Project Monday

Painted Furniture

A few weeks ago at the Atlanta Market I was fortunate to meet with 
Amy Howard - a beautiful furniture maker - who has a line of paint and finishes she markets as 'Amy Howard at Home'.  Go here to see my post last year about her and all of the finishes.
At market I was thrilled to take part in a hands-on demo which was great fun.

 It's taken me a year to finally get the courage to paint my grandmother's hutch, which is a solid piece of furniture in mahogany.  The s-curved glass with the leaded window pane is not something that can be found these days.  While beautiful in its day, it just isn't 'me'.

I thought I would 'practice' on a tea cart - that was grandma's too - to see how brave I am.
It all comes apart which helps for those hard to reach places. 
I'm using the 'One-Step' paint process which is a chalk paint that can be painted over any surface, no sanding or prep required. My fave for sure. It does not need to be sealed but I like to have a bit of depth rather than a flat finish.
One coat, I did long strokes. The paint can be a bit thick, a drop of water helps.

Two coats on everything.
A touch of gold adds so much; I taped off the top edge of both trays, then painted with 'guilding size' which makes the leafing stick and waited 20 minutes for it to become 'tachy'. 
Next, lay the gold leaf over, it doesn't have to be perfect (which is my nature) as it's nice to have sort of a crackled look.
After all the leafing is finished - using a brush - get all of the flecks off. 
That stuff goes everywhere and since my kitchen is my workroom, I'll be finding 'gold' for a while!
Next is waxing, clear and then dark. Soft wax is best, I had some Annie Sloan in the clear and bought Amy's dark. This is the hard part. The clear is great because obviously it cannot be seen but when that dark goes on it isn't as smooth. Both go on with a brush and then buffed a bit, the key is to 'off-load' the wax on a piece of cardboard or something similar to get the blobs off of the edges of the brush. Even with doing that there are dark spots that I couldn't smooth out. My perfectionistic personality really has to let go a bit.  
Amy likes to use this 'dust of ages' to get into the crevices (I would say best for pieces with highs and lows in the wood) which goes on after the wax and then buff with a soft rag for a pretty sheen.
Here's the top tray - you can see the darker spots - definitely need to perfect this technique a bit more before the hutch.
All in all, it turned out pretty well - I would prefer not to have the dark spots - but honestly they aren't as noticeable in person.

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  1. Use the finest grade of steel wool to "rub" in the wax into the grain and it gives it the smoothest finish.

  2. The cart looks great. I have been refinishing furniture for many years and was excited to try the Annie Sloan products which I love - everything that is except the dark wax. No matter how I put it on, I end up with too much and not liking the look. You can erase most of the dark wax by either applying more wax (dark or clear) and immediately wiping it off with a clean rag, or by using a clean cloth and mineral spirits. I recently did my first gilding project and am so taken with the process. Just a tiny trim can really make a difference in a piece of furniture. Good luck.

    1. I have tried the dark wax many times when I was using Annie Sloan and ended up painting over and starting over. To get the same affect as the dark wax I have made a wash out of 'raw umber' craft paint and then clear waxed over. Smoother for sure. I want to get this dark wax process down, great ideas from you and the gal ahead of you! Best.

  3. It looks great! I sometimes mix a little of the clear into the dark...its easier to control. I haven't used the dust...I'm going to have to look into that...Thanks for your sweet comment the other day.

  4. Very interesting blog. A lot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that attract others, but I'm most definitely interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know.


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