Widdicomb Chest With European Flavor

Well the tax deadline was earlier this week,  actually because of the business ours was due in March…  fortunately our accountant knows well and automatically submits an extension for us.  I’m almost there, just need to go through a few checklists and drop it off.     How’s YOUR April been?

sleepy cat

Let’s talk painting projects.   Wouldn’t we all love to have a stock of pieces like this beautiful Widdicomb chest?  I know I would,  it’ one of my favorite styles to work with,  and yes, while I can absolutely appreciate it’s original form, it’s finish was in ‘tired state’.   For it to be front and center in a lovely home, it would need anding/stripping/surface repair/staining to restore it’s original finish….

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… or,  I could use our paints and finishes to create a different kind of ‘refinish:)

I chose one of the aged papers that we sell (our massive selection can be found here) and had it blown up to 2×3 –

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I envisioned it on the front panel of this chest.  Some kind of lighter finish would work, have it all blend together….  I grabbed several of our chalk clay mineral paints – Lace Doily, a lighter soft yellow,  Limoges a neutral creme, and Sackcloth, a grey beige…

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I blended color as it went on – there is no rhyme or reason,  more just blobs of different color on a plate, and a brush grabbing some of this and some of that…  As I painted I pulled in another taupe color – Crushed Tea

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After the first coat on the drawer fronts, I grabbed APC’s Topcoat Finish,  an all natural sealer, and brushed a coat on to seal up the chalky paint before paper application…

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Now to get that paper ready…  I scored the edges with a ruler and flat screw driver

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widdicomb_chest_fabfinisher_custom_painted_aged_paris_monumentthe image was not large enough to fill the whole space on the drawers, so I’d need to center then age around the edges so it looked ‘built in’…

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To adhere the paper, I used our Matte Sealer with a couple drops of school glue mixed in, and brush a liberal coat ON the drawer fronts.   I love the Matte Sealer because it doesn’t add sheen to the paper, and it’s not a thick consistancy so it doesn’t gunk up the paper. Once the drawers are wet I center and lay the paper down, using my hands to push it down into place.  More Matte Sealer is immediately brushed OVER the paper, then I take a rubber scraper (or plastic gift card works well to) and gently work out any bubbles/ large cracks.

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Once the paper was down I took a boxcutter knife and sliced through the drawer edges, and used my finger to add some to any lifting edges.   Then I let it dry.

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To age the edges I started with our Perfect Plaster, stippling it around the frame, then worked the paint colors into it

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While that was drying I worked to finish the bottom, adding in a stencil or two, something I like to do to my pieces…

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Because the top was in nice condition,  I wanted to work with the existing finish.  I like to use Wood Top/ Gel Stains because they’re thicker, easier to work with than regular stains, and work well OVER an existing wood finish that has been stripped back a little.   Some folks will use them right over the existing finish without prepping but that’s not my favorite method.  I’ve had a few situations  (our old bar cabinets for one) where I stained over an existing finish and it didn’t wear well (yes, it was topcoated).  I recommend to our customers that they either  a) use something like the Citristrip to bite thru the top finish  or b) sand thru it….    not sand all the way to raw, but enough to get some of the top finish off.

On this top I used Citristrip Gel and brushed it over the surface.  You can find it pretty much everywhere, our local Meijer even carries it….  it’s nice and thick so you don’t get a drippy mess as it’s working.

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Let it sit for awhile, then scrape it off.  That’s the worst part, the gunk is gunky, but it is easier and not as messy as sanding IMO.

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I used a mix of Mahogany and Ebony to recolor the top

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and used a little bit on cheesecloth to freshen up inside the drawers

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I added more colors into the top layer of the paint finish.   Once the paper was in place the color I was building wasn’t completely working for me –  I needed some DEPTH, which is why I’d grabbed the Crushed Tea midway, but even that wasn’t doing it for me….  I needed a little bit of GunPowder for the dark in the paper, and Plymouth Rock to balance it out

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When the paint was dry I sanded to refine, and added a soft Umber Glaze to the drawer fronts.   I waxed the paint (and drawer fronts when they were dry) using APC’s Clear Vintage Wax and some of  Dark Vintage Wax .  Here the wax is going on… then the wax is softly wiped to remove the excess.

