Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I'm Sew Over Veneer

Once upon a time I bought a super junked out antique sewing table, and it had unparalleled potential (true story).  It did, however, have a higher than average amount of flaking veneer, but I loved the bones so much that I was willing to chance it.  That and the $15 price tag helped push it over the edge for me.

See?  Isn't it deceptively awesome?

With the top open.

Look at all that awesome detail. (You can't tell, but the finial looks like it might have been on the receiving end of some kitty angst.)  Now for the bad.

Look at all that chippy awesomeness. I have heard lots of talk of chippy pieces, but that is usually referring to the paint...not the furniture itself.  I'm not a fan.

Mmm...rippling veneer.  My favorite (extreme sarcasm).

On the back, part of this leg has been knocked clean off.

What the heck?!? Right before I painted I discovered that this wasn't the original back, but a weird piece of paneling put on this piece because it had peeling, you guessed it, VENEER!  Since I had already prepped the rest of it to paint I then had to back track to fix this. Ugh

Here is the paneling piece.  Peeps this isn't fit for a wall let alone furniture.  So just incase you all have ever contemplated using this for furniture...DON'T.  Just say NO!

Here is what it looked like underneath.

With just a little bit of elbow grease, and it was gone (man I wish it had all been this easy).

Ok, so I came across this piece on my most favorite place to waste time EVER...Craigslist.  I don't know who Craig is, but I love that guy for having such fun lists full of awesomeness.  Our house is almost 100% filled with Craigslist items.  Where else can you find desperate people selling nice things at a fraction of the cost because they are moving soon.  Desperate movers are my favorite victims sellers.

That being said I bought this from someone who cleans peoples places out, and then lists and sells their stuff.  Now that I say that it sounds like I bought this from a thief, but it was a guy that ran a totally legit operation (I hope).  I can tell you what most likely happened with this sucker.  Somebody's mother got sick, and went to the rest home, and they shoved her stuff in the barn.  Until they aged to such a point that they too were rest home bound at which time my craigslisting friend sold it to me.  Veneer and a non-climate controlled barn don't mix well.  So my first order of business was to remove the veneer.  Here is where buying junked out antiques is a bonus because under the veneer is solid wood.  Where as now it would be veneer over particle board grossness.  Old furniture is still solid wood its just an inferior wood under the nice veneer, which isn't even a problem with painted furniture.  

So I researched how to remove veneer.  Everywhere mentioned moisture, heat, and using a putty knife.  The pictures made it look like it was a simple matter of spritzing it, and then covering it with a cloth, ironing, and then it magically peels off with little to no effort.  Let me just say that there was nothing magical about it.

Here was my first go.  I put a damp dish towel on there with no other water used.

Then came the heat.  This method worked great on one side, but on the other...

it seemed to just re-adhere all the glue.  It was at this time that I was just sure that my sisters in bloglandia were lying.  I was railing against the unjustness of it when I had an epiphany.  My next go round I saturated a rag, and then basically just squeezed it out on the veneer.  Then placing my towel back over I hit it with the iron again.

Then slowly. but surely it started to come off.  It was totally a tedious process though, and I completely gave up at about...

this point.  Don't worry I sanded it smooth so you don't see when it is painted.

One bit of caution.  Next time I would plan to use several towels.  As the veneer was peeled off it left behind its adhesive that then soaked into the towel, and left my iron looking like this.

Which generally wouldn't be a bad thing since this is where it lives on a regular basis, but Señor Hotness bought this and told me not to use it for crafting...Oops.  I guess I just got myself a crafting iron.  By the way using the putty knife and a wet cloth I was able to get most of that off while it was still hot.  I'm not sure how successful that was ultimately though since I haven't used it on anything else.

Miss P was the biggest help of this whole process.  She took time out of her busy doll playing schedule to organize a veneer disposal assembly line.  I really wish I could share the picture I took of the assembly line, but Destructo girl still has a strong aversion to wearing anything other than panties below the waist.

I decided that this wouldn't be a spray painting project (because I feel like I am beholden to the weather to much for that).  So since I was going to paint this by hand I saw no reason to put off getting the top addressed. 

On the top I chose not to remove the veneer.  It was barely chipped.  I'll let you know if it comes back to bite me later.

Just another chipped area (and I'm not talking about my old pedicure)

Sorry I seem incapable of getting my feet OUT of the photos.

This is the pattern in my antique end tables that I was wanting the replicate with stain.

 To try and replicate the inlaid wood pattern that were on my antique end tables.  I was planning to use contrasting stains to accomplish this, but I wanted it to be super subtle. So instead of doing the gray and dark walnut like usual.  I went with Minwax Provincial and Minwax Dark Walnut.

