Magic Marker Quick Furniture Fix

January 6, 2015




I am what you would call a selective perfectionist. For example, when I sew, I don't care if seams are perfectly straight or if patterns line up exactly. There's usually enough give and gather to hide my flaws and that's good enough for me. If there is a wrinkle in my bed, however, I must fix it or I cannot rest.

It is visible, I can see it, it wrecks my aesthetic and bothers me like crazy until I smooth it out. I call it my princess and the pea syndrome ~ you may not notice it, but I do and it makes me very uncomfortable.

Latest case in point, the stain on my bathroom vanities was beginning to chip and not in a good way. The exposed wood was making me nuts. Every time I walked into one of those rooms, I became fixated on those less than perfect spots. The bathrooms were clean and neat, decorated in a very pleasing way, but all I could see were those chips.

So this fall, I decided to remedy that.  I used to have one of those waxy pencils made to fill in the chips, but they never really did the trick, and besides, I didn't have one handy. What I did have was a magic marker. It covered those scratches in a jiffy and now my design OCD has been quelled. At least for today or until someone sits on my bed.


The Unsightly Before
The Fabulous After ~ Not Perfect But As Good As It's Going To Get Without Sanding

                 
Here's what I did:

I wiped down my furniture with a barely damp rag. Then I colored over the chipped area with a brown marker.  Always test your marker color in a discreet area to make sure you are comfortable with the match.

I wiped over the area with a cotton swab to remove excess marker from the already stained wood.

Next, I wiped over the markered spot several times until no more marker came off on the rag.

Now, I used a washable kid's marker. I was sloppy with my coloring, I did not manage to stay in the lines and the washable marker wipes cleanly and easily away from the stained wood. It only clings to the exposed wood areas. This way it doesn't look like a patch job. Had I used a Sharpie, my mistakes would be permanent and frankly, the color would be too dark. The washable marker also behaves more like a stain, it has a watery consistency and you can actually work it into the wood.

Now here's my DISCLAIMER! I am not a woodworking pro. I routinely cover chips with marker. It works well for me. It's quick, it doesn't smell bad and I always have markers handy, but like I said earlier I AM NOT A PERFECTIONIST! So I don't care if my fix lasts forever and I am not irked if the color isn't a dead on match.

If you are a perfectionist or repairing an heirloom or important piece of furniture, I would not suggest you use this method. I just want to be clear that this is my quick, very unscientific, cheat of a fix.




Of course, I think my vanities are looking smashing again and now when I walk into the bathroom I can focus on other things...like my pretty shower curtain or sparkling mirrors...where I can clearly see my gray hairs and crow's feet. Great.

Too bad they don't make a marker for those.

*Update: I actually applied this quick furniture fix back in late October, but holiday crafts preempted its publication. I am happy to report that the vanities still look fabulous and this weekend, my handy marker and I tackled a few spots on my kitchen floor and wooden saddle. Worked like a charm!


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32 comments:

  1. Happy New Year, Kim!

    You are such an artiste, my friend, and a frugal one, at that! Kudos to you for your fabulous furniture fix! You described, to a 'T', my own obsessive feelings about such imperfections, (that wrinkle in the sheets or the tablecloth, crumbs or a coffee stain on the floor, even one, lone hair in a freshly scrubbed sink), will trigger a manic compulsion to make things right! Ditto re: my own shabbiness, which is no longer chic!

    xo
    Poppy

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  2. Poppy, you make me laugh! Wouldn't it be great if we could just smooth out the wrinkles like we smooth out the sheets? ;) Of course, I think you're still fabulously chic and looking gorgeous! xo

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  3. You did a wonderful job matching the colors, looks fantastic!

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  4. Thanks Gigi! I wish I could take more credit for the match...I literally grabbed the washable, brown Crayola marker from the art drawer and used it everywhere. It's so watery that it blends in with all the wood tones I have. Easy peasy! Thanks for the visit and Happy New Year!

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  5. I've used sharpies before, and as you say, they are there for the duration. I've never thought to use the washable kind! I always have to have something to buy at DT, so this will now go on the list!

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  6. Nifty little tricks and if it works it works.

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  7. Hello Kim! I just got in from work....it's about -20 out there!

    I hear ya about the sewing....I am not a perfectionist when it comes to threads (my dear mother was and she'd lovingly slap my hands for leaving untidy threads!) but when it comes to the mood of a room, it has to be right. Whether it's the color of the room or the arrangement, it has to be to my liking. Great fix!

