Let me start by saying that I have a house full of “furniture” that I absolutely hate! If you can call cheap build-it-yourself from a box laminate composite, furniture. My husband and I decided early on after a very misguided shopping spree at a local furniture store that investing in nice furniture was a very bad idea while 2 toddlers and a baby occupied our home!
Anyway, I gave up on my dreams of a Pottery Barn and Pier 1 show home long ago and have settled into the much cheaper thrift pieces from boxes. I don’t really have any complaints about the furniture except that it all seems to only come in the ugliest fake “wood” colors, so I have usually opted for dark “wood-ish” tones or black. For this reason my house is very dark and not at all my style!
About a month ago I decided that it was time for me to brighten up our lives and our home. I was done dreaming of happy colors and cute furniture and waiting for the day I could furnish my home the way I wanted to.
Quick side note: I am a VERY compulsive person, much to the irritation of my husband. Though he admittedly has shown some serious patience with me over the years. I think at this point he has given into the insanity and learned to roll with it.
So, one morning about a month ago I came downstairs with arms full of how to tutorials on home makeover DIY projects including Kitchen cabinet painting, installation of new countertops, ripping up carpet, laying tile and wood floors, removing, re-painting and re-installing fixtures… you get the point. (I am an all in kind of gal).
My husband went with it, bless him. Once I had completed several small tables, an accent wall, our entertainment center, a couple of bookshelves and the banisters on the stairs he started coming around. Such small projects were adding up and making such a huge difference in the feel and comfort of our home. Even the kids have said over and over again how much they love the changes! So, now everyone is totally into it! I’m sore as can be and walking around every night like an arthritic 60 year old as I trudge upstairs to soak in the tub in order to be able to function the next day, but everyone is totally into it- so I will persevere.
Okay, so now you have the backstory for my newest manic undertaking, back to the point…
I have always loved painting- on canvas. I have NEVER picked up a brush to paint furniture, let alone the laminate, wood-composite business that passes as such, so my first project was rather daunting. I had done my research though and I felt as ready as I would ever be.
My first project was the two side tables in our master bedroom. Honestly, I was half hoping that I would mess them up and have an excuse to get new ones- because I hated them THAT much. Well, I kind of just jumped in so I forgot to take a good before picture. This is the best I have …
You get the point. Dark wood laminate.
Here are the materials I used for this project:
Paint Roller (4 inch): which I used for the first coat application as it was time efficient.
I got mine at Lowe’s for about $6.
Paint Brushes: 3 inch for large surface areas and 2 inch for edging and the table legs (used for coats 2&3).
I got these at Lowe’s (2-pack of 3 inch brushes for $7.50) and Target (2 inch brush for about $6).
Valspar Clear Sealing Wax for Chalky Finish Paint.
I got mine at Lowe’s (it is not sold online, only in stores).
Devine Color Chalky Finish Paint from Target’s “Devine DIY” line by Valspar in Devine Oar. $4.99 (8oz.) I used one 8oz jar per table.
STEP ONE: I cleaned the tables with soap and water. I used the rough side of the sponge and scrubbed pretty hard. I didn’t see a need to sand the surface as this table is pretty old and roughed up and the scrubbing took a bit of the top coat off pretty effectively. (Between coat 3 and the sealing wax I realized this may not have been an excellent idea as I had a small chip that quickly wanted to escalate into a giant strip of every layer of paint… it was easily fixed with the wax sealer though- WHEW!)
After a thorough cleaning, I rinsed them off really well and let them air dry for a couple of hours until they were completely dry to the touch.
STEP TWO: I used my handy roller to apply the first coat. This was much faster than a brush and I knew I had several coats in my future.
It only took about an hour for the first coat to completely dry and it was ready for coat number two. I applied the second coat with my paint brushes. Here is what it looked like after coat two was dried (again after about an hour):
Still quite a bit of streakage. At this point I was starting to feel like maybe this would be like a 10 coat job… but no fear, only one more coat was necessary! The third coat was the magic number. It covered it like a charm!
STEP THREE: Once coat three was dry, I applied one coat of the sealing wax to prevent chips and peeling. The wax was really easy to apply and went on really fast, very low odor and it dried pretty quickly (about an hour). I let it sit over night though before handling it just in case.
And Viola! I was very surprised by how much I fell in love with these tables! They are absolutely BEAUTIFUL and have added so much light and happiness to our once very dark bedroom!
STEP FOUR: I got these cute antiqued knobs at Hobby Lobby for $2 each. I think they are pretty awesome. By the way, if you have never been down the Knobs and pulls isle at your local Hobby Lobby, it is a wonderful experience!
STEP FIVE: Enjoy your handiwork! Yes, I took a few moments to sit and admire my new favorite tables and to congratulate myself on a job well done. I am pretty proud of them, especially being my very first furniture painting project.
A Few Things I Learned During This Project:
1. Sanding is a good idea, even if it seems unnecessary.
2. Taking before pictures of DIY projects is also a pretty good idea. Sigh.
3. I am a big fan of Valspar. Both the Sealing wax and Target’s Devine DIY line of paints by Valspar are wonderful. They are very low on fumes, they come in handy little one project containers and they are super easy to use! I realize I am a novice, but this paint and sealing wax were pretty great in my humble opinion. Here is the review I posted on Target’s website for the paint:
“So… STIR IT A LOT!! It is a tad frightening upon first opening the jar. The color is NOT yellow. But after some very vigorous shaking and stirring, it ended up being very true to the advertised color. Very low fumes (I didn’t notice any fumes at all and I painted indoors). The finish is very matte and chalky, which is what I was hoping for. I definitely recommend applying a coat of sealing wax to finish it off. I am in love with the tables I painted! I was able to paint one end table per 8oz jar. I have already purchased several more colors for other projects!”
4. I do not have an abundant supply of patience. It was very hard for me to wait the hour between coats. I just wanted it finished. (This is why laundry is the bane of my domestic existence. Having to take a break between loads puts a horrible wrench in my productivity!) I enjoy starting a project and finishing it in one sitting. I also enjoy instant gratification. I need to see results fairly quickly or I will lose interest… compulsive personality, remember? I’m working on it. So anyway, I think this new endeavor of furniture painting will include some serious character development for me…. here’s hoping anyway!
I hope this was a little helpful for those of you who are slightly intimidated by DIY laminate painting. It really is not as awful as you are imagining. It is actually pretty simple and fun! It was therapeutic for me and saved a TON of money! I will definitely be doing more DIY projects in the future so stay tuned!
What are your painting and DIY tips? Fill me in via the comment section below! I look forward to your tips and advice.