Room: Ta-da the new, powder room (bathroom)!

What surprised me about this remodel is I came into it with a plan – and much of that plan was thrown out! It became important to be flexible and it’s one reason the room took longer then expected. Although the room wasn’t quite what I had originally imagined… it’s far better!

As we progressed, it became clear that some things weren’t going to work out. The cream color for the cabinets just didn’t look good with the bright blue of the walls; the bird paintings were too yellow and square for the vertical height of the wall (and were moved to the hallway outside the bathroom), the first, selected light fixture was going to be too dark for the light feeling of the room, and the dark mirror frame got changed to silver.

See the gallery of the new bathroom!

 

Thoughts on this room ~

For some time, I’ve felt that the height of the room (9 feet) needed to be featured. We did that with a speciality, pearl paint (Winter Blue Fox from Lowes) in a metallic silver for the ceiling, two patterns of crown moulding and a cabinet that reached all the way to the ceiling. Vertical artwork also draws your eye upwards.

Originally we had picked a stock vanity but I kept looking for a unique table that we could use instead. This became a big headache because the space was so small that most dressers (at 34-36″ were too wide) and end tables were too low. Persistence paid off when we found this table at an antiques mall in another city. Stripped, sanded, and redone in the grey to match the cabinet it is topped with Italian marble and a vessel sink.

For such a small room, it was expensive, time consuming and a pain in the neck. While I think it turned out lovely, I’ll be glad to work on some larger bathroom projects that don’t need as many changes.

Total remodel cost ($1400):

Wall finish– Lowes’ Venetian Plaster Aquamarina #67. Because we started with flat walls, one gallon did the job ($40).

Ceiling – Lowes Pearl paint (Blue Winter Fox) with crown moulding ($80).

Vanity ($120) – with marble top ($250), vessel sink ($125), and a new faucet ($150)

Overjohn cabinetextended height size with molding and wood, repainted, and new door pulls ($150).

Base Moulding – removed and replaced with larger molding ($20). Painted Chef White (from available paint)

Fixtures and extras – lighting fixture ($25), mirror ($60), towels and towel bar, toilet paper hanger, toilet bowl brush, trash can ($60).

ArtArtwork from Bed, Bath and Beyond (bought with $5 off coupons for $20 each small, $40 for the large) $120.

Toilet – The one chosen for the downstairs powder room is a space saver, quiet flush from Jacuzzi ($200).

This bathroom is now finished except for a few extra touches such as a towel bar and a soap dispenser — whew!!

Project: converting table to a bathroom vanity 1

On a recent trip out of the city, we found an antique table ($120) that will be converted for the vanity in the powder room remodel. When we got it home, it looked even better then we thought!

 

In the past I’ve used Handi-Strip and personally have had little luck with it. Lately, I’ve started using NEXT paint stripper as it is biodegradable and actually works! However, it does go on thin and it also needs time. Use a paint thinner to remove the residue the stripper leaves. 

Since we will be using a glaze, it’s important for every groove to be well defined. A variety of tools were used: a metal bristle brush, hand held sanding blocks with a slanted edge, metal scraper, bendable steel brush pads, and the Mouse Sander.

Before sanding we fixed one of the pieces on the decorative trim by recyling off a piece we had taken off the drawer front (we won’t be using the drawer so it was removed). It was attached with glue and finishing nails; put through pre-drilled holes and then gently tapped down.

4th from left to right is damaged
new piece in front ready to be glued

Luckily, all four spindle pieces (one in each corner) were in good condition. If not, we would have moved the two that would be against the wall to the front (the best ones) and not replaced the back spindles.

Next, a coat of latex enamel priming paint, tinted gray, was applied with a bristled brush. A foam brush would have worked but I find they start to split when using it to push into recessed spaces. Spraypaint primer would have also worked, but I just prefer paint. Of course a professional, spray paint application would have been optimum.

All the lovely detail emerges
primed table ready for sanding

Paint brush marks are slightly visible but are not after being hand-sanded with Fine grade sandpaper. Special attention is paid to the grooves, spindles and decorative trim as these areas will highlight the glaze endcoat. The tabletop is unimportant as it will be covered with granite when converted to the bathroom vanity.

