This one is getting filed under the “spray paint” portion of ‘sound waves & spray paint’. It’s not really related to music in any way, or to nature photos, or even to art much, but it is a project I’ve been working on for  the bulk of last week that involved sandpaper and spray paint, so I’ve decided ‘fuck it, it counts’. 🙂

In my massive reorganizing recently, which I’ve mentioned, I ended up with this little not-quite end table that I no longer really needed. It was a pretty battered little thing. Originally, it was this little blonde wood microwave table that I found at the Goodwill Store, and at the time, it was a great deal for me because I could see the legs and shelves and all just screwed into each other, and it beat the hell out of the wobbly plastic shelf that was being used at the time. So, I knew I could take off the extra shelf, screw it together a little differently, and have a little end table instead of a microwave table. It wasn’t pretty, but it would do the job (and I forgot to take before pictures, since I wasn’t actually planning on posting about it. Ah well.)

Because it was originally a microwave table, the top of of the unit had a bunch of little holes in it where other things used to screw in.

When I no longer needed it, though, and no longer wanted this ugly thing in my recently prettied up living room, I somehow didn’t quite want to get rid of it. It didn’t cost me much of anything, but his old thing was REAL WOOD, instead of the crappy particle board this type of unit is mostly made out of now, so I just kept looking at it like ‘I guess I’ll get rid of it,’ and not getting rid of it. I just had this half-of-an-idea that there was still a purpose for it, if I could just fix it up a bit.

And then, it dawned on me that I could free up a bookshelf if this little shelf was sturdy enough and big enough to hold roomie’s printer. Sure enough. It’s JUST big enough for the job.

Thus, the project began.

Step 1 was sanding off the finish. I thought, at first, that it was some sort of laquer or veneer, but early steps of sanding told me otherwise – it was stain and an INCREDIBLE amount of clear gloss. I didn’t really need to sand the thing to perfection, since I knew I would be using a dark color over the top, but the gloss had to go, which meant, in the end, that I had to sand the thing about 90% of the way to bare wood. Let’s just say I felt the muscles in my arm after two days of that.

Next up, I had to fill the holes before I could paint. There were half a dozen holes in the top of the wood, and eight or so large ones on the bottom side. I went digging around and found I still had most of a container of plastic wood, so at some weird, late hour of the night I had that out, seeing if it was still good enough to use. The top layer of the wood filler was pretty hard, but once I scraped that away, everything underneath was still just fine. Sweet! So, I filled the holes on top, first. Those were the most important ones. Once those were dry, I sanded them down to smooth, flipped the table top over, and got to work filling the larger holes underneath, except the screw holes, on the corners, of course. That brought me to another stage of waiting for things to dry and sanding that down.

Now, my table top was ready for paint. What did I have in my cupboards? About 3/4 can of navy blue, half a can of black, and half a can of clear. Okay, it was obvious I was not going to have enough black paint to just spray the entire thing black unless I went out and bought more, but I’d honestly much rather use up what I had, so I decided I would do the under layer navy, and then do a sunburst in black, which I’d figured out how to do from a previous guitar experiment.

It was bad timing for a painting project. We’ve had an incredible amount of rain and overcast weather, which meant waiting for a good day to go outside and paint, or a good hour or two between rainstorms. The paint was taking a long time to dry without much sun and with so much damp, too, so it took me a week just to get a nice base layer of paint on it, especially with the legs. Even if you jimmy rig a leg stand out of the lid of a cardboard box like I did (see: stab the screws through the lid and the legs will stand mostly vertical for painting), if you lay paint on too thick, it’s going to drip badly on round pieces.

There was even one night I was out there at 9:30 in the evening in the middle of a week holding a lantern in one hand and a can of spay paint in the other. Roomie claims I choose weird times to do things, but honestly, you don’t need to be too precise when just laying out a thin base layer of paint, so whatever. 9:30 pm is when it wasn’t raining, dammit!

With the base layer on, next came the black. I started with the edges of the table top. Spraying in from the outside, keeping it far enough away, then into the sunburst by just spraying black around the edges – top, then dry, then bottom, then dry, then top again to polish things up.

Next it was the legs. Did I have enough black to make them solid? I didn’t know, so I layed the black on in thin stripes at first, letting the navy show through just a bit. Since the top was sunburst, if a little navy showed through on the legs, it would be okay as long as it didn’t drip, I knew, as long as it looked intentional, but in the end I did have enough paint to make the legs solid black. That took about four passes of very thin paint to achieve without having to sand off drips and start over.

Finally, the clear coat. I did the table top first, since I only had about half a can and I knew I would need at least two coats there. Table tops get touched more than legs, so if I was working on limited top coat, it was more important that the area that gets touched the most is well-covered than the area that mostly just gets rubbed against by pets.

That took about two days, since yesterday was still overcast. Today though, was bright and shiny, so I was able to finish up. Once the top had the first coat dry, I was able to take the masking tape off the screw holes (did I mention I put masking tape over the screw holes before painting? You don’t want to paint inside of those, after all!), screwed it all together, and did my final clear coat.

Now, this little table has a third life in my house. Once it’s fully dry (it’s touch-dry as I write this post), the printer will go on top, and printer paper will sit on the floor between the legs, which has JUST the right amount of room for 8.5×11 sheets. That frees up our lowest shelf in the living room for Roomie’s DVDs, and without me having this hideous eyesore hanging out and clashing with everything to boot.

Not bad for a week or two’s worth of work and the cost of sandpaper, if I do say so myself.

 

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