Nightstands…Big on style; short on cash

As I mentioned in the introduction post, these are the nightstands that I acquired when I traded our king bed for a queen bedroom suite. They are in really good structural shape, but the finish on them is terrible. Scratches, swells, and fades are in desperate need of repair. I decided that the easiest way to deal with the unevenness of the finish was to use the art of decoupage (such a funny word!). What is decoupage? Decoupage is simply a technique that is used to cover surfaces with items such as paper and fabric which is then sealed with polyurethane. For this project, I used paintable wallpaper (from Wal*Mart), brown spray paint, and polyurethane.

Here is a blah before:

Here is the good-as-new finished product:

You can see the texture on the front of the drawers (which is also on the top of the nightstand). This is the paintable wallpaper that has been spray painted the same color as the rest of the nightstand. Here’s a few simple steps to follow if you’re in the mood to try this project.

*Sand the entire surface with coarse 80 grit sandpaper to remove some of the topcoat of sealer already on your piece of furniture. No matter what type of surface you plan to decoupage (and you can do almost any surface) be sure to sand at least a little in order to give the glue a better hold on the surface. After you get some of the top surface removed, use 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it. Don’t worry about getting every bit of paint or finish off of the surface you plan to decoupage, just be sure it is smooth.

*If you plan to use a printed fabric or paper (and do not plan to paint your decoupage surface), paint any non-decoupage surfaces now. If your decoupage will be a light color (such as a white colored fabric) be sure not to allow dark colored paint to get onto the area that will be underneath your decoupage. Otherwise, the dark color may show through. If there is already dark color in this area, prime it white before adding your decoupage.

*Add your paper or fabric to the surface using watered-down Elmer’s glue. Add enough water that you can easily spread the mixture but not so much that it appears to be white water. There should still be a decently thick consistency. Spread the glue mixture (not too thick!) and place your paper or fabric  on top of the mixture. Leave a bit of an overhang so that you can come back later to trim the edges.

*If you plan to use painted wallpaper, paint the desired surfaces now.

*After your surfaces have dried, add your first coat of polyurethane to the surface. Don’t make the coat too thick or you will risk runs.

*Let this first coat dry and add a second coat. Follow this same pattern until you have about 4-6 coats of polyurethane covering your decoupage.

*After your surfaces have dried after their final coat of polyurethane, trim the edges using a box-cutting blade. I found it easier to move the blade in a slight up and down motion while moving the blade across the edge of the decoupage.

Pros for this project:

-Easy to understand

-Fairly cheap

-Makes furniture look new

-Any item can be made to coordinate with any decor.

-The uniqueness factor is great

Cons for this project:

-Time consuming (2 nightstands took me 3 days)

Out of 5 stars, I give this project: *****

You may be questioning the durability of this project. The paintable wall paper is not the most durable option due to the softness of the material (you can chip into the wallpaper if it doesn’t have enough poly) so I wouldn’t recommend it 0n a heavily used surface such as a dining table. However, for a nightstand or side table, it works great. Flat papers and fabrics seem to work great for all types of uses as long as there is sufficient poly.

Rule of thumb: DON’T SKIMP ON THE POLY.

Sorry for the long post, but I really enjoyed the outcome of this project. As always, I’d love to answer questions! Leave me a comment!

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