My wide tape was too wide so I used my 1" tape and doubled it on the edges.

Here it is all taped out.

This is after the provincial was put on.

It bled, but after the dark walnut I didn't expect that to be noticeable.

Thick layer of Dark Walnut.  This was going to look awesome.

Or, wait...What? When I wiped off the dark walnut you couldn't see the pattern that I had taped out.

So I let everything dry for a day, and then I decided that I would just come back with my Rustoleum Gray Driftwood stain for a sharper contrast.

Lets hope this takes, and...

Here is what it looked like after I took the tape off.  Still with bleeding edges, but that should be fixed with the top layer of darker stain.

That didn't take either.  You can kind of see the pattern in this picture, but honestly it was almost indistinguishable in person.   

Then I realized that I didn't really like that pattern at all with just contrasting stains.  It worked on the tables because the wood was inlaid, and the grains running in different directions.  So then I decided to go in a different direction entirely.  I decided to sand it all down again, and start over.  And pray like mad that I didn't chip any of the veneered top further.

This time I decided to do a harlequin pattern, which is a fancy term for diamonds.  Of course I could have said I did and argile pattern, but I feel like then people would expect a golf themed table, and I can't even manage a simple putt putt without a fair amount of cheating.

It looks so very southwestern with the stain on it.

This is what it looked like after both the Driftwood, and Dark Walnut stains.  It is still very subtle, but I really love the harlequin pattern...a LOT.

Then it was time to address the bottom.  This piece was going to go in my formal living room with my bench and my blue coffee and end tables.  I decided that this needed to go blue like the other tables in the room.  The other blue furniture were painted in Krylon Blue Ocean Breeze that I had on hand in as spray paint.  I didn't want to spray paint this however.  I was wanting the brush paint it so you can imagine my excitement when I found this.

I found a quart of blue ocean breeze, and using plaster of paris I made chalk paint to paint the bottom of this.

I taped off the hinges that did absolutely no good.  I ended up having to paint them anyway.

Using a damp rag I washed down all the dusty intricate parts on the bottom.

Here it is with the paint still drying.  I didn't worry about the trim since I was planning on painting that black.

It looks really cool all painted out, but I won't lie it was a pain to make sure ever nook and cranny was covered in paint.

Ta DA!  Done painting.  Now on to the glazing.

This side is free of glaze.

What a difference glaze makes, right.  Before the color is too strong and very in your face smurfy blue.  After the addition of some antiquing in the form of brown glaze it softens up the colors considerably.

I generally dry brush it on, but for this piece I slathered it on there, and then came back and wiped off the excess.

Also be warned that glaze is very slow drying so if you aren't careful where you touch you might end up with something like this.  I didn't sweat the finger smudges since they will be covered up with the door accessories when they are reattached.

Then with all of that done it was time to reattach the drawer pulls.

On this piece I LOVED the aged patina these have so I did absolutely nothing to them.  Just pulled them out, and reattached them.

Don't they look awesome, and now they really pop and draw your eye as opposed to getting lost on the darkness of the piece.

Now you can hardly see the missing piece on the back, and the finial doesn't resemble something that had been used to alleviate cat scratch fever.

Here it is with the pretty new patterned top.

The top all opened up.

So beautiful!  I love the way this one turned out.

The over all cost of this project was $23 including the cost of the furniture, and the new can of blue paint.  Everything else was done with stuff I've used a ton, and had on hand.  This piece was the best candidate for getting painted because of its crumbling, chippy awful veneer problem.  Paint makes everything seem fresh and new.  All while covering the multitude of sins that could lie beneath.  This piece was finished off with a coat of polycrylic gloss on the bottom, and several coats on top.  Now instead of this being an eye sore in my room, it is now kind of a show stopper.  

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Linked up at Daily Cup with Mrs. OlsonMiss MustardseedShaken Together LifeFunky Junk InteriorsThe-Chicken-ChicThe Dedicated HouseWe Call It JunkinA Peek Into My ParadiseSavvy Southern


  1. I have an old sewing table similar to it, although the sewing machine is with it. I have been meaning to sell it to get it out, but after seeing your post on fb I had to come check it out. I love it!! I wish I lived close to you so we could have refinishing days. I have done frames and a toddler bed, but nothing this exciting.

