All posts tagged refinish furniture

Baby Boy’s Nursery

Baby boy is almost here and it’s time to get the nursery done!

My son and his wife are expecting a baby boy soon. She wants a nautical nursery and he wants a pirate nursery. I know there’s a way to make both happen and still make it a room to grow in. I’m not a big fan of decorating with the commercial/licensed characters. It limits the future. Kids grow and change and I like a room that will do that too. Hopefully they agree.

We are starting with some old furniture. I made a changing table/cabinet for my first granddaughter about 9 years ago. Wow… time does fly! I worked for a woodworking magazine at the time and was lucky enough to be able to build anything, as long as it could be done in a weekend. I broke the nursery into several projects; cabinet, changing table, valances/shelves, lamp, knobs, clothes hooks. All great, but flowers and butterfly shapes won’t work for a boys room. Along the way the changing table was lost, but the cabinet was in good shape, it just needs sanding and painting. The crib is borrowed and has a dark stain finish. We’ll keep that in mind.

Climbing up in the attic I found the toy box that my father-in-law had made for my son thirty years ago. Made from fir with a plywood curved top it should make a perfect chest in a pirate room. There are two blocks carved into the front that have my son’s initials. No name for the baby yet, so I won’t highlight the letters. The box has a few problems, but some glue and clamps will take care of the repairs. Once a color is chosen, it will get a new coat of paint.

new changing table top

Newly built changing table top.

I’ll start with building another changing table and figure out colors later. My son is on the lookout for a dresser that will have the pirate vibe. I’m not sure what that is, but that’s on his list of to-do’s.

I spent one day building the changing table and repairing the toy box. The next day I would sand the white cabinet down to prepare for painting. If I’m starting with new wood like the changing table, I have found that it is best to seal the wood by staining it with a dark stain. I let that dry overnight and started again in the morning.

During this time a plain pine dresser was found and delivered. All it needed was a good sanding and it would be ready for painting too.

Black and white striped baby afghan with anchor

Hand knitted black and white striped baby afghan with red anchor and trim.

pine dresser

Pine dresser is ready to refinish with just a little sanding.

Now to colors… red and black have been mentioned but I’m having a hard time picturing that for a nursery. For a shower gift I knit a black and white striped blanket, added a red anchor in the center and trimmed around the edge with red. I liked the look of that…maybe this would work!

I started getting a vision of the room after seeing that the kids bought some prints of nautical items sketched on old, yellowed pages. I thought that using ticking fabric in the room would be perfect with them. Red or black, didn’t know yet, so I went to the fabric store and got samples of red and navy blue ticking. I could not find black ticking anywhere. My first thought was to use the ticking for curtains and basket liners. Trying to explain what ticking was to my son was fun, he didn’t understand what I was describing. Finally  I sent him a photo of the samples. He called to say, “Mom, all you had to say was stripes!” I still can’t believe I didn’t lead with that, before trying to explain the difference between just normal stripes and the ticking pattern. Oh well.

So, keeping in mind that the look was to be nautical, but old and worn, I painted color samples on a scrap of wood. The bedroom is an off-white color and since the house is a rental we couldn’t do much with the walls.  So color on the furniture was the way to go. Black and red would put a spin on the nautical theme and make it  a little more pirate. I started with painting a red layer with black over it, then sanding it to give it that old and worn look. Then I did the reverse of that, black with red over it. I also gave them an option with navy blue. The navy wasn’t as vibrant as the red and black though.

Since I had a new project to work on it was time to hit the thrift stores. Not that I need an excuse, but it does save me money and gives me ideas too. The local Hospice shop is a mile away and my favorite place. Watch for the discount days and the bargains are even better! I went in looking for anything that might work for the nursery. Back in the corner is where they hang the drapes and other linens they have for sale. I couldn’t believe it, but I found two panels of a natural color floor length drapes with a valance piece. The tops folded over the rod and were held down with tan buttons across the front. It looked so perfect to me…and it was 60% off! I went ahead and bought them all for $14!

The drapes were pretty much the same color as the walls so I had to re-think my plan. The crib was dark stained, so I’d make a stained curtain rod to match the finials I found at the thrift shop. Buy woven baskets that are different colors of brown to put in the cabinet. I could line the baskets with the red and blue ticking and use cotton cording for the ties in the liners. Still had to figure out the window wall. I’ll think on that as I paint the furniture.

It was decided that we’d go with red and black furniture. The changing table and cabinet would be painted red first with a black final coat and then distressed. The dresser carcass would be the same as the cabinet, but the drawers would be the opposite, black with red on top, as would the toy box. They would all work together, but not be overwhelmingly one color.

I set about painting the pieces that are going to have red underneath. I use a HVLP paint sprayer. It usually takes more time to clean the gun between coats that to spray all the pieces. But it’s so much nicer than using a brush! I can get two coats done, let it dry overnight and be ready to paint black the next day.

Black sprayed cabinet

Photo of the final black coat of paint over red under layer.

cabinet painted red

First coat of red paint on cabinet.

Before spraying the black paint over the red I took an old, white Christmas candle and rubbed it along the edges and anywhere else I wanted to age. You have to put enough wax on to be able to see it later, after the final coat of paint. The paint will not stick to where the wax is and when sanded lightly over the waxed areas you get a weathered, distressed look by having the first coat show through.

After spraying black over my red undercoats, I sprayed the drawers and toy box black for their first coats of paint. It was starting to get a little confusing, which needed what coat and when?! I separated them into different sections of the garage when I closed it for the night.

