Craigslist Armoire: Part 2 – Sanding and Painting

Admittedly, I have little patience for prep work. I want to get through all the sanding and cleaning and jump right to the step where the paint goes on and the transformation begins. Luckily, Bryan forces me to take the time to do all this less fun stuff because it always makes the difference between a just okay project and a really great one.

For this project, we got 150 grit sandpaper for Bryan’s sander.  The piece was in pretty good shape with a smooth finish.  We didn’t have to do much repair work so we just wanted to take off the polished finish that sealed the ugly yellow spotted finish so the paint could adhere better.

We used the sander to go over all the large flat areas of the armoires.

We could even get some of the smaller and narrow parts with the sander as well.

Smaller and more inaccessible areas we sanded by hand.  Afterwards – all surfaces we cleaned up with a damp paper towel first, followed by a thorough wipe down with tack cloth.

This stuff is essential for any refinishing project.  Its super sticky cloth that will pick up all the little particles of dust and dirt, as well as all the bits you just freshly sanded off.  Its good to do the damp paper towel step first to get the bulk of the nasties up so the tack cloth can really work its magic on the teeny tiny specks.

After the wood was all sanded and cleaned – we were finally ready for paint! I got all the grey swatches I could carry from Home Depot so I could pick just the perfect shade.  Like as was said earlier, the room is pretty small and there is going to be quite a lot of furniture in there (what with the bed, two armoires, one large vintage dresser, and a small nightstand dresser, as well as a full sized mirror) so I didn’t want these armoires to feel too visually heavy.

One of the tricks I’ve learned about decorating small rooms, especially if you need a lot of furniture in them to allow for them to function as needed, is to make sure the larger pieces are in a similar value and hue to the wall treatment.  This will help them blend in and recede instead of popping and demanding a lot of attention.

Like I said earlier – I didn’t pick my wall color, so the color scheme would have to work with the existing palette.  I wound up picking a light Martha Stewart grey called Driftwood Grey for the outside and a Glidden white called Swan White for the interior.

I had both colors mixed into Berh’s Paint + Primer and got a quart of each.

Bryan convinced me that we should try using high density foam rollers for this project.  I have to admit – I totally resisted this idea.  I absolutely despise foam chip brushes.  They always fall apart on me and make me cry in the middle of a project.  I was not looking forward to a repeat performance.  But the guy generally has good ideas so I let him take the lead on this one.

The verdict? THEY ARE AWESOME! Seriously. Super awesome! The finish is amazingly smooth and the coverage is great.  I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the old kind of rollers.  I have to wonder how they would work on dry wall (note: I don’t think, or rather, I have no idea if you are even supposed to use them on drywall).  Definitely recommend for a project like this though.

So finally – painting.  First night, we tried to do all the work outside.  But as the sun set and we were trying to paint in the dark, we realized this plan wasn’t so great.  The fact that the next night forecasted rain didn’t bode any better for this plan.  So we went from fuzzy night shots outside:

(note: it actually was pretty dark out when I took this.  I just use a super duper Canon Mark II 5D that handles low light conditions pretty well, you could say)

To super crowded shots in incandescent light in our small sun room:

(another note: see the sanded armoire in the background?)

So after what seemed like two full weeks of sanding and painting in a very small sunroom, we finally finished painting the armoires! And they looked kinda like this:

Actually as you can see – these needed touch ups still but these were the shots I took of the nearly complete painting step.

You’ll also notice that I didn’t take much care to protect those wirey bits from getting grey paint all over it.  I’m not sure exactly what the plan is for those yet – but they need to be popped out, cleaned really well and refinished (or removed entirely) so I didn’t let that slow me down.

Next step: staining!