Before starting this project, I spoke with people who have painted furniture before and read half a dozen tutorials. Before beginning, I had to acknowledge the following:
- I am not a professional painter
- I have never actually painted furniture before
- The beds might not turn out well
- Lots of things could be not quite perfect
But at the end of the day, I really wanted to go through the process of creating: Having a vision for a project, doing the necessary research, and actually following through to the finished project. I chose to follow the basic ideas from this tutorial about painting furniture, resolve myself to use the thinnest coats of paint that I could, and forgive myself ahead of time if there were any drips of paint on my project. That was my biggest fear going into this. The following is a loose step-by-step of what I did.
Test the beds for lead-based paint. (5 minutes) I am great with child, and this bed will be going into my older child's room. Knowing whether or not the bed had lead paint made a big difference for my peace of mind, and would also make a difference in how I would treat the existing paint on the furniture. I was SO happy to see the bed test negative!
Sand the bed. (~2 hours) (From this point on, I'm going to talk about just one bed. Only one is done. :)) My Dad did part of this sanding. The idea was to get as smooth a surface as possible where there were rough spots or the paint had chipped, and give a general roughing up to all surfaces. Not always easy on the spindles.
Apply a coat of primer. (~2.5 hours) I was working really hard to prime as thinly as possible, practically dry brushing the entire time. I still found it difficult to keep the thin primer from dripping. This is also where I committed to which direction the brush strokes would go. To work with the tiny spindles, I used a 1 inch brush. I used Kilz oil-based primer.
Left side primed footboard, right side sanded headboard
Primer scares me. It looks so... unfinished. Even though I KNOW it's ok that it's all streaky... it just looks all streaky. :)
To further prove my point, look at this primer on the wall in Charlotte's room. Doesn't it make you sort of nervous? Seeing it made me doubt the wall color could really look good on top of that.
But as a reminder, see how it looked after one coat of paint!
Aside about primer over!
Then I set up and painted one very thin coat of paint. (~2.5 hours) I began by setting up my workspace indoors, as I no longer wanted to work in a coldish garage.
My basic setup, with various height chairs to help me. This project involved a lot of bending and stretching that was not always easy with my large belly.
I used a semi-gloss low-VOC paint, as suggested in the aforementioned tutorial. I then followed my basic premise of painting as thinly as possible, nearly dry-brushing. The tough thing was that I was constantly working on a spindle, going back to check that there were no drips on the previous spindle just out of my sight on the other side of the bed, etc. Unfortunately, I did not catch all of the drips. Though disappointing, I was glad that I had decided to forgive myself ahead of time. :)
I had also planned to use a small roller for the flat surfaces, but found that I really disliked the texture of the roller on those surfaces after using a brush elsewhere. So I ended up brushing all surfaces of the bed. I've read that rollers introduce more air to the paint, making chips more likely down the road, so hopefully the time spent getting the brushed finish was worth it.
I know that it may not be everyone's cup of tea, but both Charlotte and I love the color!
Paint a second thin coat of paint. (~2.5 hours) Much the same as the first coat. :)
Yep, still love the color.
Touch up any spots that are too light. (~45 minutes) This was not too long or hard, just a chance to get some spots that didn't look right yet.
I'm letting the paint cure for a few days, but I can't wait to put the bed together in her room and show the "After" pictures!