Cute and Fun Dessert Stands

This is a project that I first saw here by Kate at Centsational Girl.  I really loved the idea and wanted to try it myself.  I’m planning a birthday party for my little guy who’s turning one next month, and I thought these would be perfect!  The party colors are going to be red and aqua, since I’m doing a vintage sweet shop theme.  I won’t be going all out but I want to focus on a few cute details.  Here’s my finished ones, in his fun party colors~

These were really a fairly simple project, and not at all expensive, so give it a try yourself!

First thing I did was go to Goodwill and pick out the cups and plates I wanted to use.  I tried to choose ones that looked balanced together.  I felt the taller cups needed larger plates, so I tried to pick light weight ones since I wasn’t sure how much weight the stemware glasses can hold.  I also looked for plates that didn’t have a real obvious rim on the top since I didn’t want it to look like a plate but the top of a dessert stand : )

I actually got two of each of these styles so that I would have four dessert stands total.  After I brought them home I washed them really well and got all the sticky residue from the goodwill tags off.  This would definitely show through the paint so be sure not to skip this step.  After I chose the plates I ran to home depot to gather up the rest of my supplies:

Kate recommended using frosted glass as a primer and Dap household sealant as the sealer since it’s waterproof. So I went ahead and picked up one of each of those.  Then I chose my colors that I thought would best match my son’s party theme.  I didn’t notice until I got home, but I accidentally got the aqua paint in a “satin” finish, when I meant to buy gloss.  I briefly thought about returning it, but I didn’t and I think it looks fine anyway.  The frosted glass allows the spray paint to stick, since not all paints are designed for use on glass.  Thanks for the tip Kate!

We had a rare sunny day and I knew it was time for action! So I laid out a painting cloth (old sheet) and set out my plates so I could start spraying them.

I wanted to do one big plate and one small in each color so I set them a little ways apart so when I got to the painting step I wouldn’t have any over spray.  I did end up having a little because of the wind, but I just made sure it got covered and it wasn’t a big deal.  I started by spraying frosted glass on the tops of all the plates as they’re laid out here.  It dries quick, around five minutes, and then I flipped them all over and carefully centered all the stemware on the proper plates.

After I had each one placed, I sprayed with frosted glass again. It was a little difficult to see where I had sprayed on the plates, but was much easier to see on the glasses. Here’s one after I had finished a coat~

After a few more minutes of drying, I went ahead and started on the spray paint.  A few tips about spray paint.  Make sure you shake really well as directed, always keep your hand moving, and put on several thin and even coats, rather than one thick gloppy one.  Here’s my red plates after one coat of spray paint, you can see that it isn’t at all covered, that’s how it should look after just one coat.

The red didn’t cover as well as the blue, so I ended up having to do three coats on it and only two on the blue.

Once I was finished with all the coats I let them dry about 30 mins before going out and flipping them over so I could do the tops of the plates and the tops of the glass bottoms, which couldn’t be painted from that angle (spray paint cans always have to be held upright, unless they advertise otherwise).  I did the same number of coats on the tops and I was done painting.  Easy peasy!

After I let them dry a couple hours I brought them inside the garage for the night.  The next day I felt it was safe to handle them enough to do the gluing.  I laid them out on newspaper on the kitchen table and followed the instructions on the Dap Adhesive.  You can use the ring that was created while painting as your guide.  Mine went on a little thicker than I would have wanted, but it turned out all right in the end.

After I pressed the cup firmly down onto the ring I used a cue tip to go around and wipe off the adhesive where it was extra thick.

They need 24 hours to dry completely, but after that they’re ready to use!

Kate points out that you should put paper between your food and the plate since direct contact with spray paint is not a great idea.  I can’t wait to bake some cakes to put on these!

