Tag: Stenciling

Easy Storage Bench Refinish from Drab to Fabulously Feathered

 

Sometimes when we grow tired of furniture, we decide to replace it with something new. Why not save the money by giving the piece a new look? For this storage bench, it wasn’t at all that I’d rather buy a new one, it was more, “I’m going to give it a more sophisticated look so my husband accepts it being in the hallway” scenario. My daughter no longer wanted it in her small room, so I decided the bench and the toys it stored might be a fit for the empty space in our upper landing. And thus starts the story of this storage bench refinish. 

Bench Refinish First Steps

In all of my other refinishing posts thus far (Stenciled Coffee Table and Revamping a Bookcase) I’ve made it a point to reinforce sanding the surface before painting. I’ve also noted it’s not on my list of favorite things to do. With that being that case, I opted to grab this deglosser off the shelf during a shopping trip at Lowe’s. I figured if it saved me 30 minutes of sanding, it was worth the $8.

Basic instructions include putting the deglosser on a clean cloth and rubbing in a circular motion over all glossy surfaces. If you like easy, this is it. This bench definitely had a glossy surface despite all the years of use, which would definitely have been a paint chipping risk if I didn’t do something to it. I liked that using the deglosser didn’t involve full paint removal or scraping. Definitely a thumbs down if trying to work in an arm workout (those who sand know what I mean) but a thumbs up for the mental state. Yet to tell is how effective it will be for keeping the paint in place.

Refinishing Paint Choice of the Day

In a few of my other refinishing projects, I’ve noted my choice for paints that fit a tight budget. This time, with some birthday money burning a hole in my pocket, I opted to get one of my favorite paints: Fusion Mineral Paint. Since all the stores within acceptable driving distance had closed, I decided to place an order with Vintique Finishes. I picked out two of the available colors and a new brush (brushes sadly don’t tend to last long with me) and was giddy with anticipation for the package arrival. 

You can really see how thick the paint is here. I did two coats which is recommended for durability.

Gold had to go, so a few sprays of spray paint gave them a new look.

Quick Shopping Trip

I don’t normally shop for fabric online because it’s hard to get a feel for scale. Not knowing what I wanted to get for the bench pad, I decided to do it this time as it seemed much easier to look at the little squares of options. This ended up being a wise choice. I found this feathered home decor fabric at Joann’s that ended up matching perfectly with the Sacred Sage fusion paint. After placing my order, I picked it up the next day before swinging by Hobby Lobby on a stencil search. I found two options as seen below. One was a silkscreen stencil, which I hadn’t tried before.

Sewing Time

I admittedly wing my sewing projects since I’m not an expert sewer. Contemplation is the name of the game. I tend contemplate the best method to go at it for a bit and then push myself to start. Doing a box cut would be easier to do to have all the seams on the corner, but I just didn’t feel like doing all that cutting and sewing if I could achieve it by keeping the material completely intact. Here’s a video by Peg Baker on how to achieve the box cut pattern. I bought a 22-inch invisible zipper (that’s the longest they had in stock) and went to work. Given that the zipper wouldn’t haven’t been long enough for the back, I decided to put it on the end. This was a bit trickier than if I’d have gone with the long back seam.

It’s always important to pin the zipper securely in place.
My Greater Swiss Mountain dog, Skye, was really enjoying the soft cushion.

Bench Refinish Stencil Mania

Silk Screen Stencils

Like I said, I hadn’t used silkscreen stencils. I wasn’t even sure what the difference would be between them and traditional stencils. After seeing what made them unique, I’m in love.

The magic of this is their sticker-like quality. Stick them in place and use a fair amount of paint applied with a sponge brush. No tap tap tapping needed here. I loved that fact alone.



My daughters watched intently while I worked on my project. All the while telling me I use stencils for too many things. It’s not far from the truth. I have come to use stencils in many of my projects as a preferred way to add a unique flair. I suppose I’ll refrain from stencils on my next refinish to avoid becoming a one-trick pony. Anyway, I initially did 5 feathers.  After sleeping on thinking it was a bit blah, I decided to go for a feather frenzy. I was glad I did by the end.

Final touch

I had thought I was finished but just wasn’t quite as happy with the transformation. The bottom portion was missing something but I was afraid of adding another explosion of feathers there. I opted to give it a faux cut out look by painting rectangles.

Out came the squares, painters tape, and measuring tape. I used the width of the small square for tracing to make my life easy. I did a bit of math to ensure the rectangles would be spaced equally apart and from the outside edge. Then I used some Lamp White fusion paint I had leftover from another project. After peeling off the paint, I called it a complete.

