Alright…one project done and before I’m onto the next…a few pointers.  I have enjoyed researching and reading about different approaches to repainting and up-scaling furniture.  I enjoyed this writer’s objective approach to some of the suggested chalk paint techniques.  While I used the paint, I didn’t distress the pieces I worked on this week, simply because sometimes less is better.

This was day two and I have to say, this day was the physical day.  Rubbing wax into surfaces is hard work, but it was a very satisfying day because of the results.  I have lots of latex paint left in this colour to complete my headboard and baseboard as art furniture, featuring a study of Marc Chagall’s work, Big Sun.

Big_Sun_Marc_ChagallWhen I call my work art furniture, this would be an example.

W. Kandinsky dresser for my percussionist-son.

W. Kandinsky dresser for my percussionist-son.

I have a vintage vanity that I picked up through Freecycle; that will dawn Vincent Van Gogh’s sunflowers.  I’ve begun to prime this piece and done some clamping of the drawers.


sunflowers2About today…

The two coats of chalk paint were completely dry.  I put the drawers into the dressers so that I could see each object in its entirety.  This makes it easier to discern how busy the piece is becoming.  Honestly, distressed furniture can feel too cliche, if not treated with a great deal of attention while making decisions.  After today, I would call the process ‘contouring’ the furniture.  I used clear paste wax for the tops (no stain) so that the tops would welcome natural light onto their surfaces.  I applied a clear paste wax coat to all surfaces to begin with.  Then, where I wanted to accentuate a detail or say that the contour was ‘going in’, I used my clear paste wax mixed with a little stain. (It really didn’t take much.)  In the case of my dressers, I chose a cherry wood stain for its warmth, thinking it would complement the copper sort of wall paint.

P1170272 P1170270P1170293I tore up a t shirt and used one rag for clear wax only and the other for wiping into my stained wax.  I quickly removed excess stain, considering the marks and the depth of the colour as I went.  At edges where two surfaces met, I left stain…as I moved out into the center of the surface, I left the pure chalk paint colour.


Small home made night stand that I picked up at WIN for 3.00.

The rubbing action left me fully prepared for a run at Netflix and a glass of wine.  Quite a workout!  I will leave the wax to set overnight and fill the drawers in the morning.




DIY Home Made Chalk-like Paint

I started, a year ago, sanding a head and base for an antique bed, and a matching dresser.  These pieces have sort of taken over my studio and this has created a big problem for my artistic output.

Heading out to the studio to grab a photograph, I enjoy my garden in the rain.

Heading out to the studio to grab a photograph, I enjoy my garden in the rain.

P1170277 P1170278 P1170279Do you see what I mean?

Since then, I also picked up a couple of antique dressers at the Women In Need shop to accommodate the rest of my clothing.  I announced months ago that the pieces in the studio were ready to be primed.  I lied.  I ended up getting very picky about the paint removal and have only recently come to the point where, in fact, I am ready to prime.  I will be painting a Chagall image on those afterwards and will treat the primary colour as I would any other latex painting project.  Once the paint is applied and dry, I will use a varnish to seal the work.

My friend, Carol, asked at the beginning of this project, “Why don’t you use chalk paint?”  So, my curiosity got the best of me and I looked this process up on the internet and decided that this would be perfect for the two dressers that were already sitting in my bedroom, as well as an old hand made side table that I had also picked up for $2.00.

I thought I’d share the process with you, a process that is less than half the cost of the completely prepared system marketed by Annie Sloan, a specialty supplier of Chalk Paint.  There are several DIY videos on this subject, but I find the presenters a little verbose in their delivery and at times, downright irritating.  I also think that they are unrealistic in terms of how ‘simple’ and ‘fast’ they articulate the process.  For example, I began working on the painting of the primed pieces at 8:00 this morning.  It is 12:20 at the time of this writing and the first coat is drying.  I will apply a second coat before I head out the door at 4.  So, allow a bit of time.

These two dressers were varnished with a high sheen, so I decided to prime.  With chalk paints, it is possible to paint over any surface, however, I didn’t wish to encounter any problems with coverage.  I went into Ben Moore’s paint shop to chat with a very helpful gent yesterday who recommended this product.  In fact, this would be helpful if painting over any smooth surface.  Using this product, with overnight drying would prevent the possibility of scratching off the surface of a polymer based paint.  It’s called STIX.

P1170275I primed right over the hardware on the drawers.  If you have some interesting pulls, then I would take them off first, but given that these are fairly simple, I decided to create the distressed look on them as well.  Because I’ve been involved with paint removal, I decided to be very clean in terms of the areas that I painted and to leave the dove tail joints as is, as well as any screws or fittings used to construct the furniture.

P1170262 Today, I mixed up my home made chalk-like paints.  I used three table spoons of Plaster of Paris, mixed with a half cup warm water, with every cup of latex paint I used.  I mixed it up in an old peanut butter jar, so that I could continue to use it after taking breaks.  I mixed up two and half cups of latex and after painting two dressers and all of the drawers, I still have a half of the mixture left.  I’m letting this dry, as mentioned and will put the second coat on shortly.

P1170273P1170253P1170267To follow that, instead of using the Annie Sloan clear wax and dark wax, I’ve chosen two products as replacements.  In her method, you would wax clear, then dark, then clear again.  I’ve decided on a warm stain gel that I will apply after the second coat of paint is dry and then I will end with a clear wax finish.  These are the products I am using.  I might add embellishments of copper acrylic as a rub before the clear wax because I’ve used copper on my walls.

P1170272 P1170270 By the way, I’ve chosen a blue-green colour to complement the warm red-orange that I applied to my wall.  Contrary to the folk who like a serene environment for sleep, I focus more on warmth…I like to be surrounded by ‘happiness’.  While all chaos has recently broken out in my bedroom, stay tuned for the eventual resolution to all of this DIY!

I’ll keep you posted about progress…going down to see if my first coat is dry!

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Sparks Fly

Thanks to my boy-cousin and his son for changing my platinum spark plugs yesterday.  This job was going to cost me over three hundred dollars at the dealership.  But, if you look, they were not overestimating the need to have this done.  Peter said that he hadn’t ever seen such corrosion on plugs.  Have my readers?  I’m feeling gratitude for new spark plugs today!

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