Crafts: How to Refinish a New England Bureau
The Yankee Crafty B*tch teaches you how to spruce up that old New England bureau in need of some love.
It’s August in Maine and as the summer winds down we always find ourselves looking to complete those last few warm weather projects. And as crafty Yankees, we are also always looking for old things that need a second life. So when it comes time to clean out the attic, we accomplish both. As any Yankee knows, attics of old New England houses are a treasure trove for wonderful old pieces. The pieces just need to be dragged out of their dark spaces and shown a little love.
And, more importantly, because it’s August in Maine we love when these projects take less than a day, leaving time for other summer activities. Refinishing furniture tends to be a long process and full of effort….but not when we’re behind it. We think the roughness of this finish job lends to the charm of the old bureau. Wait, weren’t we supposed to be cleaning out the attic?
What you’ll need:
One old “in need of some love” bureau
White Paint (1 quart)
Green (or other color of choice) Paint (1 quart)
1 roller with roller pan
8 knobs with screws
What to do:
I found this old bureau up in my parent’s attic and knew that it was still good for another 50 years even though it had old wooden knobs, the wood was stained from water and there was a little blue crayon drawing on the side (It looked like the art of my older brother circa 1984, he was 4). So with the help and strength of the other Crafty Yankee, we lifted the bureau down 2 flights of stairs and into the revival room.
We gave it a deep clean with hot water and a little 409, although any cleaning solution would work. After letting the bureau dry for an hour, we took the sand paper and quickly sanded the outside, only where we would paint.
After a little dusting, we opened the white paint (the bureau was originally a light wood color and to get the rich green color that we chose, we needed to paint the bureau a base white) and went to work. Dash quickly used the paintbrush to get at all the areas where a roller would not go. After, I simply rolled the rest of the bureau.
We let the bureau dry for 45 minutes. We decided to add a second coat of white because the 1st coat soaked quickly into the old wood. Once we painted the 2nd coat, we let it dry for 1 hour. Great tip: During the time in between the coats, rest the roller and brush in the roller pan and then take a piece of plastic wrap and wrap up the pan. Dampen an old ripped-up towel and lay it over the roller pan. It keeps the paint, the roller and the paintbrush moist.
We cleaned out the roller pan, roller and paintbrush and repeated the process. Dash painted with the brush in the corners and areas where the roller couldn’t reach. I rolled out the rest of the bureau, and we let it dry for 45min. Second coat on and we could not be happier!
Dash and I ran to the general store and chose little gold knobs and easily used a screwdriver to put them on.
It was a whole new bureau in one day. I cannot wait to fill it up and show it love for another 50 years!
Down East will be featuring contributors from all walks of Maine Life on DE Daily. Kathryn and Dash, the women behind the Yankee Crafty B*tch blog, will be bringing you the best in the world of crafts, food, sewing and gardens — all on the resourceful Yankee budget. So kick back, check out their posts, and get your craft on. If you're interested in contributing to DE Daily, send an e-mail to email@example.com and tell us your ideas.