Primer is left to dry for 24 hours before the first THIN layer of semi-gloss latex paint (Valspar Waverly Classics – Gull W38006A) is applied with a foam roller. When loading the roller, do not saturate it with paint. Bring it down and get it slightly wet, then roll it in the upper portion of the tray (where the paint does not sit) to get it evenly covered.

The first coat is lightly sanded (Fine) and left to dry for 24 hours. Second coat is also lightly worked with with steel wool. It’s important that all drips, if any were made, are removed.

TIP: When painting a table, I like to put it upside down on sawhorses for the first coat; then I flip the table right side up and work on any missed areas. Working upside down seems to minimize the chance of missing drips vs. if you had started working with the table right side up.

Next, a layer of Valspar’s Antiquing Glaze (ready made black glaze from Lowes) is applied. It has a 15 minute working time so if you need more time, dilute it with the transculent mixing glaze it adds more working time. This paint color and glaze was the same as used on the cabinets in the bathroom.

Finally, two top protective coats are applied in a water-based, varnish. If applying a varnish over latex paint, it must be water-based or you’ll end up with some nasty bubbling and/or yellowing. Varnish also needs to be applied with a nice brush, not a roller. First coat is sanded (Very Fine) before the last coat.

The top of the table isn’t worked with glaze because in the end it will be covered with a marble top once it is fitted into the bathroom as the vanity. Not quite done… still have to select the marble countertop, the vessel sink and the faucet for it to become the downstairs, powder room vanity.

How-To: painting furniture 5 ~ paint combinations

There are as many ways to create your piece of painted furniture as there are minds out there to create it! Before proceeding on a painting project, it’s helpful to do a search for other images that can help you decide on color, pattern, style and technique.

Here’s a sampling of some excellent examples of basic painted furniture designs to get you started.

BTW, featured projects were used with permission. Photos remain the property of their author. Click on any photo to go directly to the furniture’s home blog post which gives details of the project.

Solid color~ one color on a furniture piece can be a statement – especially if you want to go loud and colorful! The key is size, color and finish. Here’s a fantastic trio of red tables (spraypaint) by Janette Drost.

Just be aware that one solid color, whether that color is black or firehouse red, can become overwhelming on a huge piece such as an armoire, hutch or bookshelf. Use distressing, a glaze, or another color to give really large pieces more interest.

Two colors – For really large pieces, such as hutches, Secretary desks and bookshelves, using two colors can give more vibrancy to a piece that would have been boring if all in one shade.

I’m especially loving pieces that combine painting with a stained counter/desktop. Too many painted pieces in a room becomes a bit boring. Here is a fantastically, subtle piece by Gloria Fox at Potentially Beautiful. Be sure to read the blog post for details on how she brought out it’s full potential (including an unexpected glazing color over the white).

Check out this bold look with contrasting drawers of this dresser by DeVore. This really gives a modern, geometric feel to a piece and I love her knob selection.

Contrasting backs – I really like having a contrasting back to a bookshelf or hutch. Backings can be stenciled, use fabric or wallpaper, or just be painted/stained a complimentary color.

Check out B.E. interiors secret surprise armoire ~ a lining of fabric makes it a delightful jewel box.

Here’s my secretary desk project, with fabric on the backing of the hutch area.

 

Want it more subtle? My black bookshelves have a stained back. Afraid of stain? Try a gel stain – it’s easier to apply and use.

Distressed by sanding with two colors – This method takes two colors: an undercoat and a topcoat which will contrast. JMO but I’d recommend hand sanding (not using the electric sander) to reveal the undercoat because an electric sander can sometimes take off too much until you get used to how it works.

Here is another winner by Miss Mustard Seed… see the post for comparisons of Chalk Paint vs. Milk Paint projects. How much you want to distress back will be determined by how primitive you want your piece to look and she has a large variety of distressed examples on this post.

JMO but those with simpler forms with a more country look look better with more distressing, while ornate, carved pieces such as French Provincal look better with minor distressing and glaze.

Distressed black with rubbed stain – one of my favorite combinations: paint black, distressed with sanding, and then the bare wood is stained for aging. For example, Walnut stain makes a beautiful contrast to black.

Proper and Prim has a lovely black cabinet with a classic style of distressed finish. This style could fit any sort of country – American, English or French. Note how she sanded the area where the cabinet knobs go to simulate natural wearing.

I have a DIY post about how this technique is done using the legs of the dining room table.

