I love the look of bleached furniture. I'm a bit of coastal soul, living in a midwest world. This entertainment piece is my third attempt at bleaching and I'm thrilled with how it turned out. Here's how I did it.
I started with our 20 year old sideboard. I knew the dark wood and leather had to go, as I mentioned I'm currently obsessed with light furniture and cane webbing. I measured the leather space I needed to re-cover and ordered my webbing from Etsy Even in a pandemic, it arrived quickly. No matter what, I'd order and get my hands on the caning first.
My next step involved collecting the refinishing tools and chemicals needed.
What I Used To Strip The Original Finish:
- Rags or paper towels (you will need several rags, I used an entire roll of paper towels).
- Cheap or old paintbrush (don't use foam brushes, they fall apart in the chemical process).
- Appropriate protective gear (I used rubber gloves and protective eyewear).
- Plastic Wrap (I used Saran wrap).
- Plastic scraper or plastic putty knife.
- Plastic bucket, warm water & brush.
- Garbage can for stripping waste.
- Klean-Strip After Wash (Make sure it's "After Wash").
- Zinsser Wood Bleach.
- First: I removed the doors and removed the leather.
- Second: Using that old paintbrush and applied a thick layer of Citristrip. I worked in sections and covered with plastic wrap. Instructions say twenty minutes. My furniture took an hour or two. I tested the finish with my plastic scraper, if it removes easily, its ready. If not and it looks dry, apply more Citiristrip and let it sit longer.
- Third: Gently, use the scraper to remove the first layer. I used warm water, rags and a brush to remove the goo between steps.
- Fourth: Repeat the second and third steps as often as necessary (It took me two rounds in some areas and three in others).
- Fifth: Apply Kleanstrip Afterwash to remove all remaining finish and Citristrip (this stuff is a little toxic, wear gloves).
- Sixth: Apply wood bleach with a rag and follow instructions. Repeat a few times if needed to get the color you like and then wipe clean with vinegar.
- Cane – see above.
- Staple gun.
- First: Measure the spaces where you will apply cane.
- Second: Cut pieces of cane for your spaces; measure twice, cut once.
- Third: Lay the cane flat and staple the cane as close to the edge as possible. I put one staple every few inches around the edge and tried to staple exactly on the cane, to hide the staples. I had a frame to cover my edges, which helped. I also applied staples to the center because my cane dimpled. TIP: Next time I will soak my cane webbing in a tub of warm water for at least 30 minutes until it's supple. This should help to avoiding the dimpling.
- Fourth: If your staples are not flush, hammer them flat.
- White paint.
- Plastic cups.
- Paintbrushes (I used a standard brush to paint the wood and cane; a tiny detailing brush for the staples).
- First: Fill one cup a third full with water. Fill the other half full with paint. Test out your water to paint ratio. The best ratio for me was 1/3 paint to 2/3 water.
- Second: Paint your pieces in small sections. Use a rag to wipe off the excess paint.
- Third: Paint the cane and staples.
- You can omit this step if you want differentiation.
- If you have board backing, like I did, I recommend white washing the board backing PRIOR to applying the cane...big oops on my part.
- I used full strength paint on the cane webbing for better coverage and a detail brush for the staples.
That's how I turned a 20 year old cabinet into an on trend piece of furniture!