The Before and After

What do you think? My youngest preferred the white and was a bit upset by the change. My 10-year-old on the other hand felt it was an awesome transformation. To each her own I suppose when it comes to refinishing. I hope you enjoyed this storage bench refinish and it gave you some ideas for your own projects. If you’re looking for more, take a look at Furniture Refinishing

Composite Bookcase Revamp into Unique Upscale Decor

Have you been hanging on to the affordable furniture you got when you were first married or moved into your first space? Is money still a bit to tight to buy nice stuff? The affordable option is to give that furniture an overhaul. In this post, I’ll show how to revamp a composite bookcase with just a few supplies. My bookcase was one of those items from good old Walmart. I’m sure I’m not the only one to have something like it. After use, these composite furniture items can even be hard to give away since many donation companies won’t take them. That leaves only a few options; the dump, a plea for someone to take it for free or to get into that happy mental space to give it a pleasing boost.

Getting to Work

First step is to give that shiny finish a really rough sanding with some low number grit sandpaper. I give a little more detail about the types of sandpaper in my wood paddle platter post as a reference. If you have an electric sander, you could use it for the outside and shelves. The inside corners will likely need hand sanding. I like the sanding blocks they sell now in stores, but in a pinch, you can use the method my dad always used. Fold the sandpaper sheet around a hand size scrap piece of wood. This makes it easier to hold and to sand. 

Supplies

  • 1/4″ plywood
  • 1×2 boards
  • Paint
  • Stencil
  • Paintbrushes
  • Wood filler
  • Wood glue

Tools

  • Nail gun and compressor (or nails and a hammer)
  • Kreg jig & screws
  • Wood glue
  • Dremel
  • Saw
  • Scraper

New Back Panel

Cardboard backs are pretty much a given with these composite bookcases, so it’s a given that it should be replaced. Cut the 1/4″ plywood to size before starting to paint. Then paint your base color. I wanted to give mine a fun feature, so I went with key stencils in the same color I chose for the outside. I was slightly disappointed about how hard it was to see. If I were to do it again, I would do the stenciling in a slightly darker shade.

Next up is to use the nail gun to attach the plywood to the back of the bookcase. To ensure it stays secure, put wood glue on before nailing the back.


Well on your way now

Composite bookcase painted interior

If you look below, you might be confused as to why it’s painted here and not painted later. That is simply because I didn’t start with the sanding part. I sadly admit to you that I take the lazy way out at times and it normally comes back to bite me in the end. You’d think I’d learn better than I do. This ended up meaning that the paint was scratching off when I started to work with it. I also needed to fill the peg holes with wood filler to create a flat surface. You should definitely do both of those things if you will be securing the shelves in place.

The Wood Frame for this Composite Bookcase

The measurements for the cuts of the 1×2’s really depends on the size of the bookcase. My cuts were:

  • 2   28″ pieces for the front horizontal bars
  • 4   31 3/4″ pieces for the vertical beams
  • 4   8 5/8″ pieces for the horizontal beams on the side

Cut them to size and drill holes with a Kreg jig. When connecting them together, you should start with creating the front square and the side rectangles. After those are together, it’s time to connect the sides with the front through the pocket holes. 

 

After the frame is completely built, it can be attached with glue and a nail gun. You should also attach the shelves with glue and a nail gun from the outside. There are a variety of nail guns out there. Mine is on the cheap side so doesn’t have any bells or whistles.

Even though I tried to keep the gun straight as can be, there were a few of the 1.5 inch nails that went askew. It meant they were sticking out of the shelves and needed to be cut. Talk about wanting to pull your hair out, I was completely annoyed. So be warned that it doesn’t always go smoothly. I chose to add vertical boards to support the sagging shelves, but you can leave without them if you like. Mine had experienced years of holding kids books. I used wood glue and nailed the boards from both the top and the bottom.

revamped composite bookcase with new frame
You can see here that the bottom board is not flush to the ground. That is with the intention of being flush with the bottom shelf and giving a bit of a gap with the floor. Be sure to measure where your bottom shelf falls before securing the horizontal beams to the vertical.
Composite bookcase with new frame

Time to Dremel for a Unique Touch

At the time, I hadn’t had a lot of experience with a dremel. I chose to add this touch to practice the skill. Obviously, you don’t have to go the same route, if you don’t have a dremel. If you are opting in, trace the stencil with pencil onto the wood before starting to cut it out. Take your time, go at it at a bit of an angle and you’ll be fine.

Paint

After all the cutting and drilling, it’s time to move into the home stretch with paint. I chose affordable paint from Michaels in Sea Glass. It went on easy and has held up perfectly well over the years.

For the top, cut a piece of wood or plywood that is an inch bigger on the sides and 1/4″ extra on the front than the bookcase measurements. The back of the top is flush (aka even) with the back. I used a white stain applied with a clean white rag on my piece to match more with my paint. If you don’t have much experience with stain, don’t worry. The important thing to remember is to go with the grain of the wood and not to allow large pools of stain to sit on the surface. Doing so will leave you with a spotty uneven look that can only be corrected with significant sanding. You can end it there with the stain or keep going as I did. 

