These IKEA stools have been in my house since my girls were little and clearly have seen better days. They have served as everything from nightstands to plant stands to stepping stools to a spot for conducting another DIY project. And of course, as stools.
After pondering their whereabouts the other day, I discovered them strewn in the garage. And I rescued them. As you can see, they started out it pretty bad shape but I was determined to give them new life...
I began by wiping them down to remove all dust and cobwebs, then removed all hardware.
It seems one stool has been exposed to less friendly treatment than the other...
Before sanding, I donned this lovely thing to protect my lungs! Safety is important when doing any sort of project. Even though I renewed my stools outdoors, I still wanted to ensure that I wasn't going to inhale any unnecessary dust or paint fumes.
Thankfully, my hubby owns one of these little sanders. It saved me a ton of time. But if you didn't have access to one, a piece of sandpaper (or sanding block) and some good 'ole elbow grease will do the trick too.
Through a bit of trial and error, I started out with a 150 grit sandpaper, but it seemed to be taking so long, so I switched to 120 grit, which is a bit courser, and had more success. I have to give credit to the smart people at IKEA for the layers and layers of laquer that they use to protect their creations. It took about 20 minutes to sand away all of the existing laquer and get down to bare wood.
I also had 80 grit on hand, but was afraid that it would make gouges in my stools as it was even more course. Now, I am not a professional sander, nor do I have much experience in sanding at all, I am just telling you what I used but there may be a better recommendation for the proper grit to be using here.
When I finally made it down to the bare wood, I wiped away all the dust and residue with a damp cloth, then set out to stain the wood. I had been advised to wet the wood prior to staining as this opens the pores of the wood to receive the stain. So I did that too.
Using a walnut stain that is good for indoor/outdoor use, I applied small amounts with a cloth until I had the richness that I desired. I found the stain to be easy to work with. If I applied a bit too much in an area, I simply used my wet cloth to remove some of the stain. By working in a circular motion, I avoided getting streaks in the stain.
While the stain on the wood was drying, I spray painted the legs of the stools to look like copper. The choices of spray paint that you can now buy are dizzying. Most paints you don't even need to prep the area first, or use a primer. I chose a Tremclad paint in copper that is designed to look like it has been hammered.
I found that if I applied the paint very heavily then it gave somewhat of a dimpled effect, but because I wasn't working on a flat surface, I didn't want to apply too much paint and have it run down the legs. So I applied my paint in thin layers, allowing it to dry in between, and ended up with about three layers of paint. All in all, it took about 20 min to spray the legs as the thin layers dried quite quickly. I was also pleased to see that the spray paint easily covered all of the yucky streaks and stains that were on the white legs when I started.
In between spraying the legs, I was also applying layers of laquer to the stool tops. Again, to avoid brush lines and speed up the process, I used a spray on laquer. I loved how the dull finish of the stain really began to shine as I applied the laquer.
After the layers of laquer dried, I reattached the wooden tops to the newly painted legs using the same hardware I had removed in the beginning.
Up until this point, I was unsure if the colour of the walnut stain and the copper colour would go well together. But I was pleased with the results. If I were to do it over again though, I would probably go lighter with the stain on the wood. I love the copper though and will use it on more projects in the future.
So, if you have some old stools that need new life, I encourage you to take on this little DIY for yourself. It was an afternoon of relatively easy work (with only a blister on my finger from pressing down on the spray paint spouts so many times!) resulting in two rewarding and renewed stools.