I’ve caught the “Painted Furniture” bug in a big way! It started with a little round side table and now there is almost no piece of furniture safe from my paintbrush!
I find myself eyeing up pieces and dreaming about the color I would like to paint them! I have even taken to collecting furniture that I’ll someday paint!
The little white dresser that lives in the Gable Guest Room went through a recent paint transformation… here’s my painting technique…
My Painting Philosophy…
Disclaimer: I have had no formal furniture painting training, no classes, not a whole lot of reading in the area of painting furniture, etc. I am developing a technique as I paint each new piece. And each new piece brings a deeper understanding of the art of furniture painting!
No two people would paint a piece of furniture the same, even if they were given the same materials. It is an individual creative expression. Embrace your own style!
Here’s what I like… a somewhat smooth finish, subtle variegation of color, warmth, gentle wearing, waxing to a soft glow and painting a piece like it will someday be a work of art.
Here’s what I don’t like…sanding off old finishes, chipping off veneer, paint that looks thick on a piece, gloppy paint, lots of different colors all over a piece, a mat finish, a piece that looks like it has been thrown down cement steps a hundred times (too scratched, dented and sanded) and a piece that has been slapped with 2 coats of paint and called finished.
Painting is a process… layer upon layer until the final product. The first coat of paint is only the beginning. It looks nothing like the beauty a properly painted piece will become! I think many people stop painting a piece before it is really done. Light layers… layers after layers… give a piece of painted furniture it’s beauty from within!
I know this sound a little but silly… but you have to let the piece speak to you. When I am painting something I feel like I am giving it new life!
Paint Of Choice…
Like many people in blogland, I LOVE Annie Sloan Chalk Paints! But, it was NOT love at first sight for me! I just could not understand what all the fuss was about! These new chalk paints intimidated me! I had never used chalk paints. I thought they were very pricey, their colors were limited, chalk painted furniture looked dull and lifeless and I found very few detailed tutorials to show me HOW to use them.
Oh was I wrong… these paints are wonderful to work with!
I use many other paints, stains, glazes and waxes, but ASCP are my favorite.
Click HERE for a list of American Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Stockists.
Annie Sloan Chalk Paints
Annie Sloan Clear Wax
Annie Sloan Dark Wax
soft white clothes~ like T-shirts
very fine grade sandpaper
The first thing I did was wash down this dresser getting off any dirt and let it dry thoroughly. I placed the dresser on a large drop cloth. I pulled the drawers out of the base and painted it all seperately. I chose not to paint or use the original hardware, so I removed it.
I gave the dresser one coat of “Pure White” ASCP. It is important not to apply it too thickly. It may not completely cover on the first coat and that is okay.
I let it dry. This was the hard part.
I sanded the first coat lightly. I used very fine sand paper… not overly vigorous. I just wanted to rub down any drips, paint brush strokes and uneven areas. I really liked this sanding process. the paint sands off like… well, chalk dust! When you do this you do not want to rub down the corners and edges yet. This sanding process is to give the piece a somewhat smooth finish.
I kept a vacuum handy to get up any chalk dust. This REALLY helped!
I then wiped my piece down with a just barely damp cotton cloth and let it dry.
I applied a second coat of AS Pure White paint. Before it dried I painted some small areas with AS Old White Paint, lightly blending it into the Pure White. This is an artistic, judgement call. It’s very subtle. Don’t be afraid of this step, because you can always paint over it or sand it off if you don’t care for it.
The paint was left to dry completely.
When all was dry, I used a very fine grade sand paper and started sanding out the roughness of the paint. This was so much fun! Chalk dust was flying!!!! I sanded off the paint to expose the wood on some of the edges of the dresser. I also sanded here and there on my piece taking the paint off to make it look worn.
Sanding is a matter of personal style and preference. Some like very worn looking painted furniture, some like no wear. I am somewhere in between. It all depends on the piece, the decor around your piece, you style and what says “beautiful” to you.
Just something to think about… I tried to imagine people using this little dresser over the years… where their hand would touch, where things might have been placed on top of the dresser, what drawers they might have used the most, where it would most likely have been bumped or banged. And it was those places I sanded more to look worn.
Vacuum. vacuum. vacuum!
I wiped down each piece with a soft cotton cloth that was just barely damp and let it completely dry.
After I sanded, I rubbed my hand over the dresser and made sure that there were no “rough” areas. Chalk paint has a tendency to feel… chalky! Sorta rough… but once sanded it has a beautiful feel.
Here is the balance… I want my dresser to feel smooth, but I also don’t want to sand away all the brush strokes or areas of character. This is the part of painting I just love… listening to the piece! It’s so beautifully artistic to me. So individual.
I took a really good look at the dresser. I decided to add just a sightly different color value to the piece.
I rubbed a little blob of Valspar “Oatlands Subtle Taupe” on the bottom of each drawer with my finger. I find dipping my finger into the pain and rubbing it where I want some variation in color works wonderfully. I’m literally a hands on kind of gal!
There is really no rules I follow for adding other paint colors, just keep it subtle and keep it interesting.
The paint went on so smoothly that I did not need to sand it.
Here are the drawers all painted and sanded.
After the dresser was completely dry I used Annie Sloan clear wax to give it a soft glow.
I applied just a tiny bit of wax to a small area with a soft cotton cloth ( I have since bought a horsehair waxing brush by Annie Sloan). Just a little dab will do!
I let it dry and buffed it with a clean white cotton cloth. Break a sweat when you buff!
Then I moved on to the next area until the entire dresser was waxed and buffed.
Dark waxing was the last step! I used dark wax to add a depth and a well worn look to corners, indents and parts of the dresser. Doing this well will bring a piece to life!
Here is where I was very careful. The dark wax is wonderful, but it really “grabs”. What goes on does not all come off.
Starting in a small area that I wanted to make darker, I applied CLEAR wax with a soft cloth ( or horsehair brush). Then, WHILE THE CLEAR WAX WAS STILL WORKABLE AND NOT DRIED (working quickly), I applied a very very small amount of dark wax with a horsehair brush (you could use a soft cloth if you don’t have a brush), rubbing it into the dresser. Almost immediately I removed as much of the wax as I could with another clean cloth. You can always add more dark wax… you cannot remove it.
Then I buffed, buffed, buffed to a soft glow.
These photos do a good job showing you the nuisances of the dark wax.
I then added some pretty glass knobs and …
simple silver pulls to the dresser.
I think they give the dresser a charming look.