Before & After: My first furniture refinishing project

I will admit that I am in absolute awe of people like The Thrifty Decor Chick, Kimba @ A Soft Place To Land, the Nester at The Nesting Place and even my real life friend Mrs. Jones. These women are the queens of furniture refinishing. They have the magical ability to take an unwanted, discarded and ugly piece of furniture and turn it in to beautiful pieces for their homes with no more than a little elbow grease and a can of paint.

I am not one of these women.

I am, however, in the possession of the internet and an indomitable sense of "if they can, so can I" idealism.

All of that leads me back to this project that I started several months back. And by several months, I mean 3.5 months.  I bought these ugly little end tables at a thrift store on my way to a Girl Scout Cookie Booth Sale.

Yep. Ugly. Mismatched. Beat up.  Stained. Scratched. But cheap!  Less than $20 bucks for both pieces.  Of course, just my luck, the very next weekend the store was going out of business and I could have picked them up for even less.

Unfortunately, the dressers had stickers all over them.  I put out a call for help on how to best remove them and got several great tips.  One site I found suggested using WD-40 to remove the stickers.  Of course, I was out of the stuff so I decided to use what I had in my garage.  Armor-All fit the bill.  I pulled off the paper part of the sticker and then soaked the sticky stuff with the Armor-All.

After about 20 minutes, I was able to scrape off the left over bits with the flat edge of a plastic scraper.  Unfortunately, what I found was the sticker I was removing had been placed to cover up an earlier sticker removal that took off part of the laminate. Ugh.  After the stickers were all removed, I took off all the hardware and completely cleaned to the furniture with  a mixture of dish soap and water and then let everything dry completely.

A few days later, I did a light sanding to give the surface a bit of a "tooth".  At first I tried a 100 grit sandpaper...that was too heavy and left marks in the wood.  A 220 grit roughed things up just enough without taking the laminate off.  I filled holes and gouges with wood filler and let it dry completely before doing a final sanding. Clean the entire piece with a tack cloth to remove the dust.

Next came the primer.  After consulting with Mrs. Jones and tweeting the Thrifty Decor Chick, I decided on using Kilz Primer.  According to the salesman at Ace Hardware, I didn't even need to sand, the stuff should stick to anything.

I used about 3 cans of spray primer to cover both pieces and all 4 drawers.  I wanted to make sure nothing would peel off, so I did 2 light layers and then let several weeks days pass before putting a final coat on.

See what I mean about not using a heavy grit sandpaper?  But even with just the primer, the pieces were already looking 100% better.  Let the final primer coat dry a couple of weeks days before going on to the final painting step.

I decided to use Krylon Spray Paint for the top coat.  It's fast, but in hindsight, I should have probably used a roller or brush.  White paint over white primer makes it difficult to tell which areas needed to be painted.

Finally, I added new hardware.  Because the set was unmatched, I wanted to swap out one drawer in each dresser to make it look like a matched set.  Luckily, they were the same size and it worked perfectly.  Unfortunately, the single pull was an odd size that my Home Depot doesn't carry.  I opted to fill in the holes and place two single pulls to mirror the other drawers.

Ta da!  There is one in place.  My next step will be to have plexi-glass cut to size for the top so my daughter can place picture under it.

One last look: