Whether you are refinishing a dresser or remodeling your kitchen or bath or rehabbing an old chair, you are always going to need "supplies!" I shared a few tips on this subject last year! Individually, the supplies aren't that expensive...but it can add up real quick if you do a lot of projecting or are working on a large project!
There are a few things I don't skimp on...paints, finishes, stains. I buy a lot at Habitat and thrifts stores, but I rarely by "used" or obviously "old" paints and stains. There is just no way to know if they are still chemically balanced and I am not willing to take chances with my finish products. I do look for cans of mineral spirits or varnish remover because I use both a lot and they really don't "go bad."
But along with the basics, you always need brushes, sponges, rags, sanding pads, etc. In my quest to do 10 projects at once this weekend, I stumbled on an ingenious way to save on the sponge pads I use to apply oil finishes and stains.
It's not like they are super expensive. As I have mentioned numerous times, you can pick up a package of two at Lowe's for a little over $2. But why pay ANYTHING when you can make them for almost free!
One thing I always pick up at thrift stores and garage sales is old cotton socks. I use them by the boat load when I am doing a gel stain treatment. I like to be able to toss anything that is gunked up with stains and finishes so I don't have to wash them...so I always have a large stash of shop rags and socks!
This weekend I had several upholstery projects I was working on. I was also putting gel stain on the tops of my bedside tables. Foam...socks...hum? Isn't that pretty much what my foam stain pads are...
SURE IS! Cut the foam into little chunks and stuff them in the socks. Perfect for applying the tung oil finish on the second mid century barrel chair I am FINALLY refinishing!
They are also perfect for applying stains and wipe-on poly! Then just toss it after you use it! Most projects require 2-3-4 coats of stain, poly or finish and now you won't feel bad about tossing the applicator between coats!
I paid a dime for a pair of old socks at a garage sale and the foam is free. Awesome!
It's not that these things are expensive but the cost adds up fast when you do a lot of projects or if you are going to tackle a larger project!
Towels can be bought for next to nothing at thrift stores and garage sales. Just cut them up, wash (to remove any lint) and use them for shop rags. Or you can stop in your local commercial laundry service and see if you can buy old stained towels and washcloths in bulk for next to nothing. I have a tenant who works for a commercial laundry service and she brings me bags of old stained hand towels and wash cloths! Perfect.
Socks...again, thrift stores and garage sales....pennies! Cotton socks are a must for staining and you need something cheap enough to toss after you use it!
Paint brushes can be pretty expensive (I highly recommend Purdy) and are a great thing to pick up at Habitat...IF they are good quality brushes and have been kept clean. Don't EVER buy or use "cheap" paint brushes to apply paint...your final finish will look cruddy if you use cheap brushes!
I have always used steel wool for stripping old finishes and sanding between finish coats. But when I refinished this Drexel coffee table I had to use the 3M finishing pads. One thing I love about them is I can rinse them out with mineral spirits, hang them to dry, and reuse them....over and over! It's not that steel wool is really that expensive, BUT IT ADDS UP!!!
Old coffee cans, butter and whip cream tubs, metal bowls...any container that can be used to mix chalk paint and then toss after use is great! Measuring cups and spoons, small hobby brushes, tools...all a must in your "redo" stash...pennies at garage sales and thrift stores!