Hope you try making some yourself! I’m already thinking of different cups and plates that would work well : )



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The Tale of a Table..Again

Well, I never thought I would refinish another table.  In fact, I’m pretty sure some vowing and swearing went on after the last one.  Yet somehow, a mere 7 months later, I found myself at it again. The thing was, our old table only had four chairs.  Well, since beginning hosting international students last summer and having my in-laws move in with us this week, we need at least six chairs.  I knew this was coming for a while, so as per usual, I prowled Craigslist in search of some chairs that matched our current four that we could possibly refinish to match.  The other option was finding six whole new chairs that I thought would match our table, preferably without refinishing.  However, somehow we never found anything that would work. I considered buying new, but that was just going to be more than I wanted to spend.  If you look at Craigslist a lot like me, you’ll know that there are always plenty of dining sets available, and lots have six chairs.  So I started thinking, that I would just buy a new set, and sell my old one.  My hope was finding one in decent enough condition that I wouldn’t need to refinish it. Yeah Right!

I did find a listing, and we gave them a call.  It was a french colonial style table, stained yellow on the legs and chairs, and the table top was a natural wood.  The cushions were purple fabric.  In the photos, the chairs and table looked a cream color and everything looked to be in pretty good shape.  I figured I would just need to recover the fabric, as the purple wasn’t doing it for me.  Let me give you some advice folks, never trust the photos. In fact, assume that everything you see on Craigslist is in much worse condition than it looks, you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.

When I got there, I immediately knew it wasn’t as nice as I was hoping.  The chairs were wobbly, the paint finish was uneven and it had been poorly antiqued, and the table top was in definite need of refinishing.  But of course, like I always do, I made excuses for it and thought “I can fix it up with a little work.” You see, the bad thing about Craigslist, for me anyway, is that by time I arrange for someone to help me move the item, and get all the way there, I always want to go ahead and buy it, even if I have second thoughts.

So I bought it and brought it home.  At first I hemmed and hawed about maybe just refinishing the table top and leaving the chairs and legs as is.  But I knew that I couldn’t do that, and I would have to go ahead and redo EVERYTHING.  So that’s what I did.



Doing a table like this is undoubtedly a lot of work, but you just have to take it step by step.  The first thing I did was remove all the chair cushions and set them aside.  I was planning to recover them and needed them removed anyway in order to sand and paint the chairs.  My husband tightened up all the bolts and that really helped with the wobbliness.

The next step was sanding down all the areas I planned to paint.  It’s not necessary to remove all the old finish when you are painting something, just do enough sanding to “rough up” the surface to help the primer and paint really grab on.  At this time, I sanded all the chairs, and the legs of the table, which were also getting a new paint job.  I was saving the table top for last. Here’s a close up of the table leg, you can see how I only sanded off part of the finish.

After sanding, it’s important that you prime with a good quality primer.  I usually use Kilz, just because I have a gallon of it that isn’t running out anytime soon.  After finishing one coat of primer on half the table and one chair, I new I was in trouble. It took me FOREVER, around 2 hours, and looked awful.  Kilz is thick stuff, and no matter what I did, I had brush marks all over.  It was late at night and all I kept thinking was, “There is NO WAY I can primer the other five chairs and still do another two coats of paint on each!”  I knew I had to try something else.

Some of you are probably laughing at me right now and wondering why on earth I hadn’t thought of the obvious solution.  Well, in my credit, I did eventually.  Spray Paint. Ah, Spray paint. The thing is, I had never used spray paint, and I was afraid of it.  I kept imagining a horrible streaky finish that would look worse than before.  Plus, it’s a lot more expensive.  But I knew there was no way I could finish the way I had started, so I gave it a try.  I bought a couple cans of Krylon Primer, and OH MY GOSH, I LOVED it! I finished one chair in less than 10 mins.  My mom was over watching my little guy while I was painting and I came inside and told her I would marry this spray paint if I could.  So I went out and bought six more cans of primer and six cans of paint. I ended up going with Rustoleum’s Primer and Heirloom White Paint in Satin.

So glad I got this spray paint, I’ve seen it used all over blogland and it really is a lot better.  I was amazed to see that it actually did cover twice as much as the Krylon Primer I had bought previously.  It was only .40 cents more so definitely worth it!  I did two coats of primer and two coats of paint on each of the chairs and the table legs.  I even went over the places I had originally brush primered and the spray primer helped smooth things out.  This step still took the most time, but so much less than it would have if I had gone the brush on route.

