Chris Caromal Colour’s An Ugly French Dresser Exquisitely…

I got an email from Chris,

Hi Patty,

…  This is my dilemma – I have an old French provincial dresser.  It’s that ugly off-white with gold trim…  I have 2 coats of Parchment on the dresser and the off white color is still showing through ALOT – also the gold trim is showing through as green.  I don’t have enough paint to paint the entire dresser again – unless I thin what I do have left down quite a bit.  I don’t want to spend any more $$$ on another quart at this point.

I’m really disappointed, as I have painted 2 other dressers just like this with Benjamin Moore paint and they turned out beautifully.  I was really looking forward to trying something different with the texture of this paint.

My questions are:

  1. Have you ever had this happen to anyone else?
  2. If I thin down the paint – will it still work?

Any help you can provide would be great.  Regards, Chris

I emailed her back and asked HOW she had applied the paint, I figured maybe she was applying thinner layers,  and told her YES  you CAN add water to the paints.   The last layer I paint I always add some water into the process –  to me, it makes the finish more even, and its easier to apply.   I prefer dipping my brush into the paint, then dipping it into a bowl of water – shaking it off, then proceeding to paint my surface, kindof scrubbing it into the first layer to fill in lighter areas.

Had I ever heard of this happening with the green color?   No, but it reminded me of some of the metallic paints that can patina if activated with certain chemicals.     I passed it by Carol Kemery, owner and creator of Caromal Colours – she suggested the same and recommended sealing the gold  with a stain killing primer (which is what Chris ended up doing on her own).

She replied

Thanks for the response.  I brushed the first coat – pretty thick I thought, and the second coat I textured on.  I put a light 3rd coat on the gold parts that were showing through as green – didn’t work.  I finally had to put a shellac based primer on the gold/green parts and that worked to keep it from showing through.  I put the parchment on the areas that I primed again, then I put the toner on and stenciled a damask stencil on the top and sides.  I sanded the entire dresser to give it a more “worn” look.  I need to go after work today and pick up a translucent pearlescent glaze to finish it off.  I’ll send you pics when I get the glaze on it, and the handles back on it.

Then I got this

Hi Patty,

I’m finally finished (for now) with the dresser.  I’ve attached some pictures.    Thanks for your help and direction – I appreciate it!

I clicked on the attached photos,

and my jaw dropped!

heart be still!


That piece is to die for!   Fabulous use of stencil detail, don’t you think?

Chris was kind enough to share her complete How-To:

  • I used parchment (3 coats) on the dresser, with the toner over that, then lightly sanded.  Then used metallic titanium stencil paint for the stencil, then lightly sanded again over the stencil.  Then I put Valspar Pearlescent glaze over that.  You can’t really see the glaze in the pics – it did change the color of the parchment/toner and the stencil paint slightly.
  • I also found a cool way to paint the handles the same titanium color as the stencil paint.  First I sprayed the handles an oil rubbed bronze color – then while the handles were still wet – I sprayed them lightly with a matte silver spray paint.  They match the titanium stencil paint exactly.

For more information about the Caromal Colours textured basecoat Parchment and Caromal Colours Toner that Chris used,  head here   distressing paints

For Caromal Colour makeovers

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8 responses to “Chris Caromal Colour’s An Ugly French Dresser Exquisitely…

  1. Pingback: French Dressers - Home Decorating Photos, Interior Design Photos, Home Decorating – Home Decorating Photos, Interior Design Photos, Home Decorating

  2. Pingback: Stencil Refinishing | Endless DIY

  3. This is beautiful. I had this exact same furniture, though not this piece. I had a double dresser, 5-drawer chest and 2 nightstands. Got them about 1969 and just recently sold them. What you’ve done with this piece is amazing. If I’d had a girl instead of a boy, I probably would have kept the furniture which was still structurally in very good shape. I’m in awe how good this looks.

  4. I have an old Honey Pine dresser. Do you think this paint process would work on it?

  5. What exactly is “parchment?” I have never heard that term used in reference to paint.

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