Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Zebra Nightstand Makeover

I'm sorry that it's been awhile since I posted a furniture project. It's difficult to find time for projects with our crazy schedule. This ugly nightstand, I found for $20, started off as a different project. I intended to makeover this table for resale until my daughter laid claim to it midway through the project. I don't think I could have found an uglier nightstand and my husband could not understand why on earth I'd bring this thing home lol.

My original vision was to paint it off white, paint the drawers black, and stencil a chevron pattern on the top. I have never stenciled on furniture before so this was a learning experience for me. 

I started off by cleaning the nightstand, checking for cobwebs, etc. I sanded the entire nightstand and drawers with 80 grit. The top of the nightstand took a little more effort to cut through it's finish. I had a small container of "oops paint" from Lowes I found for $1.50, so I don't have a specific color to share with you. Always check your local hardware stores for clearance paint and "oops paint". They are great to have on hand for projects like this.

I recently purchased Floetrol to add to my paint to help reduce brush strokes on my projects.

I applied 2 coats of paint, allowing a day of drying in between coats. Once I had the entire nightstand painted I attempted my chevron stencil on the top. Lets just say it didn't come out well at all. Why? Because apparently I used too much paint and have no patience. The black paint bled underneath the stencil. It was bad. I did a much better job using this stencil when I spray painted a wooden monogram letter for my daughter's door.

About that time, my daughter showed interest in the piece for her room and we came up with a new plan. I ended up having to sand the top again. I tried to get away with just covering the bad stencil with black paint. Um no. You could still see the pattern. So back to a smooth surface and repainted the top in a black satin by Valspar. This is the same black paint I already purchased for my daughter's tween zebra room makeover. You can see her new-ish headboard painted in this color HERE

Now to stencil a zebra pattern....I went back to Pinterest and YouTube for DIY furniture stenciling tutorials. One I saw in particular appeared relatively easier. I wish I had the link to share with you. I've tried looking for it again but I don't even remember where I found it. I was just googling on my phone. The tutorial advised using a small roller to apply the paint. I will give you the steps as best as I can.

Step 1) Align your stencil exactly how you want it and use painters tape to hold it in place. On my project I wanted subtle. I could have stenciled the entire top surface but I didn't want to. I wanted to be different. 

Step 2) Using a small trim roller kit, roll a small amount of paint onto your roller, removing any excess paint.

Step 3) Run your roller over a paper towel so you only have a tiny amount of paint on your roller. Too much paint and it will bleed under your stencil. In this situation, less is definitely more.

Step 4) Roll over your stencil and repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have covered all your areas with your first layer. You may need to repeat these steps until you have your desired coverage. Whatever you do, always allow dry time in between coats or your first coat of paint will just smear. I had to apply 2-3 coats to completely cover the black paint.

If you need to cover a larger area than your stencil allows, wait until your paint is dry then move your stencil as needed and tape it down again. On my nightstand the top has kind of a rectangle shaped groove running along the top so I chose to stencil inside of this rectangle. My stencil was not long enough so I lined it up as best as I could so the pattern would continue and look uniform. I sealed off areas with painters tape where I did not want to stencil.

I still had a few spots of paint bleed so I used a small acrylic brush and cleaned up the edges with the black paint.

Now the part begins where I needed my husband's assistance. Turning the last two drawer spaces into shelves. I'm sure I could have accomplished this part by myself (with a lot of errors) if I really tried, but I've never attempted this before and he's pretty darn handy. We actually worked together really well on this, probably because I let him take over at this point haha.

Remove the tracks inside the nightstand and make sure you have a nice level surface. We also had to remove metal tacks from each drawer end that were there to help drawers slide in and out with ease.

My husband measured the 2 drawer spaces and using 1/8 inch thick birch, he cut out the pieces we needed with a table saw. The way this table is designed we could not slide in the wood for the shelf as a whole piece. So he made 2 halves that we could insert. If you're not covering it with contact paper as we did, you could always use some wood glue for your seam and sand it down when dry. (Remember measure twice and cut once!


To remember which piece was what, he labeled the wood pieces with which drawer it was cut for and drew arrows to show how they fit together. A lot of times we are distracted by kids running amuck or dinner has to be made, etc. This is the easiest way to remember what cut goes where. We laid the pieces down on our contact paper and traced the edges for cutting.

We left about 1 inch of overhang for the front of the shelf. When these are installed and glued down the contact paper can be tucked around and under so you have a nice finish on the very front of your shelf.

Now this part you could do either way. You can install both wood pieces in your shelf and then lay down your contact paper or do as we did. It's so hard to line up corners of contact paper in tight dark spaces so we laid the contact paper on 1 half, as you see above. You can also see my extra contact paper on the front edge. We ran the wood glue inside the nightstand along the back side, then placed our first piece inside. Take your second half of wood and insert. Finish rolling your contact paper across to the other side.

Tuck the extra contact paper in the front underneath. I took better photos for the second drawer we did. (Wipe up any excess glue dripping).

Now you're ready to finish gluing. Run a bead of glue along the front inside your nightstand. Use clamps to secure the shelf to the nightstand. Since we couldn't use clamps in the back we used heavy objects to add weight. You'll want to use a piece of wood or trim, as we did, between your clamps and the shelf. If you don't you're liable to have indentations in your shelf from the clamps. Wipe up excess wood glue that will ooze once you've clamped your shelf down. Keep a watch because it can keep oozing. 

Once that's done let it dry for 24 hrs, leaving the clamps on. You might want to use something underneath your table in case any wood glue seeps from the bottom. We didn't but I wasn't taking the chance since we did this indoors on our dining room table lol.

After my shelves dried I needed to paint inside the drawer edges since they'll be seen. Use painters tape to protect the contact paper.

I also lined inside the top drawer with contact paper and spray painted the knobs with Oil Rubbed Bronze.

Protect your new paint finish with a polyurethane or polyacrylic. I am partial to polyacrylic. It's water based and fast drying plus will not turn a yellowish color over time on white furniture. I have read that polyurethane can. 

Now we have a nice nightstand to accent my daughter's room. Once we've painted and finished the makeover, I'll update with additional pictures :) Please feel free to ask questions about this project or any others by commenting below!