Over the last week, Connor and I have been working hard to restyle our old waterbed frame. I have had it since high school, and it has been stained and painted multiple times, so it has had its share of abuse, plus a couple of moves from house to house. I wanted to sand down all of these paint layers, scratches, and chips to get the wood back to its natural state, then seal it with a clear coat to protect it. Now that we are out of our apartment, we have space to do big projects like this, so I was really excited to begin. Maybe a few tips from our process will come in handy for you!
The first thing we had to do was strip all that paint. It was originally stained a dark color, then painted white, then when I got the bed, I painted it black to match my other furniture. We used a paint stripper, purchased from Walmart, applied it to the wood, and scraped everything off. Please be sure to use gloves and protect your skin! I can’t tell you how many times, even with gloves, I somehow managed to burn my skin by touching the stripper.
After the paint was removed and the wood was dry, it was time to sand. This took forever! We had two sanders of different sizes that we used, the big one for large areas and the small one for the edges of the wood. We used a medium and high grit. I would highly suggest safety glasses, and even a face mask if you are sanding off paint, which releases toxins.
After sanding, we cleaned the wood with a dry rag, dusting off the particles from sanding. We took a wood sample to a paint store and tested options for clear coats, as certain brands gave the wood a yellow-green tint. We finally found a good option with no color changes, so we settled on a gallon (way too much) of Minwax Water-Based Polycrylic in a semi-gloss, which we found at Sherwin Williams. The water base is important for a natural and clear finish, and the gloss level can be chosen as desired. This brand in particular came in satin, semi-gloss, and gloss. We had so much leftover, we decided to do a wood table as well. With this particular brand, it suggests to sand between coats. We did this only on very visible surfaces, such as the table top. By the end of the process, we had about 3-4 coats.
One thing that we decided to change on the original bed frame was the drawer fronts, mostly because it would have been a hassle to sand them due to their decorative face. Instead, we took apart the drawers (they had joints which required a full deconstruction) and removed the fronts, and bought lumber cut to size to replace them. We then screwed it back together, and sealed them.
Finally, we cut down some of the long side pieces, because the extra length supported a wood headboard, which we no longer were going to use. I plan on eventually making an upholstered headboard, so we left a few inches on each side which will hold the new headboard in place. Hopefully I can begin this next project in the coming months! Because we are still in the process of moving, I don’t have a picture of the whole bed frame assembled, but I will be sure to update you when we move into a new place and get it set up!