I've been wanting to do an instructable for a long time but was finally motivated by the Krylon Spray paint contest and a shot at an Ipad. As this is my first instructable I apologize if I ramble. There's a lot I want to put into this so I know that this is going to be very wordy. I'm trying to write this as I go instead of at the end.
This was written for the Krylon Contest but I've just entered it into the Green Living Challenge Contest. To be honest I don't think this deserves to win. Spray paint is a wonderful product but it's not green. What I'm doing is very green, upcycling stuff and keeping it out of the landfill is very green but to be truly green there are probably better ways that I could go about doing it. Although I don't think this should win, I'd be ok with second place :)
As a hobby, i enjoy refurbishing curb-find furniture and turning trash into show pieces. I take a lot of pride giving value into something destined for the landfill. I've done a lot of pieces where it's made to blend with the room decor and all that but where I have the most fun is doing really wild, bold, and fun art pieces. With curb find furniture there is a freedom that you just don't have when working on an expensive family heirloom. You can go crazy with color and patterns. Experiment. If you screw up so what? What have you lost? I also love using spray paint. The first pieces I did were with a brush and roller but I prefer the smooth finish that spray paint gives you. It's fast, bold & very forgiving. If you screw up, simply paint it over and move on. If you decide you don't like a color....change it. You can be trendy because it's easy to go over in a few years when styles change. I have to confess that for large surfaces I use a spray gun but I really prefer spray paint. there's no setup or cleanup time. just grab a can, shake and your good to go. When I first started doing "fun" projects they were for kids but I've found that grownups like them just as much.
There are many how-to websites and articles on refinishing furniture. they all read about the same....lightly sand then paint. It's never been that easy for me. To get a really high quality finish takes a lot of steps and preparation. I don't want my pieces to look like you simply took a old dresser and spray painted it. I don't like Shabby Chic. You'll never catch me sanding edges to make the paint look old and the only time I'll use the word "distressed" is when I'm having a bad day. There's nothing wrong with that, it's just not me. I want pieces that are sharp, crisp and bright. It's the difference between painting your car with.....well....spray paint (no offense Krylon) , versus having a pro do it. Both cars may be red and look good from a distance but it's readily apparent which is which when you get close.
When I first heard of the Krylon contest I was going to do one piece. At the time I had 3 pieces that I had recently collected. I didn't have a clear vision for each piece and couldn't decide on which piece to do for the instructable so I'm doing all three and make this more about the process instead of the end results. There are lots of tips and tricks that I use along the way that I hope people will find useful. I think these techniques can be applied to whatever project your doing. No matter if your piece is big or small or what your end goals are, the steps are basically the same.
here are the steps:
7. surface patch
9. surface patch
10. base color
11. surface patch
12. brain storm ideas.
14. accent color / pattern
** repeat 13-14 as required
15. clear coat
16. automotive polish
there are 17 steps there. Surface Patch happens 3 times. this is because many scratches & marks are not apparent until you get some paint on the piece. so it's important that as you build up layers that you inspect and patch things that you missed the first time or that maybe you didn't completely eliminate. Only 3 of those steps are painting (the same number of steps as surface patch), prime, base color, accent colors. The wonderful thing about spray paint is that, with a little care, it's incredibly easy and very fast. it's everything else that takes all the time. As a working professional with a family, house, dog and the whole bit, I have very limited time to give to projects. I can only work in hour chunks. It can take me a few months to finish something. I don't know if that's bad or good, it's just the way it tends to work out for me. By thinking of things as individual steps and knowing where I am in the process helps me from getting discouraged along the way.
83% surface prep
1% polish / hardware
TAKE YOUR TIME. DO NOT RUSH!!!!
My biggest enemy is myself. I get impatient and rush things. that's when I make mistakes that end up taking more time to correct than if I had done it right the first time. that's why I keep this list. I won't let myself move on until the step is complete. That's also why my pieces take a long time and why I wont' let myself have a deadline. (except for this instructable....) This sounds like lots of work and it is. With maybe the exception of repair, depending on your carpentry skills, none of the steps are hard. it just takes some time. For me it's therapeutic. it's very stress relieving. i can forget about the days troubles and just loose myself in what I'm doing.
THIS INSTRUCTABLE IS ABOUT THE JOURNEY, NOT THE DESTINATION