In my opinion painting something is one of the easiest DIY projects and can have such a big impact! Also you get the most bang for your buck, if done right. Getting crafty & creative can be fun and all but sometimes a DIY project ends up costing much more money (time and effort) than just buying a new piece. While there are always exceptions; you want a one-of-a-kind piece or a piece has sentimental value so it may be worth redoing/updating. Please comment if you have any questions or comments, I'd be so happy to help you with any design advice.
I am all for experimenting and learning as I go, and I am by no means a perfectionist so I like projects that aren't too expensive. With one quart of black paint I've repainted my small kitchen table and secretary desk (which were both pieces we received for free so there was not much hesitation to paint them). A $20 quart of paint can do a lot, I still have more paint remaining for a future project or for touch-ups. I did choose a neutral color on purpose knowing it would work for both of those pieces. I shared tips on painting or staining wood furniture in a previous post- you can read about here! I've also spray painted quite a few things in brass and one little can of spray paint made such a difference to about four different projects. I'm excited to do more spray painting and try some other golds.
Recently I updated a cubby wall shelf (thingy) that I found at HomeGoods, I loved the look of it but not so much the plain white color, because it wouldn't do much on my white walls, so I decided it would be a fun painting project! For the color I was just going to pick out any green paint that caught my eye.. but after browsing the millions upon millions of color options I decided to take a few swatches home and see if I could pull out a color in my rug. Taking the time to think about the color for a few days is a great idea to be sure you like it and that it goes with what you already have & love at home! I decided to pull out a color from the rug because it is the most colorful piece in our living room. Laying paint swatches right on top of my rug also helped me realize that the 'green' in my rug is much more of a blue/green, so I went with a blue/green paint for my shelf (which is in the living room as well, but still about 12 feet away from the rug). The color I decided on is 'Cedar Mountains' by Benjamin Moore and was only about 20 bucks for a quart sized can.
Step by Step Process for Repainting (almost anything)
- Remove all existing hardware, clean item & prep your workspace
- Sand down original finish (I sanded by hand for this smaller project, starting with 80 grit paper). On anything larger a power sander would be much more efficient.
- Wipe/dust/vacuum out all the sandpaper dust (you don't typically need to break out the vacuum but I did for this piece since it has so many nooks and crannies it was a bit harder to clean)
- After removing dust, ensure it's been sanded down enough.. I touched up a few more spots with 120 grit sandpaper. Wipe down again.
- Begin painting! Start with a larger brush on the main surfaces, painting in the same direction as the wood grain, and finish with a smaller brush to perfect those edges and crannies. (Brush sizes would depend on your project, but having a range of sizes is always nice).
- Before paint is completely dry use toothpicks to poke the screw holes for any hardware... ensuring the paint doesn't dry over the holes. (I left the toothpicks in but a few of them wouldn't come out easily from the paint drying around them, so I've learned it'd be better to just poke them in and out!)
- Allow it to dry at least 30 mins. Decide if you want to do a second coat by judging the dry paint color. I wanted to keep the rustic look so I only did one coat of paint for this project. The more coats you do the darker the color will appear but the less the wood grain will show through.
- If doing multiple coats give 30+ mins between each coat to dry, as it will get stickier. For a protective finish use a clear polyurethane or a wax sealer. To get the rustic look I was going for I decided not to seal it with anything. Sealer will take a while to dry.. once the fumes don't smell anymore then you can bring it inside.
- To distress use a gentle 220 grit sandpaper and focus on the edges & dominant face. Distress slowly, step back and observe your progress before doing too much.. note distressed pieces will only become more distressed with time so it's better to start small.
Step by Step Process for Wall Mount Hanging
- Measure your wall & wall hanging to ensure it will fit where you want, and is the correct scale.
- Use the hardware that comes with the piece if you have it, if not make sure your screws/nails are the correct size in diameter and length before beginning!
- Measure out where the screw holes need to go. Tip- use painters tape; place a strip across the back of what you are hanging, mark your holes and then place the tape on the wall where you want it. This will help you visualize the placement on the wall. Take note of how far down the holes are from the top of the item so you don't hang it too high or too low.
- Use a level to ensure your dots on the tape (screw marks) are level on the wall! Getting it level is very very important! If you do not have a large enough level, measure from an even surface, such as the ceiling, and make sure the holes are at the same exact height.
- Pre-drill or carefully hammer a screwdriver into the holes right through the tape. Once holes are marked remove the tape.
- When hanging anything heavy (or that will hold heavy items) go ahead and use drywall screws, trust me you don't want your hard work to go to waste a few days later when it rips out of the wall. Some drywall screws you can install with a drill, some need to be gently hammered into the wall. Either way I would pre-drill a small hole first.
- Once drywall screws are in place, and flush with the wall, screws should go in easily! Don't screw all the way into the wall, leave about 1/8" sticking out to catch whatever you are hanging.
- Use your fingers to feel where the holes are, line them up with the screws and hang your art/shelf/mirror on the wall! Then sit back and enjoy your hard work!