A Pair of Repurposed Nightstands in General Finishes Empire Gray Milk Paint
These Empire Gray Nightstands are fresh out of the workshop! Nightstands are one of my top favorite types of furniture to paint (aside from washstands). They’re always in high demand by my customers, and I’ve never hung onto a pair for very long before they sold. Normally it’s really hard for me to find a matching pair of nightstands as-is. If I do, they’re very expensive. (Or rather they’re too expensive to buy and refinish to resell again.) So oftentimes, I make my own! After all, isn’t necessity the mother of invention?
It all Began with a Kneehole Desk
One of the ways that I make my own nightstands is by splitting a kneehole desk into two halves. Here’s the desk I started with.
I found it online and loved the slim profile and the Hepplewhite style pulls. Those are one of my absolute favorite styles of hardware! After purchasing it, I took it over to my friend Greg. He owns a business called The Furniture Fix, and he’s my go-to guy for structural repairs and changes. He loves to build, and he often helps me with projects like this.
Greg took the top off the desk and gently pried the middle drawer off of the desk. This left a bit of a gouge in the side, so he filled it by cutting a piece of wood to fit in the hole.
He then repurposed the original top by cutting it into two smaller halves and screwed it onto the bases. In a few hours, I had brand new nightstands in the rough!
Greg and I make a good team. He doesn’t like the painting and finishing part of furniture design. I don’t really have the skill set to cut new wood and make structural changes to furniture, so we compliment one another really well! I recommend finding a handyman or carpenter to help you with these types of projects if you’re in the same boat as I am. It’s best to outsource projects that are beyond your skill set.
Staining the Nightstand Tops With Ash Gray Gel Stain by General Finishes
The top of the desk was a solid chunk of wood. It was very easy to sand down and restain using General Finishes products. I went back and forth for a little bit on the color, but eventually I landed on Ash Gray Gel Stain, which is oil-based.
It went on like a dream and I absolutely loved the color! If you’ve never applied Gel Stain, you can watch this Facebook Live video to learn how to do it.
Here is a tutorial video from the General Finishes team for additional information.
Once I applied the Ash Gray Gel Stain, I set to priming and painting the base. I painted on two coats of General Finishes Stain Blocker and then followed up with 3 coats of Empire Gray Milk Paint.
As I stepped back and looked at the progress, I noticed that the Ash Gray stain was pulling a bit too far to the blue side of gray. I needed to warm it up somehow. That’s when I turned to a super fun product called Glaze Effects!
Glazing Over Gel Stain with Van Dyke Brown Glaze Effects
To quiet down the blue tones in the Ash Gray Gel Stain and warm it up a bit, I decided to layer on some Van Dyke Brown Glaze Effects. I had to wait 72 hours for my Gel Stain to dry, since it’s oil-based. You always want to wait that duration of time when topping an oil-based product with a water-based one.
To lock in the stain color, I applied a layer of High Performance Topcoat in Flat and allowed it to dry. Then, I glazed with Van Dyke Brown Glaze Effects and added a bit of Extender in to increase open time and workability. Once it was dry, I topcoated with 2 more layers of High Performance Topcoat but I upped to a Satin finish for durability.
You can watch the process here in my Facebook Live!
The results are gorgeous!
The Van Dyke Brown Glaze Effects gave me the warm tones I needed while still preserving the gorgeous Ash Gray Gel Stain underneath.
The Final Result
After some Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint, the Hepplewhite handles were looking dapper once more!
The nightstands were finally ready and my customer absolutely loves them.
My Mom helped me line the drawers with some decorative paper for a nice punch of fun inside.
These little guys are the perfect size and shape to flank any sized bed, and they have lots of drawer storage. This is one of my favorite ways to make my own nightstands, and I hope you’ll try the technique yourself!