I am not much of a DIYer. I have long admired painted furniture pieces, but never had the skills to try it. I picked up a yellow painted bench on Facebook a couple of months ago and loved it. Here it is in the shop. I took it home, placed it on my covered porch and used it every day.
However, it suffered an unfortunate incident involving Michael and a garden hose. It didn’t get fully wet, just some overspray, but that was enough to cause the paint to come off. It ended up being half painted, half not, and not very attractive. I decided it needed a new paint job and I was the one to do it.
I enrolled in Drab to Fab Furniture Upcycling on Craftsy and learned how to do several paint techniques, including milk painting furniture. I didn’t have any milk paint, but Vintage Redeemed, a great little shop here in Auburn sells chalk paint. I decided to give that a try. While shopping for chalk paint, I happened across a darling little painted desk at the shop, bought it, and shoved it into the back seat of my car. Here it is, sitting in my basement, hoping to be called to duty when we move. I just wanted something small to hold my computer. I am tired of having a behemoth desk.
The problem with finding the little desk is I had to reconsider my strategy for repainting the bench. I would love for it to go in my office when we move and clearly, repainting it yellow was not an option. The owner of the shop helped me choose the same white color as the bottom part of the desk, as well as the wax finishes to try to replicate the paint. I love the green/grey/blue of the top but I wasn’t sure I wanted to try to match that. So, the bench was slated for a white distressed finish.
I tried sanding the yellow paint that remained on the desk but I couldn’t get it all. Michael finished the job for me with the power washer. I know it is not a good idea to soak wood furniture but since it had already been wet, I hadn’t much to lose. It worked perfectly.
After power washing the paint off, we realized that the surface of the bench had a very glossy varnish finish. I think that may be the reason for the paint chipping off. I did a little research on chalk paint and read that you do not need to sand before using chalk paint. Luckily I read this before I started my project and decided to sand. I figured that since the paint hadn’t adhered the first time, leaving the bench unsanded was not an option. Here is what the piece looked like last night after pressure washing and a lot of hand sanding.
Before going to bed, I gave the bench the first coat of white paint.
This morning I lightly sanded the first coat of paint and applied a second coat of white paint with a small foam roller to hide the brash lines. After allowing the paint to dry completely, I applied a light coat of clear wax and buffed it out. This was done before distressing the finish with sand paper.
This was the most difficult part of the process because I had to sand it by hand again, through two coats of paint to show areas of bare wood. Distressing involves removing part of the paint in areas where the piece would normally wear as it ages. This is where you can get very creative, giving your piece just a little age or beating the heck out of it.
After sanding to distress the paint, I applied a coat of dark wax. I allowed it to dry a bit in the corners and at the base of the spindles where grime would normally accumulate. I went a little heavy on the dark wax so I removed some by applying another coat of clear wax. After allowing that coat of wax to dry I added a final coat of clear wax to the entire piece and buffed it out until it had the sheen I was looking for.
The bench won’t be suitable for outdoor use because it is waxed and not polyurethane finished, but that ok with me. I don’t want Michael to test my skills with the garden hose. This will have a safe spot in my house. I am really happy with the way it came out, in fact, I like it better than when I bought it.
I finished the bench just in time for it to grace my front porch this Memorial Day, before moving inside permanently.
I hope you give furniture painting a try. I know I will be scouring the thrift stores for a few good pieces in need of a little makeover. Here are my sources and colors:
- Lisa at Roost, Vintage Living and Design Studio, for the great bench. No hard feelings on the paint. Love the shop.
- Thanks to Anne Marie for her class Drab to Fab Furniture Upcycling on Craftsy. Fun, fun, fun!
- Vintage Redeemed, 916 Lincoln Way, Auburn, CA 95602. Thanks for helping me with paint and for the great little desk. I’ll be back.
- Old Town Paints Vintage White Chalk Style Paint, Soft Clear Wax, and Dark Wax. Check out the how-to videos!
- Home Depot for brushes, sandpaper, sanding blocks, rags, buckets, etc. Thanks for letting Tucker shop too!
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