French Linen and Dark Wax

26 Jun

I finally got around to finishing this night stand, I am utterly in love! This was painted with Annie Sloan’s French Linen and Old White. I used Annie Sloan’s dark wax for a nice weathered appearance. I left the pulls alone, I was going to paint it white to match the drawer but the bronze tones made this dresser a little warmer. I absolutely love the scalloped details on this piece.  I did not paint the inside yet, still deciding if I should. Here are some pictures and details:

Little Saigon

12 Jun

My favorite morning ritual consists of sitting alone in a quiet meditative state, next to my window…on a gray dreary morning. Sipping coffee from my favorite cup, and perhaps reading the news off my phone.
A week ago I read two separate articles on how Asians “lacked imagination” and are generally “not very artistic” (their words). Both pieces were from two separate but very reputable agencies, making me think that perhaps Asians get the sloppy seconds when it comes to first impressions. Being so, I couldn’t help but feel that it placed a bit of a dent in my morning. Either way, I shrugged it off and focused on my passion: refurbishing!

So I found this night stand sitting isolated on my street, someone had completely ruined it with cigarette marks, crayons, some coffee stains, belt marks, and dark holes. They left her out for the trash so I guess it is up to me to save her! =P

It’s covered in some gooey brown liquid…EW!

Lots of weird black marks

I couldn’t even touch it, no I made my husband carry it LOL.
So the first order of business was to clean the crap out of her. She was so dirty she almost made it stylish haha. So I brought out the hose, sprayed everything down and with a bucket and some soap…I used a wire sponge and started to scrub. I tried to get all the dirt and yucky stuff out of the crevices and sprayed down the areas that were inaccessible to me. It was tough, I am talking dried glue..gum, dead insects…I swore it was like a museum packed into this tiny little night stand.

I allowed for her to dry for a few hours then I whipped out my random orbital sander and proceeded to sand off all the leftover marks and little raises in the paint.

Sanding off all the little nicks on the drawers

I took my sander over the entire dresser, applying very little pressure and using 220 grit. This was my first time using an orbital sander so I was afraid of using anything too coarse, I didn’t want to destroy the night stand lol. Luckily I found it to be very easy to use, the machine practically did the work itself! In retrospect I could have gotten away with 100 grit if I wanted to.

There was an area on the side that had a large crack running up from the bottom. I was watching Restoration America (or something) and learned that I could use the sanding dust from my project mixed with a bit of glue to act as a filler. So never passing up an opportunity to try something different, I decided to do just that!

Large crack running up the side!

 

Some glue and sanding dust to use as a filler!

I filled her with a bit of glue, and waited to dry. Then sanded off the build-up until the area was smooth again. It worked perfectly! I couldn’t tell there was ever a dent there! =]

Once I wiped everything down with a tack cloth, I started to apply my first coat of paint. I used Graphite as my base coat, then applied 2 layers of ASPC’s Emperor’s Silk. I was inspired by antique Chinese furniture, something rustic but modern.

Lookin good!

I loved that the black base coat was showing through a little, giving the red a darker contrast in some areas. Instead of using dark wax this time, I decided to Stain this piece. I’ve had a bad experience using stain in the past, but I am not one to be deterred (trust me). So I decided to try it again this time, and it was a MAJOR SUCCESS.

I allowed the stain to settle into the nooks and crannies on the drawer. Wiping off using baby oil in areas that I wanted to highlight, such as the center of the drawers. Working in a clockwise motion, I wanted everything to get darker as the stain migrated away from the center. Generally I allowed the stain to sit for no longer than 30 seconds before I started to wipe it off, honestly you have to work quickly or it will dry fast. Use baby oil to remove!

I stained the top of the night stand and let it sit.

I left the stain on top of the nightstand for 3 days!

On hindsight I should have just painted it black, but I wanted to experiment with the results so I left the stain on top for 3 whole days. It took that long to dry (you don’t want to apply poly to wet stain). It smelled horribly but left a shiny finish. I love it.

After staining, I decided to stencil gold flowers on the front, it was my first time stenciling also and I was horrible at it! The colors seeped through to the bottom and left weird blotches! I was using a roller instead of a stencil brush so that was a total mistake, I also allowed my brush to get too wet.

First time stenciling

Either way , there was a lot of washing off and re-applying involved. Luckily, I got better at it and decided to finish the gold leaves by hand, it eradicated the fuzzy lines.

I had some left over paint that I needed to get rid of so I painted the inside drawer green.

To finish things off, I grabbed some handles at home depot and threw them together.

Boom. This girl is on fire!

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!

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!