Thursday, April 9, 2015

Making Your Own Knobs - Finishing an Unfinished Wooden Knob

One of the most simple ways to make your own knob is by purchasing an unfinished knob and then simply painting or decorating it yourself.  Knobs such as these are sanded and ready to paint.  You can choose to have your knobs match the color of the furniture in which they will be inserted, or using complementary color can really add some life to a room.  In addition, you could paint designs on them and truly make them unique.

Above is one great example from the blog DD's Cottage. She stained and painted that unfinished pull to use on this dresser and the result was awesome.

1.  Deciding Color and Design

If you are going to paint your knobs only one color, most people will want the knobs to match the furniture upon which they will be mounted.  However there is no law against painting your knobs a different color and if done right it can add life and flavor.

If you want to add a design to your knobs, what I would recommend is first drawing out the design that you would like on paper.  Consider the difficulty of design - if there is much small detail, it might be difficult to paint onto the knob.  Once you have decided on a design, Depending on the intricacy I would cut out a stencil with an X-Acto Knife, thus ensuring that the design is the same on every knob.

You can use the stencil every time you paint, helping to keep it neat, or you can use your stencil to trace the design onto your knob with a pencil.  If your design is fairly intricate and you are going to use different colors, you could cut different stencils for each color - this ensures that you do not accidentally paint the wrong part of the design with the wrong color and just makes it more difficult to mess up in general.

2.  Apply Primer

If you want your work to last, then the best way to do it is to start with a primer.  Wipe down the knob with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or dust that may have accumulated.  Then you can apply the primer, one coat is usually good enough, but depending on how dark the wood is and what color you are using, you may want to apply two coats.

3.  Add Paint

Make sure the primer is fully dried before applying any paint (which may take up to five hours per coat).  Once the primer is dried you may start painting, for furniture it is usually best to use glossy paint.  Use a thick brush for the base, make sure to get excess paint off the brush and try to keep your brushstrokes as even as possible.  If you are using one color, then all you have to do is wait for the first coat to dry (again, this could take up to five hours - it never hurts to wait longer) and then apply the second coat.  If you are going to add a design, then here is where your stencils come in.  Use the stencils from bottom up - that is, starting with the part of the design that comprises the background first and moving forward.  Also, make sure to tape your stencil firmly to the knob or pull so that it doesn't move and smudge your work and also so that paint doesn't sneak in underneath.  Finally, it is a good idea to keep the stencil in place until after the paint has dried for the same reason.

4.  Protective Coating

Once all the painting is done, it is important to apply a protective top coat.  The best thing to use is a semi-gloss or gloss; polyurethane based finish is a good choice.  You can apply one to three coats depending on the finish you are looking for; two coats is the standard however.  Again, you want to make sure the each coat is completely dry before applying the next one; for polyurethane this may take up to a day.

All in all this is an easy project that anyone can do and its especially good for getting that perfect color or finish when nothing off of the shelf will do. We have a great selection of unfinished knobs here.