I have a passion for taking discarded items and turning them into something new. Something that is beautiful and useful. Whether the item is an antique, vintage china or a child’s toy from the 1950’s, I see a finished product that fills me with excitement. For years I’ve worked on furniture restorations. Stripping off old finishes, sanding the pieces by hand, removing hardware and glass, to get to the prized wood. That is how I stumbled across Annie Sloan’s, Chalk Paint, at an antique mall I used to frequent in Grapevine, Texas. Every time I browsed through the mall I was drawn to the colorful, creative booth. One day I went to the store specifically to purchase one of Sloan’s books and some paint for a project, when I ran into the booth owner, David. This sweet man spent over an hour teaching me about the paint and its application, as well as Sloan’s other products. I bought the book, “Paint Transformations,” several cans of paint and other products I needed, to transform an old, 1950, white kitchen cabinet I planned to use as my linen closet in my master bathroom. Here are the steps I used to transform and preserve the cabinet:
1. First, the prep work! I began by taking the cabinet apart. When I do this, I like to take pictures as I go alone, to refer to when I start to put one of my projects back together. Once the doors and hardware were removed, I chipped away lose paint and sanded the cabinet down. This cabinet was riddled with natural distress, scratches and gouges in the wood that were reminders of its history. The last step to prepping was to wash the surfaces I intended to paint, using Dawn liquid dish soap well diluted in water.
2. I used wood glue to add the decorative appliques to the cabinet doors. The appliques I purchased from “do it yourself Chic!” an online store (www.doityourselfChic.com). You have to wait a few days to proceed, until the appliques, which are soft when you glue them, turn hard.
3. Once the appliques were ready, I painted the center pieces the color Aubusson, the door handle pieces Old White
4. I painted the doors and the entire exterior of the cabinet with French Linen. I also like to paint the back and underside of a piece, to preserve the furniture’s longevity.
5. Next, I added dimension to the appliques, by applying a “wash” (explained below) using French Linen. Once the appliques were dry, I washed the doors, the center appliques and cabinet’s exterior in Greek Blue.
6. How I applied the wash:
*First of all, I protected my hands with a pair latex gloves.
*Second, I had more control of the color if I only worked small sections at a time. As I went along, it was easy to blend the sections together.
*I begin by using a small, craft brush to apply small streaks of the full color. Next, I sprayed the paint with water using a spray bottle.
*With a wet cloth, I rubbed the color in. The great thing about this technique is, if you want more color you add it. If you need to dilute the color you use more water. If the color dries in an area (Annie Sloan’s paint dries fast) you simply mist it and rework the color.
*I keep a big bowl of water by me, which I dip the cloth in often, to keep it nice and moist.
7. Using a small, artists brush, I applied along the edges of the doors and the edges and corners of the frame work, the color Greek Blue, diluting the paint with water to get the look I wanted. I also rubbed the color in places with a dry cloth to smear and remove harsh edges. In other places I kept the edgy look.
8. I painted the inside of the cabinet with the color, Duck Egg. The outside of the cabinet, including the back and bottom side, I washed in Greek Blue, using the same technique I used in step 8.
9 . Finally, the finishing touch, applying the wax. First of all, make sure your hands are protected. I wear the thick Playtex gloves made for washing dishes. The wax eats through anything thinner. Also, be sure you’re working in a well-ventilated area
10. For this step, I used Annie Sloan’s White and Dark Wax. Applying the dark wax by itself can be tricky! David taught me how to use a light coat of the white wax first, then apply the dark wax on top of the white. Next, rub the wax in using a clean cloth. If the wax starts to dry before you have your desired look, simply apply a small amount of the light wax and rib it in. I give the wax just a minute or two to set, then immediately start to buff it into a sheen using a sock. Like the wash, work the wax in small segments, at least until you get the hang off it. This prevents the wax from looking blotchy, unless, of course, that’s you want. Also, it’s the Dark Wax that gives the piece that vintage, antique look I love.
I also wax the appliques. This gives them a polished, antique appearance. The Dark Wax also highlights the marks and scars that tell the furniture’s history, along with a polished, antique sheen.
11. For this particular piece, the hardware was vintage, so I’m guessing original to the cabinet. I washed all of it. The pretty, hinges, I used rust remover on. They looked dingy and gray, so I brought them to life using Annie Sloan’s, Gilding Wax, in the shade, King Gold. After I drilled the doors back on the cabinet, I applied the Gilding Wax on the heads of the screws.
This beautiful cabinet, now serves as the linen closet in my bathroom.