How to reinvent your wooden cupboards

Lucy Davenport - boys bedroomsmall

The Big Ideas Issue 95 is all about new ideas in decor; in it we feature the home of Lucy and Dom Davenport.  Their story, entitled  A New Way with Pattern, shows how eccentric English meets Californian chutzpah in their witty West London home where very room has its own personality.

The story is full of ideas to take away and mimic in your own home. We especially loved the graphic trompe l’oeil they painted onto the large storage cupboards in the children’s room- so much so that we decided to give it a try and to show you how to do it in your own home.

TIME: 1-2 days depending on how many surfaces will be repainted and how many colours are used since drying time will need to be factored in.

DIFFICULTY: Easy to moderate.

Materials:
cordless drill or screwdriver (for disassembling and re-assembling)
rubber/latex gloves
protective goggles
putty knife and/or scraper
wood filler
fine to medium grit sandpaper
clean cloth
paint stripper
masking tape
pencil
drop cloths for spills
primer
paintbrushes 3cm tapered
5cm wide synthetic fiber brushes
sponge paint rollers
3-5 paint colours (for this example we’re using yellow, blue, grey, black and white)
paint trays and stir sticks

Optional:

skinny mouldings (if your cupboard has a flat surface, this is optional)
hammer
small nails
wood glue
clear lacquer spray

Before you start:
Get expert advice. It helps to take a cupboard door to your paint store for them to help you select the best stripper, primer and paint for the surface. Once the primer is selected, perhaps have it tinted to the colour of your top coat.

When selecting a paint keep in mind how the chosen paint cleaned should there be spills, is it water-based and easily wiped down or will you need mineral spirits as with enamel paints?

Also important to note is keeping the area well ventilated especially in the case of oil-based paints which contain strong solvents. Buy the best quality paint you can afford-it makes a world of a difference to the finish and longevity of the paint work.

The best way to paint cabinet doors and drawers is by removing them. Painting over the hardware and hinges is not advised-apart from looking messy, it hinders their function. Scribble a map of the doors with numbering included  on a piece of paper and label the actual doors accordingly to prevent confusion when reassembling.

Ensure all surfaces are clean prior to starting the project. Stripping product is more effective on clean surfaces.

Try the new colour by priming and painting a test patch on the inside of a door to ensure you’re happy with the colour and that the chosen products adhere to the surface. If adjustments need to be made, consult your paint store for advice on how to go about it.

If your cupboards do not have mouldings as seen in our example, they are easy nailed into place in minutes. They should be fitted approximately 7cm from the outer edges of each surface. Your local hardware store would be more than happy to pre-cut the strip to size if you take a door and/or draw-front with you as an example. They will also cut 45 degree angles on each end for them to meet neatly at the corners when fitted. Once they are fitted firmly in place with wood glue as well as short nails from the inside of the cupboard, you can continue the project. Be sure not to use too much glue as any glue that leaks out will prevent the paint from sticking on those spots.

Instructions:
1. Follow the instructions on your paint stripper and carefully strip all surfaces of varnish and old paint. Remember to use gloves and safety goggles as paint stripper contains strong chemical solvents which can irritate your eyes.

2. Sand all the surfaces evenly using  a medium grit sand paper. This evens out the surface while removing and remaining bits of paint. Wipe the residue cleanly away with a cloth.

3. Note any crevices or holes in the wood. Use wood filler in the closest match to the wood to fill any such gaps and carefully smooth it over using a putty knife and/or scraper.

TIP: For a more precise application of wood filler, wait a few minutes after filling then run a smooth damp cloth over each filled patch to smooth and blend the edges.

4. Once the filler has dried, gently sand all surfaces using a slightly finer grit sand paper to smooth the surface in final preparation for priming.

TIP: It is best not completely smooth the surfaces with the finer grit sandpaper as the tiny grooves help the product to adhere to the surface, the paint will provide the desired silky finish.

5. Evenly prime the entirety of the surfaces using a wide synthetic fibre paint brush. Be sure not to leave any unprimed spots as the paint will later lift from these areas.

6. Once the primer has dried, apply masking tape precisely in the inside of the moulding making sure to rub it down firmly to prevent bleeding. The white and grey in the steps below are quite light so leaking onto the surfaces that are not going to be yellow may cause the yellow to shine through.

Stir the yellow paint thoroughly and start carefully painting the frame and moulding using the smaller tapered brush. Allow sufficient time for the yellow paint to properly dry. If it requires a second coat, wait for the last coat to dry before removing the masking tape, pulling inwards.

7. Using a pencil and the metal ruler, mark the middle of the panel and draw a vertical line start 10cm from the top of the panel, ending 10cm before the bottom of the panel. To create the triangles, draw a line from the top left corner down to the start of the middle line, then from the start of the middle line up to the top right corner. The same will be done from the lower left corner up to the end of the middle line, then from the end of the middle line down to the lower right corner.

8. Now that the the masking tape has been removed and all the panel lines have been drawn, neatly apply fresh tape to the moulding to prevent the yellow area from being ruined by any other colours during each fresh application of masking tape.

NB: It is important to be sure the yellow areas are dry as the masking tape will pull off any unset paint. 

9. Neatly apply masking tape along the inside of all the upper and lower triangles as well as along the right side of the middle lines to section of the areas which will be painted grey.

Stir the grey paint thoroughly and pour it into a narrow roller try. Use the very end of the wider set of brushes to carefully brush the grey paint inwards from the masking tape borders and paint the remaining areas using the mini roller for a quick and even result. Allow some time for the grey areas to dry before applying a second coat. Once you are confident the grey areas are completely dry, you can remove the masking tape strips on the right side of the middle line pulling to the right.

10. Neatly apply masking tape along the left sides of the middle lines (on the grey area) to section the areas to be painted blue.

Stir the blue paint thoroughly and pour some into a narrow roller tray. Use just the very end of the wider set of brushes to carefully brush the blue paint inwards from the masking tape borders and paint the remaining areas using the mini roller and tray for a quick and even result. Allow some time for the blue areas to dry before applying a second coat. Once you are confident the blue areas are completely dry, you can remove the masking tape strips from the grey area on the left side of the middle line pulling to the left, as well as the strips on the insides of the upper and lower triangles.

11. Neatly apply masking tape along the outer upper and lower triangles on each panel to section off all the triangles. The strips will thus still be on the entire yellow moulding as well as on the blue and grey areas where they meet the triangles.

12. Stir the white paint thoroughly and using just the very end of the wider set of brushes, carefully brush the white paint inwards from the masking tape borders and paint the remaining areas carefully with the brush as the area is small. Allow some time for the white areas to dry before applying a second coat.

13. Stir the black paint thoroughly and using just the very end of the wider set of brushes, carefully  brush the black paint inwards from the masking tape borders and paint the remaining areas carefully with the brush as the area is small. Allow some time for the black areas to dry before applying a second coat.

Once you are confident the white and black areas are completely dry, you can carefully remove all the masking tape strips from all areas.

12. Now that the painting is complete and has had sufficient time to dry you can either leave it as is or top coat the entire surface with spray on clear lacquer to make it last longer. In areas that are used daily and touched a lot, this is crucial as it protects the paint and makes it easy to wipe down without worrying that the paint will fade. Pay attention to the finish you select as some lacquers have a matte finish while others have a glossy finish. Follow the instructions on the can carefully to ensure an even result.

Compiled by Stefanie Lee Titus

Send us pictures of your handiwork to @ELLE_Deco on twitter and on Instagram @elle_deco 

 

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