Keep reading to learn a basic step-by-step breakdown on how to start flipping furniture from your home!
So I finally organized my garage into a functional shop for the summer and let me tell you.. what a game CHANGER. I’ve finished 5 projects and sold all but 1 in the first week. The extra room in the shop vs my living room is not even comparable! In addition to that, I scored another large contract with a reputable company and I can’t wait to share with you guys the results! These past few weeks have gotten me so busy and I LOVE it.
Here are some pictures of the projects i’ve done this past week. Side note: how cute is my new neon sign in pic 1 😍 It will be up in the garage very soon!
Through trial and error i’ve learned a lot of do’s and don’ts when it comes time to starting a project. Keep reading to learn my basic step-by-step process on how to flip furniture!
Supplies you will need to get started:
- paint brush
- your choice of coloured paint and/or wood stain. Try and stay away from latex paint. Chalk paint or any other sort of furniture paint is ideal. If you live in Canada, a variety of different chalk paints are hard to come by in local stores, so ordering online is how I purchase most of my paints! I recommend www.gratefullystored.ca , they sell a variety of different brands of furniture paints, including my favourite paint brands Mango paint and Fusion Mineral Paint (plus much more)
- tack cloth; to remove dust particles between coats of paint and stain
- screwdriver to remove hardware
- a putty knife
- rags that you don’t mind getting dirty (they sell a pack of painters rags at a variety of hardware stores such as Canadian Tire, Home Depot etc)
- some sort of top-coat to seal your project’s paint and/or stain
- If you’re doing work in your home, investing in a drop sheet or using an old bedsheet would be a good idea to lay down as an area for you to do your work to avoid ruining flooring
Step 1: Find your quality piece of furniture
- You can start by finding an old piece in your home that looks like it could use an update, or
- Facebook marketplace is the best place to find cheap and sometimes FREE items that people find no use for. Just remember that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure!!
- Make sure that the item is real wood. Be sure to read the descriptions of the pieces for sale and don’t be afraid to ask the seller if it’s real wood
- Join your local facebook groups that are giving away free items in your area! (every area has it’s own group) search in your facebook browser “buy nothing ______” and insert your area where I put the blank
- Don’t spend a fortune on a piece! Odds are that you aren’t going to sell it for a profit that was worth your effort if you spend a lot on the initial item. For instance, if you buy a dresser for $200 + the cost of supplies + the time of labour to fix it, only to sell it for $250 = not worth it! (side note: I’ve never spent more than $50 on a piece that i’ve flipped). Aim LOW!
- On the flip side of that for instance, you won’t make much of a profit if you find a cheap Walmart shelf that is only worth $20 before AND after you update it. Remember quality
Step 2: Prep your piece
- Before you start anything, make sure to clean it! I just use basic Dawn dish soap and water in a bucket and wipe down every surface with a cloth
- Remove all hardware from the drawers with screwdriver or hand drill
- If there are any holes or indents in the piece then I would fill it in with wood filler, and then sand it down to a levelled surface once dried
- I like to do a light sanding of the entire piece with a high grit sandpaper to create a smooth and gloss free surface to paint
- Wipe down with tack cloth before you start painting
Step 3: Stripping your piece for staining (if you’re sanding or only painting, skip this step)
- On the contrary of painting your piece of furniture, staining requires much more prep… but I promise the final result is so worth it!
- If you’ve read my previous blog, you know that i’m a fan of stripping the top of my pieces to create a beautiful wooden table-top look
- My favourite stripper to use is Ez stripper from Home Depot because it is a non-toxic, pet friendly, and odorous stripper. Great for indoor projects!
- To begin stripping your table-top, start by pouring a heavy amount on the surface you want to strip, and with your paintbrush you are going to evenly spread the stripper throughout the whole surface with a thin (but not too thin) layer
- Let it sit for approximately 3-5 minutes (but don’t let it dry!)
- Once you’ve waited a few minutes for the stripper to settle, with your putty knife you are going to gently press down on your tabletop and scrape the layer of stripper along with previous stain, lacquer or varnish that was applied to the original piece. You will notice that your knife and stripper will be removing a discoloured and chunky liquid, that’s when you know you are removing the old stain
- You will continue to add the stripper and scrape away the old stuff until you have a completely bare wood tabletop. Sometimes I will strip the same surface 7-10 times before I see my desired bare-wood look!
