Green Furniture Refinishing: A Girl's Vanity

My little girl is not so little anymore.  Lately she has been wanting more "grown up" things and that included a nice vanity.  The little toddler table she had was not cutting it.  And for me, I needed something larger that could hold her collection of bracelets, princess gear, and hair accessories so that I wouldn't find them on the floor.

The search for a vanity began.  I wanted something sturdy with drawers.  I didn't want to buy another one in 5 years, so I wanted solid wood to last her until she goes to college.  My budget was limited--no more than $100.  Anyone that has tried to purchase a solid wood piece for less than $100 knows that is almost an impossibility.  I then started looking through craigslists, but either the colors were all off or they wanted a ridiculous amount.  And then our neighbors came to the rescue.

They had a vanity that they no longer needed and was just taking up space.  When I told them about my hunt for the perfect vanity, they asked me if I would take it.  It looked perfect but it was old, worn, and not the right color.  I was determined. With a little elbow grease we could make this great.  My husband volunteered to sand it down and then I started shopping for paint.

Paints can be generally be very toxic and bad for your health and your children's health. See my article Toxic Paint.  And since I try my best for my family to live in a toxic free home, it had to be a high gloss non-toxic paint.  I chose Mythic.  Yes, they are generally more expensive than regular paints, but for my family's health it is worth it (and I would still be way under budget).  I chose an olive green which I felt would be perfect for her pink and purple room and bought some new pink hardware.  I then I lined the drawers with decorative paper with a lavender scent.

A few notes on the mechanics of refinishing this piece.  I chose a high gloss paint so that I wouldn't have to put a polyurethane.  That seems to be working great, despite my daughter's messiness.  We didn't need to strip it, the piece just needed a thourough sanding, but if you do have a piece of furniture that needs stripping choose a soy gel paint remover.  When you sand, do it in your garage so the dust doesn't end up on your lawn polluting your soil.  Wear a mask as you sand and vacuum up the dust.  Before painting, make sure you prime it well with a non-toxic primer like Mythic's.  For more information on non-toxic refinishing go toe TLC's 5 Tips for Green Furniture Refinishing.

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