We Tried It: From Sidewalk Junk to Pretty Pink Nightstand

upcycle princess tableI've mentioned before that my stepkids know -- if I spy a piece of cute furniture on the street, I'll try to find a way to get it home. We've made some great sidewalk finds and stoop-sale buys, but we've really outdone ourselves this time.

I was walking home from the playground with my daughters when we spied an ugly white cabinet with a "free" sign on the sidewalk. Penelope was enchanted: it was plastered with Disney princess stickers. "I want that!" she said. "I want the princess table!"

"What if we painted it?" I asked her.

"Yeah, we paint it pink!" she exclaimed.

I loaded it into the stroller and Penny marched proudly along next to it, chanting "Princess TABLE! Princess TABLE!" Meanwhile, I trolled for inspiration and advice via my phone, and by the next morning, we were ready to roll with Project Princess Table.


First, behold the ugly:

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That's my stepson Eli sitting alongside it. He accompanied me to Lowe's, where we got primer, sandpaper, and two shades of pink paint (we had them make $3 samples, and two were plenty for this piece) from the same paint-chip, plus foam brushes and rollers. We also went to Scrap, where we picked out some great fabric. More on that later. First things first, we took the damn thing apart. (The photo is essential for this step -- I am notorious for not remembering where things went.)

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Now, with a solid piece, I would not have bothered to take it apart. But I have put together enough Ikea pieces to spot an easy-to-assemble item. I knew this'd come back together with my screwdriver and a few cuss-words. And I wanted to be able to make the paint as neat as possible. So.

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I had matched the paint colors to our fabric swatches; now I sanded (just a little) and primered all the pieces -- against Eli's objections, because he was impatient and wanted to start painting right away. Once the primer dried (about an hour), I painted on some Modge Podge and affixed fabric to the drawer and to the back-panel of the piece, leaving room around the edges for it to slide back into its grooves.

Upcycle 4This was actually a little annoying. It took two coats of primer just to make the modge podge stick. Whatever they made that back panel out of, it didn't want to be messed with. I persevered; I'm pretty sure the fabric is less flimsy than this stuff, for the record.

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We were able to let the paint dry while doing the fabric, and get two coats done in one afternoon that way. But when I put it together, I saw tons of stuff I had missed, and wanted to do another coat, so I took it back apart and did the final touches.

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Actually, there may be some more final-final touches to come. The plan originally called for us to stencil a shape, using the slightly-darker paint, on the top and sides -- we just ran out of steam. We also wanted to get a fancier drawer-pull, though now that I look at it, I like the old one. Et voila!

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My daughter wanted to know one thing: Where did the princesses go? But I think she'll like it in the long run.

Have you given an old piece of furniture new life? How do you like my princess table?

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