Victorian Honey

31 May

I was browsing Craigslist a week ago and found this gorgeous beauty. The previous owner passed away and left her estate to the children; the kids were frantically trying to auction off 6 acres worth of furniture all awhile trying to take care of their ailing father. When I saw this sofa it was still wrapped in plastic, hidden away in a storage unit at some dark lonely place in Long Beach.

I absolutely LOVE Victorian furniture, it brings back memories of my childhood; days where I would cuddle on the sofa with my mom watching Gone With the Wind. I am a girly girl at heart, and it never occurred to me that I would one day work with furniture. I still feel that anything can be feminine as long as you add your womanly touches to it. ♥

So I managed to strike a deal with the woman who sold me this piece, my husband had that Friday off so we rented a truck at the Home Depot. YES you can rent a truck there and for a much better price than U-Haul. I absolutely hate that U-Haul had a million different fees that they don’t tell you about until AFTER you’ve returned their truck. Sometimes those costs can reach triple digits if you’re not careful, and don’t even think to call their Headquarters to file a complaint…you will be ignored and ridiculed. I will never work with U-Haul again.

So the deal with Home Depot is that you pay them a deposit fee of $50, and they charge you $20 for the first 75 minutes and $5 every 15 minutes after that. This is all taken out of your initial deposit, and anything that isn’t charged will be refunded. It took me a little over an hour to relocate my sofa from the storage unit to my house and it only cost us $20!

The husband packing up our sofa!

My plan with this sofa is to paint the wood in ivory and the fabric in a dark blue or violet. I knew going into this project that it’ll be extremely intimidating, but I figured the challenge will be fun. I never once painted on fabric before, so I wanted to be real careful with my first attempt. There are so many fabric paint tutorials out there so the real challenge was to shop for colors. It was supremely difficult to imagine what a small swatch of paint would look like on a large 3 person sofa.

Red Bull and paint chips, just another day!

I didn’t want to use chalk paint on my fabric, I was too afraid that the chalky hardness would ruin the damask/embroidered surface. I decided on water based latex paint. My color? Knighthood by Behr.

Behr’s Knighthood

I absolutely fell in love with this color, it goes on like a soft navy blue with purple and brown undertones. I used a satin finish and it really brought out the shine on my fabric!

The process is pretty straight forward, here’s what I used:

 

♥ 2 quarts of paint. You NEED at least 2 quarts, probably more.

♥ A good paint brush (don’t use a cheap brush, trust me)
♥ Painter’s tape

♥ Fabric medium or hair conditioner (more about this below)

♥ Spray bottle filled with water

 

 

This was the only fabric medium I could find at Joann’s. This created lumps in my paint!

I could only find a few bottles of medium in my area, so I painted the  back of the sofa without it.

My method was 2 paint : 1 medium : 1 water. Mixed into a container.

The color was lovely, and went on very smoothly.

I am not sure why, but the fabric medium I used created large lumps in my paint, sort of like corn starch when added to hot water (it won’t dissolve!). I didn’t notice at first but when I started to apply the paint, the lumps broke apart and created little white stains on my fabric! It was frustrating because I didn’t want to waste an entire quart of paint. I applied it anyway, and hoped that the second coat will make a nice cover up.

Start in an inconspicuous area first, this is the initial coat.

The paint actually saturated my sofa so well that I didn’t think I would need a second coat. Depending on the fabric of your project, it could take up to two or three layers of paint! Don’t be discouraged though, the end result is totally worth it.

Since my disaster with the fabric medium, I decided to substitute with regular hair conditioner. I bought something cheap and colorless at my grocery store and mixed it in with paint and water. I don’t know what to tell you, the result was amazing! It really softened up my sofa and didn’t leave a “crackle” effect.

I waited 24 hours after the initial coat. I didn’t think it needed a second layer but I applied one anyway just to cover up discolorations created by the lumpy fabric medium.

I then used soft wax over the entire thing to seal it up!

This took me approximately 3 days of drying and painting to complete. I did not like the Old White combination with this navy color so I repainted the trimmings in burnished gold by Ralph Lauren.

I repainted the trimmings in burnished gold.

