Before & After, furniture

Furniture for the Fight: May

Okay! I am, admittedly, a little behind on my blogging.  The hustle continues though: crafting, creating, custom orders, playing music, Kickstarter stuff, etc.  I have not given up on my Furniture for the Fight project!  I may have fallen a little behind, but this project is so important to me.  I had the month of May carved out in honor of Immigrant Asian American Month and a percentage of the proceeds will go to National Immigration Forum.

A little back story…

I found this handmade bookshelf at the side of the road.  It had a lot of texture and personality.  It was solid, for sure.  I pulled over, put her in the back of the truck, and brought her straight to the studio.

After stripping off the drab brown paint, I got her a good sanding.  I applied a creamy white paint with my go to walnut stain.  The grooves in the wood held the stain nicely to accentuate the unique texture of the wood.  My favorite part of this piece is the vibrant Japanese paper applied to the back of the shelves. The red and the gold really give this simple bookshelf a lot of personality.

If interested, go ahead and contact me.  Again, a percentage of the proceeds will go to National Immigration Forum.  Email me if you are interested (lauralee@madebylauralee.com)

Before & After

A Learning Experience

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I have a new piece of furniture! The little stool was a great first project, but I thoroughly enjoy moving up and graduating to more complex projects.

A little back story on this chair:  A few years ago when my Ex and I had moved into this charming little house on the East Side, we discovered this white chair that was left behind.  The structure of the chair was, for the most part, sound, but it had been carelessly painted white.  Like a lost puppy, we kept it.  When my Ex and I split, I kept the chair.  I always had it in my heart that I would give this chair some TLC.  Several years later, it got just that.

Eager to get started on this project, I applied stripper to the chair, chomping at the bit to peel off the layer of unwanted paint.  I let it sit and when I went to scrape, I was more than disappointed.  I wanted that somewhat weird satisfaction of peeling paint; similar to pulling glue off your fingers when you were a kid.  (Is this weird or are you coming with me?) Needless to say that only thing that came off was the stripper. (insert inappropriate joke, go ahead and get it out of your system)

Learning Experience #1: When stripper is applied to paint that has been applied over stain: it turns into a gel and doesn’t actual get you anywhere but frustrated.

After this discovery, I quickly felt myself getting sick.  I was hit with a strong wave of seasonal allergies, which landed myself in bed for a week.  Ahthankyooou, Rag Weed.  This brings us to….

Learning Experience #2: Don’t work on projects when you are not feeling 100%.  You will end up doing more damage than good and therefore make more work for yourself.

After recovering from being Sneezy’s lost cousin, Snotty, I got back to work.  I trucked my sander and my chair off to a friends house to whip this stripper/paint/stain layered mess into submission.  After hours of using my power sander (YAY!) the job was done.  I then applied some wood filler to cracks in the seat to get it back to an even and smooth surface.

I’ve always wanted a teal or turquoise piece of furniture.  I was fortunate to locate a color I really liked, appropriately named “Smoked Turquoise.”  Once a few coats were dried, I applied stain to the entire piece.  I have never used stain before, admittedly I was nervous, but it turned out very easy to work with.  I lathered on the stain, let it sit, and then buffed it off.  Applying the stain over the latex paint gives a subtle aged feel without making it look forced.

This piece was a little more labor intensive than the previous, but I must say I found it valuable.  I worked with new mediums and gained a few new techniques.

Learning Experience #3: Take better before pictures!  (I did take more “In the Process” Pictures, but I wish you could have seen a better before picture!)

Needless to say, I believe I have fallen in love with refinishing furniture.  In love.  I cannot believe how satisfying it feels to convert an ordinary piece of furniture into something special.