If you want to spruce up your garden and give your garden furniture a refreshed look, but don’t want to spend money on the services that would be required to do so, there’s nothing better than a good DIY project.
If you have old, worn out furniture, or you like thrift shopping, you are well aware of the fact that those things need a bit of work in order to look as good as they did before. This is especially true for pieces of furniture that stood in your garden, exposed to every whim of the weather, be it sun, snow or rain.
So, if you are willing to go on the adventure that refinishing furniture is, there are five simple steps here, that bring great results in no-time.
- Getting rid of the old finish – Obviously, the first thing you want to do is remove the old finish. This is the messiest part, and you have two ways to do it.
The chemical way – You can use a chemical stripper. When you go to your local store, you can ask for a paint or a finish stripper. This is the fastest way to remove varnish and paint from your old wooden furniture.
Buy it in a gel, paste or spray form, apply a generous layer and wait for the amount of time indicated on the container. Remove as much as you can with a scraper tool, and if that doesn’t remove everything, rub it with steel wool.
For this you will need rubber gloves, goggles, a dust mask, a finish stripper, a scraper tool, and steel wool.
The sandpaper way – You can use a simple palm sander to remove the paint. The only advantage to this approach is that sandpaper doesn’t emit any harmful fumes. If you decide to do this, you’ll need to start with a 80-150 grit sandpaper, and rub to remove most of the paint – basically, until you can see the wood, then continue with 150-200 grit sandpaper to remove any remaining stain or varnish until the entire furniture piece is bare.
Make sure that you sand in the same direction as the grain – the final result will depend on how thoroughly you do this.
For this step you will need rubber gloves, dust mask, a palm sander, sandpaper and goggles.
Pro tip – if you find that sanding with your hands is too much work then you can opt to use an orbital sander – these electric sanders will make the job much easier and can be picked up really cheap from sites like amazon.
- Grain filling (not a must) – As you can see, this step is completely optional, although we do recommend it if the grain in your furniture is open – like mahogany or oak.
You need to choose the right pigment for the filler. If you want to make the grain pop out, choose a color that contrasts the natural color of the wood. If you want to do the opposite, choose a color that matches the color of the wood as closely as possible.
To do this properly, you need to use a rag or a firm paintbrush to apply the filler and rub it into the grain. When you are done, you can remove the excess filler with a plastic scraper. Once it is dry, sand the wood lightly, and be sure to sand with the grain.
For this, you need a wood filler, a stiff paintbrush or a rag, and a plastic scraper.
- Sanding sealer (not a must) – This is a step that enables the wood to absorb the stain more evenly, and is also optional.
If you do decide to do it, you need to apply a heavy layer of sanding sealer, and let it soak into the wood. Afterwards, wipe off the excess sealer with a clean mop, let it all dry, and to finish, lightly sand it so it evens out.
For this, you need a clean rag, sandpaper and a sanding sealer.
- Wood staining – When you reach this step, you’ll have four options. You get to choose between one-step stains, gel stains, water-based and oil-based ones.
When you make your choice, and start applying the stain, you need to follow the instructions on the label. The easiest way to apply stain is with a staining pad, but a paintbrush is also a viable option.
Start by applying a generous coat of stain. Then, remove the excess with a clean cloth by wiping lightly with the grain. Let it dry, and apply another layer of stain. Continue until you’re satisfied.
For this, all you need is a clean cloth, and a staining pad.
- Clear coat application – This is the final step. Bear in mind the future use for the furniture item you are working on before you decide on the type of finish.
No matter which one you choose, you’ll need to apply a layer on the wood, let it dry, then lightly sand the wood, wipe it off with a clean cloth, and then apply the final layer. After this, you just have to leave it to dry for 24 hours.
For this step, you need a clear coat and sanding paper.
And that’s all it takes. Just like that, you’ve given you old furniture a refreshed new look!