As I branch out into the new world of hobbies, I find myself looking for one that can actually produce something of material that can help me.
Painting? Who doesn’t want a beautiful abstract on the wall?
Glass blowing? Just creating more knick-knacks.
Gardening? My black thumb could use some watering.
Ultimately, I settled on home improvement for my next hobby. Mainly because my apartment has half of the stuff it used to, but also to see if I could really use a tool belt.
What in the world is polyurethane?
My aforementioned sister-in-law (SIL) is an incredible interior decorator. See can see things in shapes and complementary colors that the average eye doesn’t catch. So, when she offered to give me her old guest bed, I jumped at the chance to make it something new for my place.
Turns out, you need more than a can of spray paint to refurbish or transform a piece of furniture.
On a trip to The Home Depot I learned:
- Sandpaper has a thing called “grit.” The higher the number, the smoother the paper.
- Primer sprays white, but covers everything to help allow the paint to adhere to the wood.
- Gloss, semi-gloss and satin paints all shine, but differently.
- Before a project can be “done,” you need to seal the paint with polyurethane to prevent scratching from wear and tear.
Day 1 (Yes, this is a multi-day affair)
I didn’t realize you must sand down furniture that has already been sealed. Why can’t you just spray paint it and call it a day?
Luckily, my SIL has a sander. I have to say: this is a brilliant invention. When she first told me we would have to sand the bed, I imagined us with those small pieces of sandpaper just sliding it back and forth for hours.
This tool was a game-changer. All I had to do was keep the machine moving. We were able to sand the entire front side of the headboard in less than ten minutes.
With the help of Sauvignon Blanc and fun conversation, we were able to sand both sides of the headboard, footboard and rails within an hour.
After laying out a large cardboard box leftover from a recent swingset purchase, my SIL and I got down to business.
We pulled out the primer and started spraying. Is it just me, or did anyone else think primer was clear? Also – should the entire piece of furniture be white? Did we need to still see some of the wood through it?
Luckily, the paint we bought also had primer in it, so I felt confident it didn’t matter either way.
We were able to prime the front and back of the footboard and the back of the headboard before it was time to break for July 4th celebrations.
Day 2 – Up early to start the party
Apparently, refurbishing a bed is something you must wake up early for. I am a person who can sleep until noon, but when there is work to be done on the bed I will eventually be sleeping in, I have to wake up early.
By 9:00 a.m. we’d primed the front of the headboard, and started in on the real pièce de résistance: spray painting.
I had decided a black bed would complement my all-white bedroom. Suddenly I was encompassed in a cloud of black spray paint. I found particles of black on my arms, speckles on my watch band and best of all, the paint created a new tan line I wasn’t prepared for: on my feet.
One coat down, three to go. The paint cans said each coat would take about two hours to dry. Time for the pool (which subsequently erased those weird paint lines).
Day 3 – Oh my lord.
Another coat of paint on the footboard.
Round one on the headboard.
Wait two hours.
Finish headboard as the sun set over the house.
Day 4 – Why??
By this time, I was ready to just go buy a new bed.
We began to tackle the final step: polyurethane. The can suggests waiting two hours to touch the item, and four hours for the item to fully dry. No problem, right?
Until I got to the part on the can that read, “three coats required for best results.” I had to drive home (three hours away). There was no way I could wait another 12 hours to finish this thing.
Luckily, my family loves me, so during the work-week, my SIL and mother kindly finished the poly. By the following weekend, they had loaded it up in my brother’s truck and it was on its way to Dallas.
After navigating the streets of downtown and an underground loading dock, my brother, mother and I trucked a huge mattress, box springs and refurbished bed through a tunnel, up two freight elevators, down a winding hall, into my apartment.
After assembling my new bed, my mother said, “Please. No more divorces.”
Agreed. Who wants to spend four days painting a bed again?