I bought a couple of cheap “shabby chic” style bedside tables from TK Maxx. I thought the shape and proportions would work really well our bedroom, but I didn’t really like the finish on them. More shabby than chic I thought. So I stripped and painted them, and now I’m telling you all about it in fantastically gory detail. Lucky you.
Here’s the ugly “before” picture. If you look carefully you can see tea rings.
To do the stripping I used a heat gun, and a paint scraper.
The heat gun blows out hot air, much like a hair dryer, only it’s hotter and more focussed. You just heat the paint so it bubbles a bit, and then scrape it off with your scraper.
Also like a hair dryer, the heat gun has different settings for different levels of heat. I used the highest setting throughout as I was happy to accept a little bit of toasting, and I wanted to get through the job as quickly as possible.
Btw I wouldn’t recommend this method for older or more precious furniture. Firstly old paint may contain lead, and heating it would cause the lead to come out in the fumes. Secondly, a little bit of toasting is inevitable unless you’re very patient and careful. The alternative is using a chemical stripper.
After much heating and scraping I end up with this sorry specimen. Don’t worry, that black stuff isn’t severe toasting, it’s where the wood has previously been stained in order to achieve that shabby look when the top layer of paint rubs off. I figured I could just paint over it.
Now for base coating. A base coat is a water based paint that provides a good surface for the oil based top coat to stick to. It also helps seal in any resin in the wood, and even out colour tones for a better finish.
Did you spot the sandpaper? I used that to clean up the table of scraggly bits of left over paint.
Once you’re done you can clean your brush in water. Or if you’re not quite done you can leave it overnight in a plastic bag, and carry on where you left off the next day. That’s my handy tip.
Now it’s base coated. See, completely different to how it was before!
No honest, it’s completely different, because the old paint was designed to flake off the furniture, and this stuff is going to stick. Perfect for the top coat. I went for yellow because I wanted something to brighten up the room. The shade is safe though, I wasn’t looking to make a statement here, (what would the statement be? I am yellow?).
Water won’t cut it for cleaning gloss paint from brushes, you have to use something like white spirits or turpentine. Also, another annoying thing – I find that gloss paint takes about 2 days to dry.
Here’s the “after” picture. Ta-da!!
Okay, it’s not that marvellous. But I think it matches in kind of well with the rest of the room and gives it a bit of a lift.
Also, I made some cute coasters for them. They’re just knitted squares of brightly coloured wool.
Here’s the view from my side
And here’s the view from his side
There’s a distressed Venus Flytrap on my side, which is happily showing it’s distress by flowering. I don’t know how to make it happy, so I guess I’ll just have to enjoy the brief show before it dies.