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I buffed the finish with a Drill Brush to obtain an extra soft feel

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I added a bronze metallic finish  and Swarovski crystals to the ‘feet’

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Testing the hardware color – I like to keep, refinish and use the original hardware when I can…

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We offer several Hardware Refinishing Kits that are handy for giving old hardware new life.

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A stately handcrafted piece of furniture

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A perfect place for sparkle…

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The afternoon sun adds warmth to the color..

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Another piece I would love to keep for myself:)

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If you’d like more information on applying the papers, you can watch my How-To Episode #5 – VIDEOS –  for visual instruction.

Honoring Prince so many fond memories, my college days with Prince, Sheila E and Morris Day…..   * sighhhhhhh *

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Have a great weekend!

Are you local to the Detroit area and interested in possibly updating your OWN tired furniture?  If so,  come visit us – we’re located at the corner of 23 Mile and Van Dyke in Shelby Township,  48316.    Don’t come Sunday or Monday, because we’re not open, but T,W, F  our hours are 10am-5pm  Thursday 10am-6pm and Saturday 10am-3pm.  During holidays our hours do change, you can find updates on our website.

If you live too far away, that’s ok,  we ship daily,  offering our full lines of paints, sundries and accessories – store.fabfinisher.com.

If you’re interested in a paint project, or need to get out for the evening, check out our Workshop Schedule,  we’ve just added our summer schedule –  register online or stop in and visit.

Aged Paper, Plaster and Canvas Workshop

This week we hosted an Aged Paper, Plaster and Canvas Workshop dealing with mounting papers on canvas, building and blending a border to mask the image edge using paint, plaster and wax.

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The Aged Papers are addicting, we stock  a huge assortment, which makes choosing difficult…

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The papers are 11×17,  and can be used in a variety of ways.   You could

  • slip them in a frame as is
  • line a drawer
  • create a focal wall
  • decorate larger furniture surfaces, like inside a china cabinet fabulous-finishes-studio-inspiration-painted-furniture-workshops-metro-detroit-diy-paints-shop-online0243
  • dressing up backs of furniture that will show in a roomfabulous_finishes_online_store_aged_papers (5)
  • adding a design element to furniture panelsfabulous_finishes_studio_chalk_clay_chest_paris_wood

aged papers, fabulous finishes, fairy

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • create a piece of art
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Our current Aged Paper Workshop creates art on canvas.

We begin by painting the canvas with a base color we choose, then we dry.  The paper’s edges are scored, and then the mounting process begins, using our Durable Matte Sealer with a squirt of glue mixed in.

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We work to smooth out wrinkles and bubbles, then once our art-in-process is dry we begin layering a combination of plaster and paint – a little here, a little there, some scraping, blending, fiddling, some more plaster or more paint, blend and fiddle some more…

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This is the longest stretch of the workshop – it relies on each person’s own eye, deciding ‘where’ they want or need more color or dimension, it’s not an exact science,  it’s just a feelie kindof thing,  and it’s cool to watch:)

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Once the fiddling is complete,  our canvas art is dried, and then a wax color (or colors) is selected, to finish off our piece.   I love American Paint Company’s Vintage Waxes – I rave about them a lot, and for good reason – they are simply the best!

I use  APC’s Vintage Clear Wax to create colored waxes by adding pigment tints – like one canvas used a blue wax in the final pass – I’ll add our mica powders to create various shimmer wax colors as well.   I create each color or shimmer into it’s own snap-deli container, so it’s an easy go-to-grab when I need it.

We used a variety of wax colors to finish off the canvas’s –  APC’s Dark Wax, which gives an umber vintage effect, and APC Wax custom tinted to Brass, Aged Gold, Pearl, Pewter, Shimmered Silver, Blue, and Black.

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Pretty fun night – thank you ladies!!

The plaster we use, to blend and layer the edges is Caromal’s Perfect Plaster

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It’s unlike any of our other plasters – it’s whippy, think paint folded with whipped crème, then sprinkle in some seeds or specks of little things that bust open when you scrape them.   I wont’ apply the paper’s without it.

It’s also cool as a wall finish, which is it’s original intent (LOL)

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I forgot to add a link to my videos page,  here  , if you check out video #5 it’s a short Shelby TV segment on this paper type application on a small stool.

Have a fabulous Spring Weekend!

