We start with this cabinet – an old, old black paint finish on the outside, and a dark mahogany stain on the inside. I love vintage cabinets like this, ones you aren’t quite sure what they are supposed to be – we figured an old record cabinet.
It’s a crackle finish I learned when I was finishing walls, using Faux Effects crackling products, and tints. The plan – to crackle various earth tone shades of green over a silver base.
The metallic silver needed a solid base underneath, so I first started with a quick basecoat of Reclaim Licorice – a perfect DARK black that not only bonds like cement but already has a sealer in it . When dry, I applied one coat of a metallic silver.
When I finally got around to crackling the door, I pulled out my Faux Effects Crackle mediums. The sizing was a weird consistency when I opened it, and I had second thoughts about using it – the crackle products dont have long shelf life – but I was READY, right? If I didn’t use it I’d have had to stop what I was doing, and order more online. Bah- I used it anyway, thinking it just was getting tired, and it still looked close enough to what it should… I rolled on the sizing, waited for it to set, and applied my various colorants mixed into another FE crackle medium, and then waited to see what would happen as it dried.
If you notice below, there is no trace of anything I did on the door panel.
As soon as it started drying I knew the sizing went wrong. It didn’t do what it should, and instead looked like a big fluffy goopy mess. I literally had to scrape and work it to get it all off. Some crunchies still remained, and by that point I was O V E R the ‘getting it all off’ thing, so I changed directions and decided, again, to make the door a focal point, but this time I’d create an old, layered look, using some plaster with my paints to give it a really old, textured feel …
I got out American Paint Company’s Parchment, Tumbleweed, and Limoge, and brushed the three colors on, intermittently –
I added some Elmers Glue to crackle in a few places – you can see an area in the picture below. Brushing on white glue and painting over it while its wet will create cracking as it dries-
Pretty quick after brushing on the paint, certain spots on the piece started to turn pink. If you’ve been there you know – this PINK is like a traffic light that suddenly starts to blink red – it forces you to stop in your tracks and devise a new plan…
It was popping up in quite a few places. I cleaned the piece before I started, but cleaning won’t stop the bleed from popping through. Staining from the tannins in the wood is typically is caused by a combination of moisture and insufficient sealing. Moisture (in this case, moisture from the paint or topcoat) can carry tannins contained in the wood through to the painted surface, and you’ll know it as soon as it pops through –
I put that issue on hold, and instead mixed some stuff to apply to the front panel. I used Caromal’s Perfect Plaster, a fun textured plaster that can build a stoney finish , some of the Reclaim Bright White, and some of the Reclaim Off White, mixed them together, and rolled it onto the front panel door using a low nap WHIZ roller.
When that dried, I appled one more layer of the plaster mix, but this time I bladed (scraped) it on over the first rolled layer –
One foot to go –
I gave the front a light sanding, paying more attention to the bleed areas, and sanding those a little more. I tell my customers, if you’re painting an old piece and you get bleed, if you can find a way to play off it, you will save yourself loads of time and effort. Otherwise, you’d just stop the painting, let the piece dry well, and then begin several rounds of shellac’ing or kilz’ing, to tame the pink beast.
I knew my ‘focal front’ needed just a little bit more, so I grabbed an old stencil, and applied it to the front of the cabinet, using Caromal Colours Toner –
When that was dry I got out a little rougher grit paper ( 150) and sanded the front surface. This gave it a nice worn feel. I even sanded a few areas down to the original dark stained finish, and that worked.
I sanded the top and sides, to knock out any sloppy marks, and sealed it with American Paint’s Dark Vintage Wax cut with some APC Clear Vintage Wax –
I cleaned up the handle and reused it. The inside looked good, except for the back panel. It was ugly.
I removed it, and replaced it with a cutting of primed bead board, and we painted it Reclaim Off White.
When it was dry I buffed the wax using the drill wax brush, and moved the piece out to the front-
This one sold pretty quick 🙂
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