DIY Pie Safe Revamp

Everyone has one of those (at least one) pieces of furniture that has been passed down through the family for years.  One of the things that was recently given to me was my Nana’s pie safe.  I don’t actually know if she was the first to have it or if she inherited it from someone else, but it’s been in the family for many, many years.

Since it was a butter cream color that didn’t really go with my home decor, I decided that I was going to redo it.  I knew I didn’t want to paint it, again, but I also knew that I had my work cut for me with this one.  I knew it was COATED with paint, so I went the way that created the most work for me…strip, sand, redo.

Because I’m TERRIBLE at remembering to take before and after pictures, this picture from my brother’s birthday many moons ago with the pie safe in the background is as good at it gets.  🙂


Before it was this color, it was burgundy and turquoise.  I didn’t find out until after starting the project that it was also black, white, and possibly another color that I couldn’t quite see everywhere.

So let’s get to the point.  Here’s what I did.  I hauled off to Walmart.  Typically I like to hit up my local lumberyard, Barnes Lumber, for all my needs.  They are so helpful there and I’m always reassured when I walk out that I can do whatever DIY job I’m trying to do this time. 🙂  BUT, I was starting this on a Sunday and I just needed to get the stuff and get started or I would never do it.

Here’s what you need

  • Paint stripper – My opinion is to get a stripping gel, the highest strength.  This is the one I used.  Use generously. 🙂  I used this product and was pretty happy with it.
  • Cheap paint brush
  • Paint scraper
  • Sander – I have a Black & Decker sheet sander and it was fine for this.  The rounded legs were tricky.
  • Sandpaper – A lower grit (course) is what I would start with to help get the remainder of the paint that the stripper didn’t get off.  Then to finish and smooth off, go with a higher grit (fine) to finish.
  • Stain (or paint) – whatever you want to finish with.
  • Screwdriver/drill – you may possibly need this if you need to remove doors and hinges.

Here’s what I did

  1. Remove the doors/hinges from the pie safe.  You’ll notice in the pictures that I didn’t do this first.  I would definitely recommend it though.
  2. Apply the paint stripper pretty generously.
  3. Follow instructions on can.
  4. Wait about 15 minutes and begin to scrape the paint off.  It should come off pretty easily if you really coat it on.  If it’s not coming off easily, wait a few more minutes.  If it still doesn’t, then add a little more stripper and wait a few minutes and try again.  You can see where’s it’s bubbling and it’s ready to come off.
  5. Scrape, scrape, scrape until all the paint is removed.IMG_4150
  6. If you have anything similar to mine, I would also recommend taking out the tin that’s in the “windows”.  I didn’t get a good picture of when I took them out, but it was definitely easier to scrape the “windows” with them out.IMG_4151
  7. When you’ve gotten a majority of the paint off, you’re ready to sand.  You really want to make sure you have almost all the paint off, otherwise you’ll go through a lot of sandpaper trying to sand off the paint.  Here is where you’ll use the coarse sandpaper.
  8. I didn’t do anything with the inside of the pie safe.  I didn’t have the patience or time to tackle that.  I left it painted and applied new contact paper to the inside shelves.    IMG_4239
  9. Stain/paint. I really wanted to just clear coat this, but on the rounded legs, I had a hard time getting every bit of paint off.  I opted to stain.  This wood was so old that it soaked it right up and was probably the fastest part of this whole process.  I used Minwax Dark Walnut stain to hopefully not show all the places I missed on the paint.
  10. I spray painted the stamped tin a copper color and I’m so happy with it.  Much to my happiness, it turned out a little on the rose gold side.  I used this and am still super happy with it.
  11. Reattach your doors and nail the tin back on and you’re done!!

Now I just have to figure out what I’m going to put in it and where’s it’s going to go in my house permanently.


I’d love to hear about your DIY adventures!!



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