Tuesday, June 29, 2010

DIY Project: Cedar Chest

Hey Nesters! I'm back with you today as a proud gal! Do you remember way-back-when Matt and I went to an estate sale and picked up this cedar chest?

It was in pretty rough shape but luckily, with a little elbow grease and fortitude, it has been revived!

Looking back at the old post, I showed you how I peeled the vinyl covering on top of the chest and applied paint stripper to get it down to its bare bones.

Well, it took some time to strip the finish off the remainder of the chest.  I have to admit, the reason it took so long is that my weak arms couldn't handle scraping more than one side at a time. So slowly but surely, I made my way down to the grain. 

Before it was even all stripped, Matt and I headed out to Home Depot for supplies. 

We hmm'd and haww'd over all the Minwax wood stain options and we decided on English Chestnut.  You might recognize it on this little reveal last week? In addition, picked up a fine grit sandpaper and a can of Shellac. Which also caused some scratching on the chin.  Shellac was the only one that specifically said for use on furniture, so how could I go wrong!?

Being the bad blogger I am, I had failed to bring my camera with me on staining day.  So, just know that I 1.)sanded, 2.) took a clean, new staining brush, and brushed the stain on in the same direction as the grain of the wood and 3.) left it on there for approximately 20 minutes.  At the end of that time, I 4.) took a clean rag and wiped the stain off, also in the same direction as the grain. The perfectionist in me tried to make sure that it didn't run, or bleed and was exactly even all the way around. I quickly realized that with an old, weathered piece such as this one, it was never going to look perfect and I just had to be okay with that. 

I let the stain dry for quite a few days because wedding season was in full force and I couldn't find the time.  Had I not been so busy, I still wouldn't have touched it for at least 48 hours to be on the safe side.  With a new cheap-o brush in had, I Shellac'd away! I used two thin, even coats on the entire chest, waiting for it to dry between each coat.  Despite the quick-dry formula that I used, I found it was still gummy when I tried to pick it up to haul it into the car and I smudged it. *Two Thumbs Down!* I took my scraping tool from the "stripping" stage and quickly scraped off the smudged Shellac. I spot treated the bruise with a fresh finish and left it behind at Mom's to dry, dry and dry some more.

Sunday I bolted over there with a lead food and enthusiasm on my side and hauled that baby away in my car! Matt helped me lug it into the apartment and I think he was just as excited as I was. 

I packed this chest chock-o-block full of winter sweaters, hats, gloves and scarves and don't forget all my Christmas decorations! Removing all these from my closets have really opened up space and made things much more workable. 

Here's a breakdown of the cost:
Chest: $35
Stripper: $9
Stain: $7
Shellac: $11
2 Brushes: $6
Grand Total: $68!

Compared to many other $68 find from a large box store, this was a serious bang for my buck.  It will last me a lifetime and should I have a change of stain-color heart somewhere along the line, I can strip it again and change it! I couldn't be happier with my cheap, gorgeous and functional TV stand!

Well, thats it Nesters! Let me know what you think!


  1. I'm so glad you kept this stained and not painted -- it's beautiful!

  2. Gina, What a fabulous find. I love what you have done with this piece. The stain looks amazing - much better than any paint. Fantastic job! Thanks so much for linking to the Sunday Showcase - I greatly appreciate it. I'll be featuring this today - stop by and grab a featured button if you like. Hope you have a wonderful week ~ Stephanie Lynn

  3. Hooray!! Thanks so much Stephanie Lynn!! I can't wait to see the feature!! :)


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