Thursday, March 19, 2015

Antique Style Desk

It's always fun when you find a piece that has good bones about it for $30. When I picked up this heavily lacquered desk from the seller he acted surprised that I really wanted it. Right then and there I thought, "Why am I not talking this guy down from $30?" But then that inner voice said to me,"Give it up, it is a great price already. Pay him his money and get on your way." So I did and told him I would be re-doing it, which somehow seemed to make him feel better. If only he knew what hideous things are on Craigslist (and the outlandish prices the sellers try to charge for them).

What is nice about pieces that are pretty ugly in the first place, is that it isn't hard prepping them for a transformation, or coming to terms that you are going to transform them.
When I got my Pottery Barn dresser in pristine shape, deciding what to do with it, let alone gently sanding it and priming it, physically hurt me (ok, not physically, but you know what I mean, right?)

Anyway, enough blabbering, here is what the desk looked like before:
 Can you see the reflection of our cluttered garage on the top surface? 
That is because this desk had more lacquer on it then I have ever seen on a piece!
Check out this horrible "wood pattern" on top. Why on earth did they decide to go the extra layers of protecting that?! Since my camera really stinks you can't tell how yellow the wood was too. The pictures are actually making it look better than it did.

So first step was to gently sand the lacquer with 220 grit in the direction of the grain (which because it was so lacquered it probably didn't matter....are you getting tired of the word lacquer by now? Ok I will stop). I took off the hardware and left the screws in which prevented paint to be sprayed in the holes, and then taped the drawers off so they could be painted at the same time as the rest of the desk.
Only a thin strip of tape will prevent paint to be sprayed all over the inside of the drawers.
I then primed the desk (ignore the dresser in the picture, that will be covered in my next posting). (Btw, I learned something...if you have two projects you want to use the same products on, like the same color of paint etc, then do them at the same time. That way you won't have to twiddle your thumbs while waiting for things to dry, you can just move back and forth between each furniture piece).
Since the top surfaces were going to be stained with gel stain, there is no need to prime before stain.
Priming does not need to be done perfectly, you just want to have a nice coating to prevent old stains from coming through or discoloring your new paint job, as well as it allows the paint to adhere to your furniture better over the long term. The top surface was not primed because it was going to be stained using gel stain. Do not prime if you are going to stain. I could have wrapped paper over the top to prevent the paint specks that got all over the top surfaces and then needed to be sanded down again, but if you know anything about me it is that I am impatient and I HATE taping as part of my prep work (stupid I know).

I then sprayed several coats of white paint that I bought at Home Depot. I think it was called Ecru White? I should look into it. I happened to have it lying around, and it seemed good so I used it. Here is the sprayer that I use and highly recommend...
Has over 500 reviews on Amazon with most of them being 5 stars. For less than $100 you will easily find it saves you money and makes your DIY projects 10x easier!
I am not being paid to give a shout out to Wagner, but I LOVE this paint sprayer. You can find it on Amazon here for less than $100 and if you read the over 500 reviews you will see that I am not alone in my love for this nifty product. I can put any kind of paint I want in here, barely water it down, and turn it on. (You can even stain a fence, and stain other pieces using this sprayer, but non-water based products scare me. I had a horrible run in with an oil based paint and I still shudder when I think about that mess).

I can alter so many little nuances on this sprayer that it makes the perfect spray I want depending on the piece I am painting. Bye bye brush strokes and bye bye hours of painting numerous coats. You can paint a furniture piece in less than an hour. No joke.

Ok, moving on...

The hardware looked like this...
And I just sprayed it with Rustoleum's Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint (love this stuff)
to get this...
If I had a better camera you would be able to see how it looks like a beautiful dark metal. 
(Mental note: buy a new camera with profit from next project's sale.)

Then, because the inside of the drawers had an ugly green felt that had nasty stuff on it, I removed that and put in some Contact paper I had bought at Target for another project. It was a HUGE roll for about $5 and it has come in handy for multiple projects.
For a few $ a large roll, you can get Contact Paper at Target to make your furniture redo more unique & fun

Contact paper is sticky but I like to use spray adhesive around the edges and corners prior to sticking down the Contact paper so it doesn't bubble up or peel up (which it did prior to me using the spray adhesive).

Lastly I did two coats of General Finishes Java gel stain that I buy at our local Woodcraft store, but if you don't have a Rockler Woodworking or Woodcraft near you, Amazon sells it. Don't get the other brands of gel stain. You might save a few dollars, but this stuff is worth it. It goes a LONG way and it works amazingly well. It feels like pudding, doesn't smell that bad, and it is fun to wipe on (I use a sock over a disposable latex glove).
 And then one coat of GF gel topcoat in the satin finish to protect the surface 
as well as give it a satiny shine.

And voila here is how it looks...
Just wipe on 1-2 thin coats and add beauty to your furniture projects
I could have done a third coat if I didn't want to see any of the lighter streaks, 
but I personally like the variations and stopped at 2 coats.

And there she is all done and looking fab in her new, 
(non-yellowy and no longer so lacquered looking) glory.

Have you tried another brand of gel stain? I have always been curious how it is. If you have or have anything else to share or comment about, please do!

Thanks so much!

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