Refinishing furniture can be fun. If you are deciding about the feasibility of refinishing your cherished heirloom baby crib, you must first determine if the crib can be made safe and comfortable for your baby before you start your refinishing project.
The main ingredient for refinishing a baby crib or furniture is time and patience. All the other items can be purchased, so it is only a matter of money. This is not a strict how to do refinishing when paint or varnish stripping is necessary, but an overview of some basic information. Your local hardware store can be a valuable source of information as well as the internet. Since you are reading this you all ready know the importance of the internet.
After the baby crib is inspected and declared safe or repaired to a safe crib; then the stripping can begin. It is best to have all repairs completely finished before you begin. You need to be sure that the one missing part or the one part that is damaged can be actually repaired. Some people may choose to go for a shabby chic distressed kind of look so you may able to avoid stripping entirely and just use sandpaper and abrasive tools to distress the paint even more which is often how the look on even new shabby chic furniture is achieved.
This video has a simple explanation on this:
You will need to assemble all the tools and supplies needed for the job. Read and follow all directions carefully and determine the safe place to work. The chemicals you will be working with are flammable and you need proper ventilation. I like to work in the garage with the open garage doors. Use a proper respirator, not a dust mask, when stripping the older paints that may contain lead. Do not work with these chemicals if you are pregnant and keep children out of the area. As you can see this is not a project for the expectant mother, so husband, friend or family member will need to step in to do the stripping and painting.
Other safety items that will be needed are rubber gloves and goggles. Paint strippers usually come in either a semi-paste or a thin liquid consistency. The best temperature for working with wood stripper is between 60 and 70 degrees.
HELPFUL TIPS: Do not mix with any other product. For best results, use in temperatures between 65°F and 85°F and away from strong breeze and hot sun. Protect surrounding areas with a heavy plastic drop cloth. Do not use on linoleum, plastic, rubber, asphalt tile, fiberglass or other synthetics. Use over a small area because health and safety risks will increase dramatically when used over large areas. If applying to a vertical surface, begin at the bottom and work up because vapors can accumulate near the floor.
I like to apply the semi-paste stripper with a natural bristle brush; then I wait the time specified on the directions. I use a plastic putty knife and steel wool to help remove the paint and stripper. If you start removing the stripper too soon, you will have to do multiple applications. Do a test area to see if the paint is softening and being removed. It may take more than one application to achieve a clean surface. I use a liquid stripper to complete the stripping process if necessary. I finish cleaning the surface with a commercial wood cleaner or mineral spirits. It is easier to remove all the paint in this step rather than sanding the remaining paint. The surface must be very clean and very dry, so I usually wait an entire day before the next steps.
Here is an excellent guide on how to apply liquid stripper
Next, the sanding needs to be completed. Use a tack cloth to make sure all the particles are removed. It is important that after each process the surface is very clean and dry. This is when patience is needed. Determine if the wood is porous and needs a sealer. After the sealer is applied and dry, sand the surface with a fine grade of steel wool pad. Again, clean the surface with the tack cloth.
The wood should be ready for the final applications of paint or stain. It is important that you use only products that are safe for the baby. After each application and that application is completely dry, lightly sand and clean with a tack cloth.
Here is a great example of a piece of furniture finished with a distressed shabby chic look:
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