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Single Gal Survival: Power Tools & Painting

Posted Jan 07 2011 11:15am

Alright ladies (and gents… I don’t discriminate), I am back with another very important lesson in single living. We’ve already learned how to check tire pressure & inflate tires as well as how to date yourself , so now single gals, I am here to teach you how to refinish furniture.

In 2009 I lived in Argentina for the summer (winter down there) and I was hiking in the highlands in the northwest when I came upon this:

Every time I’ve looked at this picture since, I’ve wanted to use that color to make something pop out like that door does. Well, I bought my kitchen table from Craigslist back in August and, while I liked it, I kept looking at it and thinking about how I’d like to paint it. In October  decided that I was going to go ahead and paint the table. But I waited until I had some time on my hands, so winter break from grad school seemed perfect to me.

So first, you must pick out your color and visualize your outcome. Since I already had a color in mind, I just spent some time looking at the table and deciding if I wanted to paint the whole thing or just parts of it.

Then I had to acquire some important components of furniture refinishing, such as paint, brushes, and a power-sander. Now, you can rent power-sanders from places like Home Depot, but my mom happened to have one in the garage and I’m sure the TSA had a field-day with the stuff in my checked luggage.

The table I was working with was previously finished, so I had to use a power-sander to remove the finish. The table was already smooth, so I used the finest grit of sand paper that fit my sander (240 grit) to sand away the glossy finish on the table. I chose to use a semi-gloss paint to refinish the table since glossy paints are more water proof and clean easily. Also, the parts of the table I didn’t sand would still be glossy from the original finish, so it would look weird having some surfaces matte and some glossy.

I went back and forth on the color, actually. I kept thinking I should go more conservative and have it a bit more green and a little less bright. But at the last minute, I went with my instinct and the inspiration from the picture!

Sanding the table was my favorite part! It was so fun and relaxing. I just sat outside in the sunshine (high of 65* yesterday… I love Texas) and sanded away while listening to my iPod. Of all the power tools available to me, this is probably the safest. The worst that could have happened if I had slipped or dropped the sander was a bruise and maybe scratching myself. That’s more desirable than cutting a finger off with a buzz saw.

After sanding, I moved everything inside and prepped by laying down a drop cloth (cheap plastic sheet from Walmart) and putting painter’s tape on the areas I didn’t want to be blue.

Then I slapped on a first coat and let it dry for several hours.

When painting, follow the nail-polish rule: let the first coat completely dry before painting the second.

After dinner, I painted the second coat and cleaned up a bit, scrubbing sawdust and paint off my hands and legs. Then, I went to bed and woke up this morning to take off the blue tape, do a couple touch-ups, and smile. I’m so obsessed with this table I cannot stop looking at it. It just makes me so happy. I’m calling this “farmhouse chic”.

This project took 1 full day to complete, plus touch-ups this morning. I had time to go to the gym, stop for meals, and even take a nap yesterday in the midst of all the painting. If you have a real job, unlike me, you could easily do something like this over a weekend.

This furniture refurb really brightens up the room and makes me so happy. I know that the color isn’t appealing to everyone, but I love it and I’m so happy with the outcome. I’m also impressed that I did it completely on my own. Including supplies that I can reuse, this whole project was only $25 and totally worth it!

So should you need a room pick-me-up but you aren’t sure you are capable of something like this, trust me: you are. If I can use power tools and brave Home Depot, you can too!


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