You may have a white crib that has seen its better days with a first or second child, and it needs a complete redo. Or, perhaps you have a white crib that has been passed to you by another loving parent, and white doesn't match your decor. In both circumstances, to prepare the crib for a new baby, you can transform that painted white crib to resemble wood through the application of faux wood painting techniques. A faux wood paint job, also called "faux bois," doesn't require sanding every piece to remove all the paint; instead, sand just enough to provide a good tooth to the surface before applying stain. When you are finished, the crib will look completely refreshed, and you will be surprised at how much fun it was to make.
Take the crib apart and wash each piece thoroughly with soap, water and a scrub brush. Dry the pieces immediately with a towel, which will remove any existing grime and help to prepare the surface.
Place one piece of the crib on the sawhorses at a time; sand larger flat areas using a sanding block and sandpaper. Use an orbital sander or an oscillating tool with a sanding accessory if the wood finish is in bad repair. Work from medium- to fine-grit sandpaper.
Sand crib spindles with an oscillating tool and sanding accessory designed for spindle curves. Smooth out uneven surfaces, gouges, splintered areas or any damaged areas so that the wood is smooth and safe for a baby to touch. Wipe the entire piece down using a tack cloth to remove all of the residue. Repeat for each piece so that all of the pieces are prepped before you start staining.
Position the largest piece on the sawhorses. Look carefully at the crib section. Complete the staining process in this order: first, the panel trim; second, the inside panels; and last, the longest to smallest outside boards. Cut short lengths of painter's tape to tape off the outside side edge of the longest boards where they connect to the ends of a side board. These joints are the hardest for a novice to make look good, using the tape to help is recommended for beginners.
Paint with a 2-inch wide paintbrush starting with any panel trim. Apply stain with the grain or long direction of the molding. You want a nice even coat without any globbing in the corners. Next, stain the inside of the paneling. Stroke on the stain in the direction of the grain. Apply an even coat.
Place a graining tool at the top edge of the panel while the stain is still wet. Drag the tool in a very straight line down the panel, rotating the tool slowly as you go. The teeth on the back of the tool will strip off stain in a wood-grain pattern. You should have both a large and small graining tool. Grain the entire panel. If you make a mistake, wipe off the stain and reapply. Go over your panel mold and panel with a stiff brush using a very light dragging motion. Repeat for all of the panels.
Stain your long board sections. Apply the stain along the length of the long board. When you drag your wood graining tool, pivot the tool slowly for the smaller pieces, as this motion will stretch out the grain. Follow with the light stiff brush. Allow your long boards to dry before staining the cross boards to create a crisp edge at the joint.
Peel off the tape. Apply stain on the unstained board, dragging the wood graining tool through the stain. Follow up with a stiff brush. Stain spindles and curves by applying the stain and then dragging the stiff brush in a lengthwise manner to replicate grain lines in the wood. Go over the panel molding with a small round artist brush to add some small graining. Allow the stain to dry.
Apply a second coat of stain; do not tape off any section of the crib. Repeat the same staining order, but do not use the graining tool. The second coat of stain will darken the wood appearance. Drag your stiff brush through the stain. After you drag, go back to the top of a section and bounce the tips of the bristles against the stain as you move down the section. This creates little stipple effects in the wood; if desired, you can purchase a special "stippling" brush for this step. Complete the entire crib. If you want the wood darker, add a third coat of stain in the same manner, but just drag the stiff brush through the stain. When you have achieved the desired color and appearance of wood, allow the stain to dry.
Coat and seal the finish with three to four coats of a non-toxic sealer. Ask the paint store for advice on the correct stain and finish so that the final coats are easy to clean and safe for a baby to gnaw. Follow the manufacturer's directions for applying the final coatings for the best results.
Tips & Warnings
- Spray paint metal legs or supports to clean them up if they are looking a bit worn. Use a color and type of paint suggested for your metal surface.
- Use stain, paint and other chemicals in a well-ventilated area.
- Wear safety glasses when operation power tools.
Things You'll Need:
- Soap and water
- Scrub brush
- Sandpaper or oscillating tool with sanding accessory
- Tack cloth
- Painter's tape
- Stiff paintbrush
- Graining tools
- Round artist paintbrush
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