Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Master Bedroom: How to Refinish Furniture in a Two-Tone Style

Remember this ole' dresser from our college days?

It used to be an old shiny-orangy-wood color, which was pretty outdated. So we attempted to refinish it in college.

Using 80 grit sandpaper and $1 black spray in 40mph Oklahoma winds.

Let's just say we have refined our techniques a bit since then, and while we still use spray paint we know how and when to apply it to furniture for an outstanding finish, and which grit sandpaper to use (aka, don't use 80 grit sandpaper to "smooth" it out).

You might remember that we remodeled our bedroom a while back, and went from this:

To this:

And after our little switcheroo our old dresser stuck out like a sore thumb.


We toyed with the idea of buying a new dresser, but what's the fun in that? We can get exactly what we want for about 10%-or less of the cost of a brand new dresser! Plus, they really don't make them nowadays like they used to, because this baby's 100% solid ole' fashioned wood.

Bring it on, baby.

How To Refinish Furniture in a Two-Tone Style

1) Gather supplies. We used:

Hand Orbital Sander (80 grit, 150 grit, 220 grit sandpaper)
Oil-Based Spray Paint Primer
Valspar's Satin Ultra-White Paint
Wood Stain
New knobs (or reuse your old ones)

2) Drag said furniture outside. It's best to wait for a nice day that isn't too windy and the sun is shining. We happened to have beautiful weather for this part (you may notice another piece of furniture in the photo that we planned to redo but didn't quite get around to it).

3) Remove the old knobs with a screwdriver.

4) Starting with a low-grit sandpaper (rough, we used 80 grit) start sanding off any previous paint or varnish from the top of the dresser. Once you get down to the bare wood, switch out your sandpaper for smoother grit ones (we did a couple passes at 150, and then a few more at 220).

5) Use a slightly damp cloth to wipe down the piece and get any and all leftover wood shavings off it.

6) Make sure the piece is completely dry, and then decide which part of the two-tone finish you'll tackle first. We decided to prime the base first and then proceed with staining the top. Since we are in love with oil-based spray paint primer, we need to protect the newly-sanded wood top from getting any primer on it. We ended up using some trash bags and taping the sides down for a nice clean line.

7) Prime away! We only used one layer of primer, and we aimed for getting primer on all parts of the dresser base, not for even coverage (since primer just helps cover up any previous paint and also to help the new paint stick).

8) Take off the trashbag cover carefully, and get out a rag or cheap paintbrush to apply the woodstain. We used Minwax Wood Finish in Dark Walnut.

9) I applied the stain according to the directions (which I believe was to go against the woodgrain so it soaks in better).

10) After waiting 8 minutes for the stain to soak in, I took an old rag and wiped the rest off.

11) Then I decided to tape off the newly-stained wood top and give the rest of the piece a couple coats of white paint we had laying around (Valspar's Ultra White).

12) The next day we applied some Polyurethane to the dresser following the instructions on the can. We waited for that to dry and then used 220 grit sandpaper to lightly sand down the newly-Polyurethaned top, then applied another coat according to the directions.

13) Let it dry the suggested time, and then attach your new knobs and enjoy!

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  1. LOVE the stained top! This is gonna be sweet.

  2. It's looking good! Can't wait to see the finished piece.

  3. Love the 'new' piece and the step-by-step guide. Thanks for posting!

  4. Wow, is that the same piece? I love the 2 toned look and you guys did a great job. I love those knobs as well! Lovely.

  5. Your dresser is beautiful! I love the 2-toned stain & paint combo.

  6. This is gorgeous-great work. I'd love it if you'd link up to my Paint Color Party going on now!

  7. I am dying to do a 2 tone project! Thank you for the tips!

  8. That is beautiful! I have never seen the 2 tone before, but now I really want to transform one of my dressers! Thanks for this post!

  9. Thank very much for sharing your knowledge, have some projects that I need done and wondering if you could help me finish the work. Recently I purchased a few Vintage/Antique pieces that I love but it needs work, mostly cosmetic and I wish to purchase a Sanding Machine but I need one that can stand up to big or small job of sanding since I can’t afford to buy a few different machines.

    Please guide me with this project and many more waits in the future.

    I thank you very much in advance, Wyola


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