Are you local to the Detroit area and interested in possibly updating your OWN tired furniture?  If so,  come visit us – we’re located at the corner of 23 Mile and Van Dyke in Shelby Township,  48316.    Don’t come Sunday or Monday, because we’re not open, but T,W, F  our hours are 10am-5pm  Thursday 10am-6pm and Saturday 10am-3pm.  During holidays our hours do change, you can find updates on our website.

If you live too far away, that’s ok,  we ship daily,  offering our full lines of paints, sundries and accessories – store.fabfinisher.com.

If you’re interested in a paint project, or need to get out for the evening, check out our Workshop Schedule,   register online or stop in and visit.

 

 

 

 

 

An Exciting Week, Live in the D…

This past week I was honored to make an appearance on Channel 4’s morning show  Live in the D, for their March Madness Makeover on updating furniture.

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Michelle Oliver, a video reporter from WDIV, visited our store looking for an easy way to makeover her dresser.  She taped some of her visit,  choosing a paint color and some how to tips.

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and went home with everything she needed for her makeover project.   She wanted her dresser painted a soft white, but was interested in dressing up the top, maybe even adding a stencil ….

On the live show we demonstrated how to add a foil element to her dresser top, and adding extra detail with stencils.

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I wish we could have had a whole hour to discuss ways to dress up a simple paint finish –  it’s what drives my creativity –

~ the art of embellishing your piece ~

Of course, a simple paint finish is classic,  like this bedroom

and these curios that my client wanted black

(before) Right Cabinet, (after) using Reclaim Licorice

(before) Right Cabinet, (after) using Reclaim Licorice

“Just” paint,  maybe layering colors, and a little sanding/wiping to reveal is another easy makeover,  like this gorgeous Florentina  bed from Habersham Home

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or this fun piece

Side table painted in several layered colors APC Chalk & Clay paint, waxed

Side table painted in several layered colors APC Chalk & Clay paint, waxed

Maybe you paint a piece, and a month later you decide you could live with a little more pizazz… what then?

Applying a glaze would be an easy way to add dimension to your painted finish. Glazes can be applied over any non-waxed paint finish that isn’t flat or raw.   We offer many choices of glaze colors, both in store and online

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Using a thicker, textured paint like our Caromal Textured Basecoats as a first layer color, and then another paint/color over top will allow you to reveal back, easily, to a real cool worn look

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You could also add a thicker stencil, embedded between your color layers like I did on these back panels, using our Textured Plaster or Stone products

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and on the front of this piece under a silver metallic finish…

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Jazz it up more with some Swarovski shimmer

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we offer a great selection of Swarovski colors, both in crystals and pearls

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This piece had a lot of adds – the embedded plaster stencil design on the whole front, buried between American Paint Co. Chalk and Clay paint colors,  Swarovski Crystals, and our new Varigated Blue Gilding Leaf, on the top, accents and hardware

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The same idea on this chest,  “only the names have been changed to protect the innocent”  –  (just kidding Ö anyone remember Dragnet as a kid?)

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Ombre chest, painted with American Paint chalk and clay blacks/greys, our black texture plaster for stencil relief, sides feet and hardware accented with silver leaf

You could add a stencil element, here, there,  or everywhere, with the use of a stencil and another color of paint or glaze.  We offer an excellent selection of durable and reusable stencil designs

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American Paint chalk and clay paints in various pink shades, each tier stenciled, shimmered with crystals, feet accented with silver leaf

silver metallic finish custom painted dixie chest triple

One of my all time favorite pieces, silver finish with stencil accents

It’s hard for me NOT to add something somewhere….  it doesn’t always have to be the front and center focus, like this red secretary –  it can be subdued, tucked away off to the side like the silver vanity

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Maybe a change to the top would work for your space – FOILS  are  fun

Foiled cheetah top, American Paint chalk and clay Wainscott and APC Wax

Foiled cheetah top, American Paint chalk and clay Wainscott and APC Wax

and there are many color pattern to choose from.  Michelle chose Woodhaven Gold for her dresser top, which we demonstrated on TV

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Or foil just your hardware, or feet, or drawer fronts….

Combine foil AND stencils- this table is ‘just’ turquoise, but the top changed it’s whole look

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Weathered Copper for this “Clock Table”, created with American Paint chalk and clay paints and wax

This table base is a weathered white, painted in hopes of landing in a summer home.   Adding a stencil to the top makes this side table more functional, using a foil pattern on the top makes it more unique

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We offer hundreds of lovely paper designs,  a great way to add interest to furniture

Base -Caromal Parchment with a glaze, Top - American Paint chalk and clay blended shades of green, waxed.

