Monthly Archives: April 2016

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?

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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.

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