Recovering This End Up Style Kindergarten Chairs

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How-to-recover-this-end-up-chairs

As a parent of two elementary school students, I always ask my kids’ teachers if they need anything for their room. Usually the answer is markers, wipes, or snacks. But, my kindergartner’s teacher knows about my secret identity after having taught my older son for a year. So, she didn’t hesitate to ask me if I could possibly recover a few really sad looking chairs that had seen their fair share of kindergarten butts. ;-)

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These poor chairs were still very study, but the fabric was nubby, pilled and stained. I love a good challenge, so I took all three of the chairs home over the Christmas break.

The first task involved removing the seats. Before I touched the seats, I flipped over the chairs and marked the front side of the chair so they would fit together perfectly when I put them back together. [Read more...]

Painting an Antique Wash Stand with Wagner Power Painter Plus Sprayer

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I have amassed quite a collection of “project” furniture and objects waiting for a future date with my creative magic sessions. I worry that some of this behavior is bordering on packratness (I don’t think that is a word, at least my spell check says it isn’t. But, you get my drift, right?!) So, when a Wagner rep contacted me about trying one of their paint sprayers, I couldn’t reply “YES!” fast enough. I had visions of setting up all those projects and spraying them down in a line-up fashion. But, I reined in my “glass half-overflowing” mentality and decided to tackle one project at a time. Good thing too, because although the Wagner Power Painter Plus with EZ Tilt did spray at lightning fast speed, there were a few drawbacks.

But, I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I still want to give you a bonafide tutorial on how to fix, prep, paint and finish a wobbly yard sale find for yourself.


Materials:

  • Sanding Blocks  - 60, 100 and 220 grit
  • Gorilla Glue
  • Clamps or rope to secure glued joints*
  • Finish Nails (or brads)
  • Baby Wipe or wet rags
  • Paint Brush
  • Primer (I used KILZ Clean Start)
  • Acrylic Paint (semi-gloss or gloss preferred)
  • Paint Sprayer*
  • Power sander
  • Wipe on polyurethane

*These items are purely optional. You don’t NEED them, but they help.

This wash stand had a $5 price tag on it. But, my neighbor gave it to me for $3. Is that robbery to talk someone into less than $5 for this antique?! In self defense, the stand was in pretty poor shape. It was VERY wobbly and had some big scratches on it. Can you forgive me?

Here is what you do when you find yourself as the new owner of a “this really should be trashed” purchase. Take it apart and rebuild it from the ground up. Having done this before with Daisy the Discarded Chair, I was prepared to tear this wash stand down to the ground. But, luckily it had some better joints than I had anticipated. So, I basically pulled apart anything that was not tightly joined.

The shelf over the drawer came off super easy.

As did a few joints.

I wiped the whole wash stand down with a wet rag.

Then, the side of the stand got some new glue and a few finish nails.

The joints got some Gorilla Glue and were set back together. And, I added a thin bead of glue and some finish nails to re-secure the shelf.

Next I sanded down the whole piece of furniture with these two 3M sanding blocks. I like to call them Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum because they are super easy to use. Even an idiot can’t screw up.

They work great for around spindly legs because they can bend and flex (I wish I could bend and flex like that!)

After wiping off all the sawdust, my wash stand looked like this:

Almost too pretty to paint, but it had some serious gouges, so I took a picture and said goodbye to the beautiful wood.

Here is where the race began. I decided to time myself painting on the primer with a brush. Then time myself using the sprayer for the first coat of paint.

Start your engine….paint brush and KILZ Clean Start Primer…GO!



After 30 minutes I had primed the entire stand from top to bottom.

After the primer dried, I gave the stand a quick, light sanding with a 220 grit sanding block and wiped it down with a damp rag.

I set up the sprayer, read all the directions (very important!) Then I filled the quart size reservoir and attached it to the sprayer. The Wagner Power Painter Plus doesn’t require a compressor, just a good old fashioned extension cord plugged into your household outlet.

Start your engine…Wagner Power Painter Plus…GO!

VROOOOOOM! The sprayer let out the loudest and most obnoxious noise I had ever heard (Note to self to wear ear protection next time.) I thought the sprayer was going to self distruct, so I let go of the trigger. Then I pulled it again and the noise returned, only to abate after a few seconds once the paint started to come through the nozzle. Phew, that scared me.

I breezed through painting the entire wash stand from top to bottom. I started with it upside down and quickly flipped it while it was still wet (I left a finger print underneath, but no one will know about that unless you squeal.)

And I was done. Then I looked at my timer and WHAT?!!! 5 MINUTES! Holy Cannoli! I had no idea a sprayer could shave that much time off a paint job.

I left the wash stand outside, while I took apart the paint sprayer.

To avoid emptying the paint canister, I covered the container with saran wrap and a rubber band.


Then I took apart the ENTIRE sprayer and cleaned out all the parts. It is soooo important to clean the sprayer thoroughly or you risk paint drying in your machine and ruining it. This is a look at the sprayer disassembled.

