Monthly Archives: December 2015

Jacobean Buffet, Dressed in Chalk Clay Paints of Grey

Several years ago I refinished this buffet, with our all natural chalk/clay paints, and a particular client had a serious eye for it…


One time she came in, and it was gone.   I told her I’d keep my eye out for buffets – one could always be customized for her.

This large buffet became available, and I claimed it, with intentions of refinishing is similar to the last one…

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The first coat got about this far, and then it sat….


for almost two years.    The customer wasn’t in hot pursuit for it, in fact I didn’t see them for a long stretch, so that made it easy to leave unattended.  And,  I’ve come to realize some pieces can’t be started until there is a vision for it.   I think what happened for me was my vision for that piece wasn’t the same one I’d done previously…

A few months ago I pulled this piece out from the pack, and started again, in a different direction

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The basecoat was a blend of American Paint Gunpowder, Tarnished Platter and Smoke Signal

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The top had imperfections and wasn’t a candidate for keeping the original wood finish, so I started with a couple thin layers of Caromal Colours Textured Basecoats Parchment and a little bit of Putty to help hide the rough spots.  Maybe create a warm, weathered looking wood tone, like this

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I sanded and glazed the top


and using the same  American Paint base colors, I went around again, shadowing and blending more color , this time popping the inner panels to a lighter tone using APC Uncle Sam.  When that dried I added a soft,  allover damask stencil to the door panels.

The warm top wasn’t doing it for me,  so I decided to take it brighter than the rest of the piece.   I used Caromal’s Textured Basecoat Wisteria , and then add a coat of Uncle Sam over that.  I gave it a very light sand,  to pop the wisteria through the chalky clay paint.

The condition of the top forced the paint finish to be more rustic, and with the top being so long, I still wasn’t 100% sold on it…

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It needed a glaze –   I don’t like glazing over  raw chalk/clay paint, just my preference – the control is better if it’s sealed up first, so I brushed on a coat of APC Topcoat to seal the paint, when it was dry I glazed the top with a mix of our Light Grey and Dark Grey Glazes.

I worked on the rest of the piece,  fine sanding and refining the paint finish, and then waxed it with APC’s Vintage Clear Wax.   If you haven’t tried this wax you need to – it’s my favorite wax around.   You can see below I’m still working my way across the front –

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I prefer dolling up original hardware but some of it was missing so I had to come up with another plan.  I chose larger resin knobs, painted, weathered and sealed them, then added a backing and some embellishments… They complimented the piece and the stencil

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Big fat legs….

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I was finally rounding the bend on this buffet, and thought iI was done…

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I took a few pictures when I was done , this one exposed  the drawers that I’d cleaned up using  some of my FE Stain and Seal colors –

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A raised sliding tray was treated with a botanical paper

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It was so rich looking… I wished the top would have been solid wood instead of veneer – then I could have salvaged it.   I liked this color combo, but one thing that you can’t see here, that I was struggling with was, the top was still kind of beat up looking.   For such a big, custom statement piece, I needed the top to be tops….

So I sanded the whole darn thing down to the start, patched and evened out the veneer spots that were worn, and then went to work creating a ‘faux’ wood grain top –painted_chalk_clay_jacobean_chest_wood_grained_top (4)

Wood graining is a technique I learned earlier in my ‘faux finish’ days,  and for me it’s a fiddler’s dream – tweeking and playing until you get close enough to you hope.  In this case I was already starting with a color (drawers), I needed to get it close to the same –

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I was very thankful that I got close…  maybe God figured I’d had enough go-arounds with this top and it was time to call this piece done?

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It was nice to roll this one out  –

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It didn’t last very long, and went home with the loveliest of clients

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I held back on embellishing the stencil design,  but if you look close, the wrap around band of trim sparkles with pretty twinkling crystals.   (Did I mention we now offer Swarovski Crystal packs, in varying colors/sizes for purchase in store and online? )

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When I started into my journey of finishing and furniture, Jacobean style was one of my favorite finds –  this piece was a joy to breathe new life into

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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 –

If you’re interested in painting your own piece, check out our Workshop Schedule,  you can even register online.19


A Purple Ombre China Cabinet, APC Chalk and Clay Paints

This is the longest dry spell since 2009 when I first started posting…

Transitioning websites is WAY complex. I have held off posting to my blog here,  because anything I do post will not show up on my NEW site when it opens.  I feel like I’m having a new house built, and the completion date keeps getting bumped because of weather or technical issues…


The thought of taking the time to repeat everything has made me not want to post at all, but Jon my web guy just told me (I’m sure to get me off his back) if I post here he’ll do the copying over to the new location when it’s finally usable.

Which then leads to WHERE DO I START?  All the pictures that customers have shared of their projects?  New projects?  New techniques or painted pieces?  Workshop photos?   File folders floating everywhere of pictures waiting to be shared is brain chaos.  I have major brain chaos.

Let’s do PURPLE.   Purple makes me happy.

