Now I know there are a billion how-to's on the internet on how to paint furniture so I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel here, but I know for a fact that many of my real life family and friends who read this blog have no clue how to do it (sorry bloggers, run away now if you want). I'll run through it fairly quickly, I didn't take step by step pictures because honestly it's self explanatory.
1.) Clean the piece. Lets just say that thrift stores store their furniture cheek to cheek with other nastier stuff, like baby toys at Goodwill. Notice any deep scratches and circle them with a crayola marker if you're worried you'll forget (anything else might show up under the new paint).
This is everything that I used on the dresser:
- Elmers wood filler (~$3)
- Medium block sander (~$2)
- 4 in Weenie roller set (~$5 but you won't have to buy the roller again)
- 2 in Chip brush ($1)
- Floetrol (~$8) It's an additive for water based paint, it puffs up the paint temporarily so your brush marks disappear. I only used a tablespoon out of the whole quart for this project.
- Olympic ONE in Satin (~$12) Again I have 75% of the can left. I could have used a sample pint probably.
- SC Johnson Paste Wax (~$5, it's in the furniture polish aisle at walmart by the way)
2.) Fill in your circled nicks and scratches with wood filler. Smoosh it in with your finger. When dry, sand it til it is smooth with the rest of the piece. Sand the rest of the piece, you're only trying to rough up the paint and get rid of the glossy finish, you do NOT have to get rid of the previous paint, that is way too much effort. As you can see I barely did any sanding.
3.) Also take out the old knobs with a screw driver. If they're stuck or painted on then bang em out with a hammer.
Now you can start painting. If you are not using a primer and paint in one then you must prime first. I like Zinsser gold label, it's oil based and stinky but it covers anything and everything.
4.) Add your capful of Floetrol to your paint tray and mix it in with the paint (I've poured it into the actual can before but it shortens the life of the paint if you want to use it again in the future). This step really is important. Without Floetrol your piece will look like you painted it... badly. With it, it will look like store bought furniture (ie: seamless and without raised bumps and track marks). I told people to buy this all the time at Lowes but they never listened. LISTEN TO ME PEOPLE!
5.) If you are using a primer and paint in one, like Olympic ONE then go on and roll on that first coat with your roller.
Only roll what your roller can roll to, don't squish it in the corners. After it dries, go back with the chip brush to reach the corners, make sure you're dipping the brush into the Floetrol mixed paint!
Oh and don't load up the paint brush and roller with too much paint, you want thin coats, NOT thick. Thick looks inexperienced and homemade. You don't need perfect coverage on the first coat, the others will take care of the patchiness.
6.) - 7.) One coat is horribly patchy so you'll probably need to 2 or 3. I did 3 because I'm a bit OCD.
8.) Check the size of your new knobs. If the screw won't go in then you'll have to widen the holes with a wider drill bit. If you're like me you can nag and nag at your man all you want and then after 2 weeks of him ignoring you, go steal the electric drill and do it yourself (while he takes pictures).
Pick a drill bit that is one size bigger than your screw. Its okay if its a bit bigger, the knob head will hide it.
I should say that you probably should wear sunglasses or some form of safety eye wear. My anger protected me ;)
Oh yeah! Skills! ;)
Ta Da! Now put your new knobs in and fix any spots you messed up with the drill.
9.) Lastly you'll need to wait a few days (2-3) after painting it and leave it completely alone. You want the water based paint to harden and cure. After the few days you need to protect your paint job with some sort of finish: either wax or polyacrylic. Both are fine, both are difficult in different ways. I used wax, I can't really tell you how to do it because I don't really understand it myself but you can google that part easily. Again, wait a few days before moving it around and using it. It's hard to wait but you don't want to chip and mess up the soft paint.
You're done now but check to make sure your drawers slide in and out easy. If they don't, put a line of hot glue along the bottom edges of the drawer and let it dry. It makes a clear smooth edge which slides on the wood better than wood on wood does.
Now you take pretty pictures of your beauty and shiver in the cold the whole time. Also, if you ever move into temporary housing, bring coats with you!!