It’s been a long long time since I posted a DIY or a cake decorating post. Partially because I start projects with little planning or prep and am too impatient to wait for good light to take pictures (translated: I get an idea in my head and start immediately. My husband has come home to some major paint changes before.), and also because I was never sure any of it was worth posting. Well he brought it up as I was starting this recent project of mine of refinishing our nightstand, so I thought I would write something up…

Especially because my daughter wanted to get in on the action. She asks me all the time if she can help. In the kitchen, cleaning (some of the time), and my projects; Cake, yarn, and diy. I have been more intentional lately of slowing down to let her help, which is hard because when I start something, all I see is the finished result and that it isn’t there yet. Impatient, remember? 😉 She asked if she could help sand and distress, and I warily said yes. Because she needs to learn stuff like this sometime. And I am happy to pass on all the studying and researching and lessons learned from failed projects I’ve tried. Everything I teach her now will be with her the rest of her life. I only have so much time with her in her life to imprint with my knowledge and hobbies.

Part of why I do so much upscaling is because it’s cheaper than buying new. You also have much more control over what you do and can personalize it any way you want. This nightstand is part of a two-part set that belongs to a bedroom set that my husband and I bought probably ten years ago, maybe more. It was light stained and varnished,DIY nightstand unfinished and over time that can start to yellow and even get an orange-y look to it. Especially if the wood it covers isn’t that awesome in quality. I have no pictures of it completely before because, well, impatient. Remember? I actually started it while it was in the bedroom still in its place next to the bed. Once again, impatient. This is why it has an almost finished top and barely anything changed elsewhere.

Getting Started

I love two tone painting. I usually start or finish with a white or cream color and contrast it with a darker one. I didn’t want everything in the room to be white, since our sleigh bed will be white, so I made white a base coat and used this pretty grey as my top color. I used Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint in ‘Everlasting’ and ‘Yesteryear’. I love this paint and use it on every project I use paint for, save for walls. So first thing, after cleaning the nightstand, I got to DIY nightstand in progresspainting the white coat down first. It doesn’t look like a stunning beauty just yet, but I don’t worry about a little sloppiness when putting on the bottom color. The only thing I make sure I do, is sand each coat flat before adding the next because it will sand down odd, revealing a weird-looking pattern in the exposed paint from the first coat. Sanding smooth between coats lets you control what your distressing will look like.

After you get the bottom and top colors on, it’s time to sand, again. Use 150 to 120 grit sandpaper, and wait until your paint has had some time to fully dry before you start. I start by making sure the flat surfaces are nice and smooth, and then I move on to the edges, sanding harder to reveal the paint below. In some of the areas, I also let some of the wood show through.

Where my daughter comes in is at this sanding part. She comes in the garage and asks if she can help. I just finished the hard work of cleaning and laying 4 coats of paint on this table and I nervously said “yes”, and handed her a piece of sandpaper. The distressing is where the personality comes out in a piece and I was handing it over to her. Well, she sands like a BOSS. I’m not going to tell you just what parts she sanded, apart from the obvious drawer she is sanding in the picture, because she did so well you wouldn’t know. We had lots of fun and spent a great midday having mother-daughter time.Sanding the nightstand

After the sanding is finished and the dust wiped off with a damp cloth, we started painting on the varnish when the nightstand was dry. I used to use finishing wax a ton, but after repainting our computer desk, I used varnish to help stand up against the kids. I used the ultra-matte varnish and loved it so much that I used it for this piece as well. I was scared of messing things up at first when I applied it to my desk, but quickly found out it is easy to apply and get smooth. So this time, I let my daughter start right in. She did great and finished half the nightstand herself. I really didn’t need to step in at all :).

And, the finished project.

nightstand finished
Click image to zoom in.
diy nightstand finished
Click image to zoom in.

I loved that I slowed down to allow this memory to come to being (“Margin, margin.” I keep telling myself 😉 ) I now have a piece of furniture that has a memory and a unique personality painted right on to and into it. I loved how it turned out! You don’t have to use multiple colors and layers, but I like the extra depth and age that it gives a piece. Unfortunately, it didn’t picture well against my blue walls, which are actually a lavender hued light blue, but they are blue, and the nightstand is grey :). Now all we have to do is find some cute knobs to put on it. Also, we need to finish the pull out writing board that goes above the top drawer. It had broken, and I still need to fix it.

I hope you enjoyed this. It was a fun and rewarding project that cost a total of $26 to complete. I buy my paint at Michaels and use their coupons to get the jars half price. Otherwise you can also get them at Home Depot. Until next time!



Much love,

As always, positive comments are welcome. Negative hurtful comments will be trashed before I can even finish reading them. I have many readers who are emotionally vulnerable, and I will not post comments that will further harm.

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