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Jewels from Junk
    - Reviving Furniture with Paint 

It's a diamond in the rough! Your latest trip to the thrift store has produced a dresser with great lines and at least 7 layers of paint - each of which is visible in the scratches and nicks which cover its surface. With a little patience and a little paint, you can revive this junk into a jewel. Just follow these steps:

1. Are you sure it's junk? Make certain that your new piece isn't an antique in disguise. If so, you might ruin the piece by changing its finish.

2. Find an area that is well-ventilated and away from heat sources, open flames or anything that can produce sparks.

3. If there are drawer pulls and hardware, take them off before you start painting.

4. Put the piece on an old sheet, disposable drop cloth or old newspaper to catch drips and spills. (Everyone drips and spills, no matter how careful they are!)

5. Sand the piece with fine-grit sandpaper on a sanding block or a small electric sander. Make certain the surface is as smooth as possible. Your piece will look much more professional if you remove the bumps and gouges. Wear safety goggles, gloves and a dust mask. 

6. Use a hand vacuum, a tack cloth or a barely damp rag to remove any residual sawdust. If you don't, your finish will be bumpy.

7. Apply a coat of primer - either by spraying (if the piece is small) or by brush (for larger pieces). Use a good water-based primer.

8. Let dry until the piece is dry to the touch. It usually takes 1-2 hours depending on the humidity.

9. If the primer coat looks too thin (the original coats of paint are still showing through), you can apply a second coat and allow it to dry.

10. Sand away any rough spots (see, I told you that you needed to get all of that sawdust off!).

11. Now for the good stuff! Apply a coat of water-based paint in any color of the rainbow! Brush it on with even strokes, going in the direction of the grain. If you are using spray paint, make slow passes with the can. Hold it 8-12 inches from the surface. Allow the first coat to dry.

12. A second coat is usually required. Allow the final coat to dry overnight.

13. Wash the paintbrushes immediately after you finish. Rinse under water until the water runs clear. 

Now step back and admire your work. Great job! Now it's time to tackle that three-legged chair!

About the Author:  Pamela Cole Harris is a mother, a writer and an editor with 35 years experience. Visit http://www.all-homeandgarden.com for more articles by Pamela and additional articles on creating a kid-friendly home. You can email her at . 

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