Sunday, February 24, 2013

Grammar End Tables -Turquise and Decoupage-

My End Tables and I... or should that be me?
Have you ever wanted to decoupage some furniture? You can use any kind of paper really. Like wallpaper, newspaper, magazines, etc.
Anyway, I had some old books on English grammar and writing skills (they came from a local high school and were used back in the day) and decided they would be perfect for my newest Junk Pile project. Here's my process...
Start with some plain old tables.
 Remove the legs if you can to make painting easier, then paint with primer.
No need to sand if you use good primer.
Then paint your color.  I used Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch in Aqua.
You will want to leave the top primed for your paper. And no need to be super carful with your edges. If you look closely, I just used this handy box to cover the edges as I painted around all the sides. In fact, if a little paint goes on the top edge of the table it's a good thing because, as you will notice later, it's easier to hide your imperfections (when you can't get your paper to match up exactly with the edge of the table). So have no fear... just keep going.
I used these old grammar and writing books that I found at a thrift store. I chose to use three different books (with the same content) so the papers would have some variations, like different sizes and colors. Then lay them out on your table. Pay attention to overlapping and be sure not to cover something of interest (meaning something that someone will actually WANT to read).
 Then I took a snapshot of how I wanted it to look for reference.
  I used Mod Podge for my paper and followed the directions on the back. You will want to apply it to the back of your paper (NOT to the table) because it will adhere better with fewer bubbles. HOWEVER, I watered mine down a bit to make it easier to work with for my first few layers (you will use a total of at least 5 layers when completed).
When you first put it on the paper, the paper will change color (like it's wet, well, because it is) and no matter how hard you try you may see it bubble, but don't worry. Once it's dry, it changes back and the bubbles go away again. Here's a "wet" and "dry" picture to compare. By the way, this was by far my worst bubble and even it disappeared.
You will put Mod Podge over the entire top, let it dry, then repeat and repeat. Get at least 3 or 4 good layers. You will know when you have good layers because the paper will stop changing colors and bubbling. Once that happens, use full strength Mod Podge for the last 2 or 3 layers to get a really good final coat. Then apply at least 3 coats of polyurethane on the top, following manufacturer's directions.
I actually applied my polyurethane (semi-gloss) to the sides and legs before I started applying the paper just to keep it from getting scratched, but you could do this all at the end. The point is to do it.
 And there you have it! Sophisticated Junk!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Living Room Set; Sofa Table, End Tables, Coffee Table

 This is my all time favorite primer. But you need to be careful with the kind of brush you use to apply it. Use a bristle brush if you don't mind paint lines, a foam brush for smoother lines, and a foam roller is best if you have a large surface area. I use these cheap bristle brushes because this primer is oil based, therefor not easy to clean, in fact, I don't even bother. I just toss them when I'm done, which is why I like to get all my priming done at the same time, with one brush.
By the way, basic enamel paint can easily be washed off your brushes with soap and water (as long as it hasn't dried). 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Finding the Right Piece to Refurbish

This is the most important step in upcycling because you don't want to just put lipstick on a pig. You want that piece that has curves and carved details, but still structurally sound. And while I've fixed many structural problems on several dressers, I suggest you start with a piece where the drawers work, the legs aren't falling off, the top isn't warped, etc.
This is the perfect piece because even though there are water marks and surface scratches, it's bare wood, structurally sound, with beautiful bones. See how it turned out.
This 1960's piece, and French Provincial dresser are second best because of their veneer tops. Stay away from veneer unless it's in good shape because you cannot sand any imperfections out of it. However, the veneer on these two pieces are all in tact, so after priming, you're good to go.
And take notice, both are structurally sound and have good bones.
 This desk is an example of what NOT to start out with if you don't know much about how to fix drawers. But if you do, it's a great piece to paint because the sanding surface is all flat.
And lastly, here's a dresser that would not be so easy. It has a lot of old, loose paint chipping off (what you call "real distressing") so would definitely need to be sanded completely down to the wood. If you were to put primer directly on it in this state, you would see "phantom" daisies under your paint. Meaning those painted daisies are raised just enough to see even if painted over. Plus, it also has some curves which are more tiring to sand.
But, it's structurally sound and beautiful, so take it if you're ambitious enough to sand. A lot.
Sanding Tip: the lower the grit number on the sand paper, the more course it is.
I prefer an orbital sander for large areas and generally start with an 80-grit sandpaper (I started with 60-grit for the blue dresser above because those daisies were on thick!), working my way up to 150-grit for projects that you will be painting.
For bare wood, it's best to make it really smooth if you're going to stain or oil it, so 220 or even higher would probably be the way to go.
Good luck finding just the right junk piece! And feel free to share what you find.
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