DIY / Tutorials Furniture Home Decor Project Gallery Woodworking

Update Old Wood with Stain ~ Easy DIY

I don’t know about you, but I run across unfinished primitive pieces of furniture all the time and as much as I like the rustic look, sometimes it needs revitalized because of damage or wear. Today, I want to show you how easy it is to update old wood with a simple treatment using stain.

My candidate for this makeover is a primitive chicken wire cupboard I got off of Craigslist.

Primitive Chicken Wire Cupboard Before Update | Prodigal Pieces |

A lady was moving and unloading all sort of furniture that was not her style anymore and she was done with Americana decor. This cupboard is in great shape structurally, but had been drawn on in marker, and had plenty of water ring damage to the top.

Damaged Top of Primitive Cupboard | Prodigal Pieces |

*this post contains affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too! (see full disclosure)

Thankfully, most of the stains are not chemical related and will be an easy fix to hide.

DIY / Tutorials Furniture

Creating Layers of Love with Paint and Stain

Do you swoon when you see layers of paint and stain on the side of a barn with time-worn wear, or better yet, on a piece of furniture?  I mean, there’s a story there. That chippy goodness tells the life of that piece, and what travels it’s had – those layers of love.  No, I’m not crazy, but maybe a bit head-over heels with appreciation for the past. Let me show you how I go about creating layers of love.

Those layers  I mentioned above speak to me telling me a bit about each change in life.  For instance, the life of a table could be this: a table was built and stained and sold by the original creator. Then the new owner wore out the top with her kids meals and decided to throw on a coat of white paint to freshen it up. Eventually that same table heads to a garage sale, where a man purchases it to put in his garage and throws on a coat of blue paint because white gets too dirty….you get the idea!

DIY: Creating Time-worn Effect with Layers of Paint by Prodigal Pieces |

When I am blessed enough to have such a piece come across my path, I try to find out as much as I can about it’s history so that when it’s no longer mine I can continue the story.  But…sometimes it’s fun to create my own story by using paint and stain make something appear to have had a history.

DIY / Tutorials Furniture Woodworking

10 Furniture Refinishing Essentials + Tips & Tricks

You may have be wondering, but are hesitant to ask, what are my go-to tools and supplies when starting a furniture project.  Wonder no more!  I have selected the top ten furniture refinishing essentials that help me take a piece of furniture from drab to fab.

10 Furniture Refinishing Essentials + Tips & Tricks by Prodigal Pieces #prodigalpieces

Here’s my list.  Check it out… (in no particular order)

  1. Sandpaper & Sander
  2. Wood Filler 
  3. Putty Knife
  4. Brushes & Rollers
  5. Paint
  6. Stain
  7. Topcoats – Wax & Poly
  8. Safety Equipment
  9. Cloth rags
  10. Cardboard – yes, you read it right!
You might be thinking, well duh…I knew you needed those things…but let’s take a closer look at them.
1. Sandpaper & Sander
For me, not any old sander will do.  I prefer an orbital sander (though belt sanders take it off quick when working on a heavy duty project!), particularly one with adjustable speed control.  It allows you to better set and maintain speed to get that finish you’re looking for.  My favorite so far is this Dewalt 5-Inch Orbit Sander.
10 Furniture Refinishing Essentials Plus Tips & Tricks by Prodigal Pieces
I also look for ease of use when it comes to wrist strain.  My particular sander is a lighter model and allows you to adjust your hand to different positions when sanding. When working on piece after piece your hands and wrists take a beating – no carpel tunnel for me!
10 Furniture Refinishing Essentials + Tips & Tricks by Prodigal Pieces #prodigalpieces
As for sandpaper, I typically have 3 different grits on hand. 80 gritfor bulldozing through a terrible finish or paint, 150 gritfor the in-between stage and getting out gouges and smoothing down edges, and 220 for the finish.
~ DISCLOSURE: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means that I might make a few cents if you purchase an item I have recommended. Your price will still be the same, but the seller might pay me a tiny percentage.
The 220 gritgives you the glass-like feel and is also useful for hitting the poly in between coats to promote adhesion.  The first 3 levels of sandpaper are for my sander, but I also have varying grits for hand-sanding from 40 grit up to 400 grit.
2. Wood Filler

A furniture refinisher’s best friend!  This stuff is like magic and can solve the most ugly of situations.