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A purple ombre paint finish I created using a variety of American Paint chalk and clay paint colors, and a Cottage Paint base –

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It started like this

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My original intent was to play around with some purple shades of Cottage Paint that I’d tinted, trying to get to a royalty-king purple, and see how that paint would work layering and shading it for an ombre effect


Cottage Paint, a clay based paint,  brushes out like melted velvet – it is full bodied but lets you stretch your strokes of paint out while still maintaining lovely coverage.  Our custom tinted “King Purple”  covered amazing, in one lean coat, and took about twenty minutes to dry.

I started layer two,  with the same dark purple, and some black and white to blend shades,  but I found it harder to create the ombre fades that I like to do using American Paint chalk and clay based paint, like these:

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I’m sure I could have created a lovely finish with my Cottage purple, but when you’ve got a certain idea in your head then you need to be comfortable on the way to getting there.

One huge advantage I have is a full rainbow of types and colors of paints to grab from, if I need to make a swift change up – in this case, I grabbed several American Paint colors to make shades of purple – Shining Seas, a deep violet blue (retired), Bordello, a deep magenta (retired), and Cannonball black.  Using the purple mixed with black, I started painting the bottom section, as I moved up I stayed more with only the purple, or the purple mixed with a little Uncle Sam White.  Its easier when painting with more than one shade to have a bowl of water near by, or a spray bottle of water, so that if your colors start to dry up on you, on the piece, you can get the painting moving again.

I popped the glass in the door and painted the grill with the Cottage Paint King Purple, and the inside of the cabinet a lighter shade of pale pink, using Cottage Paint custom tinted color Angora Pink.   A better choice for the insides, the Cottage will dry to a nice matte finish  whereas the APC will dry more like a piece of chalk –

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This piece was painted earlier this year and the colors I used have since retired.  American Paint has introduced a new color deck, the Bold and Beautiful, which offers a purple (Purple Rain), a violet blue (Soulful), and a magenta (Vixen) – three great colors to blend for creating bursts of purple.

Once the inside dried, I stenciled a french script using our thick Texture Plaster in neutral –

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The front, having a taller top, took me a few tries of shadowing in color, to get it where I liked it.  Once the color worked, I sanded to a soft refined finish and then applied my favorite wax, American Paint Vintage Clear Wax

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I silver leafed the feet and hardware, and added crystal knobs for shoes 🙂

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I used the original hardware – the drawer pulls actually have a round Swarovski Crystal Magnet attached to the front center (the ones on top in the photo below)


Super strong, the magnet alone is keeping it on the hardware,  but I have been known to e6000 these pretties onto other parts of furniture (like my chairs at home) 🙂   Sold in pairs for $20, they are available to order online.

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A dainty door pull , silver leafed and a few small Swarovskis attached. We’ve got those available online as well –


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A side view, with the drawer out, revealing another raised stencil design, this one I embedded in between the paint layers, then sanded and wet wiped back to reveal, before sealing it off with APC Wax-

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Some closer ups, showing better detail of why I use our APC paints for this style of painting.  It’s so raw and natural it can be applied in thin layers and revealed through by sanding/wiping – taken back to a thin wafer of color, which then plays off the other colors around it.

It’s kinda hard to explain in words, but its like looking into it and seeing INTO it, seeing depth and dimension, thinking it MUST be texture-y and stroke-y, but then you touch it and its smooth…

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When I tried to layer/blend several colors of the Cottage Paint, I found it full bodied, more solid in its coverage, like heavier but not meaning ‘brushstroke’ heavy – just that each color wanted to lay down and COVER, and the only way i could sheer it down was by adding water onto my brush, but then the paint got too wet and the colors started to blend together, changing to a color I wasn’t wishing for…

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That’s when I knew to switch over to what I was used to.  Interestingly enough, I LOVE using the Cottage Paints as a ‘wash’ over a first color.  I add about 50-60% water to color #2, brush it over color 1, then soften back with a dry rag and brush.  It’s the easiest paint I have EVER worked with for ‘washing’ color on (we do it alot in our Paint a Piece Workshops), and it looks totally cool, like on this leg I demo’d in Shelby DIY TV Episode 8


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Customers will ask all the time, ‘Which is your favorite paint?”  and I answer honestly, saying I love them all – each one does something better than the other, making them unique, and serving of many paint opportunities –

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Here you can see the raised stencil better on the inside back wall –

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I didn’t put the glass insert back , though it will be sold with the piece ,  I just like the rawness of it being open.   My mom thinks I should put the glass in.   That, and she hates when I do the purple pieces.  Lol,  double banger –

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Of course, the back needs some LOVE too…

purple ombre painted china hutch, painted back, stenciled back

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When this piece sells I’ll find another to create – purples are one of my favorites –

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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  Th 10am-6pm and Sat 10am-3pm.

If you live too far away, that’s ok,  we ship daily,  offering our full lines of paints, sundries and accessories –  find us at

If you’re interested in painting your own piece, check out our Workshop Schedule,  you can even register online.