A Shelf for Toys DIY

I found a fairly solid shelf sitting in a thrift store. The thing was ugly. Someone had tried (and failed) to paint it black. You see, you cannot simply paint furniture a new color. You have to strip it. Paint doesn’t stick to finish – I wish it did. This poor shelf had paint streaks all over it.

Time to take it home and show it some love. 🙂

First step is to always strip or sand it down to create a surface to which paint will stick. If you’re going for a natural wood finish then it needs to be done, then you have to get into all the little grooves, etc. (Always wear the appropriate safety gear: safety glasses and a mask!)  I’ll wipe the surface down remove any spider webs, etc. Then I get out my husband’s hand sander and use large grit sand paper for the first pass, gradually working my way to finer grit paper with each pass.

Once stripped I use some gesso as the first coat and outline the characters that I want to paint on the shelf — in this case my son’s favorite cartoon characters: Blaze and Paw Patrols.

Since I was not going to do a wood finish, I did not worry about sanding every spot to bare wood. My goal was to create a surface to which paint would adhere, so, I just scraped the black paint off with a scraper and sanded the finish a bit

For the Blaze side I used some paint markers that claimed to be for all surfaces. I really didn’t like them. The tips would shred really easily making it difficult to get good detail work done. I had to make a trip to Michael’s where I found some sturdier tip markers that I used on the Paw Patrol side.

I painted the cartoon characters first to avoid multiple coats since my plan was a black shelf. Once the main shelf was complete, I painted the shelf back blue. Finally, both parts of the shelf got a polyurethane finish. When everything dried, I screwed the back onto the front and my son had a new shelf. I did let my son paint a portion of the shelf – he had a blast!

This was definitely a fun project.

Have a fabulous day!


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