Overall, the chair is a huge improvement over the original. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, (such as not double taping along the edges to prevent bleeding) but overall the attempt was totally worth it! Would I ever do this again? Probably not on a project of this size, it was nothing short of exhausting. My arms felt like they were going to fall off haha. The MOST difficult part of this sofa were definitely the buttons/creasing and the edgings. I think it accounted for the majority of my time and frustration.

Either way, I taught myself a few things and learned from my mistakes; that’s the whole point right? I can’t wait for my next project!

Here is a list of mistakes and lessons learned along the way:

1. Use a good quality brush, I started off using a cheap brush and this was a mistake. I figured I didn’t want to ruin one of my best pieces but honestly it really helps the paint get into those pesky little areas. Apply with pressure in a circular motion.

2. Spray and spray some more. Water that is: the damper the fabric, the easier it is for the paint to spread and absorb. Don’t fall short on this step!

3. Use hair conditioner if you can’t find fabric medium, it softened up my cushions and made it feel like leather. I couldn’t tell the difference between the parts that were painted with medium and the parts with hair conditioner.

4. I used a satin sheen and I love it, the shimmer gave my cushions a nice luster comparable to its original form.

5. Use painter’s tape and lots of it. I wish i could have gone back and double taped my edgings because some of the paint DOES seep underneath. It’s a huge pain in the rear to take off your tape and find that the color has bled on to the fabric! This is a total problem because painting over painted fabric is a huge chore.

I think that’s it =]

Overall totally not a bad investment!

Hardware Gal

26 May

I never thought that I would be spending my time at Home Depot on the weekends. Seriously, these days have been spent roaming the hardware aisle looking at all the sparkly little gems that are oh so beautiful. They look so intimidating, big burly mechanical things that seem to scream “NOT for wussies”. Honestly I find it very exciting. I am ready to take on these bad boys ;).

Palm sander or orbital sander?

I knew that my first expensive investment would have to be a palm sander, I hate having to spend so much time sanding everything by hand. As of right now I don’t really do too much prepping before painting, and although my projects look great without it, I am a perfectionist and was raised with the “do it well or don’t do it at all” mentality. These things won’t just cut my sanding time in half, but will leave a very smooth foundation for my paint as well.

I know a lot of people say that you don’t need to prep for chalk paint, but honestly sanding is so important because you are removing a surface of grime and dirt that has accumulated over the years. It just can’t look its best without sanding.

Saws and more saws!

I was watch American Restoration on the History Channel last night and I learned that you can make your own wood filler by saving your sanding dust and mixing it with glue! How awesome is that? I just love learning new things.

Another thing I discovered is that you can use foam to kneel on. My husband got these egg crate pads from shipping containers at his hospital, they make it bearable for when I am on my knees painting or sanding. It’s fantastic!

Use foam pads to kneel on!

Furniture refinishing really brings out my artsy side, I can literally transform anything with color. Don’t like the color of those cabinets? Paint it! Stains on your dresser? Paint it! Worn out looking table? Paint! The whole world comes together in a canvas in my mind, and I am the paintbrush. It feel good knowing that I no longer contribute to the million tons of garbage that gets dumped into our landfills and oceans every day. This is a good feeling that is also extremely addicting.

I love to cook but I feel that painting is starting to become a much bigger passion. See you at Home Depot!

Chalkboard top Coffee Table

26 May

So I found this super cute coffee table on Craigslist for $15 (originally listed for $25 but I managed to coax her into it ;). Unfortunately I forgot to take a “before” photo (such a noob mistake), but it has a glass pane on top. I had big ideas for this piece and started working right away; I discovered this tutorial for using Vaseline over the base coat for a super chippy effect.

So first I mixed my chalk paint using Behr’s Astonomical as the first coat, I wanted something black but not too black and this color was a perfect shade of charcoal-blue.

Behr’s Astronomical

First I painted my table with the base color, paying close attention to the areas which will later be rubbed in with vaseline. I didn’t really care too much about application, just slapped it on like so.

I then waited for it to dry (it only took an hour!) and started to apply my petroleum jelly in areas that will naturally wear in over the years. At this point I wasn’t sure if I should apply a lot or a little. So I did more in some areas and less in others. Now in retrospect I wished I would have applied a lot less, I am not a big fan of super chippy effects on furniture.

