DIY Two Tone Furniture Makeover – Part 1

How to Strip, Sand, Paint, Stain and Age Furniture – Part 1



My mom, one of Renovar’s number one fans and supporters of my new endeavor, purchased 3 tables at a thrift store she frequents.  I work Monday through Friday from 7:30-4:00 so I have VERY limited time to shop for furniture or projects to renew.  My mom knows my tastes and abilities and is usually spot on.  THANK YOU VERY MUCH MOM, these were awesome!!  P.S. I love you MOSTEST!!

BEFORE:  Clearly, it wasn’t too pretty – ya know, that 1990’s yellow/orange color.  Sometimes, it is better to keep the 1990’s in the past…case in point:


This is a two-part series because the last two processes are picture heavy and harder to explain.


I used two products, because I wanted to do a comparison.  This was the perfect project to do since they were a matching set of 3 tables.  The 2 end tables were about the same size as the top of the coffee table.  They were flat surfaces and only had one layer of stain.  Easy peasy – right?  WRONG….well sort of.  Here is how it went down. (I apologize, but I did not take pictures of the “during” process of the stripping.  It was almost midnight and I was tired.  Hope you can find forgiveness in your heart.)

  • On the end tables and drawer fronts I used the Ready Strip product.
  • On the coffee table I used I the Zinsser product.
  • I followed manufactures guidelines for both applications.


Ready Strip:


  • Low-No odor
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Not caustic


  • Slow (Have to wait until it turns white)
  • Doesn’t take off multiple layers
  • Hard to remove once dry (even following manufacturer guidelines)
  • Paint on application is a thick gooey mess

Zinsser Strip Fast:


  • Super Duper Fast (Minutes not hours)
  • Easy to remove
  • Takes off multiple layers (if need be)
  • Spray on application


  • Caustic (burns skin if it touches it)
  • Plastic gloves get really hot during removal
  • Strong Odor
  • Messy removal

I will NEVER, EVER, LIKE EVER, use the Ready Strip again. (Taylor Swift reference right there.) Anyways, it was a caked on, thick, gooey mess & took FOREVER to dry.  Plus it didn’t take much of the stain off. {angry face} In about the same time that it took me to “paint” the green stripper on the two smaller tables, it took me to strip the coffee table; that is the application, removal and clean-up.  Total time about 30 minutes for each project.  I will go on record to say that I {HEART} the Zinsser strip fast product.

The next morning, I redid the end tables and drawers -with Zinsser since the Ready Strip failed to do its job.  (I ended up throwing out the whole gallon and about 30 bucks in the trash because ain’t nobody got time for that.)

Disclaimer: Make sure you wear gloves when using chemicals and that you are in a well ventilated area.  Also follow the manufacturer guidelines properly.  The fumes gave me a bit of a buzz – but I survived.   (*THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST AND ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.)
1990’s finish – be gone.


After that whole stripping (am I the only one that feels dirty saying that word over and over) debacle, I filled in some of the dings/dents on the legs with Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Filler.  Once dry, I sanded all of the pieces down with an 80 grit, then 120 grit and then a 220 grit sandpapers.  Did you know?  The lower the number of the sandpaper grit is the rougher type of sandpaper which is good for sanding out imperfections.  The middle number is good for a light sanding between coats of stain or varnish.  Whilst the higher number of the grit of sandpaper is smoother which is good for the final sanding giving you a very well prepped piece, especially if you are going to stain.  **When you redo furniture, it is almost always necessary to sand the piece multiple times.  It really gives it the new life it is longing for.  BONUS: The extra elbow grease helps you burn calories as well ~ and since we all know how much I like me some ice cream, it is a win-win in my book. Dont forget to wipe down the entire piece with a damp, lint free cloth or with a tack cloth. (In the future, I will have links to the products I use, but for now, please humor me and pretend.)


I painted one coat of Zinsser bulls-eye 123 primer for ‘all surfaces’ onto the table skirts and legs.  Leaving the table tops and drawers raw and I will discuss that process in the second part of this post.


Once the primer was dry, I painted the skirts/legs with two coats of pool blue paint by Dutch Boy.



This was leftover from the first paint job on Kid 1’s room. It is a satin finish interior paint.  {I know, I know.  The latest and greatest craze is chalk finish paints.  ROLLING MY EYES.} I can say that Iusually prefer regular old latex paint.  I plan to post more on that in the future since I have done a comparison on the paint too.  (Yes, I am opinionated, not all is negative, just being honest . However, after 20 years of redoing furniture as a hobby and now as a side business, I feel like I am entitled to said opinion.  After all, my goal it to guide you and help make your attempts at furniture refinishing easier; and let you know pros and cons through my journey through trial and error.)




Thanks so much for reading my little blog.  Please feel free to comment.  Also, remember that sharing is caring and is always appreciated!

Until next time my friends,




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