China Cabinet Snafus
As promised, a rundown of all the rookie mistakes from the china cabinet project. First, a reminder of the before picture:
As you can see, it’s got a dark cherry-ish stain. If you’ve ever painted furniture before, you know that stain bleeds through paint, so if you’re painting a stained piece white, then you obviously need to use primer. Which I did. However, for some reason I decided to put two coats of primer on the frame of the piece, but only one on the doors. This was really dumb, because as you might notice, when you’re looking at the cabinet straight on, those two lower cabinet doors are the largest unobstructed flat plane–and thus the most obvious place for any stain bleeding through. And bleed it did. I only needed two coats of paint on the main frame (and the second coat wasn’t really even that necessary), but it took coat after coat on those doors before I was satisfied that they were solid white. I didn’t keep track, but it was easily five or six coats. That’s quite a bit of waiting around for paint to dry. Very frustrating.
Rookie Mistake #1: Being Stingy with Primer
The next issue arose with the inserts in the glass doors. Remember that the details on the glass doors of the Ruth & Ollie inspiration piece were one of my favorite elements. So when I decided to paint the china cabinet, I immediately planned to paint the inserts bright white for more contrast with the blue. But if you look at the after picture, you can see that the inserts are missing altogether.
This was because my attempt to spray paint these pieces was entirely unsuccessful. They were made of this plastic-y fake wood material, and I thought the spray paint would work better than the regular latex-based paint I used for the rest of the piece. Wrong. The paint didn’t stick to the material well at all, and looked like a runny, gloopy mess, even after a couple coats. Plus, I let it dry on newspaper, which ended up sticking to the thing, turning it into a bigger mess. So I’m counting this as two snafus:
Rookie Mistake #2: Spray Painting the Insert and
Rookie Mistake #3: Spray Painting the Insert on Newspaper
Who knows if this will ever come up again, but now I know. Fortunately, I was happy with the way it looks without the detailing, so I’m not going to fret too much over this one.
And now for the doosie. This one almost made me cry. Eric was helping me reassemble the cabinet, and we finally got everything in place: the china was set up, the doors were on, the new knobs sparkled. All we had to do was close up shop. But as Eric tried to close the top left cabinet, it got a little stuck, and when he forced it shut, the scraping sound made my stomach hurt and this seeing this seriously crushed me:
All that hard work ruined. That’s how it felt at the time, anyway. No, the mistake wasn’t letting Eric close the cabinet. This would have happened even with my gentler touch. The mistake was deciding to paint the edges of the doors. My thought process went something like, “Hmm, well, you’ll see the vertical edge of the door when it’s open, so I should paint that” and then “Well, if I’m painting the vertical edge, I might as well paint all the edges.” Big mistake. Since it was an older piece, the doors already fit pretty snugly, so that added snugness from the door’s paint and the frame’s paint (the part that actually got scraped off) was just too much. If I were to do this again, I wouldn’t paint ANY of the edges of the doors. It’s just not necessary. No one sees that part anyway. In fact, I would sand the edges of the door down as much as possible to make up for the added layers from the frame’s paint.
Rookie Mistake #4: Painting the Edges of the Doors and
Rookie Mistake #5: Not Sanding the Doors Down More
I think these two things would have been enough to save me from that snafu, but I also wonder if I would have been better off using oil-based paint. After this happened I did some research, and many people suggested that oil-based paint doesn’t chip as easily as latex, so that could have helped too. As could have stripping the stain before painting. Or sanding after priming. I’m going to summarize all this as one mistake. I don’t need to feel too bad about the project, right? After all, I did like the outcome.
Rookie Mistake #6: Not Doing Enough Research Before Starting
Sometimes research feels tedious and unending (kind of like sanding, actually), but it would have been nice to have avoided the stomach ache and the feeling of crushing defeat from the scraped ledge. Next time. But to end on a happy note, at least Seamus isn’t bothered by the blunder.
The unconditional love of dogs is such a blessing after so much self loathing for one little scraped ledge. Which I haven’t fixed yet, by the way. I will, but I needed a break from the china cabinet. You can see a bit of my next project in the upper right hand corner of the Seamus pic. But more on that later.