Barb Orthmann
Barb Orthmann
  • Hometalker
  • Sebastian, FL

Cheap and Sleek to Rough and Rustic

3 Materials
2 Months

My daughter in law asked me to make over a couple of night stands for her for her birthday, so I said "sure!" Then she asked "can you make these look rustic?"
  ummm....sure? She picked them up on Craigslist on the cheap- I think 30 bucks for the pair. They were solid and heavy and the drawers were in perfect working condition.
There was water damage around the perimeter of both tops that had swelled the particle board underneath. Stay with me because they look nothing like this when done!
I had luan left over from my stick tables, so I cut 2 pieces to fit each top. I glued the luan to the top of the nightstand using construction adhesive and then secured with brads. I put heavy objects on top overnight while the glue dried so that nothing lifted or warped. I then patched the brad holes with wood putty and also smoothed out the seams on the outside edges. When the putty was dry, I sanded it all smooth.
After removing the original drawer pulls, I used wood putty to fill the holes. I then measured and drilled the holes for the new cup pulls.
My son came down to help and we cut Beadboard to fit the sides and nailed it on. We then trimmed it out using wood lath. He sanded everything to smooth all the rough edges.
Each of the drawers was trimmed with paint sticks, also left over from my end table project!
I put a base coat of chalk paint in a charcoal grey on everything. Applying petroleum jelly (the dark spots in the picture) to all the raised edges and corners makes sanding to distress it much easier after its painted.
I also painted on patches of Elmer's white school glue. Once the glue was tacky, I painted over everything with white chalk paint. The glue causes the paint to crackle. If you go to Elmer's website and search crackle paint, you'll find a tutorial
Dry brushing is a technique that requires little paint and a light hand. Dab the tips of the bristles in your paint and tap them off on a paper plate or towel. Lightly drag the brush across your surface. Do this in layers until you like what you see. This is a case where less is more. It's hard to take it off and easier to just layer it on lightly. So I added some lighter grey.
Then some brown, followed by quite a bit of white. The layers imply age and the item having gone through several paint jobs over it's lifetime. You want those other colors to peek through your primary color. Once I had the paint layered the way I wanted it, I sanded all the raised edges to distress it further. Everything was sealed with 2 coats of matte polycrylic.
Added the new cup pulls.
Cut some burlap to fit inside the drawers and sprayed with starch so the edges didn't curl.
This project took several weeks working on and off. The painting was the most time consuming part because there are so many layers.
But, in the end, she got rustic, and they sure don't look anything like the ones she brought home! I had a lot of the supplies I used on hand. The rough out of pocket for what I didn't have is about $50.

Not too shabby! Well.....actually pretty shabby!
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