Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Show & Tell: How to Not Stain a Dresser


I have had this dresser done for a few weeks now, but I finally remembered to change the knobs out, so I can post a true "after" post.

This was one of those projects that I thought would be done in a day or so. Then I kept making stupid mistakes, so it was a week long cursing adventure. So, if my daughter tells you a four letter word you know where it came from. Just kidding. I don't work on projects until they are sleeping or gone. Those words clearly come from my husband being a Minnesota Twins fan. (aka a disease called "Gardy Rage")

I got this dresser from my favorite in-laws basement. (Many great finds to be found there at the outstanding price of free) I found some inspiration pictures and decided I'd paint the outside with the super duper neat Annie Sloan paint in Providence (can you tell I got a couple of sample pots?), and leave the drawers some nice dark natural wood.

So. Stain. I don't get along with stain. I try to talk to it reasonably. I try to follow all the directions it gives me, but no matter what, Stain just uses and abuses me.

I stripped the wood. I sanded down the wood. I applied the stain exactly how it instructed me on the label and 40+ YouTube videos, and it hated me. It just sat there sticky and ugly for days. I now think that I probably didn't get all the way down to the natural wood.

Okay Stain. I realize "it's not you, it's me."

Sometimes, you should just stop and realize that you aren't good at something. Like my husband and dancing. Just stop and go back to what you know. Instead, I decided that a bad stain job just needed some more stain. Black dark gooey stain.

After I had stained the dresser and myself, I sat back and looked at the finished result. Bleh. It actually didn't photograph terribly, but in person it looked like a person had tried to faux finish stain with black paint....or a crayon.

Now that you've got two coats of stain (and whatever else under all that), what would you do? Oh, you would just attempt to put 3 coats of DIY white chalk paint on top? Me too! Then you'd attempt to distress it while the paint is still wet so you scrap off four layers of gunk and have a huge gouge in the surface? Brilliant!

At this point, I've spent countless hours just being stupid and impatient. I decided this was a job that required me to go back to the fundamentals. I stopped messing around, ordered some Annie Sloan paint in cream and waited by the mailbox. When the paint arrived, instead of just slapping another coat on (which to be honest, I actually thought of doing), I did the adult thing and sanded everything down to the actual real bare wood.

I'm sitting there with the paint ready to go, and I'm thinking...well I'm pretty much at the bare wood, maybe I should try staining again. 
Thankfully somewhere in my brain someone slapped me into reality, and I stuck with what I know. I love the finished product. I spray painted the original gold knobs white to use when I was still thinking I was going to master staining. I didn't like the white on cream, so I saved those knobs for a different project and grabbed my favorite garage sale find knobs. 

Difference between the two knobs. I switched to the silver.


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