10 Furniture Refinishing Essentials Plus Tips & Tricks by Prodigal Pieces
10 Furniture Refinishing Essentials + Tips & Tricks by Prodigal Pieces #prodigalpieces
Remember my Ugly Duckling Dressing Table?  I used an enormous amount of filler on that hacked up top.
How to use?  Just grab a putty knife or scraper and spread some on like butter on toast.  A little tip: make a point to not put it on completely smooth, but leave a little loft to it because as it hardens it will shrink – you don’t want to have to waste time reapplying to fill a half-filled hole.  Just leave enough so that you can smooth it to surface level.  Also, try not to leave so much that it gums up your sand paper.
3. Putty Knife
I love my putty knife(aka scraper)!  Can you believe it’s the same one I’ve had since we purchased our home 11 years ago?  My Wal-Mart jobbie has lasted f.o.r.e.v.e.r. This baby is my putty knife, my paint remover, my glass cleaner, my screwdriver (when I don’t have one close by), my hammer (the butt of the handle works great when I’m too lazy to go get my hammer!)

It’s very versatile and dangerous – I can’t tell you how many times I have nicked myself with it – that blade has gotten very sharp over time! Duh-factor: anything with the word “knife” in it should be used with caution.  ahem.

4. Brushes & Rollers
I’ve had sooo many questions from followers on how I achieve a super-smooth finish when working with non-chalk based paint.  After working on a paint crew AND just plain trial and error, here is what I have found to be the best…FOAM! I use foam brushes and foam rollers. They rock!
Let me give you a for instance.  While working on my Broyhill Brasilia, I used paint and stain.  I love the angled tip of a foam brush to get into those tiny crevices and the foaminess (is that a word?) for creating a smooth-no-bristle-mark coat for both paint and stain.  I also love that it stays firm when going near an edge so that you don’t that one stray bristle that likes to drag over the edge – that drives me crazy!
10 Furniture Refinishing Essentials Plus Tips & Tricks by Prodigal Pieces
When working on larger surfaces, I grab the rollers.  Not your typical nap roller, but a small tightly porous roller, made for fine finishes.  The DIY stores sell these rollers and the trays for minimal expense.
A word of truth: There is a problem however with these when applying a poly finish with those rollers.  They can tend to make tiny bubbles…grrr.  That too is a hair-pulling problem!  The solution?  After I roll my surface even, I take the largest foam BRUSH I have and slowly drag it across without any pressure, and in one direction.  I REPEAT: Slowly and in one direction.  Since the poly is already applied smoothly by the roller, there is no need for more pressure.  It’ll shine like glass!

When using my chalk paint (my preferred method to paint with), I use a synthetic bristle brush found at Home Depot.  Natural brushes are a great choice, but I’ve found these Harris brushesto work just as well and they’re cheaper.  If you ever watch me picking out a paint brush, I’m the crazy lady who takes it out of the packaging to finger those bristles.  They have to feel a certain way because working with a funky brush is time consuming and can really take a toll on your wrist and hand.
5. Paint 
The best part.  Home Depot is my second home and is my main source for paint. You might be saying, “But you use chalk paint, they don’t have chalk paint for furniture?”  Aaaah.  My secret comes out.  One word: WEBSTERS.  I absolutely adore Websters Chalk Paint Powder.  If can take any paint from flat to semi-gloss and turn it into chalk paint.  It’s non-toxic (the paint still has it’s yickyness), and super easy to use.
My clients love that they can head to their local store, send me the link of the color they chose, and match it up perfectly with their decor AND I didn’t have to set a toenail in their home to make the piece match!  Perfect.
I also use paint straight out of the can for gloss finishes too, but I am so drawn to chalk paint because of it’s ease of use, self-leveling attributes, and easy cleanup.  What’s not to love?

