Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Easiest Fix for a Piece of Furniture You Hate

This chest was the last piece of French Provincial furniture I had in its original maple finish. Have I mentioned how much I hate maple? It's just so tired and dated. I thought about just selling this piece as is to get it out of my house. But the more I looked at it the more I could see potential. I've literally been trying to think what to do with it for months. I'd done some fun colorful pieces and really wanted this to be a nice neutral piece but was afraid that painting it white would make it look like all those little girls' rooms I was jealous of when I was a kid. White French Provincial with a canopy was the ultra princess room back in the day. 

I decided I would do a distressed cream color and leave the top unfinished except for a coat of clear wax.

First step is stripping the varnish off the top. If you can't work outside pick a day with nice weather so you can open all your windows.

Gather your supplies. Make sure to wear rubber gloves. I use a cheap chip brush for this kind of work so I can throw it away after.

Remove drawers from the unit and take off hardware. Decide whether or not you want to clean or paint the drawer handles. I left them as is for this project.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions. I laid on a thick coat of remover and then waited 20 minutes to come back and scrape it off. This is my favorite part. Removing layers of old crud to reveal what's underneath.

I had to do a second application over some stubborn spots. Then all that was required was a light sanding and a coat of wax to protect it.

Next, mix up your chalk paint and apply. I put 3 coats on this piece, but be careful. It made the aging process extra hard. The more paint you put on the harder you'll have to sand to get your distressed look.

Complete instructions and paint recipe here. 

Never ever put all your supplies away when you first think you are finished. I pretty much always find something that I missed and you don't want to have to remix some paint up just to do a small touch up. I didn't realize I'd missed the top bit of these drawers until they were back in place.

With the chalk paint the finish is actually created by adding a coat of wax and rubbing it into the paint. The aged look is accomplished by adding aging wax and sanding off paint in certain areas.

Adding aging wax. It can look scary before you buff it.

 Just keep sanding and adding wax until you achieve the look you're after.

This project cost less that thirty bucks (actually I didn't spend anything since I already had leftover paint and wax from other projects) and was done in an afternoon. 

Now take out the trash and feed the cat and you're all done!

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