Misty Gaines-Johnson
Misty Gaines-Johnson
  • Tutorial Team
  • Wittmann, AZ

Cedar Chest Redo...

1 Material
1 Week

A friend had this ceder chest since the 1960’s. She had painted it and upholstered the top, then it went into storage and sat for a very long time. She called me up and asked if I would redo it and if I could stain shade a design on the top. When she dropped it off I was pretty sure it was solid wood so I started sanding only to find out it was a ceder lined chest and the outside had laminate over a VERY THIN piece of sheet plywood. I started at the corner and as you can see in the pictures I hit particle board really quick! I immediately stopped and assessed the damage. The only fix I could come up with would be to put a thin layer of stainable wood filler and hand sand even. I applied the wood filler and let it sit overnight. The next day I hand sanded the bad area very gently and sanded down the rest with 120grit paper, careful to move quickly and not to apply any pressure or stay in one area too long. This made the sanding process soooo long. After I got it all off the top I noticed the wood was green in some places, but that was just the way the wood was and there was nothing I could do so I chose a very dark stain and placed the stained design where the bad area was in hopes to kind of conceal it. She just asked me to put a flower and a bird, she did not care what kinds. I chose a magnolia to go with the little bird. I drew my design on very lightly with a pencil and then I use a small angled brush dipped in stain with excess dabbed off to outline the design, I then use a combination of brushes and my finger wrapped in soft cloth dipped in stain to create the image. I painted the bottom of the chest a deep grey and went over with a dark stain to make it more rustic like she wanted it. I poly wiped the whole piece and then put a clear wax over. She absolutely loved the final outcome.
cedar chest redo
The chest all sanded down. If you look at the bottom right you can see the sanding mistake, it is that white spot. The chest was painted white and was upholstered on top. You can also see the different color of wood that was underneath the laminate.
cedar chest redo
Look closely and you will see the image drawn on. Notice the flaw still on the bottom right
cedar chest redo
Painted and stained but not sealed yet
cedar chest redo
I still wanted the top darker, this is before I went back over with stain again to make it darker.
cedar chest redo
Side painted
cedar chest redo
Front painted
cedar chest redo
Top, much darker and birds tail and dark stain covered the flaw beautifully.

Suggested materials:

  • Chalk paint and stain  (Friend)

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Stephanie
    on Nov 4, 2017

    Awesome. Where did you learn how to do staining. I would like to learn . Thank you.
    • Misty Gaines-Johnson
      on Nov 4, 2017

      I redo furniture for a living but so do a lot of others in my area so I was trying to find something not many do and that is when I ran cross a video called stainshading. I just went with it from there.

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