July 19, 2012

Painting Furniture: Bench goes from Drab to Fab!

Painting thrift shop furniture is always rewarding. The transformation from beast to beauty is usually pretty easy and the dramatic results quite surprising.

Benches are always valuable furniture pieces. They can be used as extra seating, a place to perch a pretty tray or to hold a suitcase for visiting guests.

This plain organ bench has been sitting in an extra bedroom in my house for almost a year. It's been functioning as a place to hold extra blankets. With the weather being so warm the last few weeks, I decided to spent some time indoors painting (after I took the bench outside to give it a light sanding and snap a photo for you!) 

Step One.... lightly sand by hand outside.

Step Two... vacuum with brush attachment to get all the dust off before bringing it inside to paint.

Although it's sad seat was upholstered in a mousey brown fabric, the legs had some nice lines and detail and being an organ bench, it had the added feature of storage under the hinged seat. 

Step Three... Remove padded seat with a screwdriver.

Step Four... select (or mix your own) paint color.

Tired of the growing stack of random paint colors accumulating in my basement, I have been mixing them into off-white paint to come up with some unique pale shades that seem to move easily into any room. This mixture was a combination of off-white, dark gray and taupe. I mix up the colors in plastic tubs and usually end up mixing them together to make sure I have enough paint for a new piece. It's kind of fun to see the results and definitely better than drying out and dumping old paint in the garbage and then buying more!

Step Five... Cover with a quick coat of primer to cover any stains and give the paint a good surface to adhere to.

Step Six... Top coat with your paint color. I use a foam roller for both the primer and the top coat. The paint goes on fast and smooth. If I need to get into a crevice, I always have a brush handy.

A piece of painted furniture is never complete in my eye until it receives some antiquing glaze. I had been using Ralph Lauren Tobacco glaze the last few years but have been unable to find it in my local stores. I decided to (once again) hit my paint stash for an old can of clear glaze and mix up my own recipe to replace it! I'm really happy with the results and in fact, I like it better than Ralph Lauren's glaze.

Step Seven: Brush or roll on a quick coat of glaze. With my own glaze recipe, I found I didn't need to use as much or cover the surface completely.

Step Eight: Wipe off the glaze with a damp rag. I usually have about three rags handy for each glaze project. As they get covered with glaze during the wipe off process I move onto another rag. Wipe off as much as you like for the antiquing effect. You can always add more glaze later if you like. If it's a tabletop, sometimes I top it with a satin clearcoat for extra protection against watermarks. I don't do this for the sides or legs of a piece. That's it... you're done! 

The glaze brings out all the pretty details in the wood like carving and curves that the eye might miss if they weren't highlighted with the dark accent.

I topped the bench with a piece of brown and beige zebra print fabric from Jo-Ann's to really jazz it up. I don't go too crazy with reupholstering details... I just wrap the fabric around the old cushion and use a staple gun to secure it.

Right now it is sitting in my living room and functions as an extra seat and just plain cute accent piece of furniture. Even though the fabric is bold in pattern, the colors are quite neutral so it will be easy to move the bench from room to room in my house.

There's lots of talk about milk paint these days and avoiding the sanding and priming. I have tried it and it did not cover stains well so I ended up priming the piece after a coat of paint. I also found I needed two coats of paint anyway on most pieces and I preferred the protection of the primer rather than the surprise of a stain showing through. I do love many of the makeovers I've seen with milk paint, but I am content to use up the latex paint I have on hand for now before spending $25 on a quart of milk paint.

Have a great weekend and may your next painted furniture project bring you smiles for years to come!
P.S. If you haven't already, join my link party here!

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