  2. What a lot of work! It turned out beautiful though--love the color!

  3. love the harlequin look as well great job on this peice

  4. Absolutely amazing work! Thanks for sharing!
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
    Hugs from Portugal,
    Ana Love Craft

  5. This really looks beautiful now that it is done. I did an end table about a year ago that had many of the same problems in terms of veneer and stain......and yes, ironing the veneer reattaches it to the wood. I can totally relate to the frustration you were probably feeling!!! Isn't it such a sense of accomplishment, though, one it is finally finished and looks amazing?!?!?

  6. It was for sure a labor of love. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Gorggggggeous!! Love the piece- and are those your real floors?! Aaaah I love them!! :)

    We'd love for you to share at our link party over the weekend! XO

    1. They are our real floor, but unfortunately they are in pretty bad shape. We are contemplating trying to replicate the look when we fix them because WE love them too!

  8. Sarah... GREAT job!! Thank you so much for telling and showing the process. The table turned out wonderful. Love the color (I'm in love with turquoise right now)
    I'm with Lolly Jane... LOVE your floors!! Did you do the finish on them? Is there a post about them? :)
    Christina in Cleveland

    1. Welcome! Those are our actual floors, but they are unfortunately not as awesome as they appear in pictures. We wish we could keep them, but there will probably be a post in the future when we finally address them. We are thinking about how we could duplicate them.

  9. Wow!! I love what you did with it looks beautiful. I love finding things to give new life to them. '
    Kim -This Ole Mom

  10. Wow, lots of work but so worth it for the pretty results. Your floors are gorgeous too.

  11. So very pretty! I love the color! BTW....your iron will sparkle again if you use one of those Magic Eraser sponges on it. Those things clean everything !

    1. Oh what a great idea! Thanks Cathy. I'll for sure be doing that. Thanks for stopping down.

  12. I love that blue you used. I completely agree sometimes furniture just needs a little TLC and a makeover. I have a few older pieces myself that I just haven't gotten around to working on. Maybe now I will. :) I'm glad I jumped over from the DIY Sunday Showcase this morning. Can't wait to start following you. :) Hope you can hop over to visit me.

  13. Turned out beautifully, love the color.
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY...

    1. Thanks so much for always hosting such a fun party. Hope you have a great week.

  14. You did such a wonderful job on this piece! I love that you're so good at taking multiple pictures throughout the process...still trying to learn that myself lol :)

    Swinging by from the Merry Monday linkup!

  15. Your effort really paid off, this is a beautiful piece. Great job!

  16. Wow Sarah, it took a lot of work but what a gorgeous makeover in the end! I love the Harlequin pattern that you ended up with - much better. Beautiful job!
    Marie@The Interior Frugalista

  17. Oh it worked for me too...eventually. I've seen that method Lots of places, but your's was the first Kammy. I just chalked it up to you being so much more awesome than me, lol.

  18. Te quedo divino ese trabajo¡¡¡ me ncanta todo lo que haces¡¡¡ me quedo como seguidora, besos

  19. ha se me olvidaba te invito al mio

  20. Beautiful transformation! The color is gorgeous. Thank you for sharing at Tuesdays at Our Home! Have a great week! Maria

  21. Sarah, I can't believe you did this much work, but it was sew....haha worth it! Wow, this could be the most gorgeous sewing cabinet makeover I have seen. Great job!! I am sharing tomorrow at The Handmade Hangout at Redouxinteriors.

  22. Wow this looks great. Nicely done. Thank you for sharing this post at City of Creative Dream's City of Links on Friday! I appreciate you taking the time to party with me. Hope to see you again this week :)

  23. I love that you show all your mistakes along with the great outcome. Sure helps the rest of us avoid the pitfalls of redoing furniture.

  24. Sarah, sounds like lots of work, but so worth it girl. I love the harlequin and you painted it one of my favorite colors! Must say, I am loving that floor that I am seeing in the pictures as well!! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

    1. I love the floors too, and just wish I could keep them. They are in pretty bad shape though so we will have to replace them eventually. Until then I'm enjoying how they match my decor.

  25. I enjoy a good laugh, but there's nothing quite as fun as laughing at ourselves. Thanks for visiting.

  26. Thank you so much Gail. I will put an actual putty knife on the list of stuff to grab from town. I bet I could have actually gotten the corners with that. I always love sage advice from someone better experienced than me.

  27. Love this idea! Thanks for sharing with Teach Me Tuesday Linky Party! Hope to see you there again tonight:)

  28. Hey Sarah, another great makeover! I'm featuring it tomorrow on Worthwhile Wednesdays!

  29. Wow, what you can make from something that someone thinks is nothing!! Love it!!

  30. It turned out beautiful! Love the harlequin top and the blue is perfect.