Pros of Stripping:
I often use stripping over sanding for multiple reasons;
- It’s indoor use friendly
- doesn’t contain toxic fumes or an odorous smell
- It doesn’t create a dusty mess all over the room like sanding does
- leaves a beautiful finish when completed
- and it’s oddly satisfying
Cons of Stripping:
- It creates a mess of it’s own (be sure to wear gloves when stripping and have a spare bucket to put the remains of the old stain + stripper)
- It is more time consuming when it comes to smaller and more tedious surface areas! That’s why I prefer stripping tabletops or other large surfaces
Remember when I said that stripping is oddly satisfying?! In this video you can clearly see the removal of the old stain, leaving a lighter wood underneath
Step 4: Sanding your piece for staining (if you choose this instead of stripping)
- If you choose to sand over strip then you will need to start off with a low grit sanding paper (80-120 grit)
- If you happen to have an electrical sander, opt for this as it will save you time rather than doing by hand
- with your sander you will begin to lightly sand the area of the piece that you want to remove the old stain. If you are doing this by hand and have a large surface area then it may take you some time, be patient
- continue to sand your piece until you’ve removed all the old stain
- after you’ve reached your desired look, you will probably notice that your piece isn’t quite as smooth as you would like. This is when you can go in with a finer, higher grit sandpaper (200-400 grit) and lightly sand the surface. You will quickly notice the area has become significantly smoother
Step 5: Staining
- Once you’ve removed all of the old varnish from your piece from stripping or sanding, and you are left with raw wood, then you are ready for coat of stain! Keep in mind that if there are still remnants of the old stain, then that area of the wood will not take in the new stain like raw wood will. So be sure to remove all old stain before applying new to avoid a patchy final result
- But first, tack cloth. Before you start staining be sure to wipe down every surface of your project with your tack cloth to remove all dust and lint. If you skip this step then all of the dust and lint will remain stuck in your piece forever once dried
- With your choice of stain use your paintbrush to apply an even layer of stain to the surface using large and even strokes
- After approximately 10-15 minutes (depending what your stain label says) you are going to remove the excess stain with a lint free cloth
- After a few hours you can apply another coat. Continue to do this until you’ve reached your desired look
- Wait 24 hours before applying sealant/top coat
Step 6: Painting
- The benefit of chalk paint and most other furniture paints is that you do not need to sand or apply a base coat before applying your paint. However, I like to do a light sanding of the entire piece with a high grit sandpaper to create a smooth and gloss free surface to paint on
- If you want a smooth look, use a regular flat edged or angled brush (size of your choice)
- If you’re interested in a more distressed look, try a rounded chip brush to create a more textured look on your piece
- Most furniture paints claim to be a 1 coat job. However, I always like to apply 2 for best results
- Furniture paints dry quickly so you typically only need 20 minutes between coats before you apply another
Step 7: Sealing
- Whether you are painting or staining, both require a good top coat in order to seal the piece from water marks and other undesired substances that could ruin your work
- Every furniture paint brand should have it’s own sealer/top coat for their product! For example, when I use Rustoleum chalk paint, I seal it with the Rustoleum chalk-paint top coat for best results.
- On the contrary of paints, there are a variety of different sealants that can be used for stains! One of the most popular being polyurethane sealer oil-based sealer. This one is popular because it is one of the most durable finishes. Wherever you purchase your stain, ask the employee which sealant would be best suited for your project! There are plenty of sealants out there
- Whichever top coat you choose, remember to apply at least 3-4 coats in order to create the best seal. And don’t forget to sand in-between coats with your 400 grit paper and wipe away the dust with tack cloth before applying your next coat.
Step 8: hardware
- If you’re searching for brand new hardware I suggest visiting your local Lee Valley Tools as they have the widest and best variety of knobs i’ve seen!
- You should decide on hardware before starting your project because if your new hardware is a different size than your old, then you would need to fill in the holes with wood filler before painting! Then you will need to drill new holes to the size of your new hardware
- If you’re wanting to refresh your current hardware, make sure to soak it with soap and water and scrub if necessary to remove all the old scum.
- Then your hardware will be ready for a coat of spray paint! Apply a few coats before putting them back on your piece of furniture!
A cool textured spray paint for these knobs
Good luck to all of you trying this at home for your first time! Have fun and be sure to share your final results ☺️