Meanwhile, I have had an idea for the window wall! How about we put a large ticking pattern on the wall. It will give some color to the wall (check with the landlord) and if its large we don’t have to make a lot of stripes. I made a sample board by using masking tape to tape off the stripes and used a stencil brush to get the uneven look that ticking stripes have. My original sample was in navy blue, but after seeing the furniture I made a red striped sample too.

Close-up of distressed changing table top

Close-up of the distressed paint on the changing table top.

Last coats of paint went on and after they dried overnight I sanded the edges of the pieces where I had rubbed the wax. I discovered a tip… When not so sure of where the wax is, just set the piece in the sun for a little while and the wax will soften and be easier to see!

Sanding and cleaning up took most of the morning. I had to pick up the plastic drop cloths and sweep the garage. My next step was to spray a finish over everything and I needed it as dust-free as possible.

nursery furniture freshly painted

Photo of freshly painted nursery furniture.

All set up now and ready to spray. I plan on putting 3 coats of finish on this furniture. It is after all going in a little boy’s bedroom. Luckily it’s nice weather to spray in. I use a water-based finish and it dries fast. I can do at least 2 coats with what’s left of the day.

In two days time the furniture will get picked up and I will follow to stencil the wall. Still not sure what color but I’ll know once I see things together.

decoupaged anchor knob

Painted black knob with printed clipart anchor decoupaged on knob.

I have to figure out the knobs for the dresser now. It needs to be lighted up some. I pulled my gigantic book of clip art out and found an anchor. I worked on it in photoshop to make it look uneven and worn. I printed up a page of anchors. Always make extra! I only had the six wooden knobs that came with the dresser. Whoever owned this dresser before changed the two top knobs to something plastic. I threw those out. I decided to paint the knobs black and then decoupage the clipart anchor on the top.

Time to put this nursery together. After getting to the house and seeing the room that is to be the nursery I’m at first wondering where all the furniture is going to go! Besides the crib, it is full of bags and bags of shower gifts.

My son had spent a lot of time taping off the wall. THANK YOU! Looks great. All ready to go. Looking at  the window wall we decide we really need to see at least one piece of the furniture in the room. After clearing the room of the gift bags and since it has both colors on it, we bring in the dresser. Once the dresser was in the room it was a no brainer… the stripes had to be red. The unfortunate thing about that is, you need to use more paint or it will look pink. This is going to take longer than the blue would have.

Wall taped for stenciling stripes

Lots of blue tape to tape off the pattern for the red stripes.

Having stenciled before, I knew it was better for one person to do all the stenciling. Otherwise the stripes will look different. I got started and after getting into a rhythm it seemed to go pretty quickly. While I was stenciling my son hung the curtain rod and mom-to-be went through the gifts and sorted the items. She would have fun the next day getting the room ready.

By the time the stenciling was finished the wall was almost dry. I love that about stenciling! We brought in the rest of the furniture and after moving it around some, decided on the placement. The only thing we knew was that we wanted the decal of a pirate ship above the crib. So we started with that.

The changing table went below the window on the striped wall and the dresser was placed on the wall opposite the crib.

Cabinet and changing table

Cabinet with shelves under changing table.

pirate ship decal over crib

Crib with red bumper pads and striped blanket under a decal of a pirate ship.

Gathering all the previously collected room decor, we got busy. Up went the drapes. I love how they look against the wall, the color of sails. Although I had planned on changing out the buttons on the drapes, I think I like them better with the tan buttons.

I showed my son how to decoupage the knobs so he could finish them and they could dry as we ate dinner.

We started hanging pictures and a neat ships steering wheel above the dresser. We placed the toy box in the corner next to the dresser. Over that we hung a whale-shaped chalkboard that was a shower gift. Too cute!

toy box and whale chalkboard

Corner of nursery with the toy box and chalkboard whale my brother and sister-in-law made.

dresser with wall art

Dresser sans knobs and nautical wall art.

The borrowed crib turned out to have a drawer underneath. We weren’t sure what to do about that. It makes for a handy place to hold packages of diapers. We just don’t want them to show! What to do? We could go with something lighter since there was so much color in the room already. I got it! How about a skirt that was made to resemble sails? I could make it with two strips laced together with cotton rope. Lace it through brass grommets. Nice! That way it could be shortened when the mattress was moved down. That’s on my to-do list for next week.

dresser drawer with knob closeup

Close-up of the distressed drawer with anchor knob.

red ticking striped wall

Large ticking striped pattern stenciled on window wall.

At one of the baby showers there was a string of flags made from maps that had “Baby Hendry” spelled out. We thought that would look great hung over the curtain rod.

The six knobs are dried and installed. We’ll have to get two more to finish the dresser. I like the way it brightens the drawers.

We accomplished a lot in about six hours. I didn’t know we’d be putting the whole room together, but I couldn’t leave without seeing it all in place. Only things left for me to do are the basket liners and crib skirt.

I went to a fabric outlet and found a great cotton twill for the crib skirt. Even better … only $5 a yard! Lots of hems and many grommets later, I laced the panels together with 1/4″ cotton rope. I just hoped that this worked on the crib.

Changing table on cabinet with lined baskets

Finished changing table on top of cabinet with ticking-lined baskets underneath.

nautical laced crib skirt

Nautical-laced crib skirt that will adjust for when the mattress is lowered.

Finally I made the liners for the six baskets. Three with the blue ticking and three with the red. More grommets in the ends and rope threaded through to keep the liners tight.

Okay Baby Boy…we’re ready!