Thursday, May 3, 2012

DIY: 1990s Cherrywood to 21st Century Shabby Chic!

Well, it finally  happened. Pinterest convinced me to step up to the plate and DIY myself to fabulousness!

From THIS:

To THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ehhhh, let me me be honest about how this all exactly started...

Day #1:
So, me, being the amazing fiance that I am, decided to "surprise" my future hubs to an Extreme-Home-Makeover. And by that, I wanted to turn his bachelor-pad into something a little more "homey". I had it all planned out in my  head, I was going to buy a furniture set and storage hutch, then my roomie Jay-nay and I were going to kick him out for a boy's night and make that apartment look fantabulous! Jayne and I had been texting back and forth about how amazing this was going to be all day....that evening, John and I were going to meet with the priest for marriage prep for the first time. (It was a very exciting day, let me tell you) On the way to the church, I got a text. Instinctively John went to grab my phone since I was driving....I normally have nothing to hide, until my under cover Pinterest project commenced earlier that day. I grabbed the phone from John's hands to read the text, which obviously raised red flags. Of course once I told him I was surprising him with something, the boy couldn't think about anything else. Great, I thought, he is going to  be acting weird and distracted when we are meeting with the priest for the first time. So I just spilled the beans...after he got over the shock of me taking over his bachelor pad, I think he got (a little) excited about the makeover.

Day #2:
Well, things weren't going as exactly planned. First I couldn't find a full furniture set within my budget. If I was going to do this makeover, I wanted to show him what an amazing and thrifty wifey I'll make doing all my makeovers on a budget! So, my budget was around $300 hoping to find 2 nightstands, a big dresser, and a large storage hutch. Off to craigslist I went, after much searching I found what I was looking for! A large storage hutch for $150 and a dresser and nightstands (Cherrywood) for $175! (ok so I went a little over) The storage hutch is in great shape and looks like it fits into the 21st century. The bedroom furniture, not so much. After reading something and being inspired by pinterest, I watched roughly 2-hundred videos on You Tube on "how-to" repaint/update furniture. I decided I could do that, easy. Furniture bought.

Day #3:
So, next up....trip to Lowe's. I had my list: plastic sheet to lay-out and paint on, sander, sand paper, primer, and of course, paint. Boom, let's do this. Except, I accidentally bought white paint instead of primer (trip back to Lowe's). Annnddd I only thought I would need 1 can of it (trip back to Lowe's). Of course, 1 pack of sand paper would work for 2 medium and 1 large piece of furniture, right? (Trip back to Lowe's) Figured out I was probably not going to do all 3 pieces of furniture in 1 day, so I would need more plastic sheets (Trip back to Lowe's). Oh yah, and in case you are wondering spray paint DOES dry a million times faster than painting the old fashion way, you just need around 1 million spray paint bottles to get the job done. (Trip back to Lowe's) I'll save my other bagillion trips back to Lowe's for later on in this post....

Days #3 (cont.), 4, and 5:
Since this was first attempt at pretty much anything major DIY, I decided to start with one of the smaller night stands just in case I totally botched it, I'd still be left with 2 usable pieces. (And here is where I try to attempt my first blog "how-to")


Remove drawers from furniture and all hardware from the drawers.

Note: You may find hidden surprises left for you by the last owner...

Which could be BAD:
Yes, those are someone ELSE'S panies and socks stuck back behind those drawers

OR which could be GOOD:

Jackpot baby! A couple strands of pearls, a beautiful locket, and Men's gold ring. (the rest, junk.) Yes, I thought about tracking down the owner, but I bought this off Craigslist from a guy who sells used stuff. And he bought it off this other guy who buys items from lot sales. Long story short, don't make me feel bad. 
I considering this an added bonus. 


Sand down the furniture. I bought a Black and Decker "Mouse" (Cost: around $35) because sanding by hand takes WAY too long. Although, on this piece there were several curved pieces so I had to end up doing a lot by hand anyway. 

Note: If you are repainting a wood piece of furniture and not re-staining it, you only have to sand it enough to take off the "shiny" and make the piece very smooth. Since you will prime it, that is what actually covers up the dark wood before painting.  I used around 120-150 grit sand paper to do this. 

My shiny new sander....

This is what it should look like after you are done sanding. 


Prime the wood. I used spray primer because I was also using spray paint. It dries SO much quicker than painting it on with a brush. But I'm sure either do a great job. Because I was going from a very dark wood to a light paint, I used 2 coats of primer. 

Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of what it looked like after I primed it. But let me tell you this, you aren't painting it so it's ok if some areas are "whiter" than others and it isn't is just to make the wood a lighter surface for the paint to show up on. 


Painting! Again, I used spray paint. Which if you are in a hurry and have zero patience like's the way to go! You don't have to let it sit for more than a couple of hours and it is dry and will be done setting overnight. Vs. several days with paint & brush. I put on 2-3 coats of paint, letting it dry for about 10-15 minutes between coats. 

Also, with spray paint you MUST do it outdoors for many reasons. #1 it's SPRAY, you don't have as much control over where it lands (especially if it is windy), so you will need a plastic sheet to lay down. #2. Fumes! They are extremely potent....and I'll let you check out my extremely flattering picture below before I say this, I recommend wearing a mask. Dorky, yes. Worth it, probs. 

Note: You will need A LOT of spray paint. It is always better to OVERestimate than under. It will save you a lot of trips back to the store. I used about 5 bottles of primer and 12 bottles of spray paint for all 3 of these pieces. 

Work in progress. 

And, this is why you should wear a mask. 


If you are going for the Shabby Chic look, you are not done yet my friend! Once the paint is completely dry, I let it dry overnight, you will need to distress the furniture. Basically, you are going to sand off the paint to give it that antique chic look. It's really easy, I used 100/150 grit sand paper, and you just sand, enough to were it wears off the paint, on all the corners and edges. I sanded any area that I thought  normal wear and tear would occur over the years. 

Note: Don't be worried about doing it exact! Imperfections make it look better, some areas I sanded more and some less to give it a real effect. 

You can see how I sanded the edges and corners...even on the drawers.

The top looked too shiny and new once I did the corners and edges, so I took 60 grit sand paper and make some scratches across the surface (enough to wear the paint wore off a little but didn't take off too much) and then used a very fine (220 grit) sand paper to smooth off the ridges. 
So it looks worn, but is still really smooth and new feeling. 


If you want to take it even a step further for an updated look, you can change the hardware and give it some really shabby new pulls or knobs! However, after making around 5-6 trips to different hardware stores, I discovered that the drawer pulls that came with the furniture are about 3.6 inches apart (the holes where you drill them into the drawer). And I now know that pulls are primarily 3" or 3.75"....SO, I decided to stick with what the came with to save myself extra work and money. I think the originals actually look OK. 

So there you have it folks. I have my first DIY home project under my belt, and I am feeling good (and tired). I can honestly say though, it wasn't that hard and didn't take as much time as I thought it might. Just be prepared and again, OVER buy. You can always return what you don't need. Now on to the old hutch, front hall table, 2 old book shelves, and the old coffee table.....