Sunday, April 21, 2013

Weathered Shelf Table Tutorial

The challenge:  A client needed a table for her foyer... but it needed to be 11" deep to fit her small foyer.  "Well, I don't have one, so I will just have to make it!"  After rummaging through my furniture stash, I found the perfect piece to reinvent!

The top picture shows the side where the false drawers are missing.  This is the side I decide to destroy remove.  My DC (Dear Client) needs 11" only, so I measure that and mark it directly on my piece. 

You can see the cut on the left side that I made with the circular saw.  But because of the different depths of the side of the piece, I decided to use a Sawzall for that. 
 So I use my angles and mark my straight line down each side.

Then... cut away!  Very important tip is to wear your safety flip flops. 

Here is the cut table resting on an old dentist table that I have. 

It made a very convenient prop for painting!  
Now, DC had requested a weathered wood look and as you see, that is pretty much the opposite of what I have.  Time to reinvent again!  I use Murphy's Oil Soap on all my pieces for very thorough cleaning.  You would be surprised what comes off with that soap!
I decided to go with layers and using paints I already had on hand... I chose colors to layer with.  I chose black, grey, and a brown with a green tint.  Use what you have...I used chalk paint recipe and mixed up my paints... first I put black on the crevices and edges I knew I would be distressing the most. 

I followed up with my grey

Of course, it was here that I realized I forgot to add my trim work to the back cut edges.  It is hard to get a perfectly straight edge with a sawzall so I used some trim I had in the shed and glued it on, clamping overnight.  Then I got back to business...

Then covered with my brown

I handpainted some sweet little Coastal Star(fishe)s

And then ran some sandpaper over the whole table distressing the hotspots... then added a clear coat of Fiddes & Sons clear wax.

And here is where the fun begins... how to really give the distressed look ... DARK WAX!  I used Fiddes & Sons Dark wax for the the aging and it worked beautifully.  
DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THE DARK WAX!  I absolutely can not wait to do this again.  I mixed dark with my clear... and applying with my trusty chip brush...

First I dab my brush into the thick of the wax... then dabb on the clean side of the plate to get off the access... then I applied the wax in the corners and crevices first to get the most "age" into my corners.

Then I would apply on my flat surfaces, with many swipes of my brush... really feathering the paint over the whole piece.  The repeated feathering (really light strokes) really smoothed out any brush strokes and led to a natural look.

And yes, I did go back over it with a clear coat of wax.  I don't think I had to... but there were places that were a little heavy on the dark wax that I wanted to touch up and yes, clear wax absolutely DOES work as an "eraser" to the dark wax.  

Later after my son's ball game I came back and buffed out the table really nice and shiny...

and attached two hanging tabs to attach to a wall... 
and we are done!  A beautiful weathered shelf table - with the Coastal Star treatment!

Friday, April 19, 2013

To Paint.. or Not To Paint... THAT Is the Question?

Paint natural materials? or leave it to it's natural beauty?  What to do?  I know what you think what I am going to say... I own a small painting business... LET'S PAINT THIS SUCKER!  I do love paint.  
I love to re-create... the surprise of the before and after...

But no.  You shouldn't always paint.  

There.  I said it. 

Yep. You heard me.

And the world didn't collapse.

For every piece, I have a process.  Basically, it depends on the shape of the piece.  Is the wood damaged in any way?  Will any stain treatments not do well except under paint?  Do I have all the pieces?  If I have to borrow a set of rails from another headboard... it just ain't gonna look right unless it is painted and dolled up.  Any noticeable repairs to make?  Chairs and table a mismatch?  Guess what, the same paint job can make them look like a set.

In my world, there are just no hard and fast rules. I will work for weeks with a certain piece in the corner of my studio while I wait for it to tell me what it wants.
Sometimes it is a mixture... natural table top/painted legs.

And while we are on the subject...
 I am a great chalk paint supporter.  LOVE THE STUFF!  I generally make my own with my own "recipe" that seems to be pretty chip/scratch resistant. I have found a wonderful local retailer of Maison Blanche Furniture Paint that I will be using on my next custom job.  (More on that later!)  My "normal" routine consists of chalk paint followed with a soft wax... clear or dark depending on the piece.
But I will use latex if a piece calls for it, and poly sealant in some cases.
 Most of the times I hand brush but sometimes I use a sprayer!
Distressing (if I distress) is done with faux finishing or sandpaper... sometimes both!

My point is not to limit yourself with furniture or anything else.  Don't put boundaries on your art.
Stay flexible and work with your piece... and always listen to the piece...and go with your instincts!  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Nobody puts Baby in the corner!

I had a very special Coastal Star donation a few weeks ago.   One of my workmates, a youth minister at our church, had this piece of furniture most of his adult life.  He received it when he was first starting out in ministry.  This lovely lady has been treated well, and had served well in her life, but she is still a baby and has LOTS of life left!   Lots of character, and her bones are good.  First I gave her a good Murphy's oil soap bath and let her dry.  Then I coated her two layers with white chalk paint and some tangerine chalk paint I had mixed for other projects.  Even though she liked her new clothes, she still didn't "glow".  Ok, time to pull out the big guns.  Baby girl got a coat of Sherwin Williams white cashmere paint on her frame and SW Tangerine for the drawers.

Added some Coastal Star(fish) on the drawer pulls, a wax and buff... and now... BEAUTIFUL! 
Nobody will put Baby in a corner now... 
she is a show stopper!