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THE END is in sight – both for my pregnancy and the nursery design!  With less than three weeks until my due date, I’ve been scrambling to finish up last-minute projects both in the nursery and around the rest of the house.  While most of my effort has been spent on the nursery (check out the progress post here) I’ve also been working on the kitchen as well as adding some fall accents inside and outside to get the house ready for the cooler weather.

Today’s post is about checking a few more items off of my nursery to-do list.  Here’s a look at what I had left the last time I posted:

  • Refinish the changing table
  • Organize changing supplies in/on the changing table
  • Dress the crib with bedding
  • Add more wall décor (thought I was done with this one, but still not sure)
  • Complete the “nursing” area with chair, lamp and table (I was going back and forth about getting a little table – I think one is in order!)
  • Make a throw pillow for the chair
  • Find the perfect houseplant and a spot for it
  • Purchase and install blackout shades for the window

I get to check the first item off my to-do list today.  The changing table is finally done!  We are having new windows installed this week, and the guys doing the work for us were nice enough to haul my completed project from the garage to the nursery this morning.  I figured there’s no time like the present to post about it.

Here’s a reminder of what the changing table looked like before.

Embrace My Space: Changing Table

It is a really solid piece of furniture in a lovely cherry finish.  Unfortunately, the look just didn’t make sense with the rest of my space so I decided to give it a makeover with a coat of paint and a playful pattern.

Embrace My Space: Changing Table

I chose Dreamy Caramel by Valspar to give the changing table its new look.  The creamy shade of yellow is just a tad darker than the Soft Cream I used on the nursery ceiling and the chalkboard stripe dresser.  I really wanted the changing table to pop against the wall, which is why I went with a bold yellow.  At the same time, Dreamy Caramel is not a primary so it looks more sophisticated than your typical crayon box yellow.

Embrace My Space: Valspar Dreamy Caramel

This is how the changing table looks now after a lot of sanding and a few coats of Dreamy Caramel.

Embrace My Space: Changing Table

There’s something just so buttery and delicious about this shade of yellow.  I can’t get enough of it and I’m sure I’ll be happy I picked a color I love when I’m changing a zillion diapers over the next few years.  Here are the steps I took to achieve this look:

1.  REMOVE VARNISH.  The first thing I did was attack the varnish with an application of Citristrip stripping gel.  This product works wonders on pieces of furniture that have several layers of varnish, paint or other finish.

Embrace My Space

All you have to do is apply a layer of the gel with a paint brush, let it work for about 30 minutes and then scrape away the gel with a plastic scraping tool.  When you scrape away the gel you will also scrape away plenty of the varnish.  I say plenty because I’ve not been able to successfully use Citristrip to remove every last trace of varnish from a piece so I always have to sand, too.  That said, this product saves a TON of time that you’d otherwise be spending bent over your piece sanding away the finish.

2. SAND IT.  Next, I took to the changing table with my hand sander to remove all the remaining varnish that was left after removing the layer of Citristrip.

3.  PRIME IT.  Since this is going to be a piece of furniture that takes a beating, I decided to prime it with an oil-based primer.  Although sticky and stinky, oil-based primer is the best to use on old pieces of furniture.  It creates a solid base coat that works to hide any stains that could potentially sneak through your top color.  It’s helpful to soak your paint brush in a bit of paint thinner before applying oil-based paint or primer.  This makes it much easier to clean your brush when you’re all done.

Embrace My Space

I used grey because that’s what I had on hand.  When using a light color for the top coat, you can certainly use a white primer.  My top coat is a latex paint, which will go on fine over oil-based primer.

4.  PAINT IT.  Once the primer was completely dry (overnight at least), I applied three smooth coats of Dreamy Caramel to the whole piece.  I made sure to allow adequate time for the paint to dry between coats so that I’d have a smooth finish (read: no brush lines!).

5.  POLY IT.  The final step I took was to apply two super-thin coats of clear gloss MinWax Polycrylic to the piece.  This step helps prevent the piece from chipping and gives it a nice shine.  If you don’t like the shine you could also use a matte polycrylic instead of gloss.  I let the piece dry for a day in between coats and for several days after the final coat.  I was overly cautious with this step since it was so humid when I was working on this paint job.

Ideally, you want to let the top coat dry for at least 48-72 hours to make super certain that it’s completely dry before you put it back together.  You’ll be sorry if you don’t because the drawers will stick and anything you place on top of your piece has the potential to remove your beautiful new paint job!

6.  ENJOY IT!  Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Embrace My Space: Changing Table

I love the pop of color the changing table adds to the nursery and the way it brightens up this side of the room.  You might also notice that I added some greenery!

Embrace My Space: Changing Table

After reading an article about all the toxins in paint, rugs, bedding, toys and pretty much everything else we put in a baby’s room, I wanted a plant for natural air purification in the nursery.  Hey, it saved me from having to tear up the toxic carpet and throwing away everything everyone bought for us so far.  This is me doing my part.

I went with a Peace Lily because, apparently, it will be very low maintenance.  Hopefully I can keep it alive through the winter!  My little frog planter is from Lowe’s and he happily hosted a Dahlia on our back porch all summer.  Since he has the right colors and a cute polka-dot tummy, I figured he should come inside the nursery for the winter rather than being stored in our shed.

If I managed to maintain your attention up until this point, you might be wondering what happened to the ‘pattern’ part of this project.  Although I did toy with the idea of putting a pattern on the outside of the changing table, since there was already so much going on in the space I decided it would be better to keep the pattern under wraps.

Embrace My Space

I used a roll of gingham wrapping paper from Target and some Mod Podge to add a liner to the bottom of each drawer.  This was pretty easy and quick.  I simply cut a piece of wrapping paper to the size of each drawer and then adhered the paper to the bottom of each drawer with a thin coat of Mod Podge.

I applied the Mod Podge to the drawer bottoms with a sponge brush just around the edges.  Then, I secured the wrapping paper across the front edge of the bottom of each drawer and carefully smoothed the paper down toward the back.  You have to be very careful when you’re doing this type of application because Mod Podge is sticky!  I wasn’t able to get the wrapping paper completely smooth, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it.  I won’t even notice a wrinkle here or there once all of the cute baby stuff is placed inside the drawers.  Even so, I like how the gingham looks inside the drawer bottoms.

Embrace My Space: Changing Table

To create a strong finish, I sponged a very thin coat of Mod Podge over the top of the wrapping paper in each drawer.  This was after letting the bottom dry for a few hours first.

So there you have it!  A little breakdown of the second most time-consuming project I did for the nursery; the first being that crazy polka dot ceiling I did a few months back!  I’m so happy with how it turned out I need just one more before and after before we go.

Embrace My Space: Changing Table

Let’s revisit the to-do list now that I got a few things done.

  • Refinish the changing table
  • Organize changing supplies in/on the changing table
  • Dress the crib with bedding
  • Add more wall décor (thought I was done with this one, but still not sure)
  • Complete the “nursing” area with chair, lamp and table (I was going back and forth about getting a little table – I think one is in order!)
  • Make a throw pillow for the chair
  • Find the perfect houseplant and a spot for it
  • Purchase and install blackout shades for the window

Now that the changing table is in place, I know I’ll have no problem knocking out the second item on my list.  My crib skirt was finally delivered, so I’ll be able to scratch off the third item on my list as well.  I need to get going on the rest of this stuff before I run out of time!!  Especially the roman shades, which might take a while to find and even longer to install!

What do you think of the transformation?  Did I pick the right color?  Have you ever tried or failed using Mod Podge with paper?

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