Laryl Hancock
Laryl Hancock
  • Hometalker
  • Yuma, AZ

1940's Cedar Chest Makeover Adventure With Colors! #SPiTchallenge


I found this sad little brown cedar chest at a church rummage sale. The veneer was coming off everywhere, but it was so cute, or could be! It managed to drive me crazy along the way. I wanted to share my journey with this darling thing. I was in over my head from the moment I got it home, but it all turned out in the end! I am not a furniture re-finisher, I hope this encourages someone to try new things, especially Unicorn Spit where you least expect it.
The before shot.
The before shot.
I cleaned it up and decided I would take the damaged veneer off the top. A new experience but I thought hey I can figure it out as I go. I noted the stamp inside, it's a ED Roos Chest. A company that went out of business in 1951. I'm guessing this one was from the 1940's. It was not something I could restore, but I wanted it to be loved.
1940 s cedar chest makeover adventure with colors spitchallenge, painted furniture, woodworking projects
I read you could use stripper by putting plastic wrap over it. A new thing for me. I didn't realize it was going to dry quickly. Tip, don't let it dry! What a mess. Lots of scraping and sanding, I did finally get it stripped.
1940 s cedar chest makeover adventure with colors spitchallenge, painted furniture, woodworking projects
I planned to use stain on the top. Oh great, I learned furniture often has mismatched scrap wood under it's veneer. I also learned the soft old wood wanted to fall apart. I had to be very careful especially with that trim.
1940 s cedar chest makeover adventure with colors spitchallenge, painted furniture, woodworking projects
I primed the entire chest with BIN primer. Then I made a blend of some white and almost orange and cream chalk type paints. Well it sure looked fresh and clean now! The primer was put on in the direction of the grain and had a lot of brush strokes. There were two molding pieces missing on the front sides, so I added simple trim pieces.
The top was damaged with dings and I wanted a textured top, because I think they have character. I put the chalk type paint on going across, giving the top a cross hatch texture. Here's a close up of that
close of up texture on the top
close of up texture on the top
Now continues the "Oh what am I doing!" adventure. I am very new to the awesome Unicorn Spit Gel & Stain In One. It's online at http://www.unicornspit.com So diving right in I tried an aurora. Not enough coverage so I put on more Spit. No clue what I was doing but it was fun to fingerpaint it on the top! I learned a bit about what I liked and didn't. I didn't like the result, didn't even take a photo of it.
1940 s cedar chest makeover adventure with colors spitchallenge, painted furniture, woodworking projects
So not liking the muddy result this newbie got, I washed it all off. Unicorn Spit is a water base product and that's awesome because you can start over. Now what am I going to do, I asked myself, ..and seriously?...the primer came off with it huh?!
1940 s cedar chest makeover adventure with colors spitchallenge, painted furniture, woodworking projects
Yep, starting over with a rather fun hot mess of raw wood with spotty primer. I'm feeling the rebel in me rise up. Why sand it all off when I can play with what's happening and see where it takes me! Yeah that's the spirit! I did put a fresh coat of chalk paint over this, using random strokes in all directions. The top had great strokes and textures!
1940 s cedar chest makeover adventure with colors spitchallenge, painted furniture, woodworking projects
What's this you ask? Well. I was reading how you could thin GF Java Gel and use it as a glaze. Hmm that sounds like fun, let's try it on the ..TRIM! It was interesting and so pretty. I put it on the back, shown here, just to give it a fresh color. BUT then I liked that so much that without thinking, I put it all over the chest. umm java is oil base. put it over water base that was going to have waterbase stain going on next. OOPS not real smart, let's call it art and see if I can get away with it. Sanded a bit, and let it cure for days.
1940 s cedar chest makeover adventure with colors spitchallenge, painted furniture, woodworking projects
I sanded well, then I applied Zia Teal Unicorn Spit over the Java Gel, and wiped it back. Sanded it back. Washed it back/off. Seeing through all the layers of cream, brown and now teal I rather liked the look on the body. My arms were sore but I was liking it. Now to tackle that top again.
1940 s cedar chest makeover adventure with colors spitchallenge, painted furniture, woodworking projects
I used Zia Teal, White Ning, Purple Hill Majesty, Blue Thunder and Dragonsbelly. The smell of Jasmine this stain has is so wonderful I didn't want to quit! I let it dry a bit and wiped it down hard. Then I sanded it to bring out the textured white strokes.
About 4 coats of Minwax Satin Rub-On Poly were put on after the chest sat to cure for a week.
1940 s cedar chest makeover adventure with colors spitchallenge, painted furniture, woodworking projects
There was no overhead light source in the first front view photo, the top isn't that dark. I was shocked to see the grain of the original veneer come through. It's subtle but very visable.. how fun is that!
1940 s cedar chest makeover adventure with colors spitchallenge, painted furniture, woodworking projects
A close up of the top, done with side by side strokes that were blended with my bare hands.
1940 s cedar chest makeover adventure with colors spitchallenge, painted furniture, woodworking projects
Because of all the damage, I let the sides go funky with rough finished look. It is really different and I love it. I love the entire finished project but boy did I have an adventure creating it!

Top Hometalk Projects

30 Ways To Use Old Jeans For Brilliant Craft Ideas
29 Of The Best DIY Mirror Projects Ever Made
30 Creative Ways To Repurpose Baking Pans
31 Coastal Decor Ideas Perfect For Your Home
15 Genius Curtain Ideas To Instantly Upgrade Your Space
15 Kitchen Updates Under $20
31 Creative Garden Features Perfect For Summer
23 Insanely Clever Ways To Eliminate Clutter
30 Ways To Use Old Jeans For Brilliant Craft Ideas
31 Amazing Furniture Flips You Have to See to Believe
16 Ways to Maximize Storage And Organization In Your Home
22 Ideas To Make Your Terra Cotta Pots Look Oh-So-Pretty
15 Gorgeous Bohemian Inspired Decor Items To Make For Yourself
13 Essential Repair Tricks That Everyone Needs To Know
21 Totally Terrific Things You Can Do With Doilies

Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Karen Sienk
    on Nov 14, 2015

    What brand of stripper did you use?

    • Laryl Hancock
      on Nov 14, 2015

      @Karen Sienk I used citristrip because I babysit and had to do it in the house.

    • Jodi
      on Nov 14, 2015

      @Laryl Hancock Is that safe to use around kids or in a house? I always heard you need to do that outdoors or in a garage. I have a small piece I'd like to strip.

    • Laryl Hancock
      on Nov 14, 2015

      @Jodi it says safe to use indoors, no harsh fumes (I have a window right by my work table) but you do have to be sure kids can't touch it. I don't do it on days they are here but just need to be sure the room is aired out before they come

    • Jodi
      on Nov 14, 2015

      @Laryl Hancock Awesome. I need to get some of this!

Join the conversation

2 of 107 comments
Your comment...