Monday, March 11, 2013

DIY: Paint that IKEA Table!

Most people have at least one piece of inexpensive furniture around their house that they are not that fond of. It's not that the piece isn't functional anymore.  It's just that your style has changed, or back in 2001 when you bought it, light birch wood was all the rage, and now it looks hopelessly dated.  But then, you don't really want to get rid of it, because it's a perfectly good piece of furniture, aside from being ugly and not matching anything that you own.  Well, I'm here to tell you: you can paint it!

Our Ikea table before: Dated "Birch Effect"
Like most people, I was under the assumption that laminate furniture could not be painted.  However, I started doing some research and I found that it is totally possible!  You just need to follow a few rules:

Supplies needed - not including the paintbrush and sandpaper/sander
1. Lightly sand the surface.  EVERY tutorial that I read, except for one, recommended that you sand the furniture.  I listened to the masses and sanded.

2.  Prime.  You MUST prime.  I used the highly recommended Zinsser oil based primer.  The reason that I used the oil based one and not the water based one is because the oil based primer can cure overnight, but the water based one requires a full 7 days to cure before you can paint.  Ain't nobody got time for that!

This is the primer that you want
3.  Paint.  I used my beloved Behr again, this time in a deep based since I chose black as the color I was painting my table.  I didn't see the exact black that I wanted in the sample paint chips, so I talked to the paint guy and he made one that was just "black black", which is what I wanted.  It took two coats of paint to get the coverage that I wanted.

Behr Premium Plus Ultra Paint
4.  Protect with a topcoat.  I used Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish in Clear Satin.  I HIGHLY recommend satin instead of gloss.  I started out with gloss, and it was harder to work with and didn't look as good.  I wanted my furniture to be a little bit shiny, but the Satin provides a really nice sheen and looks great.

Quart and spray can of Minwax Polycrylic in Clear Satin

So, I pulled our Ikea "Birch Effect" table and six chairs out to the garage and started sanding.  I used the corner cat that we had previously purchased to do the sanding, which helped it go a little faster, but I have to say that sanding is by far my least favorite part painting.  The chairs we have are actually solid wood, they are the Stefan chairs from Ikea, but they had a varnish on them that I wanted to remove.  The table top is a veneer, so you have to be more careful with that.  You only want to lightly sand to remove the shiny varnish, but you don't want to sand too much because you can sand through the veneer to the MDF or particle board that is underneath, and you don't want that.

 After sanding, I used a paint roller to apply one coat of Zinsser oil based primer to the table and chairs.  I had one spray can also, and I used that to do the slats of the chairs because I knew that getting in there with a paint brush would be time consuming and messy.  The spray cans are expensive compared to the liquid quart sized cans, and they don't have much primer in them.  One spray can only covered the slats on the backs of six chairs!  I think it would have taken at least 3 spray cans to cover all the chairs, and probably 2 more to do the table.  If you have a flat surface (such as a table or dresser) using a roller is pretty quick and easy.  But if you have something with a intricate surface, or many corners (like chairs, or a piece that is more detailed) you may want to spend the extra money and just use spray cans.  Just be prepared to buy several cans - probably more than you think you need.  

I only did one coat of primer, let that dry overnight, and then started painting the next day.  As I said, I was using the BEHR PREMIUM PLUS ULTRA® Flat Enamel because I knew I would be using a glossy topcoat.  If you know anything about paint, you know that the more matte a paint is, the better it is at hiding imperfections.  So, the paint went on pretty smoothly and looked great. I used a roller again on the table, and because of the flat surfaces, it was really easy and quick. I would roll over one section of the table, and then grab a paint brush to catch the drips and smooth out the edge of the table.  The chairs took longer because of all the corners and surfaces.  I ended up using the roller on the seat and the other areas I could reach, and then going back over it with a brush to get the places the roller missed.  It is important that you catch drips as quickly as possible, because once they dry you need to sand them to get rid of them, and they start to dry pretty quickly.  I did two coats of paint, letting the first coat dry overnight before applying the second coat.

Finally, it was time to apply the topcoat.  At this point, I had selected the Minwax Polycryic in Gloss for my  topcoat.  I decided to start with the table and use a roller again, since using the roller with the primer and paint had worked out so well.  Big Mistake.  Huge.  DO NOT do this.  The topcoat went on unevenly and looked absolutely horrible.  I was so upset!  I had worked so hard, and now my table looked terrible!  That was when I decided to switch to the Satin topcoat.  I also did more reading online, and I found out that you should either used a high density foam roller OR a brush when working with the Minwax polycrylic.  So, I decided to grab a few foam rollers when I was at Home Depot picking up the Satin Minwax.  I stood in the aisle a very long time trying to decide if I should just get spray cans for the top coat or go with a liquid quart again.  I ended up buying one spray can and one quart so that I could use the spray can on the difficult parts of the chairs.  

