after logging in hours on a project, I'd like to know that it's properly protected from the wrath of my kids. 

Polycrylic is a great choice because it doesn't yellow over time and will only slightly, if at all, deepen the paint color. It is water based, easily brushed on and doesn't emit strong fumes. Gently stir the polycrylic to mix, never shake, or you'll create air bubbles. 

When applying polycrylic, you want to brush on a thin coat in one direction, just like the paint. Get a good quality brush for this application. Then you take your brush and very lightly brush over the completed surface (without reapplying polycrylic), in the same direction again, to remove any air bubbles. 

My last tip, and also where the funny story I promised earlier begins... 

7. Do NOT hold the can of polycrylic in your hand while applying to your piece of furniture. Normally I would never hold a can in one hand while painting with the other. Normally I would use a tray so that I wouldn't be contaminating the can. Normally I wouldn't be applying a clear coat to a piece of furniture in my actual dining room at 11pm. But everything normal went out the window at the end of this project because I just wanted my table done. 

I'm sure you can guess what happened next... After I carefully and meticulously brushed my last coat of polycrylic onto a section of the table, I dropped the can. It was like a slow-motion scene in a movie. The can literally bounced off the table, into the air, slammed down onto the section of the table that I had just finished, and splashed all over it and my dining room floor. My immediate reaction was to exclaim, "OHMIGOD, OHMIGOD, OHMIGOD!!!!" Once the initial shock wore off, I ran for the paper towels. 

Because polycrylic is water based, it actually cleans up pretty easily. It also dries pretty quickly, so I knew I had to work fast to fix my blunder. I mopped up the floor as fast as I could and immediately went over my once-perfect section once more. Somehow I fixed it and managed to get away with this one... 

No one was the wiser the next morning and our new table makes the room. 

Look for my next post on our updated playroom... as always, more color coming your way soon!

1 comment:

  1. I love the claw feet too! Good find - it came out great! Congrats on the new gig with Stella & Dot!