Friday, May 10, 2013

Easy Furniture Revamp - Cedar Chest


My parents gave me this "hope chest" when I was in my teens...I can't remember which year exactly, but it's been around for awhile now. :) Now that I've been married for a few years and all my "hopes" have been unloaded from my hope chest and put to good use in our home, the chest now holds our extra coats, hats, gloves, etc. We've had two dogs since we've been married, both of which thought the top of the bench made an excellent bed and, as you can imagine, that kind of wear is hard on upholstery. I decided last summer (this got to be a sadly procrastinated project!!) that this bench needed a makeover, and set about it's transformation. 


Here it is in all of it's glory. :) It's sitting just inside our patio doors, and the sun has faded it badly...


One of our dogs thought (during the puppy phase) that this corner looked like a good chew toy. 


The upholstery was pretty shot, and out of date anyway. 


I started by removing the bench pad and hardware from the chest. All of these were very easy to remove...I just had to reach inside and unscrew them. :)


There they are! :) Make sure you don't loose any little pieces. I had intended to spray paint the hardware, but after a little more thought decided I liked it the color it was. One less step is always nice. :)


Next I found a black vinyl fabric to recover the bench pad. It's got a faux leather texture to it, and is pretty thick and soft...seems like it will wear MUCH better than the previous upholstery. :) Also, all the mud that gets dragged in will wipe right off! 


I laid the bench pad upside down on the back of the vinyl and trimmed the new piece to size. Make sure to leave several inches all around the edges. 


Then, using my husband's staple gun, I fastened the ends in place. 


Once the ends are securely stapled down, fold over the sides and staple them as well. 


Not all of the staples wanted to go thru the thicker vinyl very well, so I had to hammer them in the rest of the way. 


Now for the corners. You can really fold them over however you like, but this is how I did mine. Pull the extra fabric straight up...


...and then pull it down and spread out the sides. Sorry, it's hard to explain...hopefully you can follow what I did there. :)


Staple that in place as well. Repeat with each corner. 


Here's how they look from the finished side. 


Another angle...I think it makes a nice, finished looking corner. 


All done with the pad! :)


Already looking better!! :) 

Next you need to decide how you want to refinish you wood. If you're really ambitious you can totally strip it down and re-stain it. I HATE (not dislike....H-A-T-E!!!) sandpaper!!! I hate the feel, I hate the sound, I hate the dust...I just hate it all!! So I wanted to come up with a way of revamping my wood without having to use sandpaper. Here's where I made a very baaaaaaaaad decision. : \


I decided I was going to just use a chocolate brown spray paint on the wood. I mean, how much worse could it look? I started spraying it on and almost instantly realized that was NOT a good idea. It looked so tacky and gross and I was NOT happy. :( I stopped right away, and that is how the poor bench sat from last August till this week. Hey, I told you I procrastinated!!! :) I didn't want to continue with the spray paint, and I REALLY didn't want to have to sand the whole thing down and re-stain it...but what other options did I have?


Then, earlier this week, I discovered PolyShades from Minwax. Wow!! I wish I had found this stuff years ago!! :) It stains and polyurethanes all in 1step, and can be used on already finished wood. Awesome!! I did wind up having to sand all that stupid spray paint off the front of the bench (wearing my husband's heavy work gloves so I didn't have to touch the sandpaper!! Haha...), and you are supposed to lightly sand finished wood before applying the stain, which I also did over most of the bench...I did stain a couple of places without doing a thing to them first, and they turned out fine. :)


Progress!! :) The lid of the bench had never been finished, except around the edges, so it took a couple thick coats to look decent. 


Looking soooooooooo much better!!! :) 


After a couple of coats of my amazing PolyShades, I was ready to reattach the bench pad and hardware! Voila!! It looks soooooooo much better now, and fits in with the rest of my furniture much better. Now that I know how easy it is to refinish wood using PolyShades, I may just form a new addiction... ;) Good luck with your own revamps!!

4 comments:

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  3. That is a beautiful hope chest. I love the darker red color that you were able to get in the after photo. I'm new to DIY as well, and I want to restore a hope chest. I don't have an heirloom so I will have to buy one, but I was wondering if you recommend cedar wood for a starter project? If you had to do it over, would there be other woods that you would consider (maybe the chocolate brown would look better on a different type).

    Edith | http://cedarshop.com/calgary-lumber-supply-products/

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  4. Excellent tutorial!!

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