Ok, it never really took off the ground to begin with, but here’s the story of a cabinet that needed some love after some water damage, too much varnish and lots of dirt. I found her on marketplace, pulled her out of an old shed and planned to sand her down, clean the hardware and maybe go for a slightly lighter wood color. But none of that worked out! (You can watch the YouTube video here.)
Last year I thought I’d try my hand at renovating furniture and selling it. I watched YouTube videos and I paint things all the time, so how hard could it be? I was even so convinced this would be one of my next jobs that I set up a place to take before and after photos in the garage with some leftover flooring and baseboard!
First, I carefully took off the beautiful hinges and placed them in their own labeled bags so I wouldn’t get confused when putting them back on. I soaked the hardware in Bar Keeper’s Friend and water for about 5 minutes and then lightly brushed them with an old toothbrush. I didn’t want to take away the vintage look, but these were dirty, corroding in some spots and had layers of polish on in the crevices.
The owner was nice, but he had pulled it out of a barn and slapped some furniture polish on half. In fact, this piece had layers and layers of polish. So I decided to try stripping it. I used Citristrip on the inside of the doors, but even after hours I wasn’t getting very far. (It did work well on this wooden piece though!)
So I started to sand, but it was made of two types of wood that didn’t match. Sanding the intricate details would have taken years. (If you were a real furniture flipper, by the way, you probably wouldn’t pick something so complicated.) And then I gave up and put it in the garage where it sat for 429 days!!! It just seemed more and more overwhelming and grew bigger in my head the longer it sat there.
We need the space in the garage for bikes, so I dragged it back out (cobwebs and all) to reassess. I glued and clamped the spot with water damage up top. I tried sanding some more, but quickly decided I would have to paint it. But I didn’t want to give up on my idea of the raw wood look.
I have a trick up my sleeve — the faux wood painting technique I did on my nightstands!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- primer with shellac
- Behr Burnished Clay paint in flat finish
- Dark Vintage Antiquing Wax
- paint brush
- lint free rag (I used an old t-shirt)
First I took off the hardware and lightly sanded so the bonding primer would have something to hold onto. This is my new (not sponsored) Dewalt sander and it’s been great.
I washed the tables and then primed them. Don’t skip washing them well! Go in the direction of the wood grain and be careful to avoid drips. If you do get dripping, you’ll need to sand them out when the paint is dry. Typically you want to avoid brush lines, but in this case, we actually want them. This is what the wax will nestle into and make it look like wood grain.
3. Paint flat Burnished Clay paint
I added one coat of of the flat Burnished Clay with my trim brush, continuing to pay special attention to go with the grain. Thin layers is key!
4. Apply antiquing wax
Now for the fun part! Put on your gloves and rub in the antiquing wax with a clean rag. You are going to be AMAZED when you see how much it looks like real wood!
When I dipped the rag in the wax can, I found it helpful to put the first glop of wax in the middle of piece and work out to avoid getting the corners too dark. Be sure to take your time rubbing it in evenly. Use less for a lighter bleached look and more for a layered rustic feel.
I was nervous adding all the intricate, old hardware back on, but it fit perfectly. And here she is, all s