Month of Makeovers Day 15: Painted furniture FAIL

This should be a simple DYI post. I have furniture. I have paint. Put them together and it all looks great! (You, too, can try this safely in your own home!)



This is the painting day where some things turn out right and some things get left for another day.

Let’s start with my makeover FAIL.

This past weekend I brought home a solid wood dresser from my parents’ basement. Just getting it into my Honda was an adventure in 3-dimensional thinking. It didn’t sell at any of my mother’s three yard sales. No other family member wanted it. I don’t have anywhere to put it in my house, but I wasn’t about to haul it to a thrift store because it has the most amazing huge glass knobs. Just look at these babies!

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OK, one has a chip on the edge. So? I bet knobs like this go for twenty-five bucks apiece in New York City. Maybe even more. You’d hang on to it, too, I bet. Or maybe you’d be smart and remove the knobs. I was not smart.

My father had started refinishing it and got as far as the top. I envisioned slathering the drawers and sides with creamy, jadeite green paint, leaving the wooden top intact. Picture that lovely color combination in your mind–jadeite and mahogany. I did. It looked real good in my fantasy with its faceted knobs glittering on green chalk-painted drawers. No sanding, no priming. Piece of cake. Have it done in a couple hours tops.


Shortly after the huge chest of drawers was sucking the space out my living room like a massive black hole, something about the “jadeite and mahogany” went “ping!” in my brain. I’ve worked with this kind of faux mahogany finish before. This kind of finish bleeds right through chalk paint and stains it pink. This kind of finish is a pain in the patooty.

I grabbed a smallish brush and slapped on some off-white paint as a test. Sure enough, the stain bleeds through. NO! Shoobydoobah! This is not how the story is supposed to go!

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Forget “easy afternoon project”. I’ll have to haul this massive wooden thing outside and sand it. Then it will need a coat of primer. And then, only then, will it be ready for paint. Ugh. Even with a hand truck I couldn’t move it outside by myself. This is not happening today.

I should get a screwdriver and take off those knobs, then haul the carcass away. But I’m thinking about the four red casters I found in my dad’s hardware stash and how cool they’ll look at the bottom of the jadeite and sparkly glass and chocolatey mahogany. I’m pathetic. “Okay,” I say to my disappointed self, “All is not lost. I’ll move on to the extra chairs and save the chest of drawers for another day.”

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I’ve had these two folding chairs for a long time. They’re great for more seating at big dinner parties. I painted one of them a couple years ago but didn’t finish it. I remember it wasn’t complicated. I should have plenty of time to paint and finish both chairs.

The 1960s vinyl comes off after I pry out a couple dozen staples. The original 1940s orange vinyl is hidden underneath. I like it, but it has to go. It’s beat up and doesn’t match anything else I own. My house has enough of a color circus going on without adding more to the mix.

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Of course I give the chair a coat of jadeite paint. (This is my own customized Annie Sloan paint. You can’t buy it. Sorry!) With all the fiddly bits it takes close to an hour to complete. Most of the paint is dry as I fuss over the last few decorative cutouts and the metal folding mechanism.

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The next step should be wax. I never waxed the first chair so I go pull it out of storage. I’ll get both done at the same time.

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Well surprise, surprise! The chair I had stowed away wasn’t green. It’s BLUE! FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! I could have sworn I’d painted it green! It’s going to take nearly an hour to repaint it. I’m tired. It’s nearly 10. I’m going to throw in the towel and head to bed. You’ll have to wait for the big reveal in another post!

See the entire list of projects for our Month of Makeovers HERE.

2 Comments on “Month of Makeovers Day 15: Painted furniture FAIL”

  1. I like that they’re different colours and I love the orange with them!

    • Janeray says:

      Thank you! The orange is really awesome, but it’s in worse shape than you can see in the photos. I’m leaning toward red because I’ve got so much red in the house already. BTW, love your blog!