Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Confessions of a Stripper

I did it.
I said I'd never do it again, but I spent the weekend....


Come on!  You know I'd never wear pink.

This is the kind of stripping I'm talking about.

Now that Annie Sloan Chalk Paint has taken over, there isn't much of a need
for chemical paint strippers, denatured alcohol, mineral spirits, or primer,
but last weekend I used all four.

Do you remember the two fixer-upper cabinets I bought last fall for $25 apiece?

They were built into an archway of the house they came from.

I repaired the broken mullion (this is the before) and removed the decals from the glass. 
 The open side was enclosed and the piece was given a new wood top and molding. 
 Even the warped and broken shelves were replaced.

Here it is ready to be finished.

I cleaned the piece with mineral spirits and touched up all the chips and scratches
with artist oil paints.  I also stained the new wood to match the old mahogany stain.
Then I talked to our daughter and she said she'd prefer a painted finish.

No problem, right?

I wiped down the piece with mineral spirits to remove most of the stain, and
gave it a light sanding.  Then I primed it with Zinsser primer.

Oh, noooooooooo.........

This has never happened to me before!  The primer crackled! 

Shellac based primer + oil based stain = DISASTER

What to do?  Now that the stain was sealed under the primer
 I thought a second coat would go on smoothly.

Nope.  Now the finish was alligatored!

Did I stop there?  Oh, no.  I sanded the cabinet down and applied one coat of
the water based white paint to even out the finish.  And it worked!!!

Fast forward to the next morning.

After drying overnight the crackled, alligatored texture was back.

There was only one solution to this whole ugly mess.  I grabbed the nearest pair of scissors
and cut my hair off.  Yup.  Some people resort to drugs or alcohol.  Others may
overeat or bite their fingernails.  Me, I choose to mutilate my hair when I'm
at the end of my rope.

Okay.  Back to the problem at hand.  After I calmed down and lightened the load
on my brain I realized the only way to fix this cabinet was to
Strip.  All.  The.  Paint.  Off.

The worst was over........or so I thought.
I was out of paint stripper and had to go out in public with my self-inflicted haircut!!!!

I managed to get in and out of the store without bumping into anybody I knew.  Then
I spent the next 8 hours....well.......stripping.

After 2 long days of toiling on this cabinet, I'm pretty much right back where I started.

Well, if you'll excuse me, I have a phone call to make.  It seems I won't be needing
my Friday afternoon hair appointment after all.

How was your weekend?



  1. What challenges we go through with our DIY's. Some would love a crackle finish. I have done this before too. Oh and learn and good luck with the next painting attempt. They are neat cabinets.


  2. Vickie,
    Sometimes ya win and sometimes ya don't! The trials and tribulations of redoing furniture! You must have been in a tizzy to go for the scissors, from what I could see, it looks like you did a pretty good job on the hair cut!
    Can't wait to see the end results on the cabinet!

  3. Wow, that sounds like a lot of work! Really a great cabinet...looking forward to the next attempt! I have chopped my hair in desperation before...but it never turned out cute like yours did!

  4. hahahaha. you are silly, mom! and I can't believe you spent that long on those! THANK YOU, but you know how far from a perfectionist I am. ;) if you would have brought them over with the crackle finish, i would have thought that was how they were supposed to look. hehehehehe.

  5. You are a riot! I wouldn't have cut my hair off, i would have pulled it out!

  6. Oh no! What work you have gone to but the end result will be amazing! (If it makes you feel any better at all, I tried stripping a piece over the weekend and it was such a disaster I gave up and put it to the street for somebody else!)

  7. If that pic of your bangs is a hint of your DIY haircut, I think it looks great! I've been a DIY haircutter for years...but not usually when I get frustrated ;-) (I play piano when I'm in need of frustration elimination...)

    Wondering how that cabinet is going to turn out :-) Man, you've worked so hard on it already!

  8. Oh goodness..."the best laid plans"! Happens to the best of 'em. Don't give up!
    I've been MIA for awhile, but finally Posted about the BIG event. : )

  9. Is that a sneek peek of you behind the camera? Cute haircut! I must be honest, when I paint furniture, I don't go through all of those steps because I'm just too lazy!! I hate doing all of that stuff. I just give the piece a light sanding to rough up the surface and remove any furniture polish build-up etc. Then wipe it down and start painting it with good ol fashioned latex paint. Then after it dries, I put on a finishing paste wax. Easy Peasy! I'm a big short-cut kind of gal. Ha! Your cabinet must've had some major varnish or something on it to give you so many problems like that. Can't wait to see it when it's done. I'm sure you will be relieved to be done with it too!

  10. The cabinet looks like it will be a great makeover. I haven't had a primer do that before. I don't do that much furniture either. Thank you for your sweet comments!

  11. A whole lot of work to just get back to where you started. Good luck with painting it this time. Hopefully, the piece isn't possessed or something. I sort of liked those decals though. Can you put those back on :)

  12. Vickie,
    You are so funny.You really did strip that piece down.Crazy me would have loved the crackled look.I know crazy right?So what cha gonna do with it now?

  13. Vickie, don't get mad but I liked the crackled finish! Can't wait to see it when you're done. Enjoy your weekend and Happy Mother's Day, Gail

    P.S. I love the little glimpse of your hair did good!

  14. Oh boy! Now I know how to get the PERFECT crackle finish :) It's going to look fab when it finally gets done - that's a lot of work, but worth it!

  15. Oh dear! The cabinet is really darling and I'm sure you'll turn it into something amazing! (And I'm guessing your hair looks great, too ... despite the stress-relieving haircut.) Can't wait to see what you do with the cabinet.

  16. Look how beautiful it is after all of your hard work. Can't wait to see what you do with it next. ;-)

  17. OK Girl, I wanna see your hair more than the cabinet!! I gave up my stripping days long ago...

  18. How frustrating. Now I'm really anxious to see what you do next and how your cupboard turns out.
    Mary Alice

  19. You deserve a huge hug for being so dedicated. Now I can't wait to see the transformation after all your amazing efforts. Thanks for sharing. Cheers SpecialK XoXo

  20. Oh my goodness... you make everything sound fun (even when it isn't) I've had tons of do-over experiences that have made me want to PULL my hair out. You did good! I'm sure your hair looks fine, and your daughter will treasure that piece forever.
    Happy Mother's Day!

  21. Oh my gosh, how did I miss this? My dang top sites page is not updating as it should!!! Here you've been all week stripping with a wacky 'do and I was none the wiser. Well... there is enough elbow grease in that piece to last quite some time. Looking forward to the reveal. Hope you still have hair by that time!

  22. It is a great piece to put some time into...can't wait to see the reveal!
    Happy Mother's Day and thanks for the chuckles this morning!

  23. Awesome make it sound funny...but I am sure it was not:)...I woulda worked with the are more determined than I am...good for you...Happy Mother's Day!


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