Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A red piano

Could you imagine my excitement when my friend gave me this beauty? She thought it was beyond repair!  It was sorely beat up, missing pegs, a broken key, cracking finish, and a decent tone, I knew underneath it all  was a gem.

All I needed to do was convince my hubby that this piano would be great... then I had to convince him that this piano would be great  RED

A little elbow grease... okay OKAY, a lot of elbow grease later, the piano makes a statement!  I covered the piano bench with black and white hounds tooth fabric, and a big fat cushion!  I really love how it turned out, it is such a fun piece!

It is amazing what paint, sandpaper, glaze, and polyurethane can do to an old worn out piano!  I am tickling the ivories in style now.
Items needed:
Light Grit Sandpaper
Cheese cloth
Kilz spray primer
   (FYI: Mine took 3 cans)
Krylon Paint
  (FYI: Mine is cherry red, it took NINE cans)
  (I used a color called dark granite, it is a dark brown gray color)
  (I used a water based, brush on variety)

The Piano Refinishing 101 from All Things Thrifty, helped me out a great deal in this process.  
Step One : Prep
Refinishing a piano is a lot of work, so make sure you have a good working piano... You don't want to do all of this work, if the piano is not in decent working order!  The piano I was given was no beauty, but it does have decent tone.

Clean your piano thoroughly.  Using light grit sandpaper, sand your piano.. You do not need to remove all the varnish just rough it up so that the paint will adhere to it good.  I had spots where the varnish had cracked that I had to smooth out with sandpaper.  Once it is all clean it is time to take it apart!
This is the fun part... okay not really.  I will have you know I did this all by myself, and it was not as hard as I had thought.
  1. Take the piano apart.  Remove all the large pieces that you can.
  2. Put the hardware in envelopes, and label them.  This will help you a ton, when you have to put it back together.
  3. Remove the keys.  I read on many blogs that your keys will be numbered so you can figure out where they belong. MINE WERE NOT.  So I placed them in order on a board.
  4. Protect the inner workings of the piano with paper or plastic and tape.
Place the keys in order on a large board (mine is actually an old cabinet door) This will make it easier to put back together when finished.  You can see the broken key in this picture.  My piano tuner says he has a spare black piece I can have.

Step 2: Paint
Now that you are finished with the prep work it is time to paint!  Make sure all of your pieces are clean and lightly sanded.  I used cheese cloth to make sure there is no dust on the surfaces.

All Things Thrifty, has amazing beginner tutorials, on how to spray paint and glaze on her blog.  Pretty much everything I learned about furniture refinishing I learned from that blog!  So if you are new to furniture refinishing go check out All Things Thrifty's tutorials for beginner painters and glazers!
  1. Apply Kilz spray primer to your piano.  Kilz leaves a little bit of a bumpy surface, so I make sure to sand in between each coat, and whip clean with cheese cloth.  I sprayed two coats of primer.  (Sorry I was so excited I forgot to take a great picture of this step).
  2. Now it is time to paint!  It took my NINE (yup that's 9) cans of Krylon (cherry red) spray paint to get this red color that I love, but it was worth it.  In between layers of spay paint (sometimes I would cheat and go two layers) I would lightly sand the surface and wipe clean with a cheese cloth.  This will give you a smooth surface.
  3. When you are finished painting you can add glaze.  I love glazing, it adds depth and dimension to your project.  A tip I learned is have paint thinner handy.  I don't like heavy glaze, if you get to much glaze on, dip a rag in a little paint thinner, and surprisingly it will take the glaze off, but not much of your paint.  Also, I was lucky enough to have my sister help me with this step.  She would paint the glaze on, and I would wipe it off!
  4. I like to apply a brush on water based polyurethane to all my furniture, after the glazing and painting is done.  You can buy spray, but I like the brush on version better.  I did about three coats, and boy is it shiny!  As with paint and primer, I lightly sanded in between coats, and wiped it clean with cheesecloth.   This will give your project shine, and added protection.
Here is an enlarged picture of the glazing.

Step 3: Bench
  1. Cut a piece of foam to cover the top of your piano bench.  I found the best place to buy foam is at Home Depot.  They are called camper pads, they are huge, and so much cheaper than the craft store versions, that feel the same.  Cut a piece of fabric larger than the top of the bench, with room to cover the foam.
  2. Begin stapling your fabric onto the underside of the bench seat.  It is kind of like your wrapping a present.
  3. This picture shows what the underneath looks like.