Chippy (paint flaking) – have you seen that old furniture where the paint has chipped off in bits? Similar to the two color sanding effect for distressing, this also uses two colors.  Where it differs, is the paint is not rubbed off in streaks or batches but chipped off with a tool.

Have a dark base and put on some white, and start chunking off the top paint. White over something dark seems to be a favorite combination and The Painted Hive uses a secret weapon to achieve it.

Color base with contrasting pattern – such as stripes, diamonds, etc…

Lori at Mud Pie Studio sports a diamond pattern on the side of a desk with a contrasting stained desktop. Her blog post gives complete details and a photo essay of how it was done.

What I especially like about this piece is the restraint she used – she could have put polka dots over here, added contrasting painted drawer fronts and put on neon knobs! Instead, it’s tasteful, classic but interesting – a piece that will last a long time, no matter how the room changes.

Want it brighter? Check out this bureau featuring an Argyle pattern on never a dull day.

Color base with contrasting image – vine, bird on branch, clock face, etc…

This reverse, custom stencil project is easier then it first appears. Step-by-step instructions by artist, Lena Corwin show how to make it happen for you (scroll down on the article).

Birds are very hot right now in decorating. Check out Christina’s classic white-gray-gray desk with bird stencil all done on a non-existent budget.

JMO but where stencils go wrong is where they try to appear as if the item is “real” – it’s not still life painting 101! Go with stencils that are contrasting between two colors to give the impression of a form or outline, rather then trying to imitate a photograph.

Decoupage – newspaper, letters, stamps, postcards, maps, posters, etc….

A sidetable sweet enough to sing by Miss Mustard Seed. Applying sheet music to the tabletop she goes the extra step with some distressing and an aging topcoat you can read about on her blog post.

Some things I really like about this piece is that the size of the table makes it versatile: as a side table to a couch or chair, as well as something that could be tucked in a corner on it’s own or settled next to a desk. The color makes it a piece that will last forever no matter how you change your future style!

Sarah and Nathan used an Italian calendar for a beautiful little desk that makes you dream of holidays when doing your homework!

This is just a sampling of the many ideas you can use to create your own treasure!

How-To: painting furniture 4 ~ selecting paint

When selecting paint (other then spraypaint) your options fall into two, broad catagories:

1.) Oil based paint. Nowadays it’s almost impossible to find for interior use though is still commonly used with stains, primers and exterior paints.

Oil based paints are as durable as hell and was the choice for mouldings, cabinets, kitchens and bathrooms where hard usage was expected. They also take longer to dry so were great for those that wanted to play with the paint’s effects. I also think sometimes oil based paints give a richer color then latex.

If you can find it, oil based primers will give you a better base to work with then a similar product in latex. It should be applied with a brush, not a roller. Be sure to let it completely dry; I prefer overnight.

Oil based paints are more toxic then latex, require specialized disposal of it’s waste product, and needs paint thinner to clean the brushes vs. water for latex. When working with oil based products be sure to do so in a well ventilated area and wear a mask if not working outdoors.

Be aware of your city’s ordinances. Oil based paint cans usually have to be disposed of in a certain manner, as well as the waste product of paint and cleaning products to prevent ground water contamination.

JMO but if you are a casual DIY person who wants to do a couple of projects, I would skip straight to latex paints.

2.) Latex paints. For their ease of use and cleanup latex can’t be beat. However, because they do dry so quickly you can end up with more brush strokes, drips or errors. For most painting furniture projects you will most likely be working with latex.

NOTICE! There are some issues with combining latex and oil paints and primers. A primer can be oil-based and have a latex paint applied on top or another oil-based paint. If the primer is latex, it CANNOT have an oil based paint put on top.

For example, you put on a latex paint and then get an oil-based poly for the protective coat – wrong! This will cause issues later down the road because the oil is on top of the latex. A latex paint should have a water based poly coat or other water based protective product put on top, not something like varnish or shellac.

3.) Enamel can be either Latex or Oil based. Generally, it refers to a hard wearing paint that has a glossy finish. It is often used for mouldings, trim, cabinets and exterior uses.

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Interior vs. Exterior: Use Interior for furniture that will be kept indoors. Although, you may want to consider exterior for porch furniture as it is designed to deal with wet, rain, humidity and changes in temperature.