    Have a wonderful Wednesday! Anita

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  8. Great idea! Thank you. :-)
    I had to chuckle reading about your bed. :-) I am like that about our couch, I have to have the pillows just so and the blanket tossed just so...when it is not in use of course. LOL

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  9. Happy New year Kim!!! I love furniture markers too, they are amazing and so easy! Great tutorial!

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  10. I have often used the magic marker "touch up" trick.
    I can get a bit ocd over certain things too, like uneven sofa cushions!

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  11. Thanks Kim, I too have used markers to fix flaws. As for wrinkles and gray hairs, you're just fine the way you are. Marcy

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  12. Aw, thank you, Marcy! :) Thanks for popping by to visit me, too! I hope your new year is off to a great start!

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  13. Yes, Lynne, I can relate! I have a bad case of design OCD! ;)

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  14. As long as it's me and not the kids drawing on the furniture, it's all good!! ;)

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  15. Carla, I do the same thing! My husband laughs at me that the house is not being photographed for a magazine, so why do I care...but I care!! :) Glad to hear that I am not alone!

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  16. Brrr, Anita!! It's 20 above here and I though that was cold! I am sure you are keeping warm and toasty in one of your lovely rooms!! Enjoy your creations...as long as it's perfect to you, that's all that matters! xo

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  17. My thoughts exactly, Tiffany! Thanks for the visit! :)

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  18. It's what I usually have in the house now, Nancy...you know, school supplies, but it works! Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!! :)

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  19. Oh, I am at eork now at the school. The drive is treacherous due to black ice but we are fine. Have a creative day!

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  20. Good idea using the marker-I have done that too! I love that you say you are a selective perfectionist-I am too!

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  21. I'm glad I have company, Darrielle! I always joke that my house looks great, unless you look too close! ;)

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  22. Great tip! I have a small area on my night stand that I accidentally spilled a little nail polish remover on. I had actually been wondering if something like this would work. I'm definitely going to try it after seeing your after pics!

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  23. Kim, these are great tips! I am like you, I found myself on Christmas Eve with a can of paint in my hand retouching the little scratches on my walls, just two hours before my guest were due to arrive and I had a ten course dinner cooking on the stove. LOL I think my family really thought I had gone bunkers. They said it was nothing wrong with the walls, but it was, I can assure you. :) This is an illness, you know? LOL Enjoy your day and if you find that magic marker for gray hair and wrinkles, pleeease share! :)

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  24. MariaElena, you make me laugh! If I ever find that elusive beauty marker, I will certainly share!! ;) I love your paint story. I have done that, too. Luckily, my husband has the same crazy, so he will usually run around with the brush...but our kids think we're nuts! Oh well, at least the house looks good!!

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  25. Oh gosh, Carmen, I hope it works! Keep me posted! I spilled nail polish remover on my mom's new Ethan Allen coffee table when I was a teen and the only fix was a strategically placed doily...I hope you have better luck!! Thanks for the visit! :)

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  26. A "Selective Perfectionist". Hah! Now I know what category of perfectionism I fall into. I'm sitting here typing in the midst of a crazy, messy artist studio/living room/library/tv room/dining/kitchen -- yes, it's just a one big room and part of a commercial space turned apartment -- but in the bedroom my bed is neatly made, there's not a wrinkle anywhere, the pillows and shams are perfectly and evenly spaced at the head of the bed and the quilt is hanging at equal lengths on either side. Oh, but then there's that pile of boxes in the corner of the bedroom. Alas! What is a maiden to do when the Dragon of Clutter invades her entire space? Why, obsess on the bed, of course!

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  27. I like your style, Nancy! We are kindred spirits for sure! As long as the pillows are properly poofed, I can overlook most anything else!! ;)

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  28. This is such a lovely post, Kim. Well, if you smiled at me in the grocery store, I'd definitely smile back! It has almost become a personal challenge for me to smile at people and see if I can get them to smile back. Not everyone responds, but most do and it's such a good feeling. I love telling young moms how cute their children are -- they don't just smile, they beam! Very valuable lesson for the generations coming after us. That was a very special gift that your friend gave you.

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  29. I am sure you would smile back, Carol! Some people really do seem to beam, you're so right, and that makes it all worth it! :)

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  30. Great idea Kim. I have a furniture stain marker that I use.

    Here's a funny one for you...years ago I had the perfect pair of black pants. You know the waist was just right, the booty was just right, etc. Well of course I splashed a tiny little dot of bleach on them right by the zipper. For two years after that I would color over the little dot with a black permanent marker every time I wore them. My little fashion secret. :)

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  31. That is funny, Stacey!! You must have really liked those pants! I have actually never drawn on my clothes. I just stick to the furniture ;) ~ but my mom always said that necessity is the mother of invention and I guess she was right!

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