I let everything dry a day or two, just because I was busy.  Then I moved on to the last step of finishing the chairs, applying Polycrylic.

Ignore the pre-stain, I’ll get to that in a minute : )

I chose Miniwax Polycrylic instead of Polyurethane because it’s water based, I hate cleaning up oil based products, and I had heard that the finish looked nicer in the end.  As much as I wanted to spray this on to, the spray poly was just too expensive.  So I was stuck brushing it on.  This is much thinner than the primer or even paint, so it went on a lot easier.  Once I got into a rhythm with the chairs, finishing two coats of poly (after let the first one dry 24 hours) really didn’t take that long.  This step meant the chairs and table legs were D O N E!  All I had left at this point was the table top.  I had already finished recovering the chairs, which is pretty easy.  I just go right over the top of the old fabric and staple on the new one.  The only tricky part is making your corners look good, just spend a little time folding the fabric till you like the way it looks and staple it down.  Then just screw it back on and you’re done.

I plan to write up a more detailed post on refinishing the table top, so for now I’ll just say that we used Miniwax stain in “Special Walnut” and four coats of Polycrylic.  Table tops need extra coats because of all the use and abuse they get.  I let it dry about 36 hours after the last coat of poly (only 24 are required) and we brought our new set inside! I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! So glad we went the extra mile and did all the work.

Let me know what you think! And if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment ( :



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Laminate Back Splash–Goodbye!

There’s a lot that needs updating in my kitchen.  A LOT.  It was beautiful and stylish, in 1972.  Now, not so much.  It has all the quintessential qualities of a 1970’s kitchen.  It has dark brown cabinets, dark brown linoleum, fluorescent lighting, and ORANGE counter-tops, which of course, wouldn’t have been complete without an accompanying orange back splash.  Since my words could never truly do it justice, here’s a photo:

Now before you point at my kitchen and laugh, I’d like to say that I do have vision for this space.  I might have to squint and tilt my head to see it, but the vision is there.  I would love to do a complete kitchen overhaul, but alas, it’s just too expensive, so I have to work with what I have.  My plans are as follows, in no particular order:

          1. Paint the cabinets white and replace the hardware

          2. Remove the laminate back splash and replace it with mosaic tile/subway tile/anything else

          3. Tile the floor with ceramic tile or possibly laminate stick on tile

          4. Replace the ancient stove (this is more challenging than it might seem because it’s not a standard size, it’s 27″ and new ones are EXPENSIVE)

          5. Remove the soffit (lowered ceiling) to open things up a bit more

          6. Replace the sink and faucet

          7. Replace the fluorescent light, and put pendant lights over the sink

          8. Paint the walls a bright color

          9. And of course, replace the counter-tops.  I’m probably going to go with laminate again, because I actually like the styles they have out now, and it’s so much more affordable.

So this to-do list has been tumbling around in my head for a while, and I was itching to get started on something.  I kept eying the back splash, wondering how easy it would be to rip off.  I thought, “I’ll pry up the corner, just to see how difficult it is..”

“No, cause if I do that, and it’s hard, It’ll look even worse than it does now!”

“But think how much better it’ll look!”

“But I might destroy the wall in the process, then I’ll really be in trouble!”

So I spent a couple days going back and forth like this, and finally I couldn’t take it any longer.  I went out to the garage and grabbed a crowbar (feel free to laugh at me but I didn’t have any putty knives) and jammed carefully maneuvered it under the corner of the back splash.  The good news was the back splash did seem to peel away from the wall pretty easily, the bad news was that it left behind some awful, thick, rock hard black glue residue.  Soon I had it completely peeled off the section above my smallest counter, but chipping away that glue was another story AND I still had the rest of the kitchen to do.  Like I suspected, I instantly regretted my decision to jump in before I was actually ready to take on the project.  My husband kindly helped me that night to chip away at the glue (we had putty knives now) until we had that section of wall down to the drywall.