My table still had that horrible, uneven coat of polycrylic on it, so I decided to sand it down - the directions on Minwax suggest that you sand between each coat using 220 grit sandpaper.  So I took my corner cat and started sanding.  HORRORS!  Sanding totally ruined my paint job.  It unevenly removed paint in certain areas, letting the primer show through.  RUINED.  Yes, I was upset.  Also, I was out of paint, as it took the entire quart of Behr to do two coats on the table and chairs.

Sanding disaster!

Back to home depot to get a sample sized pot of paint matched to my table paint.  I finished sanding my table so that the surface would be smooth - it now had spots of primer showing through the paint all over the tabletop.  I slapped on two more coats of paint and it looked great again.  I DID NOT SAND anything after this.  I then applied the Minwax Polycrylic using a brush.  The key is to work quickly, apply very thin layers and do long, even strokes, catching any drips as soon as possible.  The topcoat goes on milky white, but dries clear as long as you have applied a thin coat.  If there are drips, they will dry white, so be sure to catch those.  I did five coats on the table top since it will be getting heavy use and be getting wiped down often.  I did two coats on everything else (the apron and legs of the table and the chairs).  I used the spray can on the chair backs and it was wonderful.  I still had to paint the topcoat on the other parts of the chairs, and it was time consuming and messy.  It would have probably taken two spray cans to cover all six chairs fully, and probably two more for the table.  For the chairs, I used a foam brush, foam roller and regular paint brush. If you only chose one tool to apply this with, I would say go with a regular, but high quality paint brush.  You don't want to be picking brush hairs out of your newly painted furniture.  Minwax even makes a brush specifically designed for their product, but I didn't use it as I only discovered it after I finished my paint job.

Finally, I was finished!  Well, almost.  I had made the mistake of using the roller to apply a coat of gloss to one of the chairs before I realized it was horrible.  It is still sitting in the garage like a red headed step-child because I am burnt out on sanding and painting, and we have five perfectly good chairs!  I'll fix it eventually.  Probably.
Lonely Chair
After curing overnight in the garage, we brought everything back inside, put together and it is sitting majestically in the dining room.  We have not used it yet because I read that paint needs thirty days to fully cure, and I am paranoid about messing it up after all of that work.  It looks great, though, and I am really happy with it.
After! (Now with leaf!)

Sans the banished chair
So, in conclusion, here is what you need to paint your laminate furniture:

220 and 120 grit sandpaper (can do by hand or use an oscillating sander)
Zinsser Oil Based Primer (other bloggers have used Kilz with success as well)
Latex paint of your choice (I used BEHR PREMIUM PLUS ULTRA® Flat Enamel)
Water Based Topcoat (I used Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish in Clear Satin)
2 high quality paintbrushes (one for paint, one for topcoat)
1 cheap paintbrush (for the oil based primer - you will likely throw this brush away)

Optional (but you will probably be happy to have)
2 paint rollers (one for primer, one for paint)
1 paint tray if you are using rollers (use the pinterest trick and cover with foil during each use so that you can reuse the same tray and just throw away the foil)
1 cheap foam brush (for topcoat)
1 high density foam roller (for topcoat)

1. Sand
2. Prime
3. Paint
4. Protect

This took me almost two weeks total because I got sick in the middle of it, but if you worked on it every day and didn't run into the same problems that I did, you could probably get this done in less time. Let each coat cure overnight, except maybe the topcoat - that is fine with just curing for a few hours between coats.
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Colleen said...

Ha! Red headed step chair, we have all been there with DIY :)

NW Girl said...

I've almost recovered from my burn out. I was thinking about attempting to fix it yesterday. Thinking about it....

furrrball said...

I have this exact table and it needs refinishing, which is how I found your blog. But after reading all the steps, all the work and money, hell I'm going to just buy a whole new set. Thanks for the info!

NW Girl said...

I'm glad it was helpful! I do agree that it was an undertaking, so I think it is totally reasonable to buy a new table. Although, if you wanted to paint multiple pieces of furniture, it is worth it to invest in the equipment, I think. My table is still holding up great after several months, for what it's worth! Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

Ana Varguez said...

I have the same table in black. But it looks horrible the stain rubbed off on all the chairs and the table top. I am moving into my new home and can't afford to buy all new furniture So this is one of my projects I want to do to save on costs if buying new furniture. How much did u spend on supplies?

Anonymous said...

Can I ask how it's holding up after a year of use? Thanks for the great blog.

Anonymous said...

Could you tell us how well it is holding up until now? Thanks.

NW Girl said...

Sorry everyone! The table is holding up quite well. It did get some dings in the move back to Oregon, but that was mostly our fault because we didn't get blankets to pad it with. Other than that, it is still in pretty much the same condition as right after I painted it.

NW Girl said...

As far as how much I spent on supplies, I will admit that I didn't keep track of that very well, but I would estimate that it was around $100. I had pretty much NO supplies to start with, so I had to go out and buy everything. I also had some trial and error, such as buying the spray cans of primer when i should have just gotten the pint, also I ended up buying two kinds of sealer. Still, it was much cheaper than buying a new set, even if it was a cheap Ikea set.

Dinner Table Set For Sale said...

What an amazing job you did, it's just beautiful!
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