How To

A Girls (and Guys) Guide to Sanding Wood

I love putting together Ikea furniture. I find painting walls relaxing (and block coloured signs – my niche while in the Decorations committee for a student music festival!) But other than that I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to actual ‘DIY’. Thanks to my housemate, a DIY veteran, I’ve been encouraged to venture into the wonderful and daunting world of DIY. It isn’t as easy as it looks, and I’m a bit ditzy when it comes to matters of common sense, so letting me loose on a DIY project was sure to turn out… interestingly.

I thought I’d give you a basic step by step guide of my first attempt at sanding a small wooden jewellery box. (There will be a full post on the jewellery box later, but after my sanding misadventures I thought I’d dedicate a post to that first!)

IMG_07541. Get some sandpaper and if you want a sanding block
I got a few packets of sandpaper in varying finishes, and each packet costs £1.09 at 12 sheets a pack. My housemate also advised me to get a sanding block to wrap the paper around, which makes sanding a more comfortable experience. There were some fancy curved ones there, but I went for the basic wood block option, which cost £2.97 (vs a £6.50 curved option).
Tip: The rougher the sandpaper the courser the finish. Use a rough piece of sandpaper first to remove varnish, then a smoother sheet to make the surface even.


2. Prepare your item for sanding
If you are sanding anything with any detail, such as mirrors or fabric interior, it is important to cover it before you sand it to avoid any damage. I used a very DIY combination of paper and masking tape to cover the mirror and interior of my jewellery box. If there are any screws or handles that are removable then take them out and keep them somewhere safe.
Tip: Keep your screws in an envelope and label it. This way you won’t loose them or get them confused if you have several projects on the go!

3. Begin sanding like a pro
If you try and do this timidly then I doubt it will work well. I tried to sand daintily but this didn’t work so well, so eventually I put a bit of effort in and got into the sanding zone.
Tip: Work up and down at first to remove the varnish, then in circles to smooth the surface.

IMG_07514. Get in to small details
My jewellery box had lots of little details where a sanding block was hard to reach. I folded my sandpaper into small lines to get into these bits. Although they seem unimportant and small, the paint won’t take properly unless the varnish is removed and unless this is the look you’re going for, attention to detail is important here.

5. Brush off your item and admire!
After all that hard work, there’s nothing more satisfying than dusting off your nicely sanded item. Before you move on to the next stage of your project just take a moment to admire your hard work!

IMG_0752What I would do differently next time: Not wear black leggings for a start. They got covered in dust and (somehow) I also managed to sand a small hole in the knee without noticing. I’d also put my screws in a safe place once I’d removed them from my jewellery box. There’s nothing worse than looking down and finding a screw missing. At least I managed to find it! Lesson learnt.


One thought on “A Girls (and Guys) Guide to Sanding Wood

  1. Pingback: How To: Shabby Chic Jewellery Box | NLTH

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