{before & after; a armoire}

Thursday, May 9, 2013
Who doesn't love a great BEFORE & AFTER TUTORIAL?!
I do. 

One or my favorite blogs is Better After, we have even been featured a few times! It's a great place to look for inspiration. I love seeing what people can do to ugly furniture and rooms!

Today I'm pretty excited to share the whole process of painting a old piece of furniture with you, although it did take a lot of effort to remember to keep taking pictures at each step! Once I dive into a project I pretty much can't pull away from it until it's finished! But I did it! Your welcome.

Refinishing furniture, for me, is like therapy. I love it.
I have done it for several years now and look forward to each and every piece. I love the transformation, the anticipation of finishing it, and just taking something ugly and making it beautiful.
It really makes me happy.
I also enjoy spending a few house just thinking, painting, taking in some quiet time alone while I work. Most days at my home are nuts, with 3 little kids running wild and the joys of cooking, cleaning, friends, church callings, you name it... I am busy! (Aren't we all?) So, for a few hours a day I really love just taking some time alone and working on something productive, something where I can actually see progress happening.

It really is my passion, my "other" dream job.

So. How do I do it?
What do I like to use?
I get these questions all the time.
I've decided to take a few posts a month and focus on teaching the basics, the fundamentals if-you-will! I hope you enjoy seeing the whole process and feel free to ask any questions you might have!

Here is a piece I finished for our Market THIS SATURDAY!! 

It started as a dresser... thingy. (Im super technical!) 
We bought it in Utah at a DI Thrift store. (My mom did, she's good at finding and buying stuff!)
It had all the potential we look for when shopping: great detail, solid wood, solid sturdy construction, no smoke damage or smell, and plenty of character. I especially love the dark wood tone and that it still had all of its wheels! 

I had a vision when I first saw it, I knew exactly what I wanted to do! I wanted to utilize the inside space for storage, but it's main use would be decorative. The inside drawers were shallow and did not slide very well, so I knew right away those were gone...
That is the best part! A little demo...and a lot of stress relief! I pulled the drawers out and busted the sides off the base with a hammer. I needed some solid wood to build up the inside of the cabinet so that it would still maintain its sturdiness. I used the bottoms of the drawers to build out the sides and base and back of the cabinets inside... 

Then I used my nail gun and secured them into place, and finished the edges with paintable caulk.
The next part is all out Safety!! And because I always regret getting sand up my nose and in my mouth...and one trip to the ER because I got a nice cut on my eye...not fun. 
 I put on my lovely face mask! (and glasses, Ill spare you!) 
And then started the dirty work...
I have a great orbital sandpaper and used 80 grit paper to knock this baby down. The wood was pretty soft so it sanded down like butter. I love that. I am a sanding junky, the more the better, I try and hit each spot at least 3 times, especially the edges. 

Then I wrapped the top in wax paper and sealed it really tight with painters tape. Wax paper is a great way to cover a area that you do not want paint to get onto. So once my top was covered nice and tight it was time to get out my gun...

I used a light gray, partridge gray, in a flat sheen. My favorite paint ever is from True Value, called Easy Care- I like the premium line. Since I do a lot of furniture I use my spray gun (Warner brand from Lowes.) But, I would recommend rolling with a sponge roller then doing a final coat with a nice brush- if you do not have a gun. Invest in a better angle brush and you will never be disappointed with chunky brush stroke marks. (Like 12-15 bucks) I even sprayed the hardware because I wanted them to blend in. 

After 2 good coats of paint, I did some light sanding on the edges and details with my orbital sander and 120 grit paper.

Then I removed the tape and wax paper from the top, wiped it with a damp rag. Then stained it Dark Walnut. When staining I use a cheap foam brush, I put it on thick then use a old t-shirt and wipe of the excess, this wood was soft so it soaked in really well. 

I painted the entire thing, inside and out. 

And after it's all dried and blown off (I use my air compressor and blower attachment and blow all the dust particles off.) Then I seal it with a spray can of Polyurethane. 

Let it sit for a few hours! 
And DONE! 

It really is a beauty.
I imagine it in a family room with board games, or pillows.
Or a craft room with a sewing machine and supplies.
Or a master bedroom with a TV mounted on top and baskets neatly organized inside... yeah?!

And for someone pretty awesome they get to take it home SATURDAY!
I'm always sad to see these pretty things sell... but excited when I find the next thing to work on!

What do you think? Was this tutorial helpful? Do you want to see more?

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