Saturday, October 20, 2012

Done and Done - Finally!

(Click on any photo to view a larger image.)

So, remember that small chest of drawers I started stripping over a month ago? (Click here to read that post.) Well, after numerous interruptions I finally finished it and I'm rather pleased with the way it came out. Full disclosure here -- I am NOT a furniture refinisher so my experience and skills in this particular area are lacking. Nevertheless, I have never let not knowing how to do something stop me from doing it if it was something I really wanted to do. In this way I have learned that I can do anything I set my mind to. Just understand that I may not do it very well.

Back to the chest of drawers. It's old, with chipped corners and questionable construction but I really like its clean, simple lines and it's a perfect piece upon which to practice my burgeoning refinishing skills. Above left you can see a before photo taken when I began to strip off the varnish. Below left you see what the chest looks like today, stained, stenciled and ready for a new life housing cardstock in my crafts workshop. The colors are a departure for me inasmuch as I prefer natural wood tones for furniture but I figured as long as this was going to be a creative learning experience I was going for broke.

Among the lessons I learned during this exercise was that paint and stain do not behave in the same way when applied to a surface. Paint would have been easier to work with but I wanted the wood grain to show through the color, something I would  not have been able to accomplish with paint. The edges of the motifs are a bit darker than the center. This was accomplished by going over the motif edges with a second coat of stain but the first layer must be allowed to dry first or the second layer will lift it off and cause unevenness in the color. I used two sizes of plastic scrapbooking stencils by The Crafter's Workshop (TCW192 - Ginkgo Leaves), 12" x 12" for the sides of the chest and 6" x 6" for the drawer fronts. This was  the most difficult and labor intensive part of the refinishing project. I had to clean the stencil after each use before laying it down again to prevent blemishing the surface with wet stain. Because the stain dried quickly and formed a sticky bond to the plastic, this was much easier said than done. It took nothing less than Magic Eraser and a lot of elbow grease and patience to clean those things. Next time I'll paint.

So my paint stripping score so far is one bedroom door, one radiator cover and one small chest of drawers stripped, sanded and refinished with one more bedroom door in the works. After this I think I'll take a break from painting. I've got some apple and pumpkin pies waiting to be baked.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

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