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
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 –
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.
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
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
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 –
and bladed it through one of our thicker stencils
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
You can see in this photo how the paint is in various stages of coverage, the upper section still showing it’s original yellowy color
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
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 color
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 –
The remainder of the hardware was refinished to the brass/bronze color, sealed and embellished with Swarovskis’s to complete the look
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
and the back 🙂
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
Look at all that storage!When 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
Here, in the photo below, I’ve already painted over the dried plaster lace on the tops
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
The pieces coordinated well with each other, and just last week a customer put a claim on the trio
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 This 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.