Posted by John on April 1st, 2013
Happy Tuesday! Sure beats Happy Monday, am I right? We are just moments away from wrapping up our built-in project. All the cabinet work has been primed and painted, I just need to add a second coat to some areas. I don’t know if I’ve ever shared the basic process I follow when I sand and paint furniture. I have a habit of repeating myself, which Lisa loves to gently remind of me from time to time. So, if you know how to sand and paint furniture, just skim the photos and stop by later to see the finished built-in.
Sanding and Painting Unfinished Furniture
I start with my random orbital sander (ROS). I picked this sander up last year when we were working on our sliding drawer project. It was relatively inexpensive and works great. ROSs are the most versatile of the electric sanders and work well with most projects. The other options are the vibrating pad or reciprocating sanders and the belt sanders. The reciprocating sanders aren’t bad either, but they only shake in one direction so they require more work on your part to use them effectively. Belt sanders are better for bigger more aggressive sanding work and should probably be skipped for regular woodworking projects. ROSs are the Goldilocks of sanders.
The sand paper for the ROS comes as a disc with either an adhesive or velco backing, which makes swapping them out a quick process. For most woodworking projects, if I have wood that is in good shape and doesn’t have any gouges or scratches in it, I use a 120 grit paper. The 120 is abrasive enough to take down sharp edges, but gentle enough that it won’t majorly scratch your work. If I need to remove a lot of material or repair deep scratches I’ll start with a 40 or 60 grit paper. The lower the number, the more abrasive the paper.
After I’ve sanded all the visible surfaces with the 120, I switch to a 220 grit paper and repeat the process. Since this is a paint grade project, that’s as far as I’ll go. Some higher quality or stain grade projects may require a 330 grit paper to polish the wood further. While sanding I also make sure to take the sharp edges off all the corners. A knocked down edge will hole the paint or stain much better than a sharp edge. Plus, it feels better on your hand.
You know you’re done sanding when the project feels baby soft to the touch. To prep the piece for painting, use either a compressed air source to blow the work clean or shake it and wipe it down.
For the painting process, I start with a spray primer. I’m a stickler for this part of the painting process. Most paint grade projects I work on will get about four coats of paint, 2 of primer and 2 of the finish coat. I try to spray the first two coats of primer. The reason being, brushes and rollers leave marks, however well executed and subtle. Spray paint leaves a near perfect finish. So, it’s better to have a smooth base and some brush marks on the last couple coats than four coats of brush marks. Get it?
If you don’t have a spray system with an HVLP gun like we used on our wainscoting project, you can use a regular can of spray paint/primer. I used a few cans of Valspar primer from Lowes for this project after my HVLP spray paint ran out. The more coats of spray paint you use, the smoother your result will be. To get that Ikea-like candy coating, if that’s what you’re after, use the spray primer followed by several coats of spray lacquer including a few clear coats of lacquer. Be sure to sand lightly with a 330 grit or higher paper or steel wool in between coats.
Since this project is a built-in, we want it to match our baseboard molding and look like it’s part of the wall. To get that look, we’re following the primer with a couple coats of regular semi-gloss latex trim paint from Sherwin Williams (Shell White). Regular latex paint is not ideal for book cases or anything where you’ll have inanimate objects sitting on it for long periods of time. Reason being, the latex will get stuck to whatever you rest on it eventually and peel off. Ideally, we should use a high quality furniture paint that resists that sort of sticking, which is called “blocking”. You want a paint with good “blocking” resistance. Enamels and lacquers are great for that feature, latex paint not so much. So why are we using it? Well, as I mentioned, we want the built-in to match the house trim, so that’s what we’re stuck with. I’m hoping the primer we used will help prevent some of that sticking nastiness. Time will tell.
What’s a good product for furniture painting that resists blocking? We used Benjamin Moore’s Satin Impervo on the kitchen cabinets from our first home and we loved how it came out. Ask around though. Professional painters seem to have some strong opinions on their favorite products.
So that’s my two cents on sanding and painting. Hope you got something out of it.
Baby #2 is not here yet, either just in case you were wondering. Anyone else suffering through some painting projects at the moment?
Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects,Staining and Painting. Tagged in ,built-ins, carpentry, painting
Posted by John on January 27th, 2013
Hey guys! We finally finished painting our daughter’s new toddler bedroom this weekend and we’re very happy with the color we chose. I’ve also started assembling some of the Hemnes Ikea furniture that she will probably use until college (yikes). Looking good so far. We’re planning on at least a few more posts on her bedroom, so I’m not going to show you everything today.
Here’s how the room looked before the paint..
and here’s how it looks painted…
one more time..
We went with Sherwin Williams Popular Gray (6071). It’s a touch lighter than what I wanted to go with and a touch darker than what Lisa wanted. We compromised and met in the middle. It’s a hue or two lighter than “Perfect Greige,” which is 6073, but it’s definitely in the vein we were aiming for. Big fan of it so far. I wasn’t sure how it would look against the darker beige/light brown carpet, but I think it looks fine. Ideally, we’ll be ripping these carpets out eventually (couple years yet) and installing some dark hardwood to match the rest of the house.
In case you haven’t seen our planning post, we were inspired by this pic from pinterest..
In terms of wall color, I’d say we’re pretty close. Plus, if you look closely, you can see a light brown carpet under the night stand.
