Tutorial + How-to

Published on March 10th, 2009 | by Lenore MacLeod-Bickley


Eco-Friendly Stains and Paints to Revive Old Furniture

Throughout the years, my husband and I have inherited some interesting pieces of furnture.  None of them would be considered antiques, and some are just hand-me-downs that we took without really knowing why.  Two of these pieces of furntire were in our art/guest room, and every time we looked at them we wondered what we could do to make them more appealing.  We realized that the answer was to sand them down and stain them, which definitely did the trick!

dresser sanded

We started out by sanding down the dresser and desk, as well as all the drawers.  We did these by hand, which took more time and elbow grease, but didn’t take the electricity of a power-sander.

desk sanded

After getting both pieces of furniture sanded down, we looked into low-VOC paints and stains.  Our local hardware stores had a few options, but were either expensive or were colors we didn’t like.  The next stop was a local shop called The Natural Abode, and they had a ton of low-VOC stains in amazing colors, by a brand called Bioshield.  My husband picked a light blue, and I picked a dark red.

The appeal of low-VOC stains is that they are not only more eco-friendly, but they are healthier for your body.  They release little to no volitaile chemicals into the air, which can be harmful to the planet and the atmosphere.  It is also healthier because you aren’t breathing in these chemicals as you paint, and even after you’re done.  Paints high in VOCs can still emit chemicals into the air long after the paint has dried.

dresser stained

When we got our low-VOC stain home and onto our sanded furniture, it was amazing the transformation.  The blue took a few more coats to attain the color my husband wanted, but they went on smoothly and dried quickly.  The red for my desk was brilliant on the first coat, but I put on a few more just to make it pop.

desk stained

This was a project that was fun, and educational.  We didn’t really know the difference between low-VOC and regular stains and paints.  it also gave us pieces of furniture that we now love, instead of just tolerated.

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About the Author

Lenore is a 25 year old artist in Northern Idaho. She has a husband, two cats, and a whole room devoted to arts and crafts. She's dedicated to using art to tell a story.

6 Responses to Eco-Friendly Stains and Paints to Revive Old Furniture

  1. Pingback: Daily Research » Shared Items - March 10, 2009

  2. I recently used BioShield stain (Walnut) to touch up some wood floors and I was really happy with the results…

  3. Laura says:

    Milk Paint is another eco-friendly and non-toxic solution:

  4. Pingback: Meat Eaters Get Dose of Fire Retardants With Their Grub : Eat. Drink. Better.

  5. Sarah says:

    Why didn’t you post a photo of the final result?

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