Base -Caromal Parchment with a glaze, Top – American Paint chalk and clay blended shades of green, waxed. Aged paper Botanical print added to drawer front.

You can add a paper clean like above, or weather the edges like these next couple

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You can grasp the basic how to’s of this on my video links page – look for Episode 5, How to Apply Aged Papers to Your Surface and Blend the Edges

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I also offer a Workshop involving mounting and aging papers – this one is tomorrow but its sold out

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A great way to kick up the POW factor is using dimensional patterns, with more creative products like textured plasters, stones, and decorative acrylic waxes.  Our Specialty Finishes Workshop involves layering and creating finish looks with these type of mediums, which you can incorporate to any surface

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There are so many ways to play and experiment…. and create

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Cottage Paint Black base with a mixed Brass Wax, a textured plaster top with metallic and waxes

 

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Our custom tinted Cottage Paint color Olive, with a mixed Black Wax, inside finish created with plaster, stencil and glaze

 

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A silver metallic finish with decorative raised panel, using tinted textured plaster through lace and a shimmer mica wax over top

Are you local to the Detroit area and interested in possibly updating your OWN tired furniture?  If so,  come visit us – we’re located at the corner of 23 Mile and Van Dyke in Shelby Township,  48316.    Don’t come Sunday or Monday, because we’re not open, but T,W, F  our hours are 10am-5pm  Thursday 10am-6pm and Saturday 10am-3pm. During holidays our hours do change, you can find updates on our website.

If you live too far away, we ship daily,  offering our full lines of paints, sundries and accessories – store.fabfinisher.com.

If you’re interested in a paint project, or need to get out for the evening, check out our Workshop Schedule,   register online or stop in and visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Of My Favorite Dixie Chests …a Reclaim Test

I acquired this Dixie furniture when I was at my first store,  four years ago.  The picture cuts off the dresser on the left is actually a triple, and around the corner were two narrow bookcase units

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I don’t usually buy up full sets of furniture, but I loved the style and the condition was mint.   The pair of nightstands and armoire chest moved on to my current store, and this past Spring I decided they would be perfect for my next paint project –

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I decided to try a mix of our Reclaim paint and Botanical paint.  Reclaim is a waterbased low voc paint that bonds to near any surface, and unlike the other paint lines we carry, it also has a sealer in it. But Reclaim is not a ‘brush on’ type paint like our other paints – it functions best as a rolled on paint . If you brush Reclaim it will show application marks  aka brush strokes, especially the heavier you apply the paint.  We tell our customers if they have to brush the Reclaim , say parts of a chair or areas that are hard to roll, then apply the paint in light layers and try to keep your application strokes the same.

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The Botanical paint, also created by Caromal Colours,  is more like a chalky type paint, low voc’s, and most often is applied by brush.  It actually brushes out lovely, and doesn’t HAVE to have a finish coat over it to stay put, but it dries out to a flat chalky feel.  Colorwise, the lightest neutral of Botanical is Gardenia, an offwhite (top left).

I mixed part Botanical Gardenia, Part Off White Reclaim and part Bright White Reclaim, and started applying, thin, by brush

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After one coat, I realized this wasn’t going to be a 2-coat finish.  I tried to find the right balance of paint to leave behind, without it looking too stroky…  what worked best was almost dry brushing the paint,  slow and steady

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My plan for the chest was to add stencil designs on the two front door panels, but I didn’t want it to complete with the neutral finish of the piece, so I used our Textured Plaster and tinted it darker, using several of our Powder Pigments, to resemble the hardware that I planned to use –

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and bladed it through one of our thicker stencils

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The original hardware would be refinished to a brass/bronze color, but I wanted something special on the top drawer.   I used several decorative backs, added a metal whispy knob, painted it to a pretty brass/bronze color, and added Swarovski crystals to complete the look

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You can see in this photo how the paint is in various stages of coverage, the upper section still showing it’s original yellowy colorfabulous_finishes_studio_dixie_french_provencial_chest_painting_vintage_white_raised_plaster_damask_door_panels (5)

I let both panels dry, the went back to dry brushing, to get the finish even and solid, including completely covering the plastered stencil relief