For a glamorous flair, my go-to is Modern Masters Metallic Paint.  Elegant colors, ease of use, and client favorite.  Sparkle is a girls best friend, like this leggy Queen Anne table I did.
6. Stain 
The wood lover in me adores watching a clean slate of wood turn into a whole new creation by just adding a touch of color.
There are 3 stains, in particular, that have caught my fancy.  Espresso by Minwax, Sunbleached and Early American by Varathane.
I love the richness of the deep dark color of Espresso.  So lush and creates the most awesome contrast with white paint.
Sunbleached allows you to create the weathered wood effect, like the floors in our master bedroom project or my beach-worthy coffee table.
Early American was used on our faux barn beams in our master bedroom is my go-to for creating a timeless stained top with painted bottom piece.
7. Topcoats – Wax & Poly 
My first choice for a topcoat is wax.  A hand-rubbed wax topcoat creates a lusciously soft finish that gives a time-worn feel.  At this point I use Minwax products, but am hoping to switch to a non-toxic version in the future.  (I don’t need to pay with my health while working on projects.)  Minwax offers two different colors, natural and dark.
Natural is my preferred wax, but I also use the dark for accentuating details in woodwork, and creating an overall aged effect.  No brushes to apply, just a piece of cheesecloth (as the can suggests) to rub it on.
I also use Minwax Water-Based Polycrylic & Modern Masters for my topcoats.  In order to create a smooth-as-glass finish, I do not use it straight out of the can.  I have learned from others as well as trial and error that it is too thick to not get brush stroke marks, so I thin it a bit.  Just adding the tiniest bit of water helps it to self-level. I don’t have a specific formula to share with you because I’ve used it for so long, I just know when it’s “right”.
8. Safety Equipment

My health comes first to me and although it is quicker to just grab a rag and start working, I really feel that there are a couple items needed to protect yourself.

A good quality neoprene chemical resistant gloves are a MUST.  Your typical thin gloves, like you see in a doctors office will not work when using chemical products like waxes and such.  Those things will eat right through them.  I purchase my gloves from a local hardware store or on eBay in bulk amount for a couple dollars, or on Amazon.
Dust masks are an obvious choice.  Who wants to breathe in nasty stuff you’re sanding off time and time again?  Again, these are very cheap at a hardware store and can save your lungs!
Eye & ear protection is also a must.  I use saws, sanders, air hoses, sprayers, drills, nail guns, etc.  It only takes one instance for you to really do a doozy on yourself.  A good pair of eye protection or goggles is a very tiny investment in your health.  As for your ears, well…I think it’s obvious.
9. Cloth Rags 
Ummm…you can bet you’re going to need rags when working on furniture.  I never make a mess, and if you believe that I have some swamp land I’d like to sell you. hee, hee.
Here goes: I use old socks and t-shirts for stain, old cloth diapers for buffing wax, and old wash cloths for wiping up drips, fingers, and kids who almost incessantly touch where they’re not supposed to.
10. Cardboard 
Boy, do I run through a whole lot of cardboard.  What a versatile medium that is from creating hide-outs for my kids to being a catch-all while painting. Thankfully, I have a resource through various places, like my hubby’s workplace, hardware stores, wherever there are boxes!!
Seriously though, I used under my pieces to protect flooring.  Why don’t I use a drop cloth?  First, cardboard is free.  I repeat, FREE.  Second, cardboard soaks up the paint so nicely and prevents me from tracking my mess all over my shop or home.  Third, it’s lightweight and easy to store.  Fourth, it recycles – drop cloths get dirty and have to go to the dump.  Fifth…I could go on, but will stop inundating you with “th’s”.
Tips & Tricks 
  • To remove veneer like butter off of hot toast, just soak a bath towel in water (nothing else)like you’re trying to drown the wood, and lay on veneer overnight.  Even dump extra on.  EASY!
10 Furniture Refinishing Essentials Plus Tips & Tricks by Prodigal Pieces
  • To hide scratches & minor blemishes wipe on Old English Scratch Cover.  BAM!  Comes in various shades to match you finish.
See the difference below: the left without it and the right with…amazing!
  • To remove sticky residue from stickers, grab your alcohol.  Not a drink, just your drug store Isopropyl stuff.  GONE!
  • To get rid of musty odor and smoke, just set your piece, with drawers removed, in the sun for a day or two or wipe down with vinegar.  FRESH!
I hope all this information helps you in your furniture journey.  I could seriously share more, but tried to keep it to the basics.  Please feel free to ask me any questions at [email protected] – I’d love to hear from you!
Check out more DIY goodness:
You can build this whimsical pencil holder for back-to-school, homeschool, or fun using this step-by-step tutorial. You can even take the shape and make your own character too! by Prodigal Pieces #prodigalpiecesA garage sale freebie Art Deco water dresser gets a sweet Volkswagen Bus makeover by Prodigal Pieces #prodigalpieces
DIY / Tutorials Remodeling

Farmhouse Style Master Bedroom Remodel

We were beginning to work on our master bedroom (FINALLY!), and I wanted to show you the progress we’ve made so far with our farmhouse style.

