With a little care and attention, an item destined for scrap is now a stylish addition to this tranquil bedroom. Brand new furniture just doesn’t have the same charm.
QUICK PROJECT GUIDE
Hard labour 4/10
Skill level 5/10
Time needed about three hours (excluding drying time)
We found this old writing bureau at a second-hand store (you could try the technique presented here on a similar wooden item).
1 First remove all the hardware and fittings and keep these aside.
2 Mix the required amount of sugar soap with warm water and clean the surface area with a sponge or cloth. Leave for about 20 minutes to ensure that it penetrates, then wash down with clean water. Wipe off all the excess moisture with a dry cloth and leave it to dry out thoroughly. Then lightly sand the entire surface to provide a ‘key’ for a primer coat.
3 Use a small paintbrush to apply wood glue to the underside of any lifting laminate. Then place some plastic and a flat piece of timber over the area and clamp down firmly. Allow to dry. Then peel off the plastic and use wood filler to touch up and smooth over any damaged areas.
4 Apply quick-setting repair putty to any badly damaged areas, like this corner, and allow to harden before sanding.
TIP If you’re working with adhesives or putties on doors, make sure you don’t glue the door shut! We used two spatulas to help shape the corner and prevent the putty sticking to the frame.
5 The surfaces should be smooth. First fill any blemishes with wood filler and once dry, sand the entire surface to a smooth finish. A multi-sander will allow you to reach any crevices.
6 Apply a coat or two of primer in long, even brushstrokes. Use either Dulux Supergrip Primer or Plascon Multi-Surface Primer as both are opaque white when dry, which lessens the number of coats of paint needed to cover dark wood items. Once the primer is dry, apply two coats of undercoat. This layer will be exposed on distressed areas and edges to complete the French look. We used a light dove-grey colour. Then paint the unit with at least two layers of water-based enamel. Use the small sponge roller for a smooth finish.
TIP Ask your paint supplier if the primer you use can be tinted to the required base colour (in this case grey) as this will save a step – and money.
7 Use a sanding block or flat paper to lightly sand the edges and any raised areas. Apply varying degrees of pressure to expose layers gradually.
8 After removing the old worn felt, simply use some wood glue (paint it on with a brush) to secure the new felt.
By Ashley Stemmett, Home magazine
Photographs: Francois Oberholster and Christo Lötter, Home magazine