Friday, 18 January 2013

How to - furniture revamp

Did you decide to revamp an old and boring bookcase or any other type of furniture? Did my previous post inspire you to try it yourself? In this post I'm going to explain the process I used and also the mistakes I made.

Both item was laminated (if I know well how these things are called, I'm really not an expert), so they are not real wood, but something covered with wood pattern. This is important, as a real wooden furniture would probably need different method.

The things you will need:
- sandpapers/sanding blocks
- sponges
- newspapers for covering the area you work on
- huge flat brush/es
- all purpose primer
- wood paint
- wallpapers
- PVA glue
- foam brushes or any other brushes for the glue
- loads of patient : )

1. When you are ready to start try to remove any handles or moving shelves. Anything you don't want to cover with paint by accident, like the handles, and any shelves, to make your work easier (you will have to work on them separately though)

2. Pull your furniture to a place you can work around it comfortably and you have enough light to see properly.

3. Make sure you cover the area with newspapers properly. I decided to rise up the bookcase from each side to push the newspaper under it, so that nothing will drop anywhere on my carpet. (watch out for a mistake here)

4. Here is where the hard work begins. Sanding. You have to sand all the surfaces you later want to paint, as the paint would not stay without sanding, the laminate thingy is too smooth. (I almost changed my mind here it was that hard, lol) Believe me, I tried it. After putting on a layer of primer, it started to create small circles and didn't look good at all, had to wipe it all off. So sanding is unfortunately important.
Be very careful, sanding is a very dusty business, try not to take big breaths, lol.

5. After the sanding is done you will need some sponges and water, maybe some cleaning liquid too and try to clean all surfaces properly. It will be very dusty, I cleaned it 2-3 times. Then let it dry.

6. Finally something more exciting. Put on the primer. I loved this part. I started to feel that this impossible looking project is actually possible. : ) I used quite a lot of primer, so it covered really well, but at some places I went through it with a second layer, just to be sure. Only paint in one direction. That way it will look like wood grain. But if you start to paint in different directions it will look messy. (I paid attention to this as I read it somewhere not to make this mistake) When you are done, wait according to the instructions on your primer. It has to be perfectly dry before you start painting.

7. When your primer is dry you can start painting. There are really cool paint colours in one of the DIY stores (I tried the orange one), but they couldn't offer me a primer, so I didn't buy the colour I originally wanted. The one I chose was cheaper and there was not that much choice of colour but I got the primer (I'm not sure if it's ok to advertise, if you are interested please contact me) What I wanted to explain that there are so many shades of white paints available that I found it difficult to choose just one.
At the painting is very important that you only paint in one direction, and don't even go back to the same direction, just go for example from up to down and then rise up your brush and go up to down again, don't go back from down to up. You can achieve a lot more beautiful look this way.

Also, I think it's worth choosing matte or satin (mine was satin) paint, not glossy, as it looks a lot more on trend with its shabby chic look and it's more forgiving with your brush strokes.

Follow the instructions on your paint about the drying time and go over it again if you have to after the first layer is dry.

8. Wallpaper. Cut the wallpaper to size and try it if it fits before using any glue. If your bookcase is wider than your wallpaper, you have to match the pattern of another length of wallpaper next to it, and cut the required size. (I was struggling with this a lot)
Once you are sure your wallpaper pieces fit where you want to adhere them, apply a layer of PVA glue to the bookcase and then carefully put on the wallpaper. The bubbles appeared on mine a few minutes later, so be careful to try to press it down everywhere, go over it with a dry brush to avoid the airbubbles.

And you are done. : )

My mistakes: (don't laugh ; ))

- I only had one brush and after primer I washed the brush but didn't wait for it to dry perfectly and the water was dropping out of the brush so much I almost cried. ; ) (I made it in smaller parts, so when I was ready with some of the priming and had to stop, when it was dry I didn't prime the rest, but started painting it, etc)
- When you are priming/painting the bottom of your item, make sure you stick something under it to rise it up a bit, so that it doesn't touch the newspaper (mine stuck to it really nicely, when I teared it off  it took off the paint, so had to start it again from sanding so that the edge of the paint which still stayed there wouldn't show)
- If your item has doors, it's better taking them off before painting, it was not easy to work with it. Though I didn't paint the inside of the small sideboard.
- Be very careful when putting back the ready shelves, their sharp edges can take off the paint
- Give yourself enough time to finish this project. Because of the drying times it takes a while, especially with a bigger item. My smaller one was ready in 2 days, but the bookcase took about a week. (I was only doing it while my daughter was at school, it's quite a messy business, I didn't want her to help me, lol)
- This might not work for a table, as I haven't use anything to prevent the paint from wearing off. The fact that it's only a laminate makes things a bit difficult.

So that was my furniture revamp project. I hope you all enjoyed my descriptions : ) Feel free to let me know what you think.

Are you going to brave yourself into a project like this? Please leave a link to your ready products in the comments, I would love to see them!

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