I gave my brother a call, he’s a professional drywaller, to ask what I could do to repair the wall.  We managed not to put any holes in it, but the first layers of paper had come off in most places and a couple spots we got down to the gypsum board.  He said it would need to be skimmed with drywall mud, and then offered to come over and do it for us.  His reasoning? If we did it it would look like crap.  Thanks brother.  But I wasn’t going to turn down the offer for help! So he agreed to come out Monday, which was going to give us the weekend to get the rest of the back splash and glue off.  I set to work on Friday hoping to get most of it done before the hubby got home.  However, after electrocuting myself while working around a plug, I decided to wait for his help after all.  I may have called him at work crying, but we won’t go into that.

The worst part by far was trying to get behind the stove to remove all that back splash.  After that was all removed, I just stared at all that ugly black glue dreading having to scrape it off bit by bit.  That’s when my genius husband had an idea.  Couldn’t my brother just skim over it? Because the glue covered that entire wall, it wouldn’t matter if it was a half inch thicker.  My brother confirmed that he could skim it and I did a happy dance.  That meant we were almost done!  My brother’s work was also done after several days and as many applications of drywall mud and we were finally ready to paint.  It took us FOREVER to find the right color.  But finally, we settled on “Fresh Pear” by Valspar color matched to Olympic no VOC.  This is a great paint, it covers really well, it’s safe for the kiddos, and it’s affordable, what’s not to like?  It looks so much better in the kitchen now!

We love the way the green really brightens it up in there.  We chose that color because we’re planning to paint the cabinets white and get a grey granite look counter-top, so we wanted to something bright on the walls to balance it out.  Plus, it works with the current orange counter tops that we still have to live with for a while longer.  Our goal is to get the cabinets painted and the counters replaced sometimes early next year.  Though we may take on the cabinets sooner than that.  I’ll keep you posted if we do!

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Our Big Basement Remodel

I’m really excited to share my basement remodel with you, as it’s quite the mind boggling before and after!  When we first bought our house back in November of 2010, we really saw the potential in the partially finished basement.  We were looking for a big house on a small budget, since we knew my husband’s parents would be coming to live with us sometime later this year.  The upstairs of our house has three bedrooms, one bath, a formal living room, and a family room.  Altogether it’s right around 1400 square feet.  It’s quite a bit smaller than what I was hoping to buy, as I really wanted my in laws to have a comfortable place to stay.  This is where our awesome basement comes into play.  It’s nearly as large as our upstairs, about 1200 square feet, and we knew finishing it gave us the potential of almost doubling our square footage.  As I mentioned before, it was partially finished.  But as you’ll see in the before photos, it left A LOT to be desired.

This is the view of the living room area as you first come down the stairs.  As you can see, most of the walls are just cinder block, and the rest are covered in wood paneling.  Those floors are asbestos tile, which means that removing them wasn’t really an option for us.  Through that doorway on the left, you would enter a room, which had access to a very small, VERY unfriendly bathroom, and the entrance to another bedroom.  So technically there were two bedrooms, though you had to go through one to get to the other.

Here’s a look into the doorway on the left

And another into the second room that could be entered from here

And this is the bathroom that I mentioned

There’s a few things you should ask yourself right away after seeing the bathroom photos, like, “Is that half a window?” and “Is that shower made out of sheet metal?” The answer to those questions, sadly for me, would be “yes” and “yes”.  The other half of that window happens to be in the bedroom, and I’m not sure you could pay me to shower in that bathroom.  Fortunately, these lovely features are now long gone, as you’ll see in a moment in our after photos! The last few shots I’ve included are of the door that leads to the utility room, which is directly on the left when you come down the stairs, and the fireplace, which clearly wasn’t given much attention.

