Buffet Makeover Tutorial

09 February 2013

So I finally have time to sit down and write this detailed tutorial for the buffet restore project. Mr.FixIt and I purchased the buffet pictured below for $30 dollars on Craigslist.

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It was the first thing we have ever purchased from Craigslist by the way - and because of it we have learned what things to look out for when making future purchases. We have successfully purchased several other things since then. Our buffet while it looked awesome in photos had a structural problem because of water damage -- it also had it putrid smell. The back story on that is our own conspiracy theory and I'll share that in another post.

I originally got bitten by the DIY bug from following Classy Clutter and from watching tons of HGTV. The ladies from Classy Clutter do wonderful work and they even sent me a copy of their tutorial since I could not find detailed instructions on the blog. However I didn't plan to spray paint my project because I have no green space in our city apartment. So I combined techniques I learned from their blog along with Perfectly Imperfect Blog & DIYonTheCheap to successfully complete the entire project in the hallway inside of our apartment. Have no fear you will find everything you need in this blog post, I only mentioned the other blogs to give intellectual credit where it is due - also in case you are looking for more DIY projects. This post will be very long and detailed so I apologize in advance.

To start Mr.FixIt and I made a list of all the items we would need to complete this project based on steps.
Sanding:
  • Sander
  • 80 Grit Sandpaper and Discs for Sander
  • 220 Grit Sandpaper and Discs for Sander
  • Drop Cloths
  • Dust Cloths
Patchwork:
  • Wood filler
  • Wood glue
  • Putty Knife
Staining:
  • Minwax Stain Ebony
  • Wood Conditioner
  • Staining Pads
  • Paint Mixing Stick
  • Minwax Polycrylic
  • Paint Brush
Hardware:
  • Ziploc Bag
  • Tooth Brush
  • Murphy's Oil Soap
  • Krylon Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint
  • Philips and Flathead Screw Drivers or Drill
Paint:
  • White Hospital Mask for Spray Painting
  • Kilz Spray Primer 3-4 cans
  • Gloves (if you want to protect your fingers
  • Drop Cloths for Floor, Walls, and Entryways to contain spray)
  • One Quart of Latex Paint (if your project is the same size or smaller than mine.)
  • Minwax Finishing Paste
  • Cheese Cloths
  • Several Sized Paint Brushes
  • Paint Mixing Sticks
MISC:
  • Wooden Bun Feet (if you want to add them to your project.)
  • Drawer Liner (to updated the inside of your drawers.)
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Now that we've gotten the list out of the way here are the steps.
Sanding: To begin we covered our floors with drop cloths to keep down the dust from the sander. Before I began sanding I removed all of the hardware on the buffet. Since I planned on using the old pieces I put them all in a Ziploc bag so they did not get lost. I started using my Ryobi Orbital Sander with the 80 grit sandpaper until there was not trace of varnish left. I then followed up by smoothing out the wood with a 220 grit sandpaper. This fine sandpaper helps to smooth out the surface for priming.  Sanding was a fairly easy process but very messy and time consuming. I recommend that you use a breathing mask because the dust will make your nose run, I learned this the hard way. Also if you can do this part outside by all means please do your clean up will be a breeze. I however have no green space so this all went down inside. If you are going to sand inside be sure to have a vacuum it makes clean up easier.

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As you can see we sanded the top of the buffet until all the vanish was completely removed, because we were going to stain it. The bottom portion we just sanded until the original varnish was no longer shiny. Thank God Mr.FixIt came home and told me that because I'd probably still be sanding this thing now.

Patchwork: Since our buffet did not have a solid foundation we could not begin staining it just yet. Mr.Fixit had to repair the foot on the buffet. It had been exposed to water prior to purchase and was swollen and decaying. So he sawed it off and replaced it with a piece of wood that matched the original size. To ensure that the foundation was sturdy he did this to both sides. Then before staining he took the wood filler and spatula and filled any separating pieces of wood. That gave us a nice crack free surface before priming.

In the pictures below you can see how badly damaged the feet were before repairing them.




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Staining: After our patchwork was done and all the wood filler dried we flipped the buffet right side up and begin to work on the staining. First we covered it in a coat of wood conditioner to make sure we got an even stain. This may have been a moot step but I did it more as a precaution to avoid starting the stain process over. If you decide to omit this step please let us know how it turned out. We had a small can of Ebony Minwax stain and followed the instructions on the can precisely. We applied one coat with a staining pad, allowed it to dry then wiped off as instructed. It took three coats until we had the color we desired.