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Both latex and oil based paints come in different sheens. For example, flat, eggshell, semi-gloss and gloss. JMO but the paint guy and gals don’t really seem to understand how a furniture painter will be using their paint; most of the time their recommendations are wrong so read up and know what you want before you go.

Flat – not really appropriate for furniture projects. This paint sheen has little durability to being cleaned. Unless coated with some protective topcoat, it will show the most damage over time from use and cleaning. Goes the furthest in coverage. If you want to do a lot of walls, try this as the first undercoat to save money as Flat is cheaper then the other sheens.

Eggshell or Satin – A step up from flat, it is easier to clean. Some brands put Satin as a step up from Eggshell; just depends on the paint manufacturers. Depending on the brand of paint, this level of sheen may not be noticeable – it can almost be too subtle in shine. The shine is mostly seen when you are looking at the surface from an angle.

It’s a personal choice, but for me, this sheen does not provide enough durability or shine. I’ve used this on walls and as long as you don’t have kids, it’s okay. For kid areas, high traffic areas, or kitchen/baths go up to semi-gloss.

Semi-gloss – My personal favorite. It has more durability then satin and cleans easily. Traditionally used in high traffic areas such as kitchens, baths, moulding, doors etc…. As exterior paint, often used on shutters, doors, trims and porch ceilings.

Because of the increased shine, it does show off imperfections of the piece. It also costs more then the lower shine options, and needs more paint to finish the project then flat, eggshell or satin.

Gloss – Because of it’s high shine, you may find that in your furniture painting projects it shows every mistake and imperfection. It would be most appropriate for smaller projects – small side tables – or surfaces you expect a lot of wear and tear – such as a table top. Often used on door trim, window trim, cabinets, and bannisters.

Keep in mind:

As sheen increases — durability and cleanability increases.

As sheen increases – coverage decreases. The more shiny the paint, the more coats it will take to achieve complete coverage. This is where using a tinted primer can help you cut costs on your furniture painting projects.

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A word about paint brands – I’ve used stuff from Lowes, Home Depot, Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams. JMO but there really isn’t a great deal of difference between them EXCEPT when you are buying their lower quaility store paints.

Where I see a great deal of difference is the color options provided by these stores. It’s why I generally go by color choice and not store when selecting paint. Buy good quality paint and, irregardless of the brand, it will look great if applied to a piece that has been correctly sanded, repaired and primed.

For most furniture projectsInterior, Latex Semi-Gloss applied over an oil based primer (if you choose a primer) and protected with wipe on poly for dark colors or polycrylicfor light colors will do well.

How-To: painting furniture 3 ~ painting tools

I’d like to take a moment to talk about what tools you’ll need to apply your paint…

Brushes: don’t waste your money on cheap ones. Cheap brushes lose their bristles during the painting process and don’t clean up as easily. They also give a crappy, brush mark appearance to your job.

I prefer something from Purdy or Wooster and if you care for them they should last many jobs. My favorite size of brush is the Sash (2”) angled brush. I also have on hand a 1” (in photo), 2 ½”, and 3”, however, the 2” is the one I use most. The angled brush allows me to really penetrate into crevices and allows me to paint the edge of moulding without needing to tape off the wall.

bristled brush used to paint in detailed areas

If using latex paint, brushes can be cleaned with warm water. Here is an excellent article about how to care for your brushes. I’ve learned my lesson from reading his advice, so need to be better about caring for my tools.

If working with latex paint, wet the brush lightly before dipping into paint to extend the dry time; if oil paint, use paint thinner before dipping. Stopping for work but don’t want to clean the brush? Then wrap in a slightly wet rag for latex, slightly damp with paint thinner for oil, and place in plastic bag (remove as much air as possible) and put it out of the sun.

If you want to lessen brush marks from laxtex paint, try Floetrol. I saw this recommended on another blog.

Tips for minimizing or eliminating brush strokes:

1.) Use less paint then you think you need. Dip your brush into paint about 1/3 of the bristle length. Don’t put in the entire brush. The common mistake I see hubby making is too much paint on the brush and this lends to more visible strokes. It also leads to more drips!

2.) Brush strokes can often be “feathered out” before the paint dries.  Do one straight stroke and come back, stroking the paint outwards from the original line. This often reduces or eliminates the initial brush stroke.

3.) Come back over it with a 4″ foam roller before the paint has dried. If I am painting large flat areas (front of dresser, top of dresser etc…) I start with a 4″ foam roller over a paintbrush anyway.