I’m still banking on Lisa giving me the go-ahead for some custom shelving, but it may be a while. We’ll need something to store her toys and shelves for books. I really like this option we found on Pinterest…
I’d have to re-scale it to make it more kid friendly, but that wouldn’t be too hard.
Are you painting or planning to paint? Are you more into the neutrals like we are or do you prefer louder tones?
Posted in Home Decor,Staining and Painting. Tagged in ,bedroom, greige, painting, toddler
Posted by John on August 27th, 2012
Hope everyone is enjoying the last few weeks of summer. While I love the fall, I’m hanging on to the warm weather like it’s my job. I’m sure I’ll get into it once it’s here, but for now it’s going to stay summer around here until the leaves change color. Last weekend we knocked out a bunch of projects and posted about two of them: the dining room wainscoting and the outside portion of the front door. Today we’re going to show you what we did to the inside of the front door…
Lisa has been looking to add some character to our vestibule and had seen other people paint their front entry door. She thought it would look pretty slick if we painted ours black. We picked up some black no-VOC paint from Sherwin Williams and knocked out both the exterior side and the interior.
Lisa was excited about this if you couldn’t tell.
We wrapped the door frame in painter’s tape and I scuffed up the existing paint with some 220 grit sandpaper.
It took us around 4 or 5 coats of the semi-gloss black to completely hide all the white. Now the door is a wood/foam core, but the outer layer is vinyl. To get the look of a solid wood door, we applied the paint with a small roller and then used a dry brush to even it out. If you brush the wet paint in certain directions, you can give the appearance of wood grain. I drew up a guide if you’re not familiar with the basic process.
Just smooth out the wet paint with a dry brush in the arrow directions shown above and you’ll get a clean, professional look.
We’re very happy with how it came out. Definitely breaks up the white trim. Amazingly difficult to take a quality photo of this door though in broad daylight.
I took a few pictures in the evening.. came out a little better.
One downside we’ve noticed is at night, whenever we glance at it, it seems like it’s open. We’ve been doing double takes.
Any door improvements you’re working on?
Posted in Home Decor,Staining and Painting. Tagged in ,decor, doors, entry door, painting
Posted by John on August 13th, 2012
I was originally thinking about skipping all the posts on our dining room wainscoting until we were completely finished with it. Staged and all. However, it may be another week until it’s all buttoned back up, so I think I’ll just get on with it and show everyone where we’re at.
The last couple weeks we’ve been painting. A lot. We finally finished painting the wainscoting and this past weekend we finished painting the walls. We had hoped to avoid repainting all the accessible beige, but the touch ups were pretty visible, so we ended up repainting ALL of it.
One tip I learned from painting the large panels of the wainscoting is definitely worth sharing. I was getting some major streaking or flashing with the semi-gloss on some panels. You can see the brush strokes. For some reason it just wasn’t going on evenly. It was driving me mad.
To remedy this problem, I just used a small roller and applied a nice even coat just to the MDF panels and then used a dry brush to flatten it out. Worked like a charm.
Yesterday, I started adding the outlets. Since they are situated in the MDF panel part of the wall, the boxes need to be extended by 3/4.”
I was able to find outlet extenders at Home Depot. They come in varying sizes (1/4″, 1/2″, etc) and can be screwed right onto the existing boxes.
When installed, it brings the receptacle flush to the wall.
Here’s some shots of the room. We still have to finish up a few more outlets and add the oak quarter rounds to tie the walls to the floors. Then we’ll need to clean up and bring everything back in.
Can’t wait to be done with this already!! Late last week we were in DC for a couple days, which is why we skipped out on posting. We’ll be sharing some of our experiences with that trip later this week.
Do any painting this weekend? What are you looking forward to finishing?
Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects,Electrical. Tagged in ,electrical, painting, trim, wainscoting
Posted by John on January 13th, 2012
Last week, we posted on some of the lessons we learned when we hired a professional painter. This week we’ve had the opportunity to put some of those lessons to the test to see how well they’ve worked. The photo below shows the current state of our family room (well, we’ve actually moved our furniture back in place too). I ran out of painting time and still need to finish this up.
First thoughts… we still love the color. It’s amazing how much darker the room looks now. Maybe it’s not amazing. Maybe it’s because I took this photo at night and the floors are dark and the paint is darker. Yeah, that’s probably why.
Anyway, this is the first room I’ve cut-in without using tape. I’ve got to admit, it’s a lot easier and faster than I thought it would be. You end up painting slower than if there’s tape, but it’s much cleaner. I’m using a 2.5″ wide, angle cut Purdy brush.
The other recommendation we got from our painter was the paint roller. He uses a Collosus roller also by Purdy. I remember seeing this thing in action and it looked like a giant mop head. So, I picked one up at our local Sherwin Williams. Apparently, it comes in a couple different nap lengths. Naturally, I went for the longest nap, the 3/4″. Check this thing out…
Ridiculous right? It puts a LOT of paint on the wall. A LOT. If you’re going to use it, be prepared for major drippage.
Another tip we noticed from the painter was how he prepped the receptacles and the light switches. I’ve used ziploc bags to keep the switch plates in with the screws. Although, sometimes I’ll just leave the screws on the counter.
Here’s what the painter did…
He put the switch plate screws back in the switches. Not monumental, obviously, but smart and convenient none the less.
Do you have any paint tips? Next week, we’ll be showing you what we learned from our hardwood floor install.