Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Night Table Transformation

 I love antiques.  Love.  When I suspect antiques nearby I will do just about anything to go have a look.  Buying is fun, but I really do enjoy looking and learning histories of pieces, etc.  For well over a year, I had been searching for the perfect antique to serve as my night stand.  Night stand, bed side table, bed stand - whatever name you use you know how important the perfect night stand is.  Well, I do anyway - after my exhaustive search!  Long story short, I decided to make a fantique (fake + antique) did I just make up a new word?!?  I recalled seeing another blogger turning a dresser into what looked like an antique filing cabinet and knew that was the way I wanted to go.  The search for a nightstand that was the right size and had a flat front was much more difficult than I expected, but at last - in Brantford's famous Pink Elephant Flea Market - I found my beautiful (ahem) piece of furniture to fantique.  The looking was the hard part, the transforming was fun, easy and incredibly rewarding.

You'll need:

A dresser or night stand
Stripper (if the furniture is varnished)
Sandpaper or a sander
Wood slats that will fit your piece (more on that below)
A happy disposition

This funny little night stand cost me a whopping $25.00!  Normally I wouldn't have paid that much but to be honest, my time was more valuable than the ten bucks more I had to spend.  Sometimes you have to say enough is enough and just spend $25.00.  The lovely decorative wood burnt roses (yes, they are burned into the piece) were also on the top of the table so I had five roses to obliterate.  The stain was very yellow and seemingly indestructible so I used an all natural stripper to get most of the varnish off.  My tip for using stripper is to reuse it.  I did one side, let the stripper sit, and when it was time to scrape it off I scraped it into a tin pan so I could use it on another surface.  Yes, it looked gross but I used considerably less than I would have if I used fresh stripper each time.  It didn't lose it's stripping power and I only used about $5.00 worth of a $20.00 bottle so it fit into my economic budget.

Time to sand.

The kids love when I work on stuff.  I'm not sure if it's because there is an increase in nachos for dinner or because they think I'm super cool but I will accept both.

Sanding the roses off was tedious.  The decorative burning was quite deep and it took a lot more muscle than I expected.  The rest of the night table was easy to sand, especially because I had stripped it.

We were cooking with gas and the table was ready to clean and stain!  I use a clean and dry paintbrush to clean sawdust and dirt off my projects before sanding or painting.  It gets into the cracks and does a great job.

After removing handles and hinges, I brought the drawer and door inside to glue my wood pieces in place.  
Before going to the hardware store I measure the amount of space I needed to cover with my wooden slats.  I didn't know what they would have to suit my purposes, but there was a section with all sorts of small pieces of wood as seen above.  It's with the trim, and the decorative accents for door frames, etc.  I found the thinnest cut (1/4 inch) and longest length (4ft) and bought what I needed.  The cost came to under $10.00.  If you don't have a saw at home, ask the staff to cut them to size for you but be sure you have your exact measurements.  If you are taking the pieces home to cut, I suggest laying them on the surface to make sure your measurement matches up with what look you want.  I needed mine to touch the edge of the surrounding door/drawer frame to cover up a slightly beveled edge.  After cutting the pieces to size, I brought it all inside and used wood glue and tile spacers to keep my faux drawers perfectly spaced.  Leave it overnight to ensure everything has dried properly.  

This is what my husband thought of my project so far.  Thumbs down.  
Actually, he's a king among men and was just being funny.  Ish.  

Stripping and sanding took an afternoon, and after I was done glueing the wood pieces to the front I had to let things dry, so I started the staining the following day.  I bought a small dark stain in walnut and after applying it, applied an ebony stain I already had in my shed.  This gave the night table a layered and aged look I couldn't have achieved with just one colour.  The brand new wood I used to create the fake drawers stained a different colour than the rest of the piece and I had to spend some extra time adding stain to it to get the colours to match up just right.  

I could not find hardware.  It was almost as tricky as finding the night stand itself!  Unless you have a cute little shop that you KNOW sells the hardware you want, just save yourself the trouble and go online.  I found handles like this on a website that rhymes with Betsy but everyone selling them was just buying them in bulk from and selling them in small lots for ten times the amount.  Six of these exact handles for $10.00, $12.00 + shipping, etc.  
I ended up taking the leap and buying from Alibaba although I never have and I was pleasantly surprised.  The 40 handles came in good time and only cost $20.00 for everything.  I prefer supporting small business and handmade items, I'm actually quite rigid about buying fair trade and fair made items - but this had me angry and confused and it seemed all my buying options came from the same source.  
I measured carefully and started attaching the handles.  

I was in love.
I had an awful night stand for too long and this was like an oasis in the desert.  

Night Stand $25.00  
Wood pieces $10.00
Stripper $5.00
Stain $10.00
Handles $20.00 (I used less than $10.00 worth)

TOTAL: $60.00

You could easily make this more or less expensive depending on what you find your beginning piece of furniture for, what you have on hand and if you need to use stripper, stain, etc.  While it's money smart to adjust for what you can afford, never cheap out on what you really want.  I could have kept the cost down by not buying extra stain and compromising on the handles I wanted - but then the project would have been for nothing.  I love this night table and would have spent a heap more if I had found it as it is now.  My only dilemma now is whether or not to put little pieces of paper in the label area of the handle, and if I do what should it say.  What should it say?!?  It will remain empty until inspiration strikes, which may mean it's empty forever.  You know what's not empty?  
My awesome, perfectly functioning, best night table EVER!  It's full of incense and books and hand lotion and a massage bar from LUSH (winkity wink). 
 I love it and it's one of my favourite projects so far.

My "helper" measuring while I put everything in place.  The lamp has been replaced with a more suitable and smaller lamp - both from yard sales, $1.00 each!

Seriously though, isn't this just a fantastic Night Table?  
Why, yes it is if I do say so myself.  

Happy Do it Yourself-ing!

1 comment:

  1. Fantique! Hahaha! This is so lovely, and you can start working on mine now that you clearly are at a loss for things to do! ;)


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