4.) Brush strokes are usually more visible on the priming coat. Since this becomes covered with another coat it generally doesn’t concern me. I just sand smooth and put on the next coat with a roller. Another option would be to prime with a spray.

5.) Brush strokes are often found where you begin and end. Begin the stroke off the project, “land” and then lift off at the end with one smooth slide.

Foam Rollers: for furniture painting, I find the 4” foam rollers for cabinets and doors fantastic for working over large flat surfaces such as table tops however, grooved and detailed areas I use a brush or a spray. They are also excellent for painting doors as their name suggests.

cabinet door foam roller to paint furniture

Foam Brushes: I rarely use these for an entire painting project anymore as they disintegrate too rapidly. However, they can be great to use for touchups and for squishing paint into corners and crevices. To avoid brush marks, apply paint with the tip and then feather away with the side of the foam applicator.

Speciality Brushes: Depending on how creative you are going to be you might need some brushes specifically to fit a purpose such as these stencil brushes.

Sprayer: this would be a machine you load in your paint of choice and then spray it. I’ve used one to paint a large trio of bookshelves and for a room’s walls. They have their big pluses and big drawbacks.

PROS – completes job quickly; gives an even spray; great for carved or highly decorative pieces, and makes a huge job be finished in little time. If I was working on a new house where the flooring hadn’t gone in yet, this would be my choice for painting walls or exterior. If I had a garage dedicated to painting furniture and could set up a corner with drop clothes covering the walls and a turntable for the furniture to sit upon, this would be my choice.

CONS – loads up with a huge amount of paint (actually lost half a gallon for the machine to load); spray goes everywhere (and I mean EVERYwhere! – be sure everything is taped off or you are working in a spray cabinet area); you need a professional machine – those sold at Lowes and Home Depot lead only to frustration; and not cost effective for small jobs.

Spraypaint: Working with a paintbrush is something I really enjoy. It’s like another person working in clay – I want to get my hands onto the project. It’s why I generally prefer liquid paint that is applied with a brush or roller over spraypaint.

PROS –
Fast
great for small jobs;
Great for projects that are metal or have a lot of curves, detail which would make using a brush difficult.
Has a lot of variety in speciality finishes (i.e. metallic, hammered, for glass etc…)
Works better over plastic, laminates, glass and ceramics then liquid paint.

CONS –
it’s far more expensive to use spraypaint primer project after project then to buy a can of primer. For example, for $10 I still have gray primer left in a can for many more projects vs. the one can of spraypaint primer which is already used up on one job (and didn’t even cover that one job).
The color choices are very limited and I prefer having paint chips to choose from.
Drips are extremly difficult to deal with as it dries so quickly.
Take the stench and the toxicity very seriously.
It also oversprays into other areas, despite drop cloths, as my garage will testify.
Disposal is a serious problem if your city requires payment for toxic paints (and mine does).
Used on metal, laminate or plastic, scratches will easily reveal the undercoat, original layer (I have yet to see one blog or DIY state how to avoid this – would love to know – Krylon recommends sanding prior to get a better attachment).

spray primer to cover pine knots

While I’m not a fan of spraypaint I have started using it on smaller projects just because of it’s ease of use. However, I still would not use it on a large project such as a dresser or a hutch. The cost factor alone would make it infeasible.

Spray paint links ~

FAQ on spraypaint from Centsational Girl

Video of spraypainting techniques by Centsational Girl

Pros and Cons of Spraypaint from Centsational Girl.

How to: painting furniture 2 ~ abrasive tools

It’s unusual for me not to do one quick sand over on a piece before starting a paint job. It’s just been my experience that without sanding, you run the real risk of your colored paint job peeling or scraping off because it did not adhere properly. I’d rather be safe, then sorry.

Definitely sand a piece if: has a glossy surface, seems slick on the surface, has roughness or unevenness, has defects that are bumps, if you plan on staining – not painting, is stained, or if you want a very smooth looking final product.

Skip to a priming coat if: the piece is laminate, Formica, or veneer. Plan on at least two priming coats and definitely look for an oil-based primer either in a spray (if the item is heavily carved or ornate) or liquid to be applied with a brush. Any oil based primer should be applied in a very well ventilated room.