Now the good things I can point out about this space, because there are some, is that it WAS NOT a completely unfinished basement.  You probably noticed that it’s already wired with electrical outlets and lights, it’s already plumbed with a bathroom (albeit a pitiful one) and it already had that ceiling put in.  The ceiling was great because it saved us a lot of money on not having to drywall it.  We might upgrade it someday, but for now, we were happy with the way it looked.  If you know a little about home remodeling, the electric and plumbing are some of the most expensive things, so we were able to put our money towards cosmetic details instead.  Now, we really wanted to get two bedrooms down there, and I’m not gonna lie, I spent many nights lying awake wondering what was the best way to do it.  We toyed with adding a wall to the end of the “living room” space, but that would close off the only two windows in the area.  We also thought about adding a wall in the bedroom/bathroom/bedroom area, to truly make it two bedrooms, but one of the rooms would have been super small.  Finally, I came up with a solution that we all agreed on.  We decided to tear down the wall on the left, opening up that space, and adding a wall on the opposite side of the living room, like a mentioned before.

(Please excuse my awful paintshop rendering)

This way allowed the weird bedroom to become part of the living room, which also meant that there would still be one window in the living room area.  Windows are precious commodities when you’re working with a basement space.  Finally, I will say that we did not do this work ourselves, as it was well beyond our skill.  We hired my brother, who works in the construction business, to act as a general contractor for us.  The only work he didn’t do was the installing the carpet, which was bought from and installed by Lowe’s.  So without further ado, here’s our after photos. Enjoy!

There you have it! As you can see, we weren’t able to update everything, as we just didn’t have the funds.  You can see in the photos that we opted to paint the wood paneling instead of replacing it, and that we didn’t enlarge the bathroom, even though we would have liked to.  But I feel like we did a lot and we plan to make a few more changes down the road.  Such as upgrading that fluorescent lighting in the living room.  If you’re wondering about the specific furnishings in the bedrooms, we host international students from the local college, and the school has guidelines as to what needs to be in their bedrooms.  We also kept the pictures and furnishings basic so that my in laws could change things up when they move in.  Are you thinking about refinishing your basement? Let me know if you have any questions about the process and I’d be happy to help! Hope you enjoyed.



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Fall Mantel

I’m so excited that I finally got around to decorating my mantel for the fall!  For the last couple weeks I’ve been seeing mantel’s and fall decorations going up all over blogland, and I was definitely getting a little envious.  I knew I wanted to do something that wasn’t too Halloween, so I could keep up my display through Thanksgiving.  I have to admit, I didn’t really have any fall related decorations, so I was trying to think what I could accomplish without breaking the bank.  I’ve seen a lot of buntings lately, and I really wanted to make one myself.  Here’s a few that caught my eye:

Found Here

Found Here

Found Here

I ended up modeling mine to be fairly similar to the last image, except I didn’t add any writing.  I made mine out of scrap book paper and yarn, and it was really very simple.  I just chose a few papers in fall colors that I liked.  I’m really happy with the way it turned out! I picked up the wreath and artificial gourds and pumpkins at Michael’s on clearance.  I found the glass jar at the dollar store and had the Mason jar in my garage.  I LOVE it, makes it really feel like fall around here : )

Next I want to get started on a wreath for the door.  I’m thinking of trying my hand at something like this acorn one:

Found Here

I’ll let you know when I get something finished!


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Painted Wood Paneling- Just Do It!

When we bought our house back in November, I knew that I would have to do something about the old 70’s paneling in my family room.  The orange counter tops in the kitchen aren’t really doing it for me either, but that project will have to wait!  However, there is no reason to live with wood paneling when it can be easily painted.  Check out the very refreshing before and after pics:



