Color Washing an Armoire

This summer while I was out shopping at garage sales I found this $20 armoire. Even though it was a little rickety I thought it was a pretty good deal so I bought it.

armoire before painting

To help give it a little more stability my dad helped me put wood glue in some of the gaps and clamp everything together. I also removed the cardboard-like backing on the armoire and replaced it with a piece of hardboard. Some of the screws for the drawer slides weren’t flush or tight enough which was preventing the drawers from sliding smoothly, so we fixed those too.

armoire drawers

I wanted to give it a facelift and I considered painting it different colors or maybe white-washing it so the pine grain would still show through the paint. If you’ve looked at any of the other furniture projects I’ve done you know that I like painting things white. Since I already have way too much white furniture I thought it’d be fun to go with red. I didn’t want it to be just a solid red though, I still liked the idea of a white washed effect, just with red instead of white.

I started by picking up a bunch of different red paint swatches and held them up to wall colors, furniture, curtains and more to see which I liked best. My final choice was called “Fire” from Valspar’s Eddie Bauer line of paints at Lowe’s. I got a quart of this in the interior latex semi-gloss.

red paint for armoire

After lightly sanding the armoire and wiping it clean I poured some of the red paint into a cup and added water to it. The ratio for this was about 50/50, but if I did it again I think I’d do more paint to water – probably 75% paint, ¬†25% water.

red paint water mixture

I got a brush and started painting the watery paint mixture on the armoire. At first I tried lightly wiping it off after I brushed some on, but this left very little of the paint on the furniture. Instead I ended up just brushing the watered down paint on in three coats to achieve the level of opacity that I wanted.

armoire painting in process

This process was a little messy, as the watered down paint was very runny. I probably should have worn gloves, but I didn’t and my hands ended up looking like this:

armoire red paint mess

No worries though, it washed right off.

I chose not to paint the inside of the cabinet (mostly because it was just more work than I wanted to do), but I did paint the inside of the armoire doors.

In case I decide in the future that I want to put a TV or something else in the armoire, I drilled a hole in the back of the hardboard for electrical wires to run through.

drilling hole in armoire backing

The armoire was finished with a couple coats of water-based clear semi-gloss polycrylic to protect it, but I think I would’ve preferred a satin finish.

The red armoire is now (temporarily?) sitting in the family room at my parent’s house, adding a much needed pop of color.

finished armoire

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