Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bargains made over

Remember my framed bamboo leaf print, the one that I picked up for $10? When I began furnishing the lounge, I decided it was (finally) time to hang some artwork. But of course, the frame was completely the wrong colour.

I give you exhibit A: One white framed print...

Yes, the frame is quite nice, but not for my house. So I decided to give it a makeover and stain the frame a more suitable colour for our decor. It turned out really well. Voila!

I thought I'd share a few things that I've learned over the years about staining timber. I'm by no means an expert at this, but hey - somebody may as well benefit from my mistakes.

These are my three golden rules:

1. Curb your impatience. Even a small item like a picture frame is not a one-day job. It's probably not even a one-weekend job. Depending on the size and the current state of the piece you're revamping, the work involved may not be very time-consuming, but time between coats stretches the project out, often for three or four days.

2. Overcome your lazy tendencies. Don't skimp on the preparation or you'll end up with something you may not be all that happy with. Cleaning, sanding and cleaning some more is important if you want a really good finish.

3. Cheap isn't always a bargain. Buy good quality products. Cheap brushes that shed hairs, or shortcut finishes that combine stain and varnish in one can aren't worth it in the end.

In case you're interested, I used a chestnut timber stain (three coats) and then rubbed on and wiped off some black tint to darken the colour some more. Then a coat of polyurethane finished it off. All up, it took three days to do, but the actual time spent working on it totalled less than two hours.

My next jobs will be stripping and staining one of my eBay chairs, and making-over our pine tallboy to match the bedside tables.

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