I used Vaseline but any cheaper brands of petroleum jelly will work.

Apply to corners and edges!

I then painted over my table with Annie Sloan’s Old White. I used an inexpensive flat brush because i didn’t want to get vaseline all over my more expensive brushes. Immediately I could tell that the paint was being repelled in the areas that were coated with petroleum jelly. It was so exciting! I knew that sanding this piece later will be a cinch.

The paint is being repelled by the Vaseline.

 

Honestly, being my first try it wasn’t that horrible looking, but once the table was dry I knew i had made a huge mistake applying too much Vaseline. Sometimes less is more in this case ya know?

No fear! All I had to do was wait until the table was dry…sand off the vaseline and then just paint a finishing coat over the top right? WRONG. Even with a second coat of paint, the color still won’t take!

At this point I was starting to panic a little. I had no choice but to make the best out of what I had, a very strangely chipped coffee table that looked awful.

The legs looked awful!

Changing my strategy, I decided to go with dark wax hoping that it will draw attention away from my horrible black/white coffee table. I applied a coat of Minwax’s clear wax, waited 15 minutes and then applied a layer of dark wax. I didn’t have a round brush on hand so I opted for a flat brush. As I applied with the flat brush I swirled it in a circular motion, adding some pressure in the corners and accents.

Put some pressure into those crevices!

 

First coat of dark wax.

Like I said before, I love Minwax because it gave furniture a light golden color. It isn’t too heavy and it fills in the wood grains very well, my table was actually looking very good after the second coat!

Second coat!

Beautiful edges

I love the golden glow off the white.

I actually fell in love with this table after adding the dark wax. It made such a huge difference and immediately I could tell that I will be waxing many pieces from now on.

I used a hand held blow dryer to speed up the drying process and to also create cracks in the paint.

Unlike others, I didn’t wipe off the dark wax with a rag. I just applied two coats using a brush, and left it to dry. This is why I love Minwax, the color goes on light enough that you don’t need to buff it out too much.

The second part of my plan involved the glass top part of this table, I went and bought some chalkboard spray paint. I then took the glass pane and gave it two coats.

 

Give it multiple coats!

I waited for everything to dry, put those pieces together and sealed it with some polyurethane!

Saved by dark wax

Beautiful legs!

I’ll be drawing on this table for weeks to come! 😉

Minwax’s Wax Review

19 May

There are so many blogs out there dedicated to Annie Sloan’s clear/dark wax that I decided to write about my own experience with Minwax’s product.

First of all, I have tried both and although AS is easier to use, I personally prefer Minwax due to:

A) Price and availability. One pound of Minwax’s clear wax is $9.98 at Amazon.com AND you can find it at your local department stores. AS’s can be as much as $30 if you live in the United States!

B) Minwax’s dark wax is so beautiful when brushed on, and it goes on very light. Personally I prefer this because I DON’T have to do any wiping with a cloth (I just rub in with a brush). If I want more coverage I do a second coat.

Here’s the thing though, I am not a huge fan of excessive aging and distressing. I like the golden brown look of waxed furniture, and Minwax does a great job with subtlety. Plus it is extremely versatile!

(This was after only one coat of the dark wax! No wiping!)

Instead of having to wipe off excess dark wax (such a waste!), the color blends into the wood and gives it a slight stain. And yes, you DO want to use a brush (flat or round), because it is a real pain to get good coverage with their dark wax when using a cloth.

The “lightness” factor could be a deal breaker for some, and that is understandable. Waxing is a taxing process in itself and who wants to spend more time re-applying coats if you’re anyone but me?

Another possible con is that Minwax’s clear wax has an orange-y tint to it. This isn’t a problem for me because I haven’t noticed a difference when applying on white furniture, and since I usually follow with a dark coat…the truth is, well who cares?

So to summarize, if you are a fan of subtle dark and age-y furniture, go with Minwax. If the orange tint (that isn’t visible upon application anyway) doesn’t bother you, use Minwax’s clear wax. If you are frugal (like me) and don’t care either way, use Minwax!

