You can stain and stencil furniture and give it a new look and a new life! This little table belonged to Greg’s ex-girlfriend. She used to be a nail tech for a time. After they split up it was a make shift desk in his den for years. When we moved to the new house, he called her to see if she wanted it back, but she said no. So, now It’s mine, and it’s about to get a make-over!! Which seems fitting really… You know, nail table – new coat of polish… Am I reaching here? 😉
This project was part of my Craft room makeover that I did for the $100 Room Challenge. You can see all four weeks below:
Stain and Stencil Furniture
Here are all the details on how to achieve this look
First you need a piece of furniture that needs a bit of love… and don’t get stuck on this part. Go out to a garage sale or a thrift store, and find something that you like the shape/style of, and don’t worry if it’s seen better days. Check out what this one looked like up close before its refresh.
For this finish, you want something that has some wood grain to it. Solid wood is awesome, preferably with a light stain finish. But it doesn’t need to be solid. This table is only solid on the top, the legs are just veneer over particle board, as you can see here and they stained up beautifully.
However stay away from laminate or plastic finishes. This should be pretty easy, there are a lot of ugly pieces of solid wood furniture kicking around in thrift stores and at garage sales. Go rescue one or two of them!
Okay, now that you have found your treasure, let’s get to work.
Dismantle and clean
Take apart the piece as much as possible. This table came apart into 4 pieces. The legs came off with a few screws, and the drawer just pulled out. Remove dirt and any stains, stickers etc. Don’t use anything that will take off the finish. Just soapy water and a cloth, or Lysol wipes work well. Scrape off stickers, gum etc.
Small areas of damage can be filled in with wood filler. You don’t want too large of an area, because the wood filler will have a different finish than the stained wood. It works great for small scratches. If you are okay with a bit of a weathered look, just leave the scratches and dents for character. After all, aren’t we all a bit “weathered” I know I am! The next time I use this finish, I’m going to try applying a sealer on the wood filler, so it doesn’t appear ‘spongy’
Light sanding – or How I almost messed up this table 🙂
Okay, so I have to fess up here that this is where I made a pretty substantial mistake. The first time I used this finish. I sanded the piece very lightly. Basically just a quick rub over the surface with a fine sanding block. However this time, I was trying to get rid of all of the wood filler, and my neck was aching, so I opted to use my random orbital sander. BIG MISTAKE. You really need to do a very light sanding. You don’t want to take any off the existing finish. And you definitely DO NOT WANT TO GO AGAINST THE WOOD GRAIN. Oops. The really stupid part, is that I didn’t really even notice it until after I had a coat of stain on it. Then I could really see the swirls from the sander. CRAP! That’s okay, we can recover from this. I thought about sanding it all the way back down, and re-staining. But ultimately it’s just a sewing table, and I will stain it dark enough that it will cover up most of the swirling. Plus I have another trick up my sleeve…keep reading 🙂
- General Finishes Java Gel Stain
- General Finishes Gel Topcoat – Satin
- Foam Paint Brushes
- Disposable gloves
- Rags (preferably old t-shirts)
- Drop cloth (I buy these at the dollarama)
- Vegetable Oil (instead of turpentine)
A couple of notes before you start. This is NOT water-based, and will stain your skin and clothes. You’ll need a good well-ventilated work space with a drop cloth or cardboard. Here is where my left-over packing boxes come in handy. Also, as noted on the label, this stuff is highly combustible, so get yourself a bucket with water, to dispose of your rags and brushes. They recommend metal with a lid, but I used a plastic organic recycling bin, and my house didn’t burn down 🙂 But hey, I’m no expert, don’t yell at me if yours does 😉
Before you start, put on some gloves. I really prefer these disposable ones, over the dish-washing type. If you have to stop to do anything you can just chuck them, and then put on a fresh new pair. Plus this stain is thick and you will have to toss your gloves at the end anyway.
I used a foam brush and dipped directly into the tin. Coat the brush pretty generously and start in the middle, to avoid dripping copious amounts of stain over the edges. Apply back and forth with the wood grain until the entire surface is coated and smooth. Do one section at a time. For the pedestals, I started on the narrow edges and then did the larger sides. I did let it sit for about 5-10 minutes before wiping off, so it had a chance to soak in a bit. I actually did all of the brushing on both pedestals before going back to wipe off the first one.
Wiping off the Stain
For wiping I used an old, clean T-shirt. Rip it up into manageable pieces. Don’t push hard when you are wiping. Just GENTLY run the folded T-shirt over the stain. Keep re-folding it so you have clean surface. When it feels like you are wiping an almost dry surface, you are done. It will not feel gooey, but smooth. When you are finished with your rags, toss them in water. You won’t be re-using these. Recommended time to dry between coats is 12-24 hours. If you plan well, you can get 2 coats done in a day. Don’t freak out too much if it looks really crappy after the first coat, this is going to happen. See how yucky mine looked to start. Keep going until you get the consistency of colour that you want. I have found that all the pieces may not need to same amount. For this table I did the following:
- Pedestals- 3 coats
- Table top – 4 coats
- Drawer – 4 coats
Note that the drawer front and table top were solid wood, whereas the legs were veneer, so that may be the difference. Plus I wanted the top a bit darker to hide the imperfections.
