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Spray Painting an Old Bureau Tutorial

I have been looking around for a while now for a piece of furniture to put in my guest room to provide my guests with somewhere to apply make-up, use their lap top and a writing surface. My problem has been that the item needed to be relatively small as there is not much room and I didn't want the room to feel cluttered. So from time to time I have checked out e-bay for something suitable. Several weeks ago as I was doing my usual searches I came across just the right thing...

A small solid oak wooden bureau with shelving underneath, the width was perfect to fit beside my window and the depth narrow enough not to feel intrusive. The best bit is that because it is a bureau it easily opens out to create a decent size work surface that easily collapses away when not in use. I wanted it to fit in with the rest of the white furniture in the room so I decided to paint it using Valspar's spray Paint & Primer in one...

Spray painting is an easy way of achieving a smooth, even finish on wood furniture. This is especially true of items that have intricate designs. Whereas painting with a brush can result in drips and brush marks, spray paint can bring you a near perfect look. Like all other materials, wood requires some preparatory steps before the application of spray paint.

Not all wooden furniture needs primer, but it is recommended for an even, good quality finish. Primer is used where a completely smooth and flat surface is not present. Older pieces and doors tend to have lots of bumps, chips and depressions from years of wear and tear and so a primer is essential. As the Valspar is a primer and paint in one, you won't need to prime your furniture first. However you might want to sand your spray painted furniture after the first coat to remove any bumps etc.

Depending on the type of furniture you are painting, you may have to unscrew and remove some of the components. On cabinets and drawers, remove the knobs and handles beforehand. Remove any drawers as well. Paint all these objects separately and reassemble the furniture when all the parts are dry.

As the rest of the furniture in the room has intricate details on it, I decided to add some resin mouldings to the bureau leaf to add detail. I also painted the back of the shelving using acrylic paint in pretty colours from my guest room palette.

Now comes the fun part, filling and styling it up!

1 Bureau

How-to step by step

  • Bureau before

    Step 1

    Do your prep work before you spray paint to ensure the paint adheres and to get a smooth and lasting finish. Start by removing any hardware that you do not want spray painted.

  • Wooden Bureau - During

    Step 2

    If your wood is wax finished then you will need to buff it with wire wool and a small amount of white spirit. Varnish should be rubbed over with sandpaper. Fill any holes using an epoxy wood filler. Allow the filler to dry before sanding the entire furniture smooth using a sanding cloth. Once your furniture has been stripped, sanded & filled clean it thoroughly and remove all the sawdust. Use a soft cloth for this purpose. Avoid using water, because it will penetrate the wood and cause damage.

  • Spray paint bureau

    Step 3

    To get an even coat of paint, sweep the can horizontally and vertically past the furniture as you spray. Avoid spraying from too close or too far. Maintain a distance of about 10 inches at all times. Never stop moving your hand as you spray the paint. Make sure the coats are thin, as layering up thin coats gets a much better finish than one thick layer. It takes time, but the results will last much longer.

  • Apply decorative mouldings

    Step 4

    Apply wood mouldings to furniture, using exterior wood glue. Once set in place and dry, spray paint mouldings till colour matches rest of furniture.

  • Ombre painting bureau 1

    Step 5

    When you have finished spray painting the entire piece of furniture, making sure to turn it upside down etc so that every surface is covered in several layers of paint. You can start painting the coloured acrylic paint at the back of the furniture. For my shelves I used the rose pink colour for the top shelf, for the second and base shelf I mixed the rose pink with the dusty rose to get an ombre effect. For the cubby holes I used a similar method with the seaspray and beach glass acrylic paint. Apply several coats till you have a lovely even colour, leave to dry.

  • Apply handle

    Step 6

    Apply knob to handle and you are ready to go!

See more...

Bureau makeover
Ombre painting bureau 1
Wooden Bureau - During
Bureau before

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