The Mad Radish DIY saga begins…

Welcome to summertime at The Mad Radish household!  With all of the craziness that summer brings around here, the kitchen does not get as much use as in the cooler months.  So, in order to not leave everyone high and dry all summer, I have decided to switch it up a bit with my blog and incorporate a DIY portion to increase interest and motivate my readers to think outside the kitchen!  Most of my projects are furniture or home decor based; some are super easy, some are more difficult and all are fabulous!

The first project I would like to introduce is one of my favorite pieces that I have made thus far.  We really needed a coffee table for our main living room that would be not only sturdy and functional but also funky and fun!  I have literally been looking for the right one for years which was becoming a bit extreme so I decided to take things into my own hands.   I had never done any type of furniture redo before but with the help of the internet, a sale on orbital sanders at Rona and a bit of bravery, I started the search for the perfect specimen. is the best resource for anyone looking for projects to “renovate” and I scored within a week of daily (okay, hourly) searching!  I saw this baby with loads of potential for $40 on kijiji.  I went over to look at it and it was better than I thought!  So, I willingly coughed up the asking price (some things aren’t worth dickering over!) and stuffed it into the back of my SUV to bring it home.  I felt like that lady in the IKEA commercial – “start the car!  START THE CAR!”  If you haven’t been lucky enough to see it, click on my link above and check it out.

ANYWAY, here it is on my driveway ready to being its transformation! (okay so I jumped the gun with my new sander and had already started sanding the top when I took this photo but you get the idea!).  Score right?  Cupboard doors and drawers on BOTH sides AND a cubby hole that goes right through.  Functional?  Check.  Sturdy?  Check.  Awesome hardware?  Check.  Funky design idea?  Check.  All systems were a go!


The first thing to do with most furniture projects is to repair them if necessary.  I was lucky in this case because everything was in perfect condition and no repairs were needed!  So, the next step is to sand off the original finish to prep it for painting.  Well okay the first step is to buy all the supplies so here is a list to get your started:

Orbital Sander with sandpaper inserts (fine or medium is usually enough)

Extension cord

Screwdriver to remove hardware, cupboards, etc

Spray Primer (Kilz brand is by far the best I have used)

1 quart of base color

1 quart of top color

Clear glaze (I buy it by the gallon but you can buy it in quarts)

Dark brown tint for glaze (which is just dark brown paint)

scrap rags – you can actually buy already cut up old t-shirts but I like to get the big pack of thin white, pre-cut cotton rags because they don’t leave fibers behind and because I am high maintenance like that 😉

Old plastic container (to mix glaze in)

Paint brushes – one big one and one small one at least – keep in mind that you get what you pay for with these!

Drop cloth – now, if you never plan on doing another project, feel free to buy a thin plastic disposable one.  Personally, I did this at first but after I realized I would be doing alot more projects,  I eventually spent the extra $$  and bought myself a large, washable canvas one.  HUGE difference.

Okay you are all set!  First, you want to remove all of the hardware, cupboards, etc. and set them aside.  Sand down the entire thing to remove the top coat so the primer will stick.


It’s going to look very blotchy but not to worry.  Next step is to prime all surfaces with spray primer.  Now, you can also use regular canned primer and paint it on with a paintbrush but WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO?  Way more time consuming for the same result.  I suppose it is cheaper this way but I am all about getting it done so I buy the spray stuff.  I think I used about two cans for this project.


This is my son helping me prime the cupboard doors.  No, I don’t make him wear a helmet to spray paint (I’m not THAT much of a protective parent); he was on a bike ride right before!

Anyway, once the whole thing is primed, let it dry about 10 minutes.  That is another great thing about spray paint; it dries so fast!

Once dry, it is time to paint.  Now, I know I just went on and on about how awesome spray paint is and let me tell you, had this not been one of my first projects, I would have used spray paint for this next step too.  But, as it happens, I didn’t even think of that so I went out and bought a quart of paint for the base color.  Feel free to spray paint this next part though!  Here it is all painted with the base color.  It took two coats and I have a TON of leftover paint.  Good for another project!

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One good thing about using canned paint vs spray paint for this project is that I was able to tape off the inside of the cupboards and leave them wood like I wanted to.  This is more difficult with spray paint d/t overspray.

Okay so I had a base color.  I hated it.  I was worried.  I thought; what have I done?  But luckily I had a plan.  I had bought a quart of a bright turquoise color that I was thinking of wiping around on top to see what it would look like.  I got the idea here.  So I set to work.  One wet rag and one dry one.  I basically just dipped the dry one in the bright color and started wiping it all over and then QUICKLY wiped it off a bit with the wet rag.  I worked in sections and was pretty much completely winging it and this is what I came up with.

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It was not quite where I wanted it to be yet so I decided to glaze it with a clear glaze tinted dark brown.  I didn’t measure; just put in about 4 parts clear glaze to 1 part paint.  I used the same technique as with the bright turquoise except that I used a paint brush to apply the glaze so it stuck in all the crevices, then wiped it down with a wet rag.  For a wonderful glazing lesson, check out this tutorial.


This is it after glazing it. I still didn’t think it looked done so I decided to sand the bejesus out of it to allow the base color to show through more and to distress it.

Basically there is no “technique” to this.  Just take a fine sandpaper on your sander and roughen it up, trying not to make it too symmetrical.  You are trying to make it look like it has natural wear and tear.  Way more of the look I was going for in this piece.

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Now I was finally happy with it so, after letting everything dry, I could take off the painter’s tape, put all of the beautiful hardware back on and bring it in the house!

Isn’t the hardware beautiful!  It pops so much more against the bright background than the old brown wood color!  It is the perfect addition to our front living area!

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And here it is in it’s final resting place (with a much better representation of the color)!  We love it!!

IMG_2796The Mad Radish says:  Well, you are NOT going to find that in any big box store; that’s for sure!

The Snobby Wasabi says:  Minus getting my hands dirty, even I could actually do this.


2 responses to “The Mad Radish DIY saga begins…

  1. Pingback: Who threw that out? |·

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