Thursday, January 26, 2012

Furniture Refinish

I really enjoy woodworking , furniture refinishing and re-doing pieces of furniture. Every so often, I will browse craigslist and look at pieces that are inexpensive and think "how could I make that cute". My criteria?

1. It has to be cheap. Cheap meaning $50 or less.

2. It has to be solid wood. Some veneers are okay, but solid wood is best.

3. It has to have great lines. Lines meaning detail on the piece.

4. It has to serve some purpose once refinished/repainted.

So...I bought a really ugly piece of furniture off of craigslist a while back for $50.

It was super ugly.

I should preface that. Super ugly, as in, if you lived in a 70's house with shag carpet and a nasty "70's" stain on your wood paneling it "might" look cool! Really ugly stain...right? It met all my criteria. It has great lines, it is mostly wood (the sides are veneers), it is solid and would look fabulous as a dresser in a shabby-chic room, or as an addition to some Pottery Barn furniture.

My intentions were to put it in our bedroom opposite the bed frame that I made.

It would be adorable!

So I set to work sanding the top. I envisioned the top being finished in a walnut stain with a few coats of poly on it. Everything else? A cool teal/turquoise color.

Yuck! It was such an ugly color! I hope we don't look back at colors we wear or paint now and think that. It's inevitable, I guess!

I set out sanding the top, yet quickly realized the top would not work stained, as the veneers were also surrounding the top lip. FYI...veneers do not sand or stain as well as wood. Heck, they don't take stain, unless it is a paint-like stain.

So, I just put a coat of primer on the whole thing. I used a primer that I bought at Sherwin-Williams which is a furniture primer that you can put over stain. It was perfect. It really grips to the furniture, so your paint application is much smoother.

Then, I painted. I also bought the paint at Sherwin Williams. It is a furniture pain that is really thick and self-leveling. It's great.

Next step? Distress. My favorite part. Take some 150-grit sandpaper and start sanding edges, spots where typical wear would be, and any spot you mess up on. That's the beauty of distressing: if you screw up, just make it look like there was wear in that spot.

The result:

Original hardware was kept.

Awesome color!

Love how distressing pulled out some of the white primer. It made it look even more shabby-chic in that it appeared it was old and rustic and had been painted multiple times.

Before and after:

You'd pay $50 for the after...right? Well, I decided to put it up for sale on craigslist to see if I could get a bit more than what I paid. I ended up getting $200 for it. I made $150 for simply painting it and using a little muscle to sand/distress it. I love the piece, but I definitely made a chunk of change off of it!

Thank you craigslist man who's wife could not live without my turquoise dresser! You paid for me to start another woodworking project!


  1. I also LOVE this turquoise dresser! Good job!

  2. Love this. Makes me motivated to get to the stuff that I've stashed away to refinish "someday"! What a transformation!