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After that I went to work dressing up the piece, giving it those added touches that I love, to make it a one of a kind special…   I stenciled the inner drawer fronts,  and gave the inside and out of each drawer a freshening up of colorfabulous_finishes_studio_dixie_french_provencial_chest_painting_vintage_white_bronze_accents (6)

The top, originally that pear yellow color formica, needed to go deeper, I envisioned a pecan color to coordinate with the hardware, so I started to layer to achieve that result –fabulous_finishes_studio_dixie_french_provencial_chest_painting_vintage_white_bronze_accents (7)fabulous_finishes_studio_dixie_french_provencial_chest_painting_vintage_white_bronze_accents (1)

It took me a good six passes to get an even finish with this application method.  Typically, our brush on paints (APC, Cottage) can be applied not-too-thick-not-too-thin, then a second coat thinned with water that pulls it all together.  With this blend of Reclaim/Botanical, wetting of the paint, or thinning it down and applying it, more often than not caused the under layer to reactivate and lift off…  thus more layers of very thin paint applied was the best way I found to reach total coverage.  When it all dried, I light sanded the flat panels with a 400 grit, and sanded the door panel relief with a 200 grit sandpaper to pop the design –fabulous_finishes_studio_dixie_french_provencial_chest_painting_vintage_white_bronze_accents (2)

The remainder of the hardware was refinished to the brass/bronze color, sealed and embellished with Swarovskis’s to complete the look

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Once the paint finish and top were complete, I mixed our two sealers- Durable Waterbased Satin Sealer and  Durable Waterbased Matte Sealer, to create a 50/50 blend of satin/matte, and applied that to the whole chest.  Even though the Reclaim has that built in sealer, I recommend adding an extra topcoat if

  • its going to be a high use piece
  • if its for youth
  • if its a light color (think hard to keep clean) finish
  • if I desire more (or less) of a sheen than what my paint dried to
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 I’m really pleased with the top
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Of course, the feet had to be glammed up
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and the back:)

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Definitely one of my favorite chests, not just for how it ended up looking, but for the whole package – the lovely design and furniture quality

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Look at all that storage!dixie_chest_custom_painted_chalk_wood_grainWhen it came time for the petite nightstands, I finished them pretty much the same way except for the tops.   The tall chest had that  ‘fantasy/faux’ wood grain finish,  where I tried to get to that color tone that I saw in my head. In those cases I have no recipe to follow, I just trial and error until it works.   I  would have a miserable time trying to recreate an exact match.   Plus the nightstands were lower and I felt a darker top would weigh the pieces down…..

I decided to use the tinted plaster again, but this time blade it through a pretty patterned lace.  In the picture below, you can see the tops are a caramel color – it’s the lace patterned tinted plaster drying

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Here, in the photo below, I’ve already painted over the dried plaster lace on the tops

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Yay!  I sanded tops and the tinted pattern popped through, leave just enough to dress up the tops.  I sealed these pieces with my 50/50 mix as well

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The pieces coordinated well with each other, and just last week a customer put a claim on the trio

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These pieces drew an awful lot of interest in the store, as the ‘I want that type finish’ to paint on my own piece.  What we show them, instead, is an application method of rolling thin layers of the Reclaim paint on, like we do for the cabinet finishes we show, or rolling a Reclaim/Botanical mix on.  This way in 2-3 passes you should have solid coverage, and with that little bit of 400 grit paper, your finish result will be a lot like this set.  I even have a video visual, from one of the local TV shows we did, showing that application – you can catch it here – Episode 12 offwhite_custom_painted_french_provencial_chest_standThis winter weather has been amazingly mild for Michigan, and already I’m starting to get itchy for Spring…  here’s to another great week!

Are you local to the Detroit area and interested in possibly updating your OWN tired furniture?  If so,  come visit us – we’re located at the corner of 23 Mile and Van Dyke in Shelby Township,  48316.    Don’t come Sunday or Monday, because we’re not open, but T,W, F  our hours are 10am-5pm  Thursday 10am-6pm and Saturday 10am-3pm.  During holidays our hours do change, you can find updates on our website.

If you live too far away, that’s ok,  we ship daily,  offering our full lines of paints, sundries and accessories – store.fabfinisher.com.

If you’re interested in a paint project, or need to get out for the evening, check out our Workshop Schedule,   register online or stop in and visit.