I’m SOO glad we painted the paneling, it looks a million times better.  The light walls have really opened up the room and made it so much brighter and airier.  I basically followed this method by Young House Love.  The only difference between painting paneling and painting regular walls is that you need to use an oil based primer like Kilz or Zinsser as your base coat.  Make sure it’s oil based though, as both brands do make a latex based primer.  Water based usually won’t cut it for hiding wood stains, so unless you want wood stains coming through after all your hard work,  use oil based!  We applied one coat of Kilz Original to our walls and all our trim.  I’ll admit, I was pretty tired after this one coat, as this is  BIG room, but we wanted to finish before the carpet guys came at the end of the weekend so we kept at it.  I worked on doing most of the cutting in while my husband did most of the rolling.  The trim I gave two coats of off the shelf white Olympic Paint.  As I’ve said in another post (here) I don’t recommend this paint, and now always use Olympic Premium No VOC.  The walls were painted with Olympic No VOC paint, but only because the guys at the Lowe’s paint counter accidentally gave us the wrong paint.  So glad they did! We like this paint much better, and probably would have ended up doing more than two coats on the walls if we had the regular Olympic.  As it was, two coats later (I was so sick of cutting in that molding by then) we were done!

We still have a lot of plans for this room, as you can see in the pictures we desperately need a better ceiling trim, preferably some crown molding.  Also, you can’t see it here, but we don’t have ANY floor trim (shhh, don’t tell) and are hoping to put in some nice thick baseboards soon (please let it be soon).  It was so nice to get this project done before our carpet guys came, so that we didn’t have to worry about protecting the floors.  And yes, this statement means that we no longer have the awful carpet in the “before” pic.  We tore out the carpet ourselves, and were surprised to find even more hideous carpet, clearly leftover from the 60’s (various shades of orange and brown) underneath it.  No beautiful wood floor surprises here.  With the help of my sister and brother-in-law, however,  we had it down to sub floor within an afternoon.  The new carpet and painted walls have made this like a whole new room!  So if you have wood paneling you don’t think you can stand a minute longer like me, then by all means paint it!  I promise* it’ll take a week to wipe the smile off your face.

*ok I can’t actually guarantee you’ll have a smile on your face for a week but you get the point.

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Vintage Nightstands

When I bought these two nightstands off Craigslist, they had definitely seen better days.  They came as a pair, and were selling for $20.  Someone had already taken a paint brush to them, but unfortunately it wasn’t really a job well done.  They weren’t primered and they had been painted black, flat black.  One of the first things I learned when researching furniture refinishing is that you don’t really paint with flat paint.  I think only ceilings are supposed to be painted with flat paint.  With furniture you usually want to go with a semi-gloss.  Though Satin or High Gloss are both acceptable, depending on how much shininess you like.  You can always glam it up with a high gloss clear coat too.

Here’s the lovely before:

And the much improved after:

These were painted to match the two armoires I did for the rooms downstairs (seen here).  The method was basically the same.  Since I was adding a knob where that gold embellishment used to be, I needed to drill a hole for the new knob, which I asked my husband to do first.  After that, I just primered the whole thing with Kilz Odorless Primer, and then applied two thin and even coats of off white Olympic Premium no VOC paint with my foam roller, using a paintbrush to get into the tight spots.  Again, I did not apply clearcoat, but I should have and have plans to go back and do so when I get a chance.  I was still learning at this point and wasn’t sure when it was necessary to use or not.  Any high use item should get it, especially things that get opened and closed a lot, like a nightstand. Fail on my part. These seemed quick and easy, but I had just finished doing the two armoires, so my perception was probably off.  But I really liked the way they turned out!

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A Pair of Armoires

After finishing our basement, we needed to get our hands on quite a lot of furniture for the downstairs bedrooms.  Neither room has a closet (maybe someday) so we knew we needed a couple of armoires for clothes storage.  I spent my days obsessively stalking casually browsing Craigslist looking for something that would work.  Finally I came across an ad for one of those giant headboard monstrosities that have cabinets on either end.  You know the type, oak wood, popular in the 80’s..

something like this:

Mor Furniture

Though you’ll be able to see in a moment that my cabinets were a bit different looking.  I was excited because the seller only wanted $80 for the whole thing, AND he was willing to deliver for a $10 fee.  I don’t have a truck, or even a big SUV, so those words “delivery available” are like magic to me.  When I arrived to take a look, I realized this thing was more than I could handle, or wanted to handle.  It was HUGE and I just couldn’t imagine what I would do with the whole center headboard piece, when all I wanted were the armoires.  So I did what any self respecting craigslist buyer would do, I offered him less money for just the pieces I wanted.  He accepted, money exchanged hands, and later that day he unloaded my armoires right into the garage.

