Thursday, June 5, 2014

Painting Raw Wood Furniture

Back when we were planning out the girls' nursery, I knew I wanted the Ikea Expedit for toy/clothes storage. But I didn't want to pay $200 for it (side note: the Kallax replaced the Expedit and it's only $65 so in hindsight, I'd probably have avoided this whole thing and just bought that but oh well!)

I commissioned my dad and uncle to make a replica using pine. I text'd him all the measurements because I knew I wanted to still be able to use the storage containers that Ikea sells (like these Branas baskets). I had him leave it in its natural state until I figured out if I wanted to paint it or stain it.

With the due date approaching, I decided it was time to get it done. I sanded the whole thing down and painted one coat of the same paint that we were using on the doors and trims. MISTAKE #1. I should've done a coat of primer, but we'll blame that on the pregnancy brain because it literally never crossed my mind. After it was dry, I caulked all the corners to make things look a bit more seamless. MISTAKE #2 (you'll see why in a minute)

After letting it dry for a day, I noticed that the wood felt course and rough with a bunch of bumps in it. So I did what any normal person in our day and age does when faced with a problem. I turned to the trusty internet. Turns out raw wood needs oil based paint to get a smooth finish. The water base in the first coat of paint had caused the wood to swell in certain spots which gave it the rough grainy feeling. The more you know.

Brian was leery of using oil based paint for nursery furniture so I went to Home Depot to scope out what they had available. I found Rustoleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover latex paint in semi-gloss white and since it said it was specifically for wood furniture, I decided to go for it.

I had to sand the whole thing down again, which caused some of the caulking to peel off. In hindsight, I should've waited to caulk after sanding, before painting, except I didn't know I was going to have to re-sand so I'll excuse that one. So I re-caulked the seams and painted a coat of the Rustoleum paint with a foam roller (using a brush for the corners). After a few hours it had already dried and the wood was smooth to the touch. Success!


Moral of the story: you probably shouldn't attempt big projects while on the pregnancy brain. I obviously didn't learn my lesson and actually made this same mistake on the hall closet. But that's another story for another day.