Sooo. I picked up this teabox at a second hand shop in Kamakura, for about 1000 yen, or about $10. It was in good shape although there was glued on peeling paper all over the outside, and a bit dusty. The inside is lined with tin. I had this eyesore out in the living room holding bits of material for my various craft projects, and its roughly the size of a good lamp table also.
After living with this fellow as is for several months and moving him to San Diego, I decided it was time to have a little fun with it.
One thing that has been nice about being back home is that I can finally read labels when we go to the hardware store. So, I picked up some sandpaper, a scraper, some primer, some water-based paint and a water-based stain, and finally a nice matte finish spray on water-based finish for over the whole mess.
Cricket helped. Ha.
Whilst the boys were at school, I tried to peel off some of the paper. Too much elbow grease. After a while, I tried sanding it. Too much elbow grease. Finally, I tried spraying a bit of warm soapy water on it and then it scraped off easily and cleanly. Since the wood was unfinished underneath, I tried not to use too much water. Luckily as always, it was sunny, breezy and very dry in the backyard so this helped, and there was blessedly no warpage!
After stripping off the paper and drying it totally, the next day I sanded it just a bit and put on a coat of primer. By the end of that day, a coat of paint. That evening, I brushed stain over that and tried to be a bit artful about how I applied it, so it looked kind of grainy. Ha.
Anyway, that took a couple of days outside in the warm and sunny patio. After that, I used spray adhesive to position 4 cut up and trimmed grass placemats from Target, that I had cut up to fit around the thing, and quickly realized that a few staples were called for as well.