Sunday, July 14, 2013

Operation DIY Iron Bed Restoration: In Progress

So remember that pretty antique iron bed I lucked upon for $25 while surfing craigslist late one sleepless night? Yeah, that one. Well since getting a power wash last month its been sitting in the backyard awaiting further restoration... and gaining a new layer of rust thanks to the crazy amounts of rain we've been having.

I had a 4 day weekend over the holiday and started my juice cleanse so I figured I'd use some of my free time to clean up this pretty bed some more.
My brother suggested Naval jelly so I went to Lowe's and grabbed a bottle along with some wire brushes to scrub the whole thing down.
I wore rubber gloves and used an old paint brush to apply the jelly liberally all over the bed. I applied the jelly in section, working 1/3 at a time along the bed from one side to the other.
As you can see above- the left side is after the application of the Naval Jelly and some serious scrubbing with the wire brush and then a good rinse with the hose on the concentrated setting along with more scrubbing to get the Naval Jelly washed off. 
         Rust and paint gone.........................................Rusted and weathered.

So, once I got the foot board, head board and rails all cleaned up... I spent several hours in web searching for tips and in trips to Lowe's trying to decide how to proceed in sealing and painting it. 

I really want to paint it a light gray. Like a pale heater gray but because I was trying to stick with spray paint, particularly Rustoleum I was limited to a very small color palette... not ideal for an artist like me! So I ended up trying a Rustoleum Rust Seal in Black to seal it and then after even more time standing before the wall of spray cans at Lowe's narrowed my colors to pale blue, pale yellow and green. 
 After some votes from my instagram friends I went with yellow.

And hated it. I just couldn't see it in my room wiht my decor as much as I wanted to. And more so I really didn't like the finish it left, showing every imperfection from the pits and chips left in the wrought iron. I returned the other 4 paint cans, also because SO MUCH paint just blew away in the wind, it felt like such a waste, so I am back at square one and if I can ever find an oil based enamel will be getting the light heather gray color I want and brushing it on instead. 

For now, the bed is now out of the weather and safely waiting further beautification in my studio. I was a little put out, having really wanted to finish the bed over my holiday but things don't always go as planned. So another day.

Anyone have experience refinishing an old iron bed? Or something similar? I would love ideas and suggestions! 


  1. Oh I am reading this page with great interest. I have just bought an awesome antique iron cot, complete with tester, it is beautiful BUT, in rather poor condition that needs a LOT of work

    1. Hi Trudi! So glad you liked my post. Sorry I'm just replying, I haven't been on my blog much lately. How is your cot coming along? I'd love to see photos when your finished!! :)