This was what they looked like before:

And here’s after some primer and white paint:

Painting furniture is a lot easier than staining.  However, you do need to make sure to follow all the steps, and not just skip ahead to the fun part.  First it’s always good to start with a light sanding.  This isn’t an absolute must, especially if your wood isn’t highly varnished and already has a rough feel to it.  But it never hurts.  Second you need to apply a coat of a good oil-based primer.  I went with Kilz odorless, in the green and white can, it looks like this:

I’ll warn you, it’s NOT odorless, but it was a bit better than Kilz original, which will give you a major headache in a short amount of time.  Make sure you’re in a well ventilated area.  Preferably outside, or at least the garage with all the doors open.  I prefer to roll on primer and paint with a small foam roller than to brush.  For me it’s faster and it looks smoother, no brush strokes.  Though if you’re good with a brush and you use something high quality, like Purdy, it’s supposed to be superior.  Oil-based primers cannot be cleaned up with water, so it’s best to just buy the cheap foam rollers and throw them away when you’re finished, then you don’t have to hassle with mineral spirits.

Back to the process.  First remove all the hardware and put it in a big ziploc bag.  I was replacing my hardware, so I only needed to really keep track of the hinges.  I laid the doors out on the floor in a row once everything was removed. Then roll on a thin and even coat of primer over your whole piece. I chose to do the inside of the cabinet, but drawers are usually only painted on the faces.  Too much paint will cause them to stick.  You can also forgo the inside of the cabinet and the backs of the doors, it’s up to you.  I thought it would look better all painted.  After rolling on the primer and letting it dry overnight, I sanded *lightly* to help with the paint coverage.  This step isn’t actually necessary and on future projects I’ve skipped it, with fine results.  When painting both sides of the doors, be careful to allow enough dry time before flipping them over to do the other sides.  You don’t want to mess up your paint job!  Usually overnight is good, but follow the directions on your primer or paint of choice.  Some require a full week of dry time.

Now it’s time for the fun part, applying paint.  I chose an off white paint from lowes and had them mix it up in Olympic paint.  I wouldn’t recommend this paint.  It doesn’t cover well at all.  I ended up doing 3 or 4 coats over everything, and still have spots where it’s not fully covered.  Now I always use Olympic’s No VOC paint.  It’s much better quality, and covers really well.

Once your final coat of paint is dry, it’s time to apply the clear coat.  I DID NOT do this on this project, mostly because I was tired after my four coats of paint.  But I should have, and so should you.  I’ve already had a few spots where the paint has chipped off on the cabinet doors, so make sure to do the clear coat.  Right now I’m doing a project and I’m using Polycrylic.  It’s more expensive than Polyurethane but it’s water based, which means easy clean up.  It goes on pretty smooth, but I don’t yet have a verdict for the long haul.  The last thing to do was reattach the hardware and hinges and hang the doors.  As much as I loved that gold trimmed oak hardware (please note sarcasm here), I decided to spring for an upgrade.  I couldn’t find any hardware that was exactly the right size, but luckily my new hardware covered the holes of the old.  So we drilled new holes, but were able to leave the old ones.  If this isn’t going to work, you want to fill the holes with wood filler, sand, refill and re-sand if necessary, all before you start the priming step.

More eye candy

New Hardware

You can basically remake any piece of furniture following these steps!  Just beware, it’s addicting.  You’ll start wondering what colors you should paint or stain all the various furniture in your house.  And if you’re like me, your husband might have to ban you from thrift stores lest you fill his garage with furniture in waiting.  Always remember this argument, “but I’m SAVING us money in the long run”.  It usually sometimes works.


Filed under Furniture Projects

In the Beginning..

