DIY for women

Last weekend was a three day weekend and I set myself a special project to complete. After procrastinating for the previous twelve months, I finally purchased the necessary products to strip and stain my old bedroom dresser.

Despite being a mere female DIYer, I learnt a few things that might make your next special project a little easier. Mr Google was not really helpful as all the websites I found were either too technical or they failed to state basic facts. Anyway, here are my hints:

  1. Leave the chemical stripper on for a long time so it can soak into the varnish. This makes the subsequent scraping much easier. When the instructions say “a well ventilated space” or to do it outside — listen to them because they are not joking!
  2. Sand, sand and keep sanding. When you think you have finished sanding, move the item into sunlight and look at it from different angles. Chances are you will have missed patches of varnish and you’ll need to keep on sanding. No matter what type of stain you buy, no stain will soak through varnish or paint.
  3. Mix your stain with linseed oil (equal parts aka 1:1 ratio). Buy some disposable latex gloves and use an old soft rag, not a paint brush, to apply the stain to your item of furniture. Apply it evenly in a circular motion and then wipe off the excess by following the wood grain line.
  4. Treat the stain as if it was really expensive to buy. It is easier to apply two thin coats of stain to achieve the desired colour, than it is to lighten ‘over-stained’ wood.
  5. And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The guys and girls at your hardware store are always happy to explain what products you need, and how best to use them.    
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