Back in the heyday of lovely stained furniture, a woodworker would “go through the grits” – which means they started with a rougher sandpaper (such as a 40-60) and then to a medium (80-120), to fine (150-180), and lastly a super fine (220-600). The point of this was to remove any marks made in the wood and to highlight it’s grain to perfection. With painted pieces all the tedious grit work in a painted piece will not be needed.

An example, would be on an oak project. I would start with 80, then 120, both with my electric palm sander. At this point I most likely put on a priming coat and/or the first two layers of paint. Then I sand with a handblock at about 220. Before the last coat of topcoat I might work the surface again with steel wool (depending on how fine I want the surface to be).

Orbital Sander – is an electric sander that moves in random circles. Sandpaper sheets are applied to the face and removed when used up.  If you plan on doing more then a couple of projects, or plan on painting furniture for re-sale, I would highly recommend buying one.

Use on projects that have large flat areas to work such as desk tops, bureau sides and tops, buffet sides and tops, hutches sides and shelves etc… A great piece of equipment for the first sanding and stripping.

Palm or Pad Sander – a smaller sander that can also be orbital. My Black and Decker Mouse is a one-hand sander which I use on a lot of my projects. It has a pointed tip that makes it easier to get in or rounded corners of desktops. If you are a more of an occassional DIY person, this smaller machine may fit your needs better.

Unless you are really good with your electric sander I would skip using it as a distresser – the risk is that you will take off too much. All it takes is one careless moment and that sander has ripped through a finish you worked hard to achieve.

shown here with scrubbing pad

Hand Sanding Sponges or Blocks – useful for areas where your electric sander can’t reach. I also like to use hand sanding sponges for the final sanding before the last topcoat and to do distressing techniques. Angled sanding blocks (like the one in photo below in green) are great for getting into grooves.

Steel Wool – very helpful if you want a glowing final finish, especially desirable for tabletops. Generally, if I use it (I don’t always) I do it before the last topcoat is applied. If your piece has collected some hair and dust which you want removed without damaging the paint coat, use steel wool.

Wood Rasps – these are helpful for taking off a lot of wood surface to make something level such as a room’s door that is sticking in it’s frame or a tabletop surface that needs to be leveled. More for the person who is taking their projects from casual to the next level.

Chemical Strippers – JMO I find are more trouble then they are worth. However, for removing stain or getting into highly carved areas, chemical strippers work better then sanding. In terms of brands, I’m using NEXT at this time but feel free to experiment.

After the stripper, you may need to use paint thinner to remove the gunk buildup that a stripper leaves behind. I also find wire bristled tools helpful in scrubbing out residue.

Wire Bristled Tools – use wire, not plastic. Helpful in removing gunk and layers in your carved areas.

Tacky Clothes – if you are sanding, then you need to remove all the dust. While you might want to skip this step remember that any dust left behind will get into the next layer of paint or topcoat, dulling your final product.

When sanding, wear protective eyewear (who wants a splinter in their eyeball!) and a paper mask to prevent breathing in the dust.

People are often confused about when to sand and when not too. So here are some more examples of how the procedure would work for a typical piece (remember, all projects are unique in what condition the original wood was):

Example One: vanity table (oak with pine top) was originally stained. This piece was stripped with the electric palm sander on the tabletop and chemical stripper on the legs. It was primed and painted once before being sanded again: the top with 180 electric sander, and the legs with a sanding sponge. After a final coat of paint it was given a very light, overall sanding with 220 sanding sponge before glaze was applied. Lastly, two coats of wipe on poly.

Example Two: Secretary desk (pine) was originally painted with a light color wash. There was no topcoat. I first spray primed the pine knots. Then I primed in gray and painted one coat of black. Did a first sanding with a hand sanding sponge of 220 because the pine was very thin. Two more coats of black, thinly applied with a 4″ foam roller. Steel wool was used before the final coat of wipe on poly on the sides of the piece where decorative stencil was located.

Example Three: Oak cabinet was originally stained with a varnish top coat. A light sanding resulted in this project becoming stalled – the first layer of paint was easily peeled off. I went back and did a more aggressive sanding, removing all shiny surface. In this case, if I was re-doing it, I would have put on an oil primer before the paint.

After two layers of paint, it was lightly sanded with a 220 sponge block. It was then glazed. After glazing, two coats of wipe on poly. If this had been a bathroom with a shower/bath, I would have put on a different type of paint and topcoat; something more heavy duty such as oil.