17 Days to Repaint a Wooden French Provincial Bed


“17 Days to Repaint a Wooden French Provincial Bed” by Joan Y. Edwards

17 Days to Repaint a Wooden French Provincial Double Bed made by Dixie Furniture Company in late 1970’s – early 1980’s.
Click here to go to Shutterfly to view the pictures I took of this repainting project. You do not have to sign in. Just click View Album. I hope you’ll enjoy them.

A few years ago I asked a furniture restorer if he could repaint this bed. Since it was a shiny glossy paint, he said the new paint wouldn’t stick. I think he meant, he didn’t want to do it. Perhaps it wouldn’t look as good as he would want it to look. At any rate, I kept thinking I would love to get the furniture painted. It looked bad.

I started asking around. My older daughter, Lorrie, said someone painted a similar bed that belonged to a friend of hers. She  didn’t know how it turned out. I planned to ask her how it looked. Life happened and this and that. I finally asked her. Her friend said that it had been painted glossy white and looked good.

My logic was: if her bed looked good painted glossy white, then this bed would look good painted glossy white, too.

Now the question in my mind was, could I paint it? I really wanted to paint it. Could I do a good job? Let me give you the background story on my painting career. I had only painted 3 things in my life: pictures, the back of a radiator, and a little bit of a wall in a house our church was repainting. I must have painted at least three strokes before I fell in a hole where they had taken the heat vent out, and sprained my ankle. My husband had to come and get me. Good grief.

It was my daughter, Lorrie’s bed. My younger daughter, Mollie, had used it, too. I asked Lorrie’s permission to paint the bed. She said.”Go ahead and paint it, Mom.”

I said, “If I mess up, they can always sand it, can’t they?”

She said, “That’s right. It’s all right with me if you paint the bed.”

I was still a little worried about my ability to paint the bed. However, I brought it in and cleaned it up. I was either going to paint it or give it away. I couldn’t give it away in such a dirty condition. When I looked closely at the gold trim, it wasn’t evenly painted. I said to myself, “Well, if the gold trim doesn’t have to be even-steven all around, I can do it. I can actually do it.

Day 1 Get advice from internet on how to repaint a wooden bed. How to repaint metal.
a. Clean
b. Sand.
c. Put two coats of primer.
d. Put two coats of regular paint.

Day 2 Bring bed in from garage and wash. Headboard and foot board and rails were extremely dirty. The rails were dirty and also rusty.

Day 3 Buy primer, paint, sanding material, paint brushes, paint tray, roller.
A lady at Home Depot helped me get the supplies I needed to complete the project. Here’s sort of our conversation:

Me: I want to paint an old wooden bed glossy white. I want to paint the metal rails a beige color.
What do I need to buy?

HomeDepotLady: What size bed?

Me: Double.

HomeDepotLady: You’ll need a quart of primer and a quart of glossy white. You’ll have to choose the shade of beige you want for the rails. Here’s a chart on the wall to choose from. I’ll shake the primer and glossy white for you.

Me: Here’s the color I like.

HomeDepotLady: Okay.

Me (when she’s finished mixing the beige) What should I get to paint with?

HomeDepotLady: Is it mostly flat or curvy?

Me (not remembering it’s curvy in part and flat in part) Mostly flat.

HomeDepotLady: You can use a roller if it’s flat. (She went and got a black tray and a roller. Then picked up a package of two replacement rollers.) You’ll need a brush for parts where you can’t reach with the roller. (She reached for an inexpensive nylon brush.)

Me: There are parts that need to be sanded on the metal. They’re rusty. As I understand it, I need to sand over the old paint.

HomeDepotLady: Just use this (she reached for the grayish black sanding block). If it gets dirty, you can rinse it out. It’ll still sand fine.

Me: I won’t need sand paper?

HomeDepotLady: No. You probably won’t need any real sand paper. This should do fine.

Me: I put on two coats of primer. Then I put on two coats of regular paint. Is that correct?

HomeDepotLady: If it’s covered, you might have to put an extra coat of primer.

Me: I believe I’ve got all that I need. Thank you very much. I appreciate your sharing your knowledge and skills with me.

Day 4. My friend, Linda Andersen suggested that I document and take pictures of the project and share it with you on the internet. But, OOPSY! I’d already begun. You wouldn’t be able to see how dirty it was when I brought it in from the garage. You have a good imagination. Here’s a description. Black with spider webs and dirt. Cobwebs and dirt. Dust and dirt.
I had already cleaned the deep down dirt. There was only a little left. So I said, “Why not?”
I washed the last little bit of dirt off of the wooden headboard, foot board, and metal rails. There are pictures here of what the dirty water looked like and what the rags looked like. b. I sanded all the parts where the paint was flaking off of the wooden part. I sanded the metal rails, especially the areas that were rusty.

Day 5 First coat of primer on the top side of the metal rails.

I fixed up a place between two sets of plastic chairs. You’ve heard of workhorses…these were workchairs. I put towels on the floor under them so that I wouldn’t drip paint on the carpet. I did pretty good. I only got 2 spots on the carpet. I can get it off. It dries and flakes partly. Water and soap will get the rest.

Day 6 Second coat of paint of primer paint on the inside part of the metal rails.
First coat of primer on the top of the wooden headboard and foot board.

Some of the primer paint stuck in the brushes. It didn’t seem to be too much. The brush still worked good.

Day 7 First coat of primer paint on the outside part of the metal rails.
First coat of primer paint on the bottom side of the headboard and foot board.

