Maybe I'm late to the DIY party here, but have you guys ever refinished an old crappy piece of furniture and made it AWESOME?
As of this week I have!
With our baby (and second child) due in about a month, I'm in the final stages of nesting: washing and putting away tiny onesies and jammies. The only problem is that I didn't have any place to put any of these little sweet-smelling things! Recently we've been working to turn our office/guest room into a third bedroom. We've painted the walls, set up the changing table, cleared out the closet, even set up the "grandma bed" for the visitors who will be here to help out the first few weeks of baby's life.
For some back story: when our daughter was born two years ago we registered for furniture from Target ... big mistake. The crib was recently recalled and the dresser started to fall apart just about a year into regular use as a changing table. We decided this summer to scour Craigslist for replacements. We found two dressers for $50 each! Score! When my husband brought them home in the truck it was quickly clear, however, that there was no way they could go into my childrens' rooms as-is. I googled "how to refinish a dresser." The result? LOTS of steps that involve LOTS of chemicals. And so I decided to skirt google and ask the #1 reference source I know: My mom (who goes by Yaya 'round these here parts).
And ladies and gentlemen, here's how my mom instructed me (and helped me! Along with my sister and husband!) to refinish an old dresser to go from this:
(This entire process should be done OUTSIDE away from children and pets).
(Also, for this type of project, start with an unpainted dresser. I found two old dressers on Craigslist that just had a light varnish on them. If you start with a painted dresser you'll probably need to use some kind of chemical stripper)
1. Mix up "disinfecting spray": 9 parts water and 1 part bleach in a small spray bottle. Wipe down the dresser inside and out with a damp cloth. Then set the drawers in a sunny spot outside and spray the insides down with the bleach/water and let them dry.
2. When the dresser is dry, remove all the hardware (don't chuck it unless you've found replacements ... more on that later!).
3. Next you'll need an appropriate grit sandpaper for your project and a sanding block (the peeps at Home Depot - or the like - can help you with this if you're not sure what to get). Then sand down the entire dresser in the direction of the grain. Get as much of the varnish off as you can ... it won't be difficult. You want to rough it up enough so that the paint sticks.
4. When you're done, wipe down all the surfaces with an old, dry towel. Then go over all the surfaces with a tack cloth (also available in the painting section of home improvement stores. It's just a sticky cloth that picks up any loose dirt or dust). Now is also a good time to clean out the interior structure of the dresser. I used disinfecting wipes!
5. Now you're ready to paint! I used old semi-gloss paint from my bedroom for the above dresser. We rolled much of it on with a roller that we had left over from painting walls and a paintbrush for the detail work where the roller wouldn't reach. We did two coats on each dresser. We painted in the morning and let the dresser dry outside the rest of the day, then brought it inside. By the next day it was ready for use!
6. Measure for hardware (if you're replacing the hardware). You want to measure for pulls with a measuring tape from the center of the two holes. The most common size for dressers made recently is 3". Many older dressers have 64 mm or 2.5" size pulls, which have proved difficult for me to find! If you have trouble finding replacement pulls there are a couple things you can do, the easiest of which is to keep the old pulls and just spray paint them ... so don't chuck them right away!
7. My sister was here and she's a detail person so we put contact paper inside the drawers to finish them out an extra step. It's now full to the brim with baby boy clothes and ready to go! All for $60!
Have you ever done a DIY refinish on a piece of furniture for your home? Was it worth the effort? What are your secrets for saving time and money?