This table was my first ever furniture project.  We had this awful old dining set we bought off Craigslist when we first got married.  I think we paid $75 for it, and for a while it did the job it was meant to do.  It’s a pretty versatile table, it’s quite small with out its leaves.  Just a simple round table with four chairs, about 48″ in diameter.  However it can be expanded A LOT, each leaf is 20” and there are two of them.  Anyway, the thing had seen better days.  The table top was really scratched up, except the leaves, which where mint and caused the table to look ridiculous when inserted.  The chairs were pretty beat up too, and had a rather unattractive beige knit like fabric on the seats and backs.  So while I had previously considered recovering the seats, the backs just seemed too complicated to me.

This is when I was introduced the the whole wide world of DIY blogging.  In the process of buying our house, I googled A LOT about ways to fix and update our soon to be house.  In the process I found my favorite DIY blog, Young House Love.  They have tons of projects, many of them furniture redos.  As I browsed through their before and after photos, I thought “I could do this!” and “this doesn’t look that hard!”.  Suddenly, I was looking at my table with new eyes, and my poor husband came home from work to discover our apartment living room torn apart and me ripping off fabric like my life depended on it.  It was true, I COULD do this, but it was NOT as easy as it looked! Especially for a novice like me!  Somehow, even in the course of buying and moving into our new house AND having a baby, we managed to finish our dining table.

Here’s the before (sorry! I only have a picture of the chair):

And after:

Here’s the rundown of what I did.  First I actually was just going to recover the chairs, but eventually went with the whole shebang instead. I do that a lot actually.  So I tried putting the new fabric on the seat, and then stapling fabric onto the back slats, which I discovered were not all one piece but three individual slats.  However, this just didn’t look right, and when I tried to replace the back slats the fabric got all squinched looking, not a good look.  So I figured I might be able to remove the fabric completely, and just make the backs wood.  You can see from the photo that is what I did.  But I will not mince words with you: This.Was.Not.Fun.  Unless you like spending your days (yes DAYS) scraping foam off plywood bit by bit with a butter knife, DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS.  The chairs were old enough that the foam had become a powder like substance that clung to the wood for dear life.  But sadly for me, once started, there was no going back.

While I was working on this, my dear husband, kind enough to help me without too much complaint (I was 8 months pregnant), worked on the sanding.  He sanded down all the chairs within and inch of their life to get them ready for staining.  The table wasn’t sanded until after moving into our house, where we acquired a garage and a power sander.  This table is actually not solid wood, it’s veneered.  However, the veneer was thick enough to get away with sanding and staining.  Just be careful! If you sand too hard, you’ll go straight through the veneer and have a spot on your table that the stain won’t cover.  We know, it happened to us.  So if you know your project is veneer, sand GENTLY.

With this project, we decided to go with the stain and poly in one.  This way we could save ourselves a step.  It looks like this:

This stuff you do not apply and wipe off like traditional stain, you brush it on and it stays on.  Like the name suggests, the polyurethane is worked in, so you don’t have to purchase that separately and apply it afterwards. Despite these conveniences, I found this a little hard to work with.  If you aren’t real careful you’ll end up with a lot of brush strokes, and it was difficult to get it even. But maybe that’s just my amateurness showing through.  After applying one coat, you do need to sand it down lightly and apply another coat.  When you’re doing a table and four chairs, that equals a lot of extra work.  Don’t skip this step though, if you’re going to do it, you may as well do it right.  Just don’t be like my husband and attack this second sanding with a vengeance, a light sanding will do just fine.

The chair backs were tricky because they were never meant to be seen.  This meant they were made of a lesser quality wood, and I was afraid the stain wouldn’t take the same as the rest of the table.  In this case my fear was unfounded and it worked alright.  Finally I was able to finish recovering the fabric on the rest of the chairs (I just went right over the top of the old, but you could remove it if you’re feeling ambitious) and we were done.


We were really happy with how this table turned out, even though it was a nightmare a lot of work to finish.  Hope this was helpful, let me know if you have any questions!

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Filed under Furniture Projects