In this instructable I'm sharing how I refinished an old liquor cabinet. The principles in the instructable can be applied to many varieties of furniture. Our cabinet was found all nasty and decrepit in a basement--refinishing furniture is easy and can breathe new life into something that was otherwise undesirable.
For this instructable you will need:
Sand Paper of varying grits/roughness
Electric sander (unless you want to do the whole thing by hand)
Paint or Stain
Tools to remove handles, hinges, etc. (screwdriver in this case)
If you're looking for refinishing old hardwood furniture with stains and varnish and want to be a bit more careful and methodical about it, there is a good one by solobo that can be found here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Refinishing-Old-Furniture/. They do a great job of detailing types of stains and finishing techniques you could apply.
Step 1: Sand It. Scrape It.
When we found our cabinet it was sitting in a basement and looked positively awful. It was horribly chipped and the paint was peeling; thus, the first step is to sand it down and make the surface even. Sanding is best accomplished when you begin with a rougher grit and move to a finer grit.
If you want to stain or completely give the wood a new finish, you will need to scrape all of the old paint and finish off first. When we got down to bare wood of our cabinet, we found it to be made of some not-so-nice looking plywood and cheap trim, so we opted to just paint over it!
Step 2: Paint It. Stain It
Remove all of the hardware that you want to protect. In this case I removed the handles. If I was being really picky, I would have removed the hinges and doors too, but I instead opted to be a bit more careful when painting not to paint doors shut.
For paint, I did two coats and tried to spread it as evenly as possible. The dried paint showed some of the cracked features underneath it (mainly the large spot where I scraped down to the wood) and we opted to keep it looking a little distressed.
A Note on Paint:
Some paints come with primer mixed in, others don't. You will need to prime the surface for painting in the instance that your paint doesn't have any. Generally, doing a coat of primer (even if your paint has some) will make the finish come out nicer, more evenly, and will adhere better to the surface. As the saying goes: "The primer primes the surface for painting." At least I think that's a saying...
Step 3: Finishing Touches
Once the paint has dried, sand down any bubbles that may have formed. Also sand down any large drips that dried into place! For this final sanding I used a very fine sand paper.
Refasten all the hardware that you took off. I almost forgot to do this. No one is having fun if there is no way to get into the liquor cabinet.
Step 4: Stock With Your Favorite Libations
Now for the fun part! Stock the cabinet with whatever you want. Milk boxes, juice boxes, hard liquor. It's all good. The important thing is you've hopefully saved some old piece of furniture from the landfill, and added a fun addition to your home!