It is paramount to clean the tiny dual spray tips on the machine. They are small slits that can clog easily if the paint is allowed to dry in them.

After the wash stand had dried. I put the sprayer back together and screwed the paint container back onto the gun.

I was all pumped and excited to be done in 5 minutes! With dusk still 30 minutes away, I had no fear. BIG MISTAKE!

What was to ensue was a stressful 45 minutes of paint globbing, paint sputtering, my cursing, and frantic cleaning of the sprayer again. I finished spraying, but I had to use a different top coat color because I ran out of the first paint color. (Which ended up being one of those happy mistakes. You’ll see.)

I wiped off the big globs of paint and decided to give those areas a little “extra” distress in the morning.

After stepping back from the project, doing some research and having a twitter conversation with Shaunna (the furniture painting guru), here is what I concluded from my disasterouos 2nd attempt:

  1. The paint sprayer MUST have a full paint cup in order to work properly. When the reservoir gets down to less than 1/4 full any air that gets into the paint suction tube will cause the sprayer to sputter and discharge big globs of paint, instead of a nice even spray.
  2. The sprayer dispenses an INSANE amount of paint in 5 minutes and when it runs low #1 happens. I used a half gallon of paint on the first coat of paint on this small wash stand. Whereas, I normally would have used maybe half a quart to brush on two coats total. The drop cloth was so heavy with paint when I cleaned up, that I realized the majority of the paint was wasted in overspray.
  3. The Plus does not have a low paint level indicator. Therefore, it is very difficult to determine when you are getting low on paint until the sprayer starts to sputter and shoot out globs of paint onto your project.
  4. In the same vein, the paint canister only holds a quart of paint, and 1/4 of that isn’t useable unless you like Jackson Pollock style painting.

The next morning, I took out my power sander and gave the sink some character by distressing it.


This is where the happy accident occured. Because I had to use an aqua blue as the top coat on my sink, you could see the blue gray color peeking out! Which I think makes it look sweet, shabby and old.

Once I was happy with the amount of distressing, I sanded any chipping paint and rough spots with the 220 grit sanding block. Then, I cleaned off the wash stand with a damp rag. To protect the sink, I used Minwax wipe-on Polyurethane. I like the wipe-on Poly for speed. But, it doesn’t leave as thick a coat as the traditionally brush on kind. So, if you really want to protect a piece of furniture, use the brush on kind instead.

I added a cute little crystal cheap acrylic knob to the drawer.

And my new/old dry sink looks right at home in the corner of my porch! Although, it needed something…hmmmm….

…how about a plant! I dropped in a plastic pot with NO holes in the bottom. I filled the bottom 1/4 with rocks for drainage. And my pothos plant. I used to have a chippy pedestal that sat there, but sadly I had to get rid of it. I’ll fill you in on the details next week. It is a sad story ;-(.

Here is my summary of working with the Wagner Power Painter Plus model:

  • Pros – Saves time. $100 price tag. No compressor needed.
  • Cons – Small Paint Cup, No Flow Speed Selector, No Low Paint Level Indicator, Lots of overspray and wasted paint.

I will definitely try the sprayer again. When I do I might add Floetrol to my paint, which is supposed to help your paint even out and give you a smoother finish. (Especially if it globs on you.)

If I was to buy a Wagner Paint Sprayer, I would cough up the extra money to buy a higher model

  • Wagner Power Painter Max has a two speed selector AND a paint level indicator. This higher model runs approximately $135.
  • Wagner Power Painter Pro (Not Available Until 2012). This sprayer will have a three speed control and will come with a backpack attachment that holds more paint than the Plus or Max and long suction tubes that can be put directly into a gallon of paint. The MSRP is expected to be approximately $180.

Have a great weekend and see you next week with some more DIY goodies.

Make Me Beautiful – The Painting Step

Today I’ll show you the painting technique I used on the chair I stripped yesterday.

Here is a list of suggested materials:
Tarp or drop cloth
Brush
Primer
Rubber gloves
Sandpaper (Fine & Medium grits)
Spray paint (optional handle adapter to prevent hand cramps and spray on your fingers)
Dust mask
White paint
Brown acrylic paint or craft paint
Rag
Polyurethane
Floor protectors (chair glides)

Because I stripped and sanded the chair down to bare wood, I needed to prime the wood so it would accept the paint. If you don’t prime bare wood, then the paint will be absorbed into the wood and won’t leave a clean all over finished look. The primer is also a base that makes the paint stick to it easier. Primer is very good at adhering to lots of surfaces, including your skin. So, be sure to wear gloves or you may look like a reverse dalmatian for a few days.

I’ve used many different primers. Sometimes I use a spray primer and sometimes a liquid primer. Did you know that primer comes in different colors? And it can be tinted? Be sure to ask the paint department next time you are drastically changing the color of a room. They might be able to tint your primer close to the color you are painting so it cuts down on the number of coats you have to use.

