Monday, June 20, 2011

Check Out My Drawers

When we first moved into our house I still had many of those plastic Rubbermaid drawers that are perfect for moving from place to place in college. Those drawers are so durable that they lasted through a cross-country move and then finally to our home. They housed old t shirts and swimsuits in the guestroom until I decided that the guest room needed a grown-up makeover. Drawers are really expensive and so after consulting the internet I realized I could buy a used dresser and then dress it up to my own preferences. I picked up this dresser for $30and I had plans for it before I even saw it. HB thought I was out of my mind when I brought it home.

I did a ton of research on how to paint furniture and was finally ready to start my project. I removed the knobs from the front of the drawers, and then used an orbital sander to eliminate the black coat of paint. I was surprised to find that under the black paint was an olive-green coat of paint followed by a coat of white paint. I kept wondering what this dresser’s “story” was. After I removed as much of the old paint as I could I was finally ready to give it a new life. I also made sure to wipe down the drawers to make sure there was no dust left over from the sanding process. Leaving the dust might give it a less-than-perfect finish. I then painted all surfaces with 2 coats of oil based primer. I used a paint brush and if I did it again I would probably use a roller because you can still see some of the paint brush lines – but not too terribly. I know they are there but it is because I am crazy like that.

After applying the oil based primer and letting it dry for a few hours I was ready to paint the dresser its new color. I chose a deep chocolate brown color that coordinated with the bedding that was already there. I used a semi-gloss interior latex paint that I picked up at the hardware store. After I finished painting it was starting to get dark so I left them outside to dry overnight. It wasn’t going to rain and I didn’t want to bring the paint fumes into the house. This is where I should have listened to my instinct…the next morning the dresser and its drawers were COVERED in pollen and the plastic tarp I was using was now stuck to one of the drawers.

In order to get back to a smooth, pollen-free surface I lightly sanded (120 grit sandpaper) the surfaces and applied another coat of paint. This time I brought them into the basement to dry. I let them dry for a whole week before I brought the dresser up to its new home and put in the drawers. I wanted to make sure that the paint was totally dry because I was worried that the drawers might get stuck closed if the paint was still a little tacky. For the knobs I found some really great ones at Anthropology; they bring some extra interest to the dresser and I just love the teal color. After living with it for a few weeks I am thinking of adding a stenciled image in teal to the drawers or sides – I just haven’t decided yet. All in all, a pretty easy upgrade to the guest room.

Tools used:
· Random Orbital Sander: I started with 60 grit and finished with 120 grit sandpaper
· Oil Based Primer: I used Kilz
· Latex Semi-Gloss Paint: Semi-gloss gives it a little bit of sheen
· Paint Brush

Lessons Learned:
· Even if you do thin coats with a paintbrush there might be a little bit of “paintbrush line” when finished
· If you are painting outside and there is a tree near-by you might just get leaves/pollen stuck to your project so be careful to monitor how your project is drying
· A little bit of paint and new hardware can really change the look of furniture and in turn change the look of a room.
· Let the furniture dry for as long as you can stand – you don’t want it sticking to anything when its brought into the house
· Oil based primer does not come off easily. To remove oil based primer from brushes use mineral spirits (very smelly stuff) or use a brush you dont care about and toss it after. I hear that olive oil will also take the oil based primer off skin.

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