I've had quite a few people ask how I got into refinishing all this junk and wanting some pointers. I am by no means an expert at any of this - I've learned
a lot everything along the way through Google searches, blog following, and mostly trial and error. For my first project I was in the garage painting at 1 in the morning and when it wasn't turning out right I ran to Google what I possibly did to jack it up.
Actually, that's happened more than once.
Here are a few of my anything but professional tips and suggestions when refinishing something...in absolutely no order.
1. Painting? Prime if first.
In the words of Wikipedia, a primer is a preparatory coating put on materials before painting. Priming ensures better adhesion of paint to the surface, increases paint durability, and provides additional protection for the material being painted.
Wow, I couldn't have said it better myself. Literally.
I had no idea what primer was when I started. Should I be embarrassed to admit that? Well, it's the truth.
And what was that? Primer comes in a spray can?! Everything and anything is fair game to be painted, my friends. A huge bonus to primer is that you don't have to sand everything down to the wood grain before you paint (assuming that what you're painting is wood). If I had to sand everything I painted, there's z.e.r.o. chance I'd be doing this.
So far I've used the Rustoleum brand of spray primer. It's got great coverage, you can get away with 2 coats and it's only $2.98/can at Home Depot. How far does one can go when you have to do 2 coats? Think two regular size end tables...so about $1.50/table. Not bad!
2. Try using spray paint.
...and prepare to be hooked.
I was skeptical about using spray paint but you can literally spray paint just about anything. It's quick, it's easy, it's cheap and it's awesome to see all your crap transform into something different that you're all-of-a-sudden in love with again! You will, without a doubt, look at everything in your home (stores, parent's house, friend's house, stranger's house) and think "I bet I could spray paint that" after you've done your first spray paint project.
My skepticism on spray paint was put to rest after finding a Spray Paint FAQ blog post put together by Centsational Girl. She went all out on answering the most commonly asked questions about spray paint - so visit THIS link to get the scoop. (She adds her 2 cents on the priming issue - but I say PRIME it all)
3. Distressing can be...distressing.
I had no idea there were tricks to distressing something. I thought that if you painted it, let it dry, and then rubbed sand paper over it you'd end up with a jaw dropping piece of beautifully antiqued furniture.
I first found this out when I redid the black end table. All that hard work priming and painting and then here comes my clueless self ready to get aggressive with a piece of sand paper. I hadn't let the paint dry enough to cure so it was all gummy and rolled up leaving scratch marks all over the place. It was horrible and I had to repaint over it.
She has some of the most amazing repainted pieces I've ever seen.
I want to be like her when I grow up.
Centsational Girl comes through yet again with a great step-by-step on how to stain a piece of furniture.
Click HERE for all the info.
Her blog is busting with awesomeness so be sure and add her to your Google Reader.
The only bad thing about staining is that you have to sand it first. Like, haaaaave to sand it - so you probably won't be seeing many stained pieces on this blog because I'd rather go in for a root canal...twice.
But hey, maybe you'll love sanding.
5. Reupholstering = Huge Job
Reupholstering is not for the faint of heart - it takes a lot of time, precision, and patience. I've only reupholstered the chair cushions of these black chairs (and I thought those were tedious!), so I'm not really one to talk, but I once stumbled on a blog about a girl that was redoing an arm chair and just taking the old fabric off TOOK HER FIVE HOURS. Not so sure I'd have that in me.
However, I found the coolest images showing how much fabric you'd need to reupholster just about any style of chair and sofa imaginable over at All Things Thrifty. If you have a project needing reupholstering this will make your day. I have it saved in my favorites list so I always know where it is.
Sweet, huh?! There are a couple more images so be sure to click over there.
I can't count how many times I've referenced these links as I've gotten myself elbow deep in paint and frantically looking for an answer - so I'm sure they will help you out too.
I'd love to hear what you're working on, or wanting to work on so leave a comment and let me know!