For this project I used Bulls Eye water based primer that you paint on. You do not need much, we only had a big bucket left over from painting some rooms in our home.

Primer dries quickly, so work fast. It isn’t necessary to make it look perfect, just get a thin coating on all the wood surfaces and be careful to wipe off any drips.

After the primer dries (I used my box fan to speed the process,) you should lightly sand the chair to remove any burrs or drips. This also gives the primer a little scuffing so that the paint has something to grip to. Don’t sand so much that you go through the primer coat.

At this point you will need to “tent” off an area where you will be working. Spray paint will get everywhere if you let it. The good news is that usually the particles will dry in the air, but they will coat everything in the vicinity and will need to be wiped off. If you can spray outside, it will be better for your lungs, but be sure your drop cloth extends at least 4 feet out in all directions from the piece you are spraying.

Now comes the fun part! Grab your paint can in the color you have painstakingly chosen. I used Valspar Pistachio Satin finish in a spray can. I used to use Rustoleum, but it seems that my local Lowe’s has eliminated most of the Rustoleum brand spray paints and replaced them with Valspar. My suspicions tell me that it might still be the same paint but branded for Lowe’s.

I use light coats of spray paint about 8-10 inches away from the surface. The trick with spray paint is to use several light coats instead of trying to cover all at once. This will insure an even finish. You also don’t want to end or stop on the piece you are spraying. I use a smooth consistent sweep across the chair and then release the trigger after my spray has left the chair. If you stop on the chair, you will either get a shiny spot or drips where the extra paint has collected. Here is a graphic to show you how to spray your paint:

I used three light coats to cover this chair. I did sand VERY lightly between coats (using a fine grit 200 grit or higher) to make sure there were no rough spots and to add something for the next coat to adhere to. I also wipe off the chair after sanding with a damp rag. Just be sure to take your time to work up to your final color. This is the point where you may stop and say that you like the final results of your painting job. If you stop now, be sure to finish your painting job off with two coats of polyurethane.
I choose to add some more interest to my chair.
Milk Painting – Adding Depth and Interest
 
After the green spray paint layer has completely dried, I took the fine grit sandpaper (200 or higher) and gently roughed up the surface. Then I wiped off the whole chair with a damp rag and let the chair dry.
For this step I used some left over white latex trim paint we had lying around. I used a semi-gloss finish because that is what we had, but you can use any white paint you have left over. I dipped the edge of my brush into the paint and then wiped most of it off on the can. Then I lightly ran the brush over the chair in the direction that the wood grain would go. The green paint should show through your strokes. Only go over the area once, unless you really ran out of paint on your brush. If you put too much on the chair, or have areas with too much (see the left edge of the picture on the right below),  you can take a wet rag or baby wipe to clean it off and try it again.

Once the whole chair has the milk paint technique, I let her dry. Once again, this may be the point where you stop painting. But, I really had more distressing in mind for this girl.

I wanted to let some of her age show through, so I grabbed some medium grit sandpaper (100 – 150 grit) and sanded some edges down to the bare wood. Think about any place on the chair that sticks out and might be rubbed and worn on an antique.

Unfortunately for me, the bare wood on my chair was a little too peachy colored next to the pistachio color paint, and I really liked the look of this leg that was sanded and had a darker brown area showing through. So, I decided to fake the darker brown wood look.

I wiped off the chair again with a damp rag and then ran up to grab some acrylic paint out of my art supplies. I chose the Raw Umber brown and squeezed a quarter size dollop onto my palette. Then I grabbed a clean rag and wrapped it around my finger. I dabbed my rag into the paint and made sure I didn’t have any globs on the cloth. Then I lightly ran the edge of my clothed finger over the edges of the chair where I had sanded.

Uh oh, don’t peek at the fabric on my chair! That is the next step we will go over tomorrow. Plus, it wasn’t a good idea to paint with the fabric on my chair. Too many opportunities to drip or rub paint onto the seat.
Once I was done adding the brown paint, I let the chair dry. Next I took my fine grit sandpaper and sanded the whole chair lightly being careful not to sand off any paint. Wiped the chair down and let it dry.
I really liked the aged beautiful look that my chair had achieved, so I was ready to seal her with 2 coats of polyurethane. I used a water based poly and lightly sanded between coats. At this point you are probably sick of the sanding, but I am a sucker for smooth finishes. I love to caress finished wood and feel the baby softness under my fingers. Plus, this is the chair that I will spend many hours sitting in and working.
After the poly has dried, I do add floor protective legs to my chair. It protects our wood floors from damage. I’m really into protecting our wood (as you can probably guess.) Furniture glides or floor protectors are super easy to add. They go on just like nailing a nail. Be sure you have your glide centered on the leg and that you aren’t nailing it into any metal. Then gently tap it into the leg of your chair.