Beginner Tip: Use a blow dryer on low heat setting to melt the wax before applying.

Victorian Coffee

19 May

I love coffee, but I am a major wuss so I settle for novelty brands (Baskin Robbins’ Cappucino Blast…mmmm). My husband can attest to all the situations in which an argument has subsided with one phrase: “Let me get you some coffee”. He is a dream, no wonder I married him ;).

Today, I wanted to share a coffee table that I painted with Annie Sloan’s Paris Gray.

I compared this color with Behr’s Sparrow according to this chart here. It turned out to be a perfect match! Now I know where to get ASCP colors without the price tag.

On with the story, I found this table on Craigslist for $20. It was initially meant for my living room, but upon seeing it in person I found out that the table was too short.

I decided to take her home anyway, because i knew she had potential. Plus her curves were too pretty to pass up.

I decided to mix some of the Paris Gray with Old White because I wanted a delicate grayish cream color.

It went on so beautifully! A very light grayish blush.

It’s so funny because during this entire time I got my husband to paint some of the wire tubings that we recently purchased for our place. It was a fun bonding experience, who’d knew?

Since chalk paint dries so quickly, I was able to distress her within one hour.

I used 220 grit paper and started to sand while the paint was still soft.

So at this point, I wanted to try something a little different. I read on this blog, that you can use baby oil and wood stain to achieve a distressed look while maintaining the original color. Let’s just say I tried this technique and it was a major disaster for me.

I had no idea how much stain I needed to apply, how long to wait between wiping, and how much to remove. Either way, I will probably try this method again but with a lighter stain color.

Beginner Tip #1 NEVER.. EVER sand your table in a circular motion. I made this horrible mistake when sanding the edges of my table, and after using the stain, it crept into the wood and left a dark gray color that is very noticeable! Always sand in the direction of the grain, I don’t know why I didn’t do this to begin with.

Beginner Tip #2 Unless you are going for a super chippy look, try to hold off on over-sanding and distressing. The results could be disastrous and unnatural.

Seeeeeee? See what happens when you go overboard? It looks unnatural.

And here is the finished result.

 

 

 

Midas Touch

19 May

Today with the help of my husband I was able to give my PS4 controller the golden touch. Now I can play Destiny while getting the royal treatment. 😉

I used Rustoleum’s metallic gold spray paint.

New Love

18 May

When I first discovered furniture painting, my mind didn’t immediately go to all the crazy things I could refurnish in my house. Instead, I thought about all the sad lonely items that are thrown away, discarded, and destroyed each day in our country. Items that could have otherwise been renewed, redeemed and revived. The idea of transforming something old into something new again gave me a strange kind of hope, perhaps I was projecting myself a little bit through my art projects? Either way it is a beginning of a journey that has brought me a lot of happiness and satisfaction. It is no longer just a weekend hobby, it has become a passion of mine. My house has become a haven for homeless furniture, my clothes are covered in paint, and my porch is cluttered with paint brushes. Yet being the neat freak that I am, I find myself enjoying the “artistic” mess.

 

This was my first project, a sad lonely table that had beautiful shape. I was rather nervous at first, I have no idea what I was doing! Either way, I just told myself to paint and so I did.

I mixed up my own version of chalk paint using the 1 plaster of paris to 2 paint ratio. The color went on so smoothly and finished so cleanly that I knew this would be my default technique.

I decided my colors were going to be Harvest Brown for the body and Grasshopper wing for one of the drawers. It’s funny because there is technically only one drawer while the other one is purely for show. I had to use tape to separate.

By the way, I’ve discovered that DIY chalk paint dries extra fast! This table was ready to be distressed within one hour. Amazing.

I was impressed by my taping skills the very first time, go me!

I used Rust-oleum rubbed bronze spray paint on the handles!

After everything was dry, I started to distress the table and drawers with 220 grit sand paper. I wanted to try something different instead of making both drawers the same.

The next day I sprayed some gold metallic paint into a can, and using an artists’ brush, I carefully drew some gold lines on the handles and the distressed parts of the table.

This made it so that when the light touches certain distressed parts of the table. It would give off a golden gleam. I am obsessed with anything gold so this part was totally necessary! 😉

Here is the resulting table!