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Once we finished staining the top of the buffet we covered it with paper grocery bags. There was no special process to this we just covered it until we could no longer see the stained surface. This was done to protect it from scratches, primer, and paint.

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Hardware: As I stated earlier before sanding I removed all the hardware associated with the buffet and place it in a Ziploc bag. This was so that I could easily find all the pieces when it was time to reassemble the buffet. Before that could be done the hardware needed a little TLC of its own. I used Murphy’s oil and a toothbrush to watch each piece. I made sure they were very clean and dry before I could lay down my first coat of Primer and then Krylon Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint. I did one coat of primer and two coats of Krylon color. I did spray paint outside because this part was small and could be done on our fire escape – I did however have to bring the pieces inside to dry because it got cold that night. So no photo because I forgot.

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Painting: Finally. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for this post. I promise if you are still here with me the results are so worth following the steps. Also other DIY projects will not be this detailed so this is essentially the MOTHER of all DIY post. This part of the project required the most preparation – because of the green space shortage. Mr.FixIt had this part taken care of as he carefully lined our hallway with more drop cloth than I knew we had purchased. He taped the edges of the cloth to the wall to form a barrier to protect the floors and our furniture that was in the living room. We did this part in the hallway – we closed off the entry to the living room and kitchen and closed all the other doors. Once we had that covered we shook the cans of primer for the required time. Let me just say shaking a can of Kilz primer is definitely where they got the idea for the shake weights, haha. I seriously had bulging biceps after that. Before we were ready to spray I covered my hair and put on a mask. We sprayed only one coat of Kilz primer on every part of the buffet. We allowed it to dry for the required amount of time before beginning our first coat of paint.

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We used Behr latex paint the color we chose was Devine Pleasure – there were tons of options for off white but this one came the closest to our existing furniture and I liked the name. We used the paint sparingly because we wanted to get a professional like finish. In order to do that we applied three thin coats of paint, allowing 20 minutes drying time between each coat.

In the first photo below you can see a glimpse of the painted hardware in the bottom left corner.


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Once we were satisfied with the paint job and it was dried over night we wiped the entire white painted parts of the buffet down with Minwax finishing paste. This paste is tinted so if you are going for a bright white beware that it will muddy the color a bit, you may want to use something else. To apply the Finishing Paste you scoop a piece of the paste onto a sheet of cheese cloth and fold it several times. That way only a small amount of the wax is delivered.

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After the Finishing paste was applied and wiped off we removed the paper that we used to protect our stained wood. We then applied two coats of Polycrylic to the surface. The Minwax Polycrylic gave it a beautiful satin sheen and helped to seal the surface so it is protected from the elements, as well as from our flat screen TV stand. We followed the directions on the Minwax Polycrylic can exactly - the solutions goes on milky but dries clear.

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MISC: Our last and final step or so we thought was to put all the hardware back on to the buffet once we knew the Polycrylic had dried.

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The piece was finished but looked somewhat incomplete to me, for days I went back and forth with Mr. FixIt about adding bun feet. Finally he gave in – we purchased four solid wood bun feet and followed all the painting steps above to bring it up to par with the buffet. Mr. FixIt then drilled holes to insert four T-nuts for the bun feet dowels to screw into. Once the feet were screwed into the buffet we hammered in felt covered plastic floor protectors that were purchased from IKEA.
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Alas the piece was finally finished and we could rejoice and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Here is a before and after I hope you enjoy seeing the finished product as much as we do.

BEFORE:
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AFTER:
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If you've been bitten by the DIY bug trust me the end result is such a reward. They surely do not make furniture like they used to so if you find some outdated solid wood piece from Craigslist or a yard sale do not pass it up. This buffet could have easily cost us anywhere from $1500 to $3000 dollars at a specialty store. We did it ourselves for less than $150 with leftover supplies for other projects.
I am so happy to have finally shared this post with you – if you have any question comment them below or click the message me link on the blog home page.
XOXO,
Charity

4 comments:

  1. I love how this turned out Charity! We just bought a TV Stand from some friends who were moving and we got it for a steal since it is solid wood and super heavy! It is darker than what I prefer so I'm not quite sure what I'll do to it yet, but for the price and the quality, we couldn't pass it up. I love how you guys kept the top dark and painted the rest white! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is awesome! Makes me look forward to the days where I'm living on my own again, and can begin my DIY furniture career. LOL.

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  3. The Ebony wood is very dense and requires particularly sharp tools to work with it, but the effort is worth it when you see the amazing sheen it takes on with careful attention to finishing.
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