The brush wasn’t doing too well at this point. I decided to go back to Home Depot and buy a couple more brushes. I also bought more rollers and a couple more trays because it was hard to clean the paint out of the tray to use it again. I didn’t end up using the roller again. The paint dripped and made what I called lined puddles. I had to sand them down and repaint them.

Day 8 First coat of primer paint on backside of headboard and foot board.
Put the second primer coat on the outside part of the metal rails.

Day 9 Second coat of primer paint on the backside of the headboard and foot board.
Sanded and put another coat of primer on areas of the metal rails where the paint had made raised up dried puddles of paint.

Day 10 First coat of beige paint on the outside part of the metal rails.
First coat of glossy white paint on the bottom of the headboard and foot board. (February 27, 2010)

Day 11 First coat of beige paint on the outside part and the sides of the metal rails.
First coat of glossy white paint on the backsides, top and sides of the headboard and foot board.

Day 12 Second coat of beige paint on the sides and outside part of the metal rails.
Second coat of glossy white paint on the bottom and sides of the headboard and foot board.

Day 13 First coat of gold paint on the headboard and footboard.
First coat of beige paint on the inside part of the metal rails.
Sanded and repainted the places where the paint and ran and formed raised areas on the headboard, foot board, and rails.

Day 14 Second coat of gold paint on the headboard and foot board.
Painted inside part of the metal rails with second coat of beige paint.

Day 15 Touched up the places where it needed more here and there in places I had missed. One place I smeared the gold paint about an inch in diameter. I don’t know how I did it, but it must have been very easy. It was only a second or so and I looked over and I had a smeared gold spot on the white part of the headboard. I tried wiping it with a paper towel. The gold paint isn’t like the white or beige paint. It won’t hardly rub off. Yikes. I took a piece of sandpaper and sanded it. Then I put one coat of glossy white paint on it today. I decided that I would purchase more expensive brushes that the bristles wouldn’t come off so badly.

Day 16 Put a second coat of paint to touch up that spot where the gold had smeared. Repainted the parts I noticed on the metal and on the wooden part that I had missed. Then I said, “Voila.” I am finished. The pictures of the supplies I used are on Shutterfly with Day 16, as I was cleaning up. Some are listed in the earlier days. I believe I repeated a few just to make sure you saw them.
Simply put I used:
For painting – White primer paint for wood and metal, glossy white enamel for the wood (no mixing), glossy beige paint mixed for the shade I chose.
For painting – Very thin brushes to put on gold trim, medium width brush for painting the rest
For painting – roller and roller tray – only used it once – it dripped and left puddles of paint that I had to sand and repaint with a brush. Don’t recommend it. It might be good for a wall, but for my bed project, it didn’t work well at all.
For opening and closing paint cans – a screwdriver to open the can, hammer to close it
For sanding – sandpaper weight 32 and 41 and holder, also a sanding block – like a hard sponge
For cleaning parts – washcloths and cleaner
To protect carpet and tables from paint – towels, plastic tablecloths
To hold parts while I painted – plastic chairs, metal table, pedestal table, transfer seat
For cutting the sandpaper – sharp scissors
For removing gold trim paint – nail polish remover

Day 17 I was so excited to see the bed all dry. All parts not perfect, but as good as I could do them. My heart was dancing and singing. I put the bed together. I was afraid that I had put too much paint on the metal parts that connect with the wooden bed. However, they finally went in. I’m not sure how easy they will be to get out. That’ll be interesting. I may try taking it out before I put the mattress in place. Just to make sure. I decided to purchase a new mattress.

After the painting and refinishing
Day 18 A month later they delivered my Serta Ravenswood Mattress, Guardsman mattress cover. I bought from Target a colorful flowered sheets and bedspread set. It looks pretty. Now I consider this project finished. I hope you enjoyed the pictures and the account of how I did it.If this helps you, leave a comment and let me know how yours turned out. If my directions confused you, ask a question.

Thanks for reading my blog!!!!!!!!! Please leave a comment. I’d be honored to hear from you.

Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2010 Joan Y. Edwards. All rights reserved.

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5 Responses

  1. Woweee! You saw the project through from beginning to end. You deserve a round of applause. Go Joan.

    Linda A.

    • Dear Linda, Thanks for your complimentary comment. I appreciate it. I was glad I knocked down my fear and did it. Some things are more difficult in our minds than they are in reality. Have a great day!

      Enjoy Life’s Journey Joan Y. Edwards joanyedwards@earthlink.net

  2. Dear Rawle Tardie of Wooden Flooring,
    Thank you for writing. I’m glad you liked my post about 17 Days to Repaint a Wooden French Provincial Bed and my other blog posts. I hope I help other people feel more confidence to try doing projects that might appear more difficult than it really is.
    Do something good to celebrate your talents at fixing wood flooring.

    Joan Y. Edwards
    http://www.joanyedwards.wordpress.com

  3. I really admire you for tackling that project and documenting it. I am going to paint my French Provential Bedroom set someday. Now I am trying to decide the color and if I want to do the trim like you did the gold, It turned out wonderfully. Congrats!

    • Dear Jenell,
      Shuckins! Thanks. A friend of mine knew I was doing it and told me I should take pictures and share it on my blog. I took her advice. I love to take pictures. It’s brought a bunch of readers to my blog. I’m really glad you wrote. I wish you good luck with your color choice. You can do the gold trim. It wasn’t as difficult as I had made it seem to be in my mind. They might also have silver you can use, too. Just tackle it one step at a time. You’ll do fine. If you need more encouragement, feel free to leave a comment here. I’ll be happy to try to help you.
      If you take pictures, please share them with me.

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