Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Cabinet of Margaret Moore

I have finished my latest Craft Project - painting a china cabinet. I had some basic steel shelves in the mudroom at the cottage, used for extra beach towels, beach toys, sports equipment and laundry supplies. However, this is the most used entrance to the cottage, so I wanted something a little more attractive. I bought a used china cabinet for $80, which was certainly a tad nicer. But as the picture illustrates, it was not in the greatest condition.
The door stuck and the legs were in really sad shape.
Since it was pretty clearly not an antique and so not worth refinishing, I decided to paint it. I've seen many a decorating show where the designer advocates getting furniture sprayed. Fine, if you want to spend the money. I'm sure it's a harder, more durable finish. But I didn't want to spend very much money on my cabinet, and I already had left-over paint. I had two different colors and decided to use both.

First, though, I had to sand it. I hate sanding. It's hard on the hands, it's dusty, it doesn't show. Well, it shows if you don't sand, but it's not often you hear anybody say, "Wow, was that thing well sanded!"

Here it is sanded. I took the door off and took the glass and decorative bit out. I took off the handles of the drawer, too.

Next came the primer. I have become an old hand at painting paneling now, and let me tell you, any primer I've used really doesn't cover dark wood all that well. I knew that going in, though, so I wasn't disappointed when the first coat came out like this.
I did a second coat, always sanding between coats.
Now came the more interesting part, painting with the two different colors. Both paints were Behr's Premium Plus Ultra, white for most of the cabinet and light green for the decorative bits, door and drawer. As I said, these were left over - from the paneling in the sunroom and the kitchen. I love this paint - it goes on well and it has almost no odor. I didn't have to buy any brushes, either, as I had some unused from other paint jobs.
In the interest of full disclosure (because I like it when the pros admit their mistakes) - I made a major error at this point. When painting the decorative bit from the door, I used too large a brush and didn't realize the paint was seriously dripping on the reverse side until I turned it to paint after letting the first side dry a bit. This piece of the cabinet was very thin - no more than an eighth of an inch - so I found it nearly impossible to sand. I've discovered the hard way that trying to fix a mistake can make it infinitely worse, so I decided to carry on, using a smaller brush the next coats, and putting the least drippy side showing. Upon completion, however, I discovered that by painting the decorative door bit, I had made it thicker and I simply couldn't get it back in the door without risking breaking the glass, or the door.

Which brings me to another slight disaster. As I was painting the door frame, it shifted and came, quite literally, unglued. I managed to bang it back together. Since it already had issues with sticking, it's a bit dodgy. I may wind up removing it completely. The cabinet will look a little strange, but still a lot nicer than steel shelving or the old, chipped wood.

I also forgot to paint the wooden knobs for the drawer. Since the paint was "free", I bought new porcelain knobs. Total cost: about $5.

Here is the cabinet, all finished and put back together. I'm quite pleased with it, despite the dodgy door.

1 comment:

Deborah Hale said...

Wow, that was a labor of love, Margaret - but what a spectacular result!!