To get you acquainted with our project you must know a few things. We live in a 1952 ranch Gunnison Home, which is basically an old-school manufactured home.  You can read more about them here.

When we bought our home 13 years ago, it was carpeted throughout, even in the kitchen, and we knew that had to go.  Much to our surprise, when we pulled up the white carpet in the living room (ugh, yes, white!) we found gorgeous red oak floors.  Score!

That led us to take up the rest of the carpet in the bedrooms, except the master.  Too busy with babies to mess with our room yet.

Enter current situation:  With baby #6 on the way, it was time to finally do something with our room.  After all, I deliver my guys at home and I want it to be in style!

We pulled up the carpet expecting to find the same gorgeous floors that we found in our boys’ room…wrong. Someone had glued down the carpet to the floor at some point, so there was adhesive all over that lovely floor.  Eek!

Here’ what the start looked like…

Dated Bedroom Mess Before Farmhouse Style Makeover | Prodigal Pieces |

This is the other side wall, which looks similar because it’s a 12′ x 12′ room.

Farmhouse Style Bedroom Before Makeover | Prodigal Pieces |

And then there’s the closet…

Closet Bedroom View Before | Prodigal Pieces |

*post contains affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too! (see full disclosure)

My awesome hubby took this project on alone – I’m not at the point of being able to get on hand and knees with baby bump and already aching back.

When he works 10-12 hr. days, the only time to make progress is in the little bit of evening you get and on weekends.  So…every night for two weeks he would grab the bottle of Krud Kutter Adhesive Remover and his scraper and work in small patches to remove the gunk.

Cleaning off Carpet Adehisive on Hardwood Bedroom Floors by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comLet’s just say this guy has patience to deal with this awful mess inch by inch. You might wonder why we didn’t just sand the floor down. However, sanding was not an option because we would blow our whole budget on sanding pads alone.

Removing Carpet Adehisive on Hardwood Bedroom Floors by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comWith the adhesive removed, it was time to sand.  Instead of paying high rental fees and high costs for sanding pads, we used a belt sander which cut the costs by 80%.  It just means hours on the knees…again.  I told you he rocks!

Sanding Hardwood Floors by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comIn case you’re wondering how to attempt this yourself, we started with a 50 grit paper working diagonal both ways, then moved on to 80 grit in the direction of the grain. To finish, we used a 120 grit for the final sanding.

Aah.  Floor is sanded and ready for the next step, stain.

Our finished desire is a rustic farmhouse style bedroom with a French flair and we decided to give it an aged look by using a Sunbleached Stain by RustOleum.

Rustoleum Sunbleached Stain for Floors in Farmhouse Style Bedroom by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comUsing a cast-off sock, we applied the stain, being sure to take off the excess within a 5 minute or so span.  The floor only needed one coat (as the label states) and was really easy to attain what we wanted.

Weathered Stain on Farmhouse Style Bedroom Floor by Prodigal Pieces |

Sunbleahed Stain on Farmhouse Style Bedroom Floor by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comFor the topcoat, we used Rustoleum Satin Floor Finish with a lambswool applicator. The first coat only had to dry for 3 hours and then we could apply the next coat.  Overall we applied four coats as the can recommended. Easy!

RustOleum Satin Floor Finish in Farmhouse Style Bedroom by Prodigal Pieces |

Sunbleached Bedroom Floor by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comSeriously, it is a gorgeous finish and the pictures don’t do it justice. Remember, we’re in the dead of winter here in the northeast and the sunny days are few and far between. Plus, we’re working mostly in the evening.

Even without the walls and ceiling done, it already feels fresh.

Although it’s a slow process for us due to lack of time (we are a family of 8!) we are enjoying the progress. We can’t wait to show it to you completed.  Share if you love it too!

Farmhouse Style Master Bedroom with Sunbleached Gray Floors by Prodigal Pieces |

To see the next steps, head below…

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In case you didn’t think we were nutty enough, we also have been tackling our farmhouse style master bath…oh what fun!

Now onto the ceilings and the walls! See the farmhouse style details below:

DIY Faux Farmhouse Barn Beam Ceiling by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comDIY Farmhouse Style Master Bedroom Reveal by Prodigal Pieces |