 Put it all together and what do you get?

 A red piano might not be for everyone, but I sure love it!
I see a lot of jazz songs in this piano's future!

Cost Estimates:
Paint (9 cans at $3.50 ea) 31.50
Primer (3 cans at $5.00 ea) 15.00
Polyurethane: Given to me free from local paint store:)
Fabric: $6
Portion of Foam: about $5
Glaze: I have had one pint of glaze that has lasted me years.
Sandpaper/Cheesecloth: $5

Total: $62.50

Not to shabby!

I like to Party at THESE blogs!


  1. Gorgeous!!! We were just given a free piano and my daughter was begging for it to be red, but I went with blue instead! Holy cow, you went to a lot of work, though!!! I am so impressed that you took it all apart! I just painted it as is! Hopefully it turns out... one more coat to go!

  2. Omygosh this is so much FUN. What a gorgeous piece! Makes such a great statement :)

    Coley @

  3. Wow, wow, WOW! What a beautiful result!

  4. Holy cow this looks amazing! I wish I had a goldenrod or turquoise piano... heck I would settle for any piano at this point:) You did a great job.

  5. That is gorgeous! Our next house is going to be in my hometown which is permanently overcast and I am already planning on having a home bursting with color to compensate for the gray skies. I now feel the need to add a red piano to the mix. :) Pinning this for later!

  6. Wow! You did an amazing job. I love the color and the shine. I might have to add glaze to my piano after seeing yours. You did such a thorough job and tutorial too. I was a cheater and didn't take my piano apart. :) But, your hard work definitely paid off.

  7. Gorgeous! I wish I had the guts to do this with my piano! I found you through Someday Crafts. Thanks for sharing!

  8. LOOOOOVEEEEE!!!!! amazing job!
    i'm catching up on blog reading after a few weeks....so comments are few & far between, but this i HAD to say what a great job you did!

  9. OMGoodness I love it!! It looks like you put so much hard work into and it came out beautiful! Would love it if you would stop by and share this at my linky party going on right now :) http://everything-underthemoon.blogspot.com/2011/10/bedazzle-me-monday-4.html

    Thanks mucho!!

  10. That is amazing!! It is so beautiful! What a labor of love!

  11. WOW! A lot of work but it turned out deliciously red and gorgeous!

  12. It's lovely! That bright red is fabulous! I love the houndstooth fabric on the bench too!

  13. Beautiful! I have an old piano that I just haven't been brave enough to paint yet! The seat drastically needs something done to it however - I get slivers in my but it's so bad! :)


  14. That looks amazing! i love the color so bold and bright! Someday i hope to do a project like that!


  15. This is absolutely amazing! I would love for you to share with Blog Stalking Thursday at http://thecraftyblogstalker.blogspot.com/2011/10/blog-stalking-thursday-12.html

  16. Oh Carlee, it is amazing!! I absolutely love it and sure wish I had the guts to paint my piano! I probably would if I knew it would turn out like yours!

  17. OmiGOSH, what a BRAVE soul you are!! It's FABULOUS!!

    Deborah (visiting happily from http://upcyclingmylife.blogspot.com...hope you can stop by and say hi...)

  18. I love painted pianos, looks great, I love the houndstooth stool, too.

  19. Wow, it's beautiful! I never imagined you could do that, I'm thinking mine needs to be green, except it looks like a LOT of work.
    Jennifer from Just Wedeminute--

  20. Yur piano and my piano could get together and beautiful baby pianos... Love it!

  21. I had to. Couldn't let this beauty pass me by. HAD to be featured on Truly Lovely! :) It's truly AMAZING Carlee. Love it. http://www.trulylovelyblog.com/2011/10/fancy-this-features-47.html

  22. It turned out beautiful. I have been trying to decide if I want to do this. Thanks for sharing!

  23. good gracious that a beaut!! fab transformation, LOVE the black/white houndstooth fabric, perfect match. XOXO

  24. Just found this project via So You Think You're Crafty. LOVE it! I'm also super impressed that you managed to take the piano apart and put it back together.

  25. What a fabulous idea. A perfect accent in any room. Thanks for sharing!

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