Friday, May 30, 2014

A Paint Makeover!

I've been meaning to paint this cabinet in my bathroom for a couple years now, ever since the day I got some help cleaning and my helper mistook the wood peeking through the finish for dirt. The last of the paint that was there gave in to the scrubbing and left a gash of bare particle board. It's not that we spent a lot on the cabinet but I've seen the power a fresh coat of paint can have in the past, so I thought that might be cheaper. And, hey, the way I paint, it wouldn't take any longer than going to the store, shelling out the cash, and assembling and mounting a new one. Now that sounds exhausting! So, paint it is.

In case you have a piece of old furniture laying around that you're considering putting on the curb, I thought I'd show you how easy a paint makeover can be. Nothing fancy here, just basics, but it's enough to help you through a small starter project like this one.

Here's the requisite before picture:
Ain't she a beauty?

I like to keep my painting simple. I have a few cans of paint around because we're repainting most of our walls and ceilings, so I picked one of the colors that would match the bathroom's color scheme (white and blue - I picked a light bluish grey) and saved myself an extra trip to the store.

Paint brush
Paint guard (more about that shortly)
Paint (I use acrylic for easier clean up)

Wipe down the surface you're going to paint to get rid of any dirt. Consider lightly sanding it to score the last finish on it and make your paint more likely to stick. I did not, and because of this, I had to do two coats to cover the places where the paint pulled away from itself into streaks.

If there are places you don't want to paint - the wall, in my case - it's best to have something in place to keep your paint where it belongs. This is where I've used painter's tape in the past, but that always seemed like such a pain... and a little ineffective, because paint always found its way around the tape, anyway. Enter my latest home improvement discovery: the paint guard.

You hold this piece of plastic along the edge, and it protects the wall while allowing you to get right up to it. It's plastic, so it wipes clean easily, and it's easy to get in place. Just be careful not to drag it against painted surfaces and to keep the wall side of it clean. Since this cabinet is bolted to the wall, this was very helpful. Oh, did I mention? It cost less than $2.

For the beginner, make sure to paint your way out of corners and not into them, lest you bump your hand/brush into spots you've already finished. As you paint, make sure your brushstrokes go off the edge of the piece so you don't end up wiping gobs of paint off on your corners. For example, in the picture above, you'd want to pull the brush to the right, off the edge, and then start the next stroke somewhere in the middle of the surface. Keep in mind that your brushstrokes will probably be visible after you're done, so after you get the paint on the surface (which sometimes involves weird strokes to get paint into corners, etc), run your brush lightly over it to make nice, neat brushstrokes. Also, if you're painting over screws or other raised surfaces, check them repeatedly to find drips and brush them up before they harden into an eyesore.

Painting this cabinet took me under an hour. Considering it would've taken a couple hours worth of pay to purchase a new cabinet, and this cabinet will now last us a few more years, I consider it time well-spent.

What painting project are you most proud of?

Your Sister

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