Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Adventures in refinishing

So, remember that one time way back in May when I mentioned a project of refinishing my sewing desk? Ya, I barely remember too. Anyway, I may have just finished this project on Sunday....oops :) Who knew it takes 5 months to paint furniture? Thanks parents for putting up with my crap in your shop for 5 months...

Anyway, lets get on to the lovely before and afters and a a little of how I did it.
*you will want to at least scroll on to the bottom to read how this little story ends*

There are so very many tutorials out there on how to refinish your furniture I will not bore you with another super detailed one. I will however give you a few tips  on how I did it.

First off, do yourself a favor and get the best primer around. In my opinion (read: my Dad's opinion and experience/expertise) Zinser 1,2,3 primer is the best. This piece of furniture is mostly laminate...only some parts are real wood.

The desk was ok before, but it was dark and it had stains on it (it was thrifted). It was time for a facelift.

When you use a good primer, sanding can be fairly a good job, but don't get too hung up on it.

There were parts of it around the top edges where the laminate was peeling off....I just peeled it off and put some putty on there to even out the surface. And you can prime and paint that just like the rest of it.

once all that is done you just have to paint and add some stenciling :) I love the detail of the stencils on here. I did not worry about making my stencils perfectly crisp...that's just not my style. I like the little imperfections. My stencils were bought from Home Depot incase you were wondering.

On the inside of the desk there are spool holders and scissor holders etc. These were way too intricate to sand, prime and paint so I opted for a little pop of color and used a spray paint that I had on hand. Trust yourself if you have pieces like that and use spray paint.

I love my little pop of the aqua color. I think it is just a fun little surprise when I open it up.

Who knew something this simple could take 5 months huh? :)

Now this desk was perfect and I anxiously anticipated its return to my apartment so I could sew on my lovely table....little did I know this was going to happen as we drove home

Yes that is primer spilled at least 1/2 inch the back of my car. Yes I cried. Yes I cried some more. And no, it was not one of those little cans you see in the was a gallon sized can of primer at least 3/4 full that my car...the can is now empty. Did I mention it spilled in my car?

I was not happy. I was panicked. The thing you need to know about me is this, my car is simple. It is a 4Runner that I have had for about 7 years and was purchased used. But I love my car. I have an irrational attachment to this car, so when anything bad happens I freak out. This is the worst thing that has ever happened to it thus far.

The good news is this, carburetor cleaner works wonders on bumpers for getting paint off. And water based primer comes out well guessed it lots of water. It also helps to have a wonderful set of parents (who drove 30 minutes to help!) and a fantastic husband who keeps you sane and helps clean up the massive mess.

My car is almost as good as new. Phew. And my desk is fine too after literally scooping paint out of at least 3 cups of just paint....what a nightmare! Glad it is all pretty much over.

With love,


  1. aw man, the paint in that car! Poor Whit :(
    Yes, refinishing furniture always turns out to be a far larger undertaking than we imagine in our heads when we pick up those cute thrifty finds! :)

    1. I think that it would be a much faster process if there was a sanding fairy ;) At least that seems to be the worst part of it for me...