Teaching Em how to Refinish Furniture

It's been a while since I posted, I didn't mean to take a break, but it just happened.  Two vacations and disruptive news did it for me - I was completely distracted.  But I've been dying to share this with you all!  I'll have to do it in two parts because, frankly, I'm slow as Christmas putting this one together :)

For Em's Birthday I gave her an old trunk filled with two gallons of paint that we had used to paint her room, two paint brushes, a sander and a tool kit. It's a trunk that I had decorated with my mom when I was little and I told Em that I would teach her how to refinish furniture.  She lit up!  She was soo excited.

She wanted to get started right away.

I first let her take a screwdriver to pop off my old artwork.  (Even back when I was a kid they had the little wooden pieces to paint with craft paint).

I taught Em how to use a hammer and a screwdriver to pry off the the particularly hard ones.  For her little hands, I used a tack hammer - it's light weight and small.

We paused so dad could take a picture. :) That's my girl!

She really got into her work. :)  Kidding...I liked this picture because it shows how small she is.  In this picture I'm starting to show her how to work Needle-nose pliers so we can start pulling out the staples.

She listened really well!  Some of the staples I had to pry lose with a screwdriver first and then she would come behind with the Needle-nose pliers to pull them out.  This trunk was in need of refinishing, notice how it has 3 different materials!

Then we get to pull, pull, pull - not only did the trunk have the material stapled to it, but it was also glued down.

Again, just a funny picture. :)  Em was really into her work!

Here is what the trunk looked like after we stripped off the material.


And of course, breaks were taken.  I wanted this to be fun so I let her really go at her pace.  Even on breaks she is processing what we just did and admiring her work.

Next, I taught her how to use a SKIL Detail Sander.  I prepared her by saying, "This is going to be loud, and it's going to vibrate a lot."  I turned it on and told her to put her hand on top of mine so she could feel it, then I removed my hand and she was off and sanding!

We started off with her wearing swim goggles to protect her eyes and a mask to keep out the dust.  The goggles kept fogging up so I ended up giving her my Oakley Sunglasses.  I need to get her some real goggles and I wonder if they make kid size masks....

Once the sanding was done, I added some finishing touches to the trunk with some molding I bought a Lowes.  And NO WAY did I let her handle the saw.  I made her stand way away from me;  a hammer, you'll bang a thumb and cry or hold it for a couple of minutes, a sander you may smooth some skin, but a saw is just plain old dangerous.

She was soo excited to get to paint her trunk - here she declared "I'm going to paint it PINK!"

And she did, she painted the whole thing pink, inside and out. :)

After we painted the trunk, she went to bed and I finished it with some Polyurethane.

The next day, I decided to make a false bottom.  And that's where we'll continue next time - making the false bottom and then add material and padding to the top.  I loved her idea for decorating the false bottom. :)

While I taught her a number of things, I can tell you, finding a way to teach my little one how to refinish furniture safely was and is a challenge for me. I'm a bit controlling - especially when it comes to potentially dangerous stuff.  But when I step back and think about it, the way I handle this is the same way I teach everything else.  I talk about it, show it, hover to watch and then I let go and I'm there when and if she needs me.  I guess this is the way for every parent.

Stephanie Weaver

Grinning Like An Idiot: Create your Happiness. I'm a stay-at-home mom who doesn't 'stay' very well. I like to provide everyone with resources and ideas for crafts, painting and DIY!