Here is the progression of the stain
Part Two: Stencilling
- Cutting Edge Stencil
- Rust-Oleum 253534 Metallic Accents Paint, 32-Ounce, Sterling Silver
- Painters tape
- Packing paper
- Velvet Mini Rollers
When I did this project there were 2 reasons that I added the stencil. First I did it to tie the design together with the bookcases. that I had stenciled. I wanted there to be some cohesion in the overall room design. Also, Remember before I mentioned that I messed up my sanding? Yeah, well this helps to mitigate that error. The stencil draws your eye, so you are not as likely to notice the sanding marks in the table.I decided to just add a band of the pattern from my vision all-over stencil onto the table. After deciding what part of the stencil I wanted to use, I chose a location that wouldn’t give me uneven edges when I removed the tape. Then I measured and taped off the table. I had some left-over packing paper from moving, so I used that to block off the rest of the table, so that I didn’t mess up the newly stained finish.
I picked the part that I wanted to be the center of the design, and lined that up with the center of the table. I used chalk to mark it. Then just place the stencil over the table and use a couple pieces of tape to keep it in place
I’m using Rust-Oleum Metallic Paint, which by the way, I am in love with. This is sterling silver. I know everyone is all over gold again, but I love silver. If you want a happy medium between silver and gold try Modern Masters warm silver I also discovered this roller, which I am also in love with. Maybe I’m just super easy to please 🙂 No, no I’m not 🙂 🙂
Pour a small amount of paint into a small paint tray , about ½ cup (just eyeball it) and then load your roller. Once your roller is loaded and rolled off in the paint tray. Roll it again on a couple of pieces of paper towel, to blot off the excess paint. You want an almost dry roller. If you have too much paint, you will get bleeding through the stencil. You don’t want that 🙁 Don’t press down on the roller, just roll lightly over the stencil in different directions, until you get good coverage. You can always touch up small areas of imperfection with a small brush. I don’t usually bother when doing a larger area, your eye just doesn’t pick up on it. But for a small section like this I would. That said, if you get up close and personal, you will still see the small imperfections.
Once all of your pieces are coated to your liking, and you have applied any decorative touches that you want. The final piece is sealing it with a topcoat. I used General Finishes Gel Topcoat – Satin Again, you will want to do this in a well ventilated space. Just dip your sponge brush in the topcoat, it’s pretty thick stuff. As with the stain it’s best to apply it in the center of your piece to avoid dripping or running. Then just work it back and forth with the grain until it is all coated and smooth. Give it about 5-10 minutes and then wipe it “off” with an old T-shirt. Pretty much the same process as with the stain, but less messy 🙂 For this project I did 3 coats of topcoat to get the look that I wanted. I let it dry over 12 hours before doing additional coats.
One more thing:
Hmmm. Turns out I am not finished after all. I should really have taped off the drawer before staining the front, because I ended up getting stain on the inside raw wood. So, I decided to paint the drawer sides silver to match the stencil. I also wanted a pop of hot pink because when I did the challenge this was my colour theme. So, I replaced the Kelly green felt with hot pink. Better :)This was pretty easy. Just cut around the edges with a Utility Knife and then pull or scrape up the old felt.
Scrape away any remnants and then vacuum up the dust. Measure, cut and dry-fit your new felt. Then spray the felt with spray adhesive and position in the drawer. Smooth it down with your hand. You can cut or tuck any edges under with the utility knife.
Once everything is stained, stenciled, top-coated and all dry it’s time to reassemble your piece. For this table it was just a matter of re-inserting the drawer and screwing the pedestal legs back on. TADA!!!!!
I love how this turned out. I am a really big fan of both General Finishes Java Gel Stain and Rust-Oleum Metallic Paint This was the second time I have used the java gel stain, and I will certainly be using it again in the future. Such a deep warm colour that it comes up. I also was very impressed with the rust-oleum paint. This post was not sponsored by either of these products. These are just products I have used and love and will definitely use again. I was provided with a free stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils, and I love their stencils. This was the first time I used one, and I will be ordering one again shortly. They are super easy to use. More importantly they are very durable, despite some really intricate designs. Click on the link below to check them out.
So, if you have a piece of furniture sitting in your basement or attic, that you love the shape or design of, but it has seen better days, Use this as inspiration to stain and stencil furniture and give it a new life. Please share your results, I would love to see what you come up with.
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