DIY Rub-On Words

I came across this awesome tutorial on Pinterest on how to transfer images using wax paper and was pumped to try it with this project. If you are looking for a way to accomplish the task with materials you have at home, this is it. The hardest part is getting the printer to feed the wax paper without crumpling it. It was another one of those screaming in frustrating experiences. I found the best method was to tape the wax paper to a piece of computer paper to ensure 100% success every time.  I also had to learn how to get the words to be reversed for printing. This can be accomplished with 3-D Rotation of a text box in Microsoft Word. 

Reference below:


“Kind words are keys that fit in all locks.”

Revamped Composite Bookcase

The Final Look


 

It’s a bit hard to see here, but I added a white key and 2 lock stencils to the outside panels as well. 


Empty composite bookcase
I made the FAMILY hanger and placed the initials of my three girls to finish off the space.

Filled with Family:

Finished composite bookcase

That’s it! Not a terribly difficult project to take that humdrum composite bookcase to a new posh look. I hope you are happy with how yours turns out!

Flip Coffee Table Stencil Refinish

Plain black coffee table or stencil refinished coffee table?!  Which would you choose? When a neighbor posted the black coffee table as free to whoever wanted it, I jumped at the chance to give it a new unique look. Free is fabulous in my book. It was a composite wood table, so definitely not as durable nor easy to alter as real wood. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it meant I had to stick with a simple paint job. For this refinish, less was more, and perfect for anyone looking to do something new.

Start of the Stencil Refinish

I started this project by sanding down the shiny finish to give the paint a fighting chance of adhering to the surface. Sanding is not my favorite thing in the world, so it tends to be what shines through as my weak point in projects. My proof of this is to come.

Painting

To make my life easier, I bought paint from Michaels, teal and white. I try to fusion mineral paint when I can, but have found it’s hard to find it locally. You can use the website https://fusionmineralpaint.com/where-to-buy/ to find it near you or order online. instead of searching around for fusion paint. I started with painting the outside teal. Unfortunately, it didn’t adhere properly to the spots that weren’t sanded as well, so I was kicking myself a bit for that. 

I decided to take a step back and spray paint the whole thing with white primer. It was easier than sanding it all again and helped hide the black from coming through the first coat of the teal paint. 

You can plainly see the spotty finish in the top right there. Blah

After spray painting a few coats of white, I repainted the whole thing with the teal. I was happy with the final finish. I painted the cubbies and the internal storage area with white to give it a more defined look. When the solid colors dried, it was time to give it a stencil detail.

Stencil Refinish

Calculating stencil refinish

Then it was time to pull out the old pencil and paper. It’s crazy how many of my projects involve calculations. This tends to be my stuck point because of the fear of messing it up. I use the knowledge to reinforce the importance of understanding math with my three girls. For this stenciled top, I had to figure out the width of the border for the long side and short side by considering the width of the stencil and how many could fit across. This stencil was more of a challenge, because it wasn’t completely centered and square to the border. A Martha Stewart fail if you ask me.

First step Stencil Refinish

It’s a fine art

To be honest, I haven’t done a ton of stenciling. In the handful of stencil refinishing projects I’ve done, I have learned there’s a fine art to mastering it. It’s simply not easy to get it to be perfect. For instance, you have to have the exact amount of paint on your brush to keep it from seeping underneath the borders while still giving it a solid coat. I started by stamping/patting the loaded paintbrush on a paper plate to take off the excess and evenly distribute across the bristles. It’s best to start stamping the brush in the large open portion of the stencil to unload some of the paint there first before going towards the edges. 

Stencil Refinish preview
Be sure to use a square for repeating stencils to ensure everything stays even. This picture shows that the last stencil was slightly tilted to the left and was definitely visible to my OCD self.
Stencil refinish going off square
Some of the white coatings weren’t completely even and there was a bit of seepage. I decided to sand the whole top a bit to even it out and give it a very slight aged feel. This is a perfect example of how imperfect I can be and how you can hide mistakes if you think creatively.
Large Stencil in progress on refinish
After I completed the top, I finished it off with a large stencil on both ends to tie it all together.

Final Touches

Stencil Refinish almost complete

Then, I painted the cubbies and inside with white paint to finish with the painting portion of this project. I wanted to ensure the paint wouldn’t scratch or peel with frequent use so sealed it with polyurethane. Some polyurethane has a yellowish tint to it. Here’s a tip; if you use that on white paint, it will cause the white to go slightly yellow. If that’s alright with you, go for it, but if not go for a clear coating.

Major tips for patterned stenciling; Measure measure measure and a square (the tool, not the shape) will be your BFF.

The End Product:

And that’s a wrap on this Flip Coffee Table Stencil Refinish Project. Only a few supplies and a limited number of steps to a completely new look!

Stencil Coffee Table Refinish Final Product
Stencil Coffee Table Refinish in living room

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