Ok…so, have you ever gone into a big box hardware store looking for furniture feet or legs? Just to find out that they are way out of your budget (In my world, any amount of money is out of my budget! lol) at approximately ten dollars a piece, for just furniture feet? Don’t even get me started on table legs!! Its more than I want to spend on a piece of furniture that I just rescued off the side of the road or was given so that it didn’t go into the local landfill.
The point is to find a way to remake furniture and do so with the idea in mind that it shouldn’t cost a fortune!! I aim this blog at people who are young and just starting out, or are just plain frugal!! And in my world…re doing a piece of furniture for a 100 dollars is not frugal! I am not saying that doing things on the cheap is always easy…but it is doable! I also think that if you are going to spend money, it should be well thought out and in the right places.
Take this desk/hutch for example. My son and his wife gave me this piece of furniture when they moved into a bigger space. They have made two additions to their amazing little family, and are in the process of “reworking” their spaces. (that would be that expand, retract, rethink thing that happens when you move!) The hutch and desk together were more than I wanted to attempt…so I separated them.
Now I will go there and say, she doesn’t look like much. I added the bottom shelf, and the feet. the bottom shelf is pallet wood, sanded, tacked and screwed into the bottom. The feet…yes, lets talk about the feet! Those are the finial tops for post! You can find these in the fence and deck lumber area of you local big box hardware store. (I got these at Lowe’s)…for approximately $3.40 plus tax each.
When I started working on this piece I really did not like how it was going. It seemed top-heavy (which it is) and bulky (which it is). I did not like the frame piece that I added to the bottom (so that I could add legs) showing. So I just knew that trimming the bottom out was in my future. Off to the hardware store I went!!
I added the trim pieces at the bottom, and I did a crappy job! My miter saw quit working and I no longer have a miter box….so I just squared them up and nailed them on!!! I am still not happy with that but I figured I will change it later, once the saw is replaced or working again. I also shimed up the front feet to make the entire piece lean back a little. This is an easy “ish” thing to do. I simply took a paint stir stick and cut two pieces of it, and drilled holes to fit over the screw in the foot, and screwed them back in. It helped a lot and made the piece more stable.
Once I had that done, I used a de glosser or liquid sander to take the shine off of the piece. It is my personal opinion that you can paint anything, you just have got to know how!! When it comes to anything with a plastic type laminate and/or particle board or fiber board USE A DE GLOSSER!! Do not attempt to sand it with sandpaper! I have done this and what I got was scratched up plastic or shredded fiber board…do what works for you, this is just my experience.
I love this part, when you start applying the primer. I used Zinsser water based 1,2,3 primer here. I loves me the Zinsser!!! (note, they do not sponsor me or my blog, I just really like their products! Use what works for you!) This primer is great for laminates. My word of advice on primer is to read the label!! It will tell you if it is good to use on wood, laminate, metal, MDF or particle board. It will also tell you if you need to sand first to use it or not!! NOTE: the old school concept of oil versus water based; now a days we have water based formulas that work as well as oiled based products. THAT HAVING BEEN SAID if you are going to use a piece in what I call a water area (a table top, kitchen, bathroom, or someplace where you might have to scrub it more often than casual use) do yourself a favor. Either use the oil based primer and paint or do your research and find the water based alklyd paints and primers that are out there. Word of caution: Water based alklyd paints (Sherwin Williams has one) are NOT cheap!! Not that any paint is, but these run around 60 bucks per gallon. Although I hear they are better for the environment as far as disposal is concerned, are much easier to work with due to easy clean up and less fumes and they are as good as the old school oil based stuff! I know someone who used the water based alklyd on her kitchen cabinets. I would have sworn they were done with an oil based!
Here I used a water based primer, and a latex paint. This is a bookcase that will see very casual use.
These two pictures are the first coat of primer and the first coat of paint. I have to slow myself down at these points mainly because I want there to be a chance for the primer to fully dry (I am in Florida, which equals humid. I always give primers overnight and first coat of paint overnight!). If it is not, the first coat of paint will not fully dry and the whole piece will have a tacky feel to it.
Also, when you are at this point, the urge to rush is there because you are finally getting to see what you have worked so hard on coming together.
I am so pleased with how this bookcase turned out!
Although I did love the piece in the creamy white we painted her, this pic is after the second coat of paint. The stencils did add that bit of oomph! Also, I want to point out something… My daughter initially wanted for the engraved embellishment on the top of this bookcase to be filled in with wood filler. I have learned something about doing that…I ALMOST ALWAYS, undo it later. It just never seems to look right. The advice being that you should work with what you have.
So, in the same terracotta color, I painted the top center embellishment and placed the scroll stencil on the sides. I think she came out really pretty!
When I was done stenciling, I let all of it dry overnight, and used Varathane’s water based poly on it and let that dry overnight